I love Candice Patton’s Iris West. She brings a lot of heart and strength to the character. I also understand that the writers of The Flash are having a hard time incorporating her into the actual show (Yes, this season has been a 100 times better than the first, but she still feels like a secondary character instead of one of the main cast.) Now I’ve heard rumblings online about racism or sexism, but given the Arrow-verse’s track record on these I honestly don’t think either of those accusations are accurate or fair. The problem is a simple one: They don’t know how to blend a love interest and the main action/plots, especially when they don’t want them to get together so early in the show’s run. We’ve seen this exact same thing with Laurel and with the Thea and Roy storyline (It’s also an issue that plagues many shows.) The only reason Felicity works as a fully realized love interest is because she was a fully realized character first. The romance developed after she was already an asset to the team.
So the solution is a deceptively simple one: Give Iris West some agency. Again, Laurel and Thea improved dramatically once their stories became about them and not their significant others. Making Iris a part of The Flash’s team, having her save herself regularly and the budding Iris/Linda friendship is a great start, but I say “deceptively simple” because it’s going to mean some hard storytelling choices including carving out more time to tell Iris’ story. She needs to be the POV character occasionally. Felicity just had her own episode on Arrow and it was great. (Interestingly enough it was about grieving Ray’s death, has Iris grieved for Eddie?) It always boggled my mind that the show spent so much time in season one shoehorning a whole other hero (Firestorm) when its core characters languished. That’s like if Arrow had devoted whole episodes in season one to introduce Metamorpho or something! This is the Flash’s story and Iris is integral. We need to see how she sees her world. Put us in her shoes and in her head!
It also means not shunting her to the side once Wally West comes in. Yes, this is her mystery now, but I fear that as soon as Wally is revealed and once he gets his powers it’s all going to be about the Barry/Wally partnership. Her mystery—her brother—will get away from her and she’ll be relegated to the background (or further into the background). She needs to be as much a part of Wally’s life as Barry. Remember Wally names his daughter after her (in several universes) so that means she’s got to loom large in his mind and heart.
Speaking of hearts. I love the Joe and Barry moments. They pretty much make the show, but now that Iris knows the secret and she’s supposedly his bestfriend. We need to have more of these heart-to-heart moments between Iris and Barry. If they’re really BFFs they need to hang out and talk more. Show them just chilling and getting pizza or playing video games or something. Why don’t they act like friends? In that old show Lois and Clark there was a scene (if my memory serves) where Superman got Lois take out from China. He needs to do things like that for Iris. One because it’s a cool, casual display of his power and two because it’s cute.
It also might mean letting them get together sooner than a TV show would like. For me as a comic reader Iris and Barry have always been married and it’s never taken anything away form the story. If you keep dragging it out for the sake of faux tension, I’m afraid Iris will fall into the Laurel zone. No matter what her and Ollie will never be able to compete with Ollicity because that relationship developed naturally. This is a common problem with TV shows (Ross/Rachel anyone?) I beleive the best way to go is to let them get together and make their love story a part of the show. Roswell (anyone remember that show?) did a great job of this. Max and Liz were always a couple and it worked.
These are just some suggestions. Remember if Iris works, if the relationship works, The Flash is stronger for it.