The Flash: Where Is Iris West?
November 13th, 2015 | by Tatiana Hullender
Our Tatiana Hullender explored the curious decisions emerging the The Flash writer’s room regarding the depiction of Iris West.
Where in the world is Iris West?
Sure, we see her on our screens every Tuesday night for five minutes or so an episode. We see her supporting Barry and smiling at Cisco, and once in a blue moon we see her sharing a beer with Linda. We’ve gasped in shock as her secret family members are revealed and cheered her on as she shoots Doctor Light’s helmet off her head. But in the nearly two months since The Flash’s second season took-off running, we still don’t really know how she’s coping with her almost-fiancé’s death.
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In fact, it’s been two weeks since she learned that she has a brother – shout out to Wally West! – and the only reaction she’s been allowed is silent weeping on a staircase all alone.
So why is it that the writers of The Flash have such trouble giving Iris the space she needs to work through her problems?
Why is she everyone’s support system, yet no one is around to support her?
Last night’s episode reached new lows for her character, despite showcasing her wonderful friendship with Linda. Not only does she remain silent about the tragedies surrounding her family and love life, the show even took her role of resident shoulder to lean on away from her by not having her present by Barry’s bedside when he awoke after Zoom’s brutal attack. This is the woman who stayed at his side every day for nine months while he was in a coma, and who just last week rushed to the lab when she heard Barry was blinded. Are we meant to believe she wouldn’t have gone to him immediately after the beat down she witnessed?
It’s perfectly understandable that the show is taking a break from Iris and Barry’s romance to explore a more lighthearted relationship with the newest ingénue, Patty Spivot. But not being a love interest at the moment does not mean that Iris West’s role in the story should diminish. She is still Barry’s best friend and Joe’s daughter, yet she’s rarely in scenes with either one this season. She’s a reporter who could easily be tasked with investigating metahumans, yet she did more reporting as a waitress last year than she’s been shown doing this season.
The Flash is full of rich and diverse characters whose inner lives are ready to be mined, but Iris is starting to get left in the dust. The news that she is hardly in the crossover two weeks from now makes matters seem even bleaker for her.
What will it take for Iris to have a voice in her own story?
Perhaps the show can only shed light on one female character at a time, so we can expect that Iris won’t get much in the way of introspection until Patty leaves. Or maybe Wally’s arrival sometime in 2016 will open the floodgates to everything Iris has been repressing.
I only hope the showrunners have a plan for her that helps explain why the characters who are supposed to love her most reference her existence more than they actually speak to her. Otherwise they are wasting an iconic character’s legacy and a brilliant young actress’s talents in favor of a temporary love interest and a few more metahumans of the week.
Tatiana Hullender is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow her on Twitter: @MyrcellasEar