“The Flash” may have stopped introducing speedster villains in its fourth season, but it’s not shying away from utilizing those meta human abilities in new ways.
In “Run, Iris, Run,” the 16th episode of the fourth season of the CW superhero drama, Iris (Candice Patton) is the latest member of Team Flash to gain powers when Melting Pot (guest star Leonardo Nam) accidentally swaps Barry’s (Grant Gustin) DNA with Iris’.
“It’s a complete role reversal,” Patton says. “And the team trusting in her and her stepping out from behind the console and being a leader in a different way.”
“The Flash” started as an origin story for Barry, and early episodes saw him struggling to get a handle on the level of ability he had. When introducing the idea that Iris, too, was going to be unsteady on her fee with the speedster ability, the emphasis was on making sure Iris would have to do things Barry had not previously done.
“[She’s] using everything she’s learned, plus Barry’s expertise,” Helbing says. “But we really wanted to have this dynamic when they flop places where she really gets to know what it’s like for Barry when he goes out there, and Barry gets to know what it’s like for her [back in STAR labs].”
Patton says co-star Gustin was instrumental in helping her get used to the costume and the stance she was going to have to take when running. “He’s had four years to perfect that, and I got one episode to just try to not look stupid!” She said. “It was weird and challenging and fun and interesting all at the same time. It was great — I was glad I got to do that.”
While Patton doesn’t believe a character — or a real life person — has to put on a special suit to be a hero or “do something important,” she does realize the importance of diverse reflections of on-screen heroes.
“We’ve seen, in little ways, Iris and Caitlin and the other women on the show saving the day without powers, but there is something cool about seeing a strong, bada– female superhero [too]. It gives young girls something to aspire to,” Patton says. “I walked out of ‘Wonder Woman’ with my girlfriend Caity Lotz who’s on ‘Legends [of Tomorrow]’ going, ‘This is what white men must feel like every day!’ It’s important for young girls to walk out and feel empowered.”
Of her experience suiting up for “The Flash,” Patton says “the bucket list is checked.”
“If [producers] killed me off tomorrow I would think I had a good run,” she notes.
But Patton isn’t actually leaving the show anytime, soon. So realistically she says the next item on that potential bucket list would be “to see Iris and Barry have a baby” — but she acknowledge she doesn’t know when that could happen, as they both have so much on their plates to accomplish.
Instead, what “Run, Iris, Run” will provide for Iris is a chance to look inward, while many of the other characters are looking outward this season.
“Having Barry’s powers for an episode really makes her realize what she’s passionate about,” Patton says.
“The Flash” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.