The Flash has been running on all cylinders, with metahumans, other Earths and the matter of Zoom, but it’s been the West family that’s been the beating heart of season two. They’re about to be front and center when the series returns for the second half of the season, thanks in part to Wally West’s arrival.
“To see the other big family that plays a part of The Flash come to light and come to fruition, it’s good,” star Candice Patton tells ETonline. “There’s so much meat there. There’s Francine and Wally and the dynamic of Joe and Iris dealing with those two things. Iris has had some good meaty stuff to delve into this season.”
In tonight’s winter premiere, titled “Potential Energy,” Iris and Joe attempt to get to know Wally, whose unexpected arrival turns everything on its head. But it’s his dangerous (and surprising) hobby, drag racing, and its effect on Iris and Joe that threatens the new West family dynamic.
Ahead of the return, Patton jumped on the phone to dish on Iris’ romantic future, Earth-2’s WestAllen and getting to know a long-lost sibling.
Wally West has arrived! How does having Keiynan Lonsdale on the show enhance The Flash and the West family dynamic?
It’s nice! Iris has another friend. I don’t think we often get to see her with friends. There’s Linda, then Linda’s gone and Barry is being The Flash, so Iris doesn’t really have an opportunity to have a lot of friendships and this is another character who can add to that. You’ll see a lot of great interactions between Wally and Iris, which is really nice. Keiynan is young and he brings a fun, youthful element to the show. It’s nice to have a new person on the show – it’s been really fun having him.
What is Iris and Wally’s relationship like at the start? I imagine it won’t be easy.
Yeah. They’re blood-related but they really don’t know each other at all, and with that, that means you’re going to have to build a relationship. When we pick back up, you’ll learn that Wally is a street racer and Joe can act more like a friend to Wally in fear of losing him. He’s spent so many years apart from his son he doesn’t want to do anything that would push him away, whereas Iris, she takes on more of the parent role and she’s really concerned for Wally. She’s really the only one willing to confront Wally and say, “This is dangerous, stop.” That puts friction between them as brother and sister, but Iris is determined to have some sort of relationship with her brother.
A lot of the fans are really looking forward to the day we’ll see Iris and Wally have a close-knit relationship on the show like they do in the comics. Is that coming?
You can hope for that for sure. There’s no point in bringing on a family member that no one gets along with. It’ll take time for them to find their rhythm but there will definitely be a relationship between Wally and Iris that’s bound by love and loyalty.
How does having Wally around change Iris’ relationship with her father?
Iris is a grown-up and she has her own life now, she’s working at Picture News and she’s trying to recover from losing Eddie. Having this new family member, it ties the bond to family. You see Iris more at home, spending more quality time with Wally and Joe and Barry. It’s nice to see everyone together and Wally forces that interaction.
Will Iris get a chance to repair her relationship with Francine before her illness worsens?
That’s the thing -- Francine’s sick and as her condition worsens, Iris definitely is more emotionally-wrought than she’s ever imagined than she would be, and that comes as a surprise to her. Iris is quite cold and distant to Francine for a long time for what she did to her father but she’s struggling with these surprising emotions -- that she’s really having a hard time dealing with the fact that her mother is sick and that she may possibly not be able to spend a lot of time with her. That’s definitely something we’ll jump right into.
Switching gears, it seems that Iris is finally ready to move on from the death of Eddie. What’s her outlook on love? Is she ready to dive into a new romance?
I mean, I -- Candice thinks so. (Laughs.) It was nice that we didn’t rush her into a new relationship -- it gives credence to the love that she had for Eddie. It’s great that she took time to be at work, be a journalist and be a daughter. We’ve given it a bit amount of time and it’s safe to say that she’s in the realm of being able to move on.
And we’ll soon meet Iris’ new boss at Picture News and love interest, Scott Evans (guest star Tone Bell). How will their relationship develop professionally and romantically?
What you’ll find is that they have very different views on The Flash. Iris can be considered a stand for The Flash and his No. 1 fan, while the new editor is quite the opposite. Scott’s not a fan and he doesn’t believe that The Flash is a good thing for Central City. Those two are quite at odds with each other, in terms of how they view The Flash. Iris often wants to write and portray him as a hero, so there’s a little bit of friction, and that’s hard for Iris to navigate.
How does Scott’s influence help shape Iris’ journalism career and her perspective on The Fastest Man Alive now that she’s faced with someone who has the opposite viewpoint?
Any time you have someone who is challenging your way of thinking and is somewhat respectful about it, it can only make you better. While Iris has a hard time with it, she’s going to end up learning a lot from Scott, which will make for a better relationship between them as co-workers and possibly even more. Her relationship with him and what he has to offer her will only make her a better journalist.
Does working for Scott put her at odds with Barry and the other members of Team Flash?
It is an interesting dynamic. We haven’t quite gotten there yet where Team Flash is aware that Scott isn’t quite a big fan. It’ll be interesting to see what that does to Iris and may feel like she’s caught in the middle, wanting to do a good job [at Picture News] and not wanting to talk badly about The Flash.
Meanwhile, Iris has a doppelganger on another Earth. What’s one thing that’s different about Earth-2 Iris that we may be surprised to know?
She’s quite tough. We know that Iris on Earth-1 to be a tough cookie but Iris on Earth-2 is definitely a lot stronger. (Laughs.) It’s fun to play a different version of your character as an actor. I think fans will be surprised to see that Iris on Earth-2 is quite tough – not as emotionally penetrable as Iris [on Earth-1].
What is Barry and Iris’ dynamic like in Earth-2?
I don’t want to give too much away about that but what you can expect on Earth-2, and probably all of the Earths we’ll potentially get to, is that Barry and Iris will always know each other in some way or form. I just don’t really want to give that away but I think fans will really like the dynamic between all the characters on Earth-2.
Lastly, can you give us a tease of an upcoming Barry-Iris scene fans will enjoy?
I’ll just say that there’s really great stuff on Earth-2. The fans will be very interested in their dynamic on Earth-2, it’s really fun.
The Flash returns Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.