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There’s something off about Iris Allen.
Audiences know that The Flash's intrepid reporter, played by Candice Patton, has been replaced by a mirror doppelgänger, a person who looks and sounds exactly like Iris, as well as shares her memories and feelings. The real Iris, meanwhile, remains stuck in the Mirrorverse alongside Eva (Efrat Dor), the mastermind behind this little switcheroo. And, so far, Iris' husband Barry (Grant Gustin) hasn’t clued in about the deception.
That’s all about to change in tonight’s episode, "Liberation," in which Barry begins to take measure of his "wife."
Showrunner Eric Wallace spoke with SYFY WIRE about Mirror-Iris, how her presence impacts Barry and Iris' marriage, wedding bells for Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) and Sue (Natalie Dreyfuss), and what The Flash’s shorter season, prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak, means for the story.
Wallace explains that all the strings won't be tied as of the season finale "because we had the last three episodes cut off. We were not able to shoot them. It’s a bit of an interruption. That’s very frustrating to me. I believe it will probably be very frustrating to the audience, as well. I feel their pain."
He reassures fans: "Don’t worry. The scripts are written. They just haven’t been shot. You will see on the other side of this pandemic, whenever we get a chance to film those episodes and put them together, you will see how all this comes together and how Barry finally gets his speed back in what I think is a really unique way ... and it allows him to obviously beat the bad guy."
Besides a cool plot twist, what did Mirror-Iris allow you to explore with the Barry/Iris dynamic?
Eric Wallace: Boy, are you going to like tonight’s episode. Tonight’s episode, "Liberation," is literally an example of the kind of Barry/Iris story we could never tell without having a character like Mirror-Iris on the show. It’s pretty amazing. Tonight, you get a direct answer to that question.
But, also, digging a little deeper, when we write the Mirror-Iris character, we believe she is 98 percent the real Iris. She has the same feelings, the same desires, and the same love for Barry. It’s the two percent difference that kicks in when Eva gives one of her orders. That’s when Eva’s will becomes more important than a married duplicate. And if that person is 98 percent Iris, that means they are connected to Iris.
What it allows us is for Barry to almost have two wives in his life. It gives us two times the kinds of stories, the kinds of conflict, the kinds of arguments and the kinds of passion. There’s been some good times with Mirror-Iris, too, ironically. Valentine’s Day wasn’t so bad, until we learned it wasn’t the real Iris. What does that mean?
Folks should really think about that. You are going to see how that pays off. We deliberately did that Valentine’s Day episode in [Season] 6, [Episode] 11 for a reason. It very much connects to the episode we see tonight.
In "Liberation," Barry finally discovers the truth about this Iris. How does he react, and what does he do with that knowledge?
That would be that plot of the episode, so I can’t spoil that. As the preview shows, Barry will realize this is not his wife. We will see his response to it.
But remember this is the Flash. What is the Flash’s greatest strength? I would argue it has never been his speed. It is, as we saw in Crisis, his compassion. He is the Paragon of Love. That brings up a question. Can the Paragon of Love show compassion for a thing, a creature, that has literally stolen his wife away from him? That sounds like Barry is about to go through a tough time tonight.
One of the best aspects of Barry and Iris’ relationship is during every crisis, the couple typically relies on each other, supports each other, and brings the best out in each other. When the dust finally settles, what’s the status of their marriage? How has this impacted who they are together?
We answer that question literally. Literally, the question you just asked is the plot of the episode, especially the last third of it. I would say you don’t have to be in the same dimension to show your love to your significant other.
How much are we going to learn about Eva’s master plan?
What I love about Eva is she doesn’t have a grand master plan in the traditional Flash villain sense.
She’s been saying since day one what she wants to do. She said it very clearly last week: “I want to kill my husband.” It’s a very personal goal that she has. That is what separates her from the other Flash villains that we have seen before. Other than needing to protect people from being murdered and killed ... that’s an obvious thing that heroes should do ... there is no conflict between Eva and the Flash. It makes for a very interesting dynamic.
Tonight, you are going to see a little bit of a shift. Kidnapping the Flash’s wife will p*** off the Flash. It will turn people who shouldn’t be enemies into enemies.
In what ways will Ralph and Sue’s crusade collide with Barry’s world?
They are going to literally collide in our finale this season. Literally. Sue, who is such a fantastic character, will be back. She is a wild card, and we don’t know when she’s going to show up. And we don’t know exactly everything about her plans. We saw a little bit more of the mystery in last week’s episode.
We know Ralph and Sue are on a path to get married. It’s not happening this season, but it has to at some point. "How do they get there?" is the question we ask ourselves. That means something very dramatic has to happen to bring them closer together. Look for that when Sue comes back next.
How will Barry’s gradual loss of speed come into play?
As we will see tonight, we get our first glimpse at Team Flash’s efforts to actually bring about this artificial Speed Force they are trying to create. We have to get Barry’s speed back because the show is called The Flash. At some point, he has got to get his speed back. We know it’s going to happen. But the way it’s going to collide with the Black Hole storyline that we are telling, I hope folks don’t see [it] coming.
There’s a reason why Barry losing his speed happens in this particular graphic novel. The conflict of losing his speed, and the way he loses his speed, and the way he is working to get it back directly correlates to everything we have been seeing so far in the season, and to all the seeds we have been planting.