The Flash” ended its freshman season with a singularity threatening to destroy Central City, and when the top-rated CW show returns for Season 2, the effects of that finale will have far-reaching consequences for Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and his team.

Iris West (Candice Patton) and her father Joe (Jesse L. Martin) must move on from the loss of Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett), after the cop sacrificed himself to erase his villainous descendant, Eobard Thawne (alternately played by Tom Cavanagh and Matt Letscher) from existence, and when Season 2 picks up — six months after the events of the season finale — Patton tells Variety that Iris has “had some time to deal with the repercussions of losing her fiancé.” While she notes that six months obviously isn’t long enough to get over losing a loved one, Patton says Iris’ priority when “The Flash” returns is attempting to “pick her life back up and move forward.”

In typical “Flash” fashion, things don’t stay quiet for long, thanks to the much-anticipated arrival of Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears), an alternate version of The Flash from a parallel universe known as Earth-2, along with a new villain, Zoom (voiced by Tony Todd), and the introduction of Barry’s eventual sidekick and Flash successor Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale), who is Iris’ nephew in DC Comics canon but whose connection to the West family has yet to be confirmed on the show. Iris’ mother, Francine (played by Vanessa Williams) will also make her debut in an as-yet unspecified episode, so there’s plenty going on in Central City this year. Variety talked to Patton about what’s coming up for Iris in Season 2 and what we can expect from the West family.

How does it feel to finally be an official part of Team Flash after a season spent in the dark about Barry’s secret?

It’s a huge relief. As an actor, I was waiting on pins and needles to have a little bit more fun and join the team and be part of all the action and excitement that’s going on in Central City… It’s nice seeing banter between Iris and Cisco (Carlos Valdes), and Iris and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), and Iris and Dr. Stein (Victor Garber); there’s a lot more characters for her to interact with. She has a reason now to be in STAR Labs and not just wander in. I don’t have to explain to fans “how did she get in there?” [Laughs.]

At Comic-Con, Grant previewed that we’d start off Season 2 with Barry operating as more of a lone wolf, trying to distance himself from the rest of the team – how integral is Iris in helping him get through that?

We find Barry distraught after what happened with the singularity – lives have been lost and he’s really struggling to figure out if this is what he wants to do, and what’s really great is you see the dynamic between Barry and Iris — she kind of steps in and tells Barry, “you can’t give up; this is what you were meant to do.” It’s nice because you really see the power that Iris has with Barry in being able to motivate him and inspire him to keep going. It’s that friendship that we saw at the beginning of season one that I think we’ll see for seasons to come — they just have the ability to really ground each other, and that’s why I think Iris is so important to Team Flash in that way too. She’s one of the few people who can really speak to Barry’s heart.

Speaking of heart, we’re going to be delving deeper into the West family this season… 

It’s always great to work with Jesse; he’s such a seasoned actor and we have a lot of really emotional family scenes digging up stuff from our past. People know by now that Mama West is going to be making an appearance and we have to deal with how Iris finds out about her mother. There’s a lot of family strain in the West house. It’s a lot of new information and a lot for Iris to process, but it makes for really good TV. I think people will be happy to see more of the West family coming to fruition this season… I know nothing about the Wally West storyline, I haven’t even seen him on set yet, so I think we’re just about to get into that. Everything around Wally is very hush-hush, so I think that’s the storyline that I’m most excited about this season.

How does Francine’s return affect the dynamic between Iris and Joe?

After having one secret that’s been held for so long with Barry being The Flash, Iris and Joe have moved beyond that, and any other hurdles that come up in season two, you find that – no matter what [the hurdles] are — they move through it very quickly. I think Iris has realized that everything her father does is out of love and protection, and while that’s very irritating, I think she has begun to understand why … It makes for a really interesting dynamic. There’s a lot more respect and understanding and confidence between Joe and Iris, and he’s giving her a little more freedom this season to be courageous and be this strong woman we know her to be.

The show is introducing the concept of alternate universes this season — do you think that revelation will pique Iris’ journalistic curiosity?

Oh I’m sure. To be honest, we haven’t really gone down that path of how she deals with these new revelations in her journalism career – I’m really hoping we get to that because it would be a really interesting dynamic of the moral issues of how you have integrity with your job as a journalist but also protect Barry and all of the citizens of Central City with all this crazy new information.

Season 2 is also introducing Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten) as a new partner for Joe and a potential romantic interest for Barry, which will probably put her in Iris’ orbit. What can you preview about their relationship?

So far, Patty and Iris haven’t shot many scenes together, but Iris becomes aware of Patty and I think you’ll find that she’s very supportive of that relationship. Iris has a lot going on in her life – she’s just lost the love of her life, she has all of this new information about metahumans and Barry being The Flash and then her career and her family and her mother, so she’s got a lot on her plate, and I think relationships for her are not at the forefront. She is very happy to see Barry happy, and she encourages him to stick with it in terms of that relationship.

Linda Park (Malese Jow), Iris’ coworker at Central City Picture news, is back this season – what’s coming up for her?

It’s really nice to have Malese back and it’s great for Iris because she has a friend and ally in Picture News. I think it’s really great to see female friendships on TV and on our show. I always call it Boys Club around set — there’s too many boys, I’m sick of fart jokes on set! [Laughs.] It’s really nice having Malese around, and Linda’s back for a bit so I think people will be really excited about her return.

“The Flash” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.