1×20: “I Need You.”
Iris is Barry’s lightning rod. She helps ground him, and the sound of her voice will always bring him home. So it is only fitting that lightning connection, and it is a spark that helps Iris realize the truth about the superhero she admires and the man she can’t help but love. Was it an effort by the Speed Force itself, wanting to bring the two of them together? Maybe. Whether by coincidence or by Speed Force design, it’s one of the many moments that demonstrates how their love story is timeless, beautiful…and just a little bit magical.
1×23: “Do What’s in Your Heart.”
As the titular hero, Barry is often called upon to show how much he is willing to sacrifice for the woman he loves. Iris may not have as many opportunities to reciprocate, but she is no less courageous in her willingness to sacrifice for love for him. When Barry wants to go back in time and save his mother from a death that wasn’t supposed to be hers, Iris knows that this action will change her life in ways she cannot even imagine. The story of her life has been inextricably entwined with his from the time they were children. Writing his history means inevitably rewriting hers – erasing the years they spent together. Possibly erasing the majority of their friendship and their love for each other. But it will also bring him happiness he has unjustly been denied, erasing pain and grief that he has carried for so long. And so, even knowing what it might mean and all that she might lose, she encourages him to do what he needs to do to be happy. Even if it means the two of them losing each other.
2×03: “Do You Trust Me?” “Yes. I Trust You.”
Don’t worry; I won’t mention every time Barry and Iris prove how much they trust each other. But there are a few too good to miss. I’ve written in other entries about the strength of Westallen’s faith and trust in each other, so I won’t belabor the point here. Suffice it to say, do you know how much trust it takes to jump out of high-rise window, putting your life on the line on nothing but trust that your best friend will catch you? Probably about as much as it takes to follow your husband off the roof with nothing but faith that the two of you will save each other on the way down.
2×13: “She is Iris! Okay? She is to Me!”
Barry was in a dark spot after choosing to let his mother die in the past (a decision he would eventually reconsider). His attempts to lose himself in a relationship with Patty were doomed from the start, when with three little words (“She’s not Iris”), he admitted she was a distant second to the woman he really loved. Barry and Iris’s love for each other isn’t just timeless, it carries across worlds. Across realities. In any reality, in every world, Barry and Iris will find each other and fall in love. It is therefore no surprise that, although he tries to move on and let go of his love for Iris, he finds himself hopelessly drawn to the Earth 2 version of her moments after their meeting. She may not be his Iris, but she is Iris, and so he cannot help but love her.
2×17: “Speak from the Heart.”
I’ve written before about how much I love Barry’s demonstration of selfless love in giving Iris closure following Eddie’s death. Time travel allows him to bring her Eddie’s message of love and (unwitting) goodbye. And even though he had shown jealousy regarding Iris and Eddie’s relationship time and again, he gives her the gift of closure without a second thought. Out of nothing more than a desire to help her find happiness one day. Regardless of whether that happiness would be with him or with someone else. Other gifts Barry gives Iris over the course of the series – a replica of her mother’s wedding ring and a loft apartment many would kill for – are beautiful gestures. But this gift is an act of selfless love, and it will always be one of my favorite moments in the entire series for that reason.
2×20: “You, Barry. That’s Who I Want to See if I Have a Future With.”
Does Iris love Barry, or does she love the Flash? That’s easy. She loves both. She loves the Flash because he’s a hero, and Barry would be her hero, even if he wasn’t the Flash. Just like Barry loves Iris for who she is but would be willing to let her keep his powers in “Run, Iris, Run” if it would make her happy. Iris viewing Barry as her hero is a theme they touch on several times throughout the series. In fact, in the episode just prior to this entry, she reminded him that he is a hero, with or without the suit. The Flash may be the city’s hero, but he’s hers. She even says as much in her wedding vows. And when Barry gets amnesia, she shows this his happiness is more important to her than his heroics, when she questions whether they should tell him about his life as the Flash. Aware that the knowledge will bring with it the weight of the entire world on his shoulders. In her eyes, Barry was a hero long before he was the Flash – and will be long after he’s hung up his cowl for good.
2×21: “The Sound of Your Voice Will Always Bring Me Home.”
In an episode full of unforgettable moments, it’s hard to choose just one that made us love Westallen even more than we had before. Was it when the Speed Force appeared to Barry in the form of Iris – standing next to the waterfront where they shared their first kiss, no less? When Iris went into the Speed Force to bring Barry back? Perhaps it was when Barry took Iris to his mother’s grave to say goodbye and to say those words that would melt the hearts of Westallen fans everywhere: “You’re everything to me, and you always have been. And the sound of your voice will always bring me home.” With these words, we fell in love with the love story between Barry Allen and Iris West all over again.
2×23: “…Whatever You Need to Do, Do It. And When You Get Back, I’ll Be Here.”
For the second season finale in a row, Iris would put Barry’s happiness before her own. Although she has had time to grieve Eddie and is ready to move forward, he is still too lost in his grief over his father’s murder to do the same. So she tells him to do what he needs to do to heal, and she’ll be waiting. And then they share their (second) first kiss in yet another shot that is framed like a moment straight off the movie screen. A moment of magic.
3×01: “This is What Love Feels Like.” “Since the Day That I Met You.”
Did I mention above how adorable Barry is when he has no chill around Iris? Because after creating Flashpoint by saving his mother in the past, he wants to track down Iris and ask her out on a date, rekindling their relationship in this new world. And once again, as he did in the first season, he has no chill around Iris – this time becoming absolutely unglued while trying to ask her out for coffee. Or wine. Or beer. Or iced tea. Whatever she wants, just please god say yes. You know, it’s a good thing Barry learned from Flashpoint the dangers in time travel, because if he had to start over with Iris one more time, Barry would probably give himself a damn heart attack.
3×10: “I Know Something Else That’s Happened Three Nights in a Row.”
Not every moment that has made us fall in love with Westallen (all over again) has been a happy one, and this is one such example. So pardon me if I soften the blow with a quote to remind us all of No Chill Barry from this episode. How do you prepare yourself to say goodbye to the person you love most in the entire world? It is one of the most wrenching questions anyone might ever have to face, and it would sadly not be the last time Barry and Iris have to face it. When Barry travels to the future and sees Iris’s death at the hands of Savitar, he’s determined to save her. Iris is more worried that he might lose himself in the process. Of course, Savitar is defeated and Iris is saved (in fact, she saves herself). But in the process, the two learn to rely on each other and forge the strength that they find they will need when they face even darker days ahead.
3×17: “…All My Life I Promise To/Keep Running Home to You…”
You had to know this would be in there, right? Both of Barry’s proposals to Iris were perfect, but this one takes a slight edge for me because we get to see her answer. (Also, they don’t break them up after in order to set up drama for the musical episode in question. But I digress.) It isn’t the only beautiful moment in the episode, as Iris saves Barry from the musical in his mind with a quintessential True Love’s Kiss. But Barry’s musical proposal to Iris (complete with a song written specifically for this iconic couple) is, in a word, perfect.
3×19: “Everything That You’ve Ever Loved is Gone. Including You.”
How do you move on after losing the love of your life? The simple fact is sometimes you can’t. Upon traveling to the future to find a way to stop Savitar, Barry comes across a future version of himself, broken by her loss. It is a devastation he will come to know personally when he has one moment where he does believe he has lost Iris at Savitar’s hands. It is a despair Iris comes to share upon losing Barry to the Speed Force at the end of the season, spending endless nights on the couch when she finds herself unable to sleep in the bed they shared together. Barry wants to believe that he will find a way to save Iris, but his future self’s warning is haunting in its simplicity and the undeniability of the desolation in the man before him. “On the night of May 23rd, Iris West will die in your arms. And in that moment, when she takes her last breath, it’ll feel like an eternity. And it will break you. She’s the love of your life, Barry. She was the love of my life.” His voice breaks on those last seven words, and Westallen fans’ hearts broke with them.
3×21: “Hey, You Guys Got – Oooookay!”
With the way Barry seems to just breathe Iris in, the presence of this kiss on a “Moments We Fell in Love with Westallen” list requires no explanation. But does watching this on endless loop make me think I should write an article ranking the top 5 (10? 20?) Westallen kisses in honor of Valentine’s Day next year? MAYBE!
3×23: “I Remember Giving You the Ring. Singing to You. Asking You to Marry Me.”
When Westallen fans say that every version of Barry Allen melts around Iris West, we mean it. Savitar is no exception. An evil (time-remnant) version of Barry – with a backstory that’s a little too wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey to make sense – decides he needs to kill Iris in order to exist. Still, even though his very existence requires that Iris die, when she touches his face, he melts for just a moment. As Westallen fans, we can hardly blame him.
4×01: “You Came Back to Me.” “Always.”
After spending months in the Speed Force, Barry comes out a little worse for wear, mentally. That is, until Iris volunteers to become a hostage of the city’s newest threat. She has broken him out of mind control before, when he was under Grodd’s mind control during the first season of the show. Iris is always able to get through to Barry when nobody else can, and so she has no doubt Barry will come for her again. If there’s one thing that she knows without question, it’s that she can trust him with her life. He will always come back to her. Always. Once again, she finds her faith in him is not misplaced, and their reunion is simply magic.