When it comes to romance on superhero television shows one of the most important things that I look for in a couple is a connection. But more than that I’m looking for a deep-rooted bond that allows for the kind of epic romance that these shows promise us.
With The Flash’s Barry Allen and Iris West, from the beginning I’ve been on board with the ship they call WestAllen. I never expected it to an instant romance – because where is the fun with the storytelling in that – but I’d been waiting for the writers to show me a glimpse of something more. That Barry and Iris were ready to take that next step.
The thing that worried me for so long was this fear that this romance would be something forced because of comic canon – that perhaps they were being forced together because that’s what was always intended. That if God forbid something went wrong that the writers would try to stick it out for the comic fans. And we’ve seen how horrible that’s worked out (Arrow’s Oliver and Laurel).
But after “Rupture,” I finally believe that Barry and Iris are ready to take that next step. Because I’ve seen what I needed to see.
We’ve always known how Barry has felt about Iris. That’s never been a secret. Hell, he couldn’t even hide it in the series premiere. She was a friend to him during the most difficult time in his life when he lost both of his parents. He grew to love her for the strong, independent, caring woman that she is. She’s been a consistent shoulder to lean on and the best of friends. No wonder Barry fell in love with her.
But Iris’ feelings for Barry is what’s been limiting WestAllen to this point, in my opinion. Until now.
I’ve never questioned whether Iris loves and cares about Barry, but considering everything we’d seen in the first season and a half I questioned whether she harbored romantic feelings toward him or would ever get to a place where she would acknowledge the possibility.
For so long Iris had been hung up on Eddie – or in a relationship with him; she did love him – or not in the right place she needed to be in order to be in a relationship with Barry. And that’s perfectly okay. The thing with moving to that next step from friends to romance is that you can’t force it. It needs to happen on its own. Things need to happen in order to get to that point. From both sides.
Most recently something that concerned me was if Iris was considering a romantic relationship with Barry because she believed that’s what the universe was trying to tell her. She’d heard last season that Barry and she are married in the future, and on Earth-2 they’re also married. When you consider both of those facts of course it’s going to cause you to think about the possibility.
But the thing is Iris wanting to give a relationship with Barry a try isn’t because she believes she has no control over fate – it’s because this new knowledge has finally forced her to consider the possibility of Barry being her future.
Up to this point Iris has not been ready to be in a relationship with Barry. She was still not over Eddie’s death, and she wasn’t able to process her feelings for Barry in the way they needed to. But given that she’s in the right frame of mind and that she’s allowed herself to think about Barry in a romantic sense, she’s finally come to the understanding that she wants to explore the possibility of having a future with Barry.
Let’s get this straight: It’s okay that it took these two things to get her to finally start thinking that way; it’s okay that it took her some time to finally get to this place that she needs to be; it’s okay that she was initially hesitant because she was scared of the unknown. These are all human emotions; they’re natural. They’re everything Iris needed to experience to finally get to a place where she’s ready to take that next step.
Following the most recent episode (“Rupture”), I’m as confident as ever that Barry and Iris are ready to take that next step towards a romantic relationship. Granted there are bigger things at play right now with Zoom out menacing Central City and Barry currently being God knows where, but I believe that season three will focused on exploring Barry and Iris as a romantic pairing.
There’s been this gradual build into a relationship that has been hinted at from the very beginning. While comic canon might’ve been the foundation for this couple on the small screen, the writing and the chemistry between the two is what has ultimately made it not only possible but believable in every way possible. They’re finally ready. Both of them.
What are your thoughts on WestAllen?