“RUN IRIS, RUN” REVIEW
BY JUSTIN CARTER
The evolution of Iris West has been one of the strangest chapters of character growth on The Flash. After Barry went to Speed Force jail, it turns out that she quit her job and threw herself into running Team Flash in her fiance’s absence. Making her team leader has allowed the show to keep her in the orbit of other characters without worrying about anything like journalistic integrity coming into play — seriously, even if the show wasn’t going to bring it up, it would’ve been very sketchy for journalist Iris to write about the heroics her husband and friends. Even if the declaration of her and Barry repeatedly saying “we’re the Flash” is incredibly cheesy, the show has done a good job of integrating her into the team dynamics.
This week’s episode challenge, then, is to see how the leading lady fares when she’s out in the field rather than sitting behind a computer. Thanks to our Bus Meta of the Week, Matthew Kim, she winds up with Barry’s powers due to Kim having the ability to just outright remove the abilities from metahumans. Iris having superspeed and suiting up is a fairly recent thing that’s happened in the comics, and it’s easy to see why the showrunners chose for now to be the time to adapt that short event. And for the show, it proves to be a needed burst of energy; Candice Patton has the natural enthusiasm that comes with acquiring new powers down pat, and it’s frankly a blast seeing her smile as she’s in awe of herself and what she can do.
Let it be said that the show thankfully doesn’t make a terrible deal out of how this could throw a wrench into the whole dynamic that’s been established between her and Barry for the last six months. He’s certainly not happy about, since his lack of a real job means being the Flash is the only thing he has right now, but he’s not making this power switch a whole big deal about him. This is Iris’ journey, and he’s appropriately supportive and providing her with the wisdom that he’s gained.
Problem is that for as onboard as Patton is to take on this heroic promotion, the rest of the show doesn’t entirely seem to be following suit. The most vocal dissent comes from Ralph, and I get he’s complaining because he’s afraid of getting his powers stolen and dying, I really do. But having him deliver snide comments or put downs when she shows even the smallest glimpse of failure is just not a good look, especially when no one really tells him to back off. It looks more targeted than it probably means to, but since Ralph doesn’t throw any of his frustrations at other members of the team, it can’t help but be that way.
“Run, Iris, Run” is at its best when it doesn’t try to get in its own way, as is the case with its supposed villain, Melting Point. Leonardo Nam of Westworld fame does good work in portraying Kim as someone with good intentions and using his powers in a sort of twisted way of heroism. It’s good that he’s sticking around to help the team deal with Devoe, and even better that he’s not turning out to be a plant or anything of that nature, just a guy who wants to do good things.
Just wanting to be good is a bar this episode easily clears; the Ralph-related problems aside, it’s just a truly fun hour of television. It feels like a very earnest attempt at giving Iris her chance to shine as a superhero while showing that she’s heroic in her own way by becoming something of a historian for the Flash with the return of her blog. This was the great episode for them to end on before their final hiatus, and I’m interested to see where the show goes next in April.
- The B-plot of the episode involves Harry forcing Cisco to help him build a thinking cap so he can be as smart as Devoe, but without the whole “becoming evil” part. It’s both fun and funny, and continues to show that Carlos Valdes and Tom Cavanaugh are two of the MVPs of the whole Arrowverse enterprise.
- Caitlin has never seen Spider-Man 2, which I find hard to believe. Not because she’s literally in a comic book universe, but because I refuse to believe Cisco has never sat her down to have a superhero movie marathon.
- The Flash returns on April 10, see ya then!