A metahuman transfers Barry's powers to Iris, which makes her Central City's protector for the day

By Chancellor Agard
March 13, 2018 at 10:25 PM EDT
Katie Yu/The CW
S4 E16

The Flash finally gave us an Iris-centric episode. While it wasn’t as amazing as I hoped it would be, it was still great seeing Iris at the center of a story for once. Shall we dive in?

“Run, Iris, Run” opens with Cisco and Harry burning the midnight oil as they try to come up with ways to defeat DeVoe and/or handle the remaining bus metas. Cisco is frustrated and insists that they call it a night, but Harry isn’t ready to give up. In fact, he ends up receiving inspiration from an unlikely source: Harrison Wells, a.k.a. Thawne. He finds footage of DeVoe getting hit by dark matter while wearing a Thinking Cap and decides to build himself one in order to increase his intelligence. He presents his idea to the team, but Cisco shuts it down because he’s the only who realizes that pairing a temperamental scientist with a device that alters brain chemistry might not be the best idea. Ralph, on the other hand, is more than happy to take the risk because he’s terrified of DeVoe and has barely left the lab since DeVoe killed that rocker.

While Harry and Ralph team up to build the Thinking Cap without Cisco’s help, the rest of Team Flash deals with this week’s bus metahuman: Matthew Kim. Matthew lands on the team’s radar after he helps thwart a bank robbery by seemingly removing the robber’s fiery powers; Matthew believed he was helping out since the meta was abusing his gifts. However, when Joe and Iris question him later and call Barry for backup, they discover Matthew actually has the power to transfer abilities — because in a brief tussle he gives Barry’s powers to Iris. This also means there are probably several people running around Central City with new powers they received from Matthew zapping another meta, and we’ll meet the one who got the bank robber’s powers later on in the episode.

Iris is thrilled to have Barry’s speed. But I mean, who wouldn’t be? For Iris, this is an opportunity to prove Ralph (and herself) wrong. Earlier in the episode, Ralph cruelly accused her of having no idea what it was like for him, Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin to risk their lives in the field because she’s always chilling behind the computer. Now, Iris has the chance to experience it for herself.

When a fire breaks out in an apartment building, it’s up to Iris to handle it while a bummed and powerless Barry hangs back in the cortex. She has no problem rescuing people from the building, but she encounters some trouble putting out the actual fire. Barry tells her to create wind tunnels with her arms, but that only makes the fire worse, and a beam collapses and traps Iris. Barry tells her she has to phase through it, but she can’t because Barry, it turns out, is kind of a bad teacher (no wonder Wally never really fit in). Where’s Harrison Wells/Thawne when you need him?! Thankfully, Cisco breaches into the building in time and saves Iris. (Next: The return of the blog)

Barry finds Iris running around the Speed Lab to calm herself down. He makes the mistake of suggesting that maybe Cisco or Caitlin should handle the meta. That’s the last thing she wants because Iris needs to prove to herself that she’s not afraid. She tells him she was fearless as a reporter, but she feels like she lost that quality after quitting her job to work with Team Flash full time.

Caitlin interrupts Barry and Iris’ chat to inform them that they found the man Matthew gave the bank robber’s fire powers to, and he’s currently surrounded by police as he yells about someone bringing him his money. So, Iris speeds off into danger once again. Matthew’s there, too, but Iris cuffs him before has a chance to make things worse. Now, it’s time to handle this fire meta, whose temperature keeps rising. At one point, the guy flames on completely and turns into a thermo cyclone that threatens to destroy nearby buildings. Barry has no idea what to do to stop him, which leaves Team Flash with one option: using Harry’s Thinking Cap, which Cisco finally agreed to help him build. Wells put it on and comes up with the solution: Iris needs to use her speed to create a tall wave that will put out the fire. Watching Iris run across the water is some of the most fun I’ve had watching The Flash because it’s just a joy to see Iris out there after sitting on the sidelines for so long.

Team Flash brings Matthew back to the Cortex to transfer Barry’s powers back to him; however, before he does it, Barry makes sure Iris is okay with it and she says yes. And that’s a shame. I wanted to spend at least one more week watching Iris take over Flash duties; we really only saw her take one meta this week. Matthew returns Barry’s powers to him and declares that because of all the trouble he caused, that’s the last time he plans on using his own ability, but Team Flash says he shouldn’t give up just yet and suggests he use his powers to help them defeat DeVoe. So the team receives a new member! (I wonder how long he’ll last…)

That night, Iris explains to Barry why she decided to give up his powers: She realized that being the Flash wasn’t her calling, it was his. Iris decides to restart her blog from season 1, implying she’s found her calling — but this little character beat doesn’t feel earned in the slightest, because The Flash never really spent time developing Iris as a reporter. Sure, we saw her around the newsroom a few times, but the show never took an opportunity to let us watch her pursue a story. Instead, we just have to rely on Iris telling us how much being a journalist and writing meant to her, which violates the cardinal rule of showing not telling. Hopefully, that will change with this latest development.

Wall of Weird:

  • In the episode’s stinger: Harry and Cisco use the Thinking Cap to find the last two bus metas. Hopefully they get to them before DeVoe does.
  • I love that Cisco referenced Spider-Man 2 while explaining why he was worried about Harry building and using the Thinking Cap.
  • Ralph agrees to disguise himself as DeVoe yet again in order to convince the mayor that DeVoe is alive, which would help Barry get his job back. Barry’s very moody without it.
  • I feel this episode needed a montage of Iris running around solving little problems and thwarting crimes across the city, or something to give us a better sense of how Iris felt having Barry’s power.

After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.
  • TV Show
  • 5
run date
  • 10/15/14
Available For Streaming On
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