When my Fangirlish editors asked me to write a “__ Times We Fell in Love with Westallen” article in celebration of Valentine’s Day, I was of course more than happy to volunteer for the job. I assumed it would be easy to pick 10 or even 15 moments that made Westallen fans swoon all over again.
I was wrong.
Thankfully, my editors are no more familiar with the concept of “restraint” than I am, as they agreed with me that 30 Times We Fell in Love with Westallen is a perfectly rational list. (Actually, they thought 60 Times We Fell in Love with Westallen would be a perfectly rational list, so they may have even less restraint than I do.)
But, really, it would be a disservice to do anything less for the Gold Standard relationship that is the timeless romance between Barry Allen and Iris West.
1×01: “It’s Still Beating.”
It was the moment that started it all. Barry Allen, upon awakening from his months-long coma, is eager to see just one person: his best friend, Iris West. Like a moment in a movie (it really is; that description in the script), Iris sees Barry and launches herself into his arms. The chemistry in this scene – the first actors Grant Gustin and Candice Patton filmed together – was on fire and captured the fans of Westallen fans everywhere. It would only get better from here.
1×05: “Help Me Save My Friend.”
Speaking of chemistry…the Triangle for Two may be a common theme in superhero stories, but it isn’t really fair to the party left out of the loop. So it is perhaps not a surprise that fandom called for Iris to be let in on Barry’s secret early. Nor is it surprising that the writers agreed and would do just that before the end of the season. Still, there’s no denying the chemistry between Iris and the Flash during their rooftop rendezvous. It’s a powerful scene, not just because of the chemistry lighting up the screen, but because it’s the moment where it becomes clear that Iris’s initial attraction to the Flash is because of her feelings for Barry. She’s always been the one person to believe him, and now in the Flash, she’s found someone who can help Barry keep his faith in the impossible. There is absolutely no doubt that Barry and Iris have always had faith in each other, having each other’s backs well before he became the Scarlet Speedster. It will be a theme that is continued throughout the show.
1×08: “What Other Girls?”
Is there a better Barry than a Barry who has absolutely no chill when it comes to Iris West? No. No there is not. Just like there is probably no better Iris than an Iris who has absolutely no chill when it comes to Barry Allen. Whether it’s his overeager “DID YOU GUYS BREAK UP?” when Iris mentions her boyfriend, Eddie, or Iris wiping food off Barry’s face at their “we’re totally dating other people but only have eyes for each other” non-date, these two are an absolute MESS when it comes to each other. And we couldn’t love anything more.
1×09: “I Love You, Iris.”
“I love you, Iris…When we were kids, I loved you before I even knew what the word “love” meant. And then my mom died, and I had to go live with the girl that I had a crush on. Look, there were so many times that I wanted to tell you. Junior prom, when I went away to college, when I came back from college, nights that we stayed up talking, all the birthdays, all the Christmases, but I-I never did. I just-I kept it in. After I lost my mom and my dad, I was afraid that if you didn’t feel the same way, I would lose you, too. That’s the irony. I was so scared of losing you that I did. I know I’ve had our whole lives to tell you this, and you’re with Eddie now, and I know that, and I know my timing couldn’t be any worse, but I just I couldn’t lie to you anymore. I’m sorry.”
1×11: “Having Someone Believe in Me Is a Small, Really, Really Big Thing.”
The thing – well, one of the many things – that makes Westallen such a beautiful relationship is that the two of them have faith in each other. And knowing someone truly believes in you is a very small, incredibly huge thing. Its importance cannot be overstated. Yes, Iris has faith in Barry, and in the Flash, but he has just as much faith in her. It is one of the reasons their love is so strong and enduring. Whether in huge, Earth-saving moments or in quiet, byline-reading moments, they believe. In the impossible, and in each other.
1×15: “…I Couldn’t Stop Thinking About You…”
In the face of seemingly-certain death, Iris finally admits the truth about her feelings: she loves Barry every bit as much as he loves her. The longing on Barry’s face during their ensuing first kiss is almost palpable. It’s a confession that would – regrettably – be erased following Barry’s accidental time-travel. (And a confession Barry would later try to re-prompt with an eagerness that is as adorable as it is cringe-worthy.) But in many ways, although it is erased from Iris’s memory, it is still the moment that starts everything. There’s no wonder Iris revisits this moment time and time again upon losing Barry to the Speed Force in the future.