And thank God, guys. Seriously, after the reveal last week was less a reveal and more of a guess, I was really concerned we were going to spend a portion of the episode with Iris trying to trap Barry into revealing himself and Barry spending the whole time skirting the issue and lying even more. Instead, we only got one little scene of that madness before Iris pulled on her ‘I mean business’ pants and confronted him head on – at Star Labs, still wearing his suit and everything – with no means to escape or evade her.
It’s funny, a few weeks ago when I was discussing why keeping Iris in the dark was ridiculous, I was pretty on board with her taking a page out of Captain Lance’s book and getting super pissed. She deserves to be super pissed. Her father, her boyfriend, her best friend – everyone who is important to her is not only lying to her, but more importantly infantilizing her. Iris West is a grown woman who gets to make her own decisions and take care of herself. She doesn’t need three different men to coddle her and sugar coat life for her. But even though I was spitting fire on her behalf, I actually like the way things played out even more.
Iris still got to be mad (and Candice Patton got to shine in her confrontation scenes). Even more than that, she got to deliver the line that haunts all children’s dreams: “I’m not mad at you, I’m just disappointed.” She got to have it out with Barry and her father, telling them exactly why their plans were stupid, bringing up the points I’ve been making about how knowing about danger makes you more prepared. She got to give Joe the cold shoulder when he first admitted to keeping secrets from her. She got to stand tall and tell them exactly how she deserves to be treated, and she has made it clear that she refuses to accept less than their total respect from now on. Iris still got to be mad, but she’s not ruining any of her relationships with it. She’s not Captain Lance, who’s given up two daughters instead of just the one who died. Instead, Iris stood tall and spoke up and her relationships with Barry and Joe will be the stronger for it.
A betrayal of trust like this doesn’t have to be an end. Things don’t have to break when they’re hurt. Instead, the hurt can be used as an opportunity to get better. And I like that that’s the choice Iris made. To make things better with Joe and Barry. To demand ongoing respect as an adult from her father. To admit to Barry that she may have feelings for him, but that those feelings don’t negate the relationship she has with Eddie. Barry and Joe’s actions were wrong, their reasoning disrespectful – but their intentions were good. Iris can see their intentions were good, and she chooses to move forward.
Even though these identity secrets are a hallmark of the Superhero genre, I’m glad that it’s been put to bed so quickly here on The Flash. My hope is that it will lead to Iris becoming more integrated into the main stories. She is a reporter which maybe doesn’t lend itself to obvious ways in which she can assist Team Flash, but if nothing else she’ll have keen researching and investigative skills which would come in handy.
Outside of the Iris reveal, I was pleased with the episode. We’re coming down to the wire. Everything’s out in the open, Eobard Thawne’s on the run (with a kidnapped Eddie in tow), and things are quickly coming to a head. The stakes are going to be high for these last two episodes. I can’t wait.
A few other thoughts and observations on Grodd Lives:
1. I thought Grodd was going to be a little hokey, but I actually found him to be pretty compelling. His mind control abilities, his remembrance and assessment of Caitlin, and his evolving intelligence all added to a pretty different kind of villain. And his backstory certainly made him sympathetic. Not a badly done job when it comes to incorporating a decidedly racist aspect of the comics.
2. Iris called out Caitlin on the fact that she lied, too. I loved that it wasn’t angry or accusatory, just a fact. Caitlin knew of Barry’s identity and never told her anything. But she also lied to Iris about Ronnie. I liked this moment, Caitlin having another woman to talk to about Ronnie, even it was brief, and Iris and Caitlin being able to form a more real relationship not shadowed with secrets.
3. Eobard let Eddie in on Iris’ upcoming marriage to Barry. I’m curious about Eddie’s response to this. Everything we’ve seen so far has shown Eddie to be a pretty reasonable and all around good guy. He’s someone who was firmly in the camp that Iris deserved the truth. I’d like to think he could take the blow in stride and not become the ultimate Nice Guy and use this as a reason to team up with Eobard.
4. Loved the Flash Team coming together to realize that Wells was not the glue. They can still get things done without his assistance. And I’m glad Caitlin made sure to include Iris. It wasn’t the three of them who defeated Grodd and saved Joe, but the four of them.
5. Joe’s absolute terror when Grodd was forcing him to point the gun at his own head was chilling. In the face of the Weather Wizard, he was afraid and hurt, but was still able to stand tall against him. With Grodd, on the other hand? Jesse L Martin’s performance was gripping.
A lot of really good stuff last night. I’m gearing up for tonight’s wedding of the century on Arrow. Both shows are really going to end this season with a bang!