By Natalie Abrams
January 18, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST
Jack Rowand/The CW
  • TV Show

The Flash is about to take family issues to a new level.

While Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) has his hands full, Iris West (Candice Patton) will be dealing with her own problems after discovering that she has a long-lost brother in Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale). Suffice it to say, the future Kid Flash isn’t particularly interested in suddenly having a new dad in Joe (Jesse L. Martin), which puts Iris in quite the uncomfortable position. EW caught up with Patton to get the scoop on the West family dynamic, her Earth-2 doppelgänger, Iris’ burgeoning journalism career, and the possibility of an Iris-Barry relationship in the future:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where are we picking up with Iris when the show returns?

CANDICE PATTON: When we pick back up, we’re really going to see how Wally’s impact affects the West family. In the midseason finale, we were finally introduced to Wally West, and now we’ll finally get to see the dynamic and what that means for Iris and Joe.

What can you tease about her dynamic with Wally?

Iris quickly finds out that Wally is involved in street racing. She does some research into how dangerous that really is. She’s advocating that Joe step in and stop him from doing that. Joe is on the side of wanting to be more of a friend to Wally in fear of losing him. He hasn’t had this relationship with Wally in forever, so he doesn’t want that to go away. You see Iris take on more of the parent role in wanting to challenge Wally and say, “Stop racing.”

How does Wally feel about that?

It creates a friction between the two. They’re blood-related, but they don’t really know each other. Wally’s not really interested in being told what to do by someone he barely knows. He’s a bit of a smart aleck and tough kid, so he’s not an easy person to talk to right away.

What’s it like for her to have an actual brother?

That’s the thing, she’s had a pseudo-brother, but this is really her brother. It’s a weird thing for her. Instantly, there’s a sense of wanting to protect him, and wanting to take him in and make sure that he’s OK. There’s an instant love that Iris has for Wally. But with that, it means being very hands-on and being very protective, which I don’t think Wally is really into.

We know that Francine (Vanessa Williams) is not long for this world, so how is Iris grappling with that?

As Francine’s condition worsens, Iris is just more emotionally distraught than she really imagined that she would be. She was really angry with Francine for what she did to Joe in keeping such a huge secret. She thought it would be easy just to hate Francine and live with that feeling for the rest of her life. As she realizes that her mother is getting sick and she may not live forever, there’s a part of her that feels terrible and that wants to find some kind of closure to the relationship that they have.

Iris was playing a big role with S.T.A.R. Labs at the beginning of the season. What will we see for that in the second half?

We constantly see her popping up in S.T.A.R. Labs. She’s definitely kept in the know about a lot of what’s going on, whether it’s the big bad of the week or whatever. The team is keeping her up to date, so she’s there. I don’t want to say she’s a huge part of it, but she’s definitely involved in giving her thoughts and ideas, for sure.

How will Iris feel about the Reverse-Flash returning?

It’s hard for everyone. Reverse-Flash wasn’t really kind to anyone in season 1. Like everyone else, it’s a scary, scary feeling knowing that the person who murdered her fiancé — or the reason that he’s dead, rather — is back and is a terror and threat to everyone.

Earth-1 Barry is planning to take the fight to Zoom, which is why Team Flash heads to Earth-2. What kind of danger does that put everyone in?

Huge danger. Everyone is in danger. Everyone on Earth-1 is in danger by the actions that Barry and Team Flash are taking by traveling to Earth-2 and taking on Zoom. Subsequently, everyone on Earth-2 is now in danger — they’ve been in danger, but they’re in even more danger by challenging Zoom in the way that they are. It’s quite a scary aspect. Everyone is involved. You’ll see Earth-2 Iris being affected by Zoom and Team Flash. Those episodes are actually really great and probably my favorite that I’ve shot this season. I think fans are going to love it. Zoom is already such an amazing character that getting to see him on Earth-2 as well is really exciting.

How different is Earth-2 Iris?

She’s quite different. She’s similar in a lot of ways, but the way that I can say that she’s most different to Earth-1 Iris is that she’s really tough. I know Iris form Earth-1 is pretty tough, but this version is really hard and tough. She’s less emotionally penetrable than the Earth-1 version of herself, which was really cool to play. It was really fun to play a different version. As an actor, you end up on a series, and you think you’re going to play one character for however long. It’s nice that we have these doppelgängers and we get to play a little bit.

Does Earth-1 Iris get to meet Earth-2 Iris?

No, she doesn’t. I’ll say that much.

It seems like the Earth-2 Barry Allen and Iris West are kind of close, maybe in a relationship. Is there anything you can tease about that Earth-2 dynamic between them?

From what I’m seeing, the relationship between Barry and Iris will be strong on every Earth, to some degree. It’s safe to say that there is some sort of relationship-friendship between Barry and Iris on Earth-2. I won’t say what that is or how that looks, but it’s safe to say they are friends and close to some degree no matter where we find them.

Does Earth-1 Iris worry about how far Barry’s pushing himself to take on Zoom?

Yeah, Iris is always worried about Barry and how he always wants to save people. But with that comes stress on himself. She’s always worried about the potential danger he’s putting himself in for sure.

Moving back to Earth-1, will we see Iris open herself up to romance in coming episodes?

Yeah, I don’t know too much about that right now, but she does have a new editor, Scott Evans (Tone Bell), and their relationship and dynamic is quite interesting when he first meet him. He’s new, he’s brash, he’s confident, and the biggest thing is he’s not really a fan of The Flash. While Iris is the No. 1 fan for Flash, Scott Evans is quite the opposite, so there’s friction between them in the beginning. Iris only wants to paint The Flash in a good light. She knows the good that he does, but Scott just doesn’t believe it, so it’s interesting.

Is it hard for her to open herself up again after Eddie’s (Rick Cosnett) death?

The writers have done a really great job in letting the relationship between Eddie and Iris take its toll and time. We didn’t see her rush into a new relationship. We’ve given her the time to grieve and move forward. I think it’s time. I think she’s open. I think she’s ready for something new and ready to allow any possibility of love back into her life.

Are there any new developments with Iris’ journalism career?

I’m not sure how heavy that will play in the back half of the season. I’m hoping for more of it, just like I think a lot of the fans are. It’s so prominent in the comic books. Iris is this ace reporter and what that offers to The Flash, so I’m hoping for more of that. I can only imagine that we’re going to do more of that before the end of the season, but I don’t know to what degree. The introduction of Scott can definitely give fans the hope that there will be more action at Central City Picture News, for sure.

What does Iris’ dynamic look like with Barry right now, considering we’ve seen moments the duo shared in the other timeline last year that she doesn’t know about?

I’m sure it’ll come up. The thing is with those timelines, what we now know about Iris is that those feelings for Barry are somewhere, and that they’re possible in her heart. She just hasn’t come to the realization that she could possibly feel that way for Barry. It was a really cool way that the writers have done it. We know that, at some point, Iris could fall in love with Barry. For right now, she knows that he and Patty (Shantel VanSanten) are together, and she really is happy for Barry. You’ll even see a scene where Iris has a heart-to-heart with Patty and gives her advice on how to deal with Barry. She has a conversation with Barry about telling Patty about who he is. She says she knows how hard it was for her with not knowing, and she doesn’t want to see him make the same mistake with Patty. While we can always hope and want to see a relationship with Barry and Iris, I think for right now, he’s trying to work on a relationship with Patty.

With Iris potentially opening her heart up again, could that lead to a realization about Barry?

Sure, I think that once the heart is open, you’ll be surprised by what floods in. It’s just going to take someone to show her that she can love again for her to figure out what she really, really wants.

What’s excited you most about the episodes coming up?

The Earth-2 stuff is just so cool. It’s everything the fans will want to see. Killer Frost is coming and Deathstorm. Just the whole Art Deco feel of Earth-2 was really cool — the costumes, the hair and makeup. I think fans will enjoy those episodes the most.

The Flash returns Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

Episode Recaps

After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.
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