The Flash: Where Is Iris West?

Tatiana Hullender Tatiana Hullender

November 13th, 2015

Longtime fan of comic books and their various adaptations. Aspiring writer who works in advertising for nonce.

The Flash: Where Is Iris West?

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.


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.


Credit: The Flash

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.

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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

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  1. WALLY IS COMING says:

    Completely agree. The treatment of Iris so far this season has been awful. I can only hope like you that the writers eventually allow her to voice how she is feeling as well as deliver on the things they promised us.
    It saddens me that because of Patty and Barry’s relationship the writers have decided to erase westallen relationship. I was shocked that Iris wasn’t at his bedside on Tuesday. Iris West is the matriach in the Flash’s mythos. She is an important part of his journey as well as being an important and iconic character in her own right yet the show have not respected the comics in this aspect.

  2. The Subject says:

    Yessss all this and more. What the heck is happening this season? Where did the warmth from season 1 go? Why is Iris being treated this way by the writers. Why can’t she show her her thoughts? Urgh. This season outside of the cool effects is not just a failure but a betrayal to us the viewers and to season 1.

  3. What Other Girls? says:

    Amazing article and well said. The way she’s been treated this season is astonishingly awful. She’s supposed to be the female lead yet episode after episode guest stars get more development and more screentime while she continues to get nothing.
    And don’t even get me started on her relationship with Barry. They are supposed to be best friends yet we rarely ever see that. They shared more in S1 when she wasn’t in on the secret than they do, when it’s supposed to be the opposite. On 2-3 occasions we’ve seen Iris be there for Barry emotionally, but we have yet to see that be returned.
    Hopefully Wally’s arrival will shift things but right now, it’s really infuriating.

  4. Nikki M says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Why is she always the sacrificial character in the editing room? I’m glad to hear more and more people talking about this issue. I also find it really troubling that this “coincidentally” keeps happening to her character alone. I understand that the show is not all about her but none of the other characters on this show seem to have this hiccup when it comes to their writing. Hopefully, we don’t have to wait until the second half of the season to hear more from her.

  5. danieldavid says:

    Perfectly summed up. Like you I am hoping against all hope that all this is leading to something epic for this iconic character. But like to briefly touched on I just believe that the writers despite all the rich source really don’t know how or what to write for her now that her central story isn’t revolving around Barry openly thirsting after her a bit cynical but I can’t think of another reason and it’s such a shame. 6 episodes in and pretty much everything about this character is relayed to the audience via other characters waste of character and actress potential if you ask me. Hopefully the intro of kid flash changes all that.

  6. jane says:

    I agree with everything you said. It is a shame how they are treating Iris West. They promised us the season of the West but I don’t see it! Iris is the leading lady and they act like she is a guest star, well they treat the guset better than her. The bad treatment of Iris is making me dislike the show for now, Ihope they fix it soon.

  7. Tarra says:

    I am trying to hold onto hope that they will treat Iris better but I’m not going to lie it’s really hard. TPTB told us that this season that the West Family would be central this season, how we will see journalist Iris West do her thing, how Iris will be Barry’s lightning rod, basically getting us excited for season 2. Well what they have given us is nothing but crumbs. They expect us to be excited over the crumbs when we know Iris/Candice deserves so much more. She is being sidelined and it has become painful to watch. I can wait for Westallen to happen but what they have done to Westallen’s friendship is disappointing. Season 1 clearly established how important their friendship was to them. Season 2 Barry seems so disinterested and detached from what has been happening in Iris life. Last season Barry would never be so disinterested. Iris not being at Barry’s bedside was another huh moment. They really want us to believe she wouldn’t be there after seeing her best friend brutally beaten by Zoom. The writers/TPTB know how incredible Westallen’s chemistry is and they have made a conscious decision to reduce/erase/minimize Westallen’s friendship so they can promote B/P and it’s wrong on so many levels.

  8. Nolmore says:

    Well said. I am not really one to hope for the best in these scenarios, but since the current status quo is so soul crushingly awful, I am going to hope the writers do have some sort of plan to really emphasize how isolated Iris West has been and provide her a moment of catharsis. Still, with the dissolution of the writer’s room this season and the new show runner emphasizing Patty and Caitlin and all but forgetting about WestAllen, all I can say is that the show is no longer a must-watch for me. The quality this season slipped, Candice is side-lined, and that mounting disappointment affects my enjoyment. I hope the show can come back from this season 2 slump, and I’ll certainly be less trusting to Berlanti shows in the future.

  9. SydneyWB says:

    Well said. I was shocked that Iris wasn’t at Barry’s bedside too. But like you noted, it was really par for the course this season. It feels like they have no interest in writing for her now that WestAllen is on hold to explore Barry/Patty. Such a waste. And it’s not like there is no story for her. She’s in on the secret so why can’t she be more involved with the gang? Her mom returned, why not more there? WestAllen is on hold but she’s still Joe’s daughter and Barry’s best friend. There’s plenty of story to mine. Honestly I’m not even sure the point of bringing on Patty.. We all know she’s temporary. And it feels like she’s getting the Joe and Barry scenes that Iris would get.

  10. pretty says:

    I don’t get it, I am more confused on why they are doing this to Iris west legacy/Candice career. Ok we are fine that no westallen this season-with the slow burn they are trying to pull? Is there even a match lit under westallen because I don’t see it anymore. Westallen feels and seems like two strangers in a room with mutual friends. Here is the killer, why can Iris be working on a story that doesn’t require flash/team where she help a homeless, elderly person, loss cause child..or even work at shelter and read to the children… All of those scene would help people who doesn’t understand Iris, will get to know her and open up to her. plus she would be a hero without power but with a pen. Watching other shows (abc,nbc) how come they can develop other characters without sideline their leads? Cw is doing this intentionally so we Candice supporter will leave but where not going anywhere due to how important this is for POC/WOC. We will be front and centered calling them on their crap!

  11. Stacie Renee Taylor says:

    to be honest I don’t care for Iris. She’s not really much of an important character to me.

  12. myrcellasear says:

    Everyone has their favorites and that’s fine, but plenty of people do care about Iris. And last season she was half of Barry’s entire world. The fact that neither he nor her father have stopped to ask her how she’s doing or feeling for more than a cursory second is poor writing. As is specifically choosing to alienate rather than integrate her.