Even though Team Flash barely survived Vandal Savage and the events of The Flash/Arrow cross-over, things are not letting up or slowing down for the residents of Central City on The CW drama series. It may be Christmas time, but nothing will stop the Rogues from taking over when Mark Mardon, aka The Weather Wizard (Liam McIntyre), breaks Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), and James Jesse, aka The Trickster (Mark Hamill), out of Iron Heights. While Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) works to stop them, Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Iris (Candice Patton) meet Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale).
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Candice Patton talked about what’s most surprised her about the story they’re telling in Season 2, learning more about Iris West and her family history, how meeting Wally West will affect Iris and Joe, special holiday moments among the characters, what she thinks of the slow burn approach to Barry and Iris’ relationship, what Iris thinks of Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten), exploring the female dynamics, and wanting to see Iris in the field more. Be aware that there are some spoilers.
Collider: So much is happening this season, so fast. What has most surprised you about the story that you’re telling now and where you’re at with things?
CANDICE PATTON: The biggest thing this season is opening the idea of the multi-verse. Last year, we dealt with the idea of trim travel, and now we’re delving into the multi-verse, this season. There are just so many sci-fi things that we’ve delved into. Instead of holding it back for Season 4 or Season 5, we’re doing it all in the first and second season. So, it’s kind of shocking that we’ve moved so fast, but I think it makes it really exciting for the audience, for sure.
When you found out that every character on this show could have a doppleganger and that anything could be possible, did you start to think of your idea version of Iris West’s doppleganger and what you’d like to see her do?
PATTON: Honestly, I didn’t really think about that until more recently. I don’t know why. I knew that the multi-verse was happening and I knew some storylines, but I never really thought that it could be possible for Iris to have a doppleganger. But really, it’s possible for any one of our characters to have a doppleganger. There are a lot of ideas moving around in my head, so it’s exciting. The idea that these characters can travel between multi-verses with these breaches open, you can have characters from Earth-2 come into Earth-1, and vice versa. This isn’t the only Earth. There are possible 52 in total. There are a lot of storylines that could be explored.
On the human side of things, after spending the first season not knowing too much about her past and her mother. What was it like for you to learn more about that and to learn about what her motives were for wanting to come back into her daughter’s life?
PATTON: It was really great to start the season knowing that the West family was going to be more of the heart of the show, and that we were going to delve into Iris’ mother and what happened there, and the potential of her having a brother, Wally West. It’s a lot for Iris. She’s lived her whole life thinking that her mother died. So, for her to find out that she’s very much alive and that the reason why she left is that she was a drug addict is hard for her to swallow. She’s not really sure that she wants to have a relationship with someone like that. She’s had such a great role model in her father that it’s really hard for her to forgive her mother for what she’s done.
Did it make you see Iris any differently, now that you have all of this information?
PATTON: Yeah, absolutely! You think about Iris being the only female figure in her household. She’s somewhat of a mother figure to both Joe and Barry, and she took on that role because she didn’t really have a mother. She looks out for Barry in a very emotional way, and she does the same thing for Joe. She’s taken on this mother role without even knowing that she’s done it. So, I’ve definitely gone back and thought about a lot of things, with how not having a mother has affected her as a person. It forced her to be strong. She’s only had strong men around her to show her how to navigate the world. Her dad is a cop, and he actively puts himself in danger. That informs how Iris wants to do the same.
You’d think you would get a bit of a breather after the epic cross-over with The Flash and Arrow, but this next episode sounds big, in its own right, with the introduction of Wally West and the Rogues on the loose. How would you describe the events of this next episode?
PATTON: The audience can expect that it’s never going to be quiet. The Particle Accelerator has allowed for a lot of meta-humans and a lot of Rogues to surface, so it’s never quiet in Central City. Episode 9 reintroduces our previous villains, in a cool way, and there’s also the introduction of Wally. So, Episode 9 is going to be just as jam-packed as the cross-over.
We know that Iris and Joe will be meeting Wally West, so obviously Joe finds out what’s going on before then. With as hard of a time as Iris has had keeping that information to herself, how will that discovery affect their relationship?
PATTON: Iris eventually comes to the realization that she has to tell her father, so we’ll see her navigate what the best way to do that is. She’s feeling like a hypocrite. We spent all of last season getting really irritated at Barry for keeping secrets from her, and yet she’s doing the exact same thing. For her, she’s realizing what it means to keep secrets from people you love because you’re trying to protect them. But the thing with Iris is that she can’t keep secrets, so we’ll finally see her have to spill because she can’t really sit with it for any longer.
Is this a secret that Joe can understand her keeping from him?
PATTON: With the West family, they love each other, and they respect and understand each other. No matter what’s done, even if it seems like an intentional hurt, they understand that it’s done out of love. I don’t think Joe could ever feel that Iris was intentionally trying to hurt of harm him.
It’s a lot easier to pretend that someone doesn’t exist before you meet them, but it’s a lot harder to deny once they’re a real person that you’ve met and spoken to. How will actually having to deal with the fact that Wally West is a real person who’s not going anywhere affect Iris?
PATTON: She realized that she has a mother, and that’s a new family member to have or not have a relationship with. It’s the same thing with Wally. It’s a real person and she’s going to have to decide what kind of relationship, if any, she wants to have with this new brother, and that’s a lot to take in. Even though they are blood related, they don’t know each other. They have no understanding of each other. It’s going to take time to form a new relationship with someone that is your brother.
You guys are such a tight cast. When you welcome a new actor, like Keiynan Lonsdale, onto the second season who’s playing such a pivotal character that’s so loved by comic book fans, do you go out of your way to make him feel at him?
PATTON: Personally, I do. Wally West is such a huge role and I know how loved he is by comic book fans who love The Flash. Keiynan is walking into a really epic opportunity. The character is now African American in the comic books, but a lot of people know the Caucasian version. We’re especially protective over Keiynan and making sure he feels welcome on our set. I’m doing everything I can to make sure it’s an easy transition, stepping onto the show. We want him to succeed and be so great.
Since this is also a Christmas episode, will we get to see any special holidays moments between the characters?
PATTON: I think you can expect that. In Season 1, we had a great Christmas episode that went over well with audiences. You’ll see family come together. There’s a lot of everything. There’s love, there’s action, there are Rogues, and there’s family. It’s the best of The Flash. We always like to have all of those elements in one, and it’s definitely all there in the Christmas episode.
It was nice to see that Iris knows Barry well enough to do something for him, like bringing his dad back to town, and have that really turn things around for him when he was in a bad headspace. Will we see Iris continue to step up in that way?
PATTON: I definitely hope for that. I love seeing that version of Iris, personally, as an actor. It’s always great because Iris knows Barry probably better than anyone in his life. She knows what he needs and when he needs it, almost more than he does. It’s nice to see her step up for him and show her love in the way that she can. Those moments are really great. I hope we get a lot more of that.
Barry and Iris are such an iconic couple in the comics, so it’s only natural that fans are dying for them to finally get together. Do you personally root for that to happen sooner rather than later, or do you prefer the slow burn between the two of them?
PATTON: I prefer the slow burn. I think it’s fun. We’ve gotta earn that relationship. If we delve into it too soon, then where do we have to go? I personally just want it to be the right moment for Iris and Barry. If and when they do get together, I want it to be substantial and not something that just comes and goes. I’m not personally angry at the slow burn. I think it always makes for great television when two characters actually take time to realize that they want to be with each other. You have to leave it to the writers to know what makes great television.
Will we see any more romantic moments with them, in the near future, or is that all on the backburner, with Patty Spivot in the picture now?
PATTON: I’ll just say, never say never. Anything is possible on The Flash.
What does Iris think of Patty and her relationship with Barry?
PATTON: She’s really happy for him. She likes to see Barry happy. I think Iris, having lost her fiancé last season, is still dealing with the grief of that. I don’t think she’s even ready to get into a relationship. I think seeing Barry and Patty together makes her happy to know that love is real and it’s possible for her someday. I think she thinks that Patty is a quirky, good fit for Barry, and she’s going to support that as long as it’s up and running.
What’s been your favorite Iris and Barry moment, and what’s been your favorite Iris and Joe moment?
PATTON: I love the family moments on this show. We really work hard to make those special. I don’t know. There’s been so many great moments between Iris and Barry. I definitely think the Christmas episode last season was really great, just with him putting the necklace around her neck. You can see his love for her. For me, it’s always the small moments with Barry and Iris. And with Joe and Iris, especially this season, sitting down at the kitchen table was something that fans seemed to really respond to, and that makes me happy. Jesse [L. Martin] and I left that scene feeling like we had left it all on the table, and so for people to respond so well to that, makes me really happy.
It’s nice to see Iris get some moments of interaction with the other women, whether it’s Caitlin or Linda. Do you enjoy getting to explore those female dynamics and friendships?
PATTON: Yeah, I do. I hope there’s more of it, to be honest. I welcome female characters and relationships on the show. They happen in real life, so we should see them on TV. Not all female relationships are catty. Quite often, they’re not. It’s nice that Iris and Linda have common ground, are strong women, and really have the same ideals in life. It’s fun to see their friendship and to see them share a beer in Picture News. There’s more of that. You’ll see a little bit of that with Iris and Patty, coming up. I definitely enjoy those moments.
Since the show is called The Flash, the obvious focus has to be there, but all of the other characters on the show really have such a rich story of their own. If Iris were ever to have an episode focusing on something primarily focusing on her, what aspect of her would you like to explore more deeply? Would you like to follow her on the job, see her get more involved in the action, or something else entirely?
PATTON: I think a little bit of both. I really enjoy when Iris is in Picture News, or is out in the field working. That’s what she’s known for, and I like seeing women defined by what they do and what they’re passionate about rather than the men that they’re in love with or associated with. That’s always more important to me, as a female. What excites me is when she’s working at her job, and how that relates, in her own way, to saving Central City and being her own superhero, not necessarily with powers, but with her skills as a journalist. And then, she uses those skills to work with the S.T.A.R. Labs crew. She’s not a scientist and she probably never will be, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have assets. It’s always nice when we get to see Iris use those to help Team Flash.
Because you haven’t really been included in the cross-overs, is there anyone you’d like to see Iris interact with, in some way, either from Arrow or Legends of Tomorrow?
PATTON: There are so many great characters between Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. I would love to work with Caity Lotz. I like working with the girls. There’s a little of it, but there’s not too much. I don’t know. I hope Iris will eventually venture to another DC property, but who knows. And now, with Supergirl on the air, it would be interesting to see Iris wander over there.
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights on The CW.