The race toward Barry Allen and Iris West’s wedding is well underway on The Flash season four. It’s shaping up to be at least featured, if not an integral part of the four-way crossover this fall. In today’s episode, “Mixed Signals,” we are led to believe that maybe things aren’t running along as smoothly as possible. Yet, in spite of some rough patches throughout the episode the couple repeatedly refers to their West/Allen-ness as the “gold standard.”
It’s a really interesting phrase for them to employ considering the comic book Barry Allen’s impact was actually on the Silver Age of Comics. Jay Garrick was the original Flash during some of the earliest days of DC Comics until the publication of SHOWCASE #4 in October 1956, which helped launch the Silver Age introduced the brand spankin’ new Flash a.k.a. Barry Allen!
Fun fact: Much like how the pilot episode of The Flash introduced both Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West (Candice Patton), Showcase #4 introduced the future couple as well!
It was exactly ten years after Barry’s first appearance in November 1966 that a little issue was published called THE FLASH #165 wherein—you guessed it—Barry is fortunate enough to have Iris marry him. I wanted to reflect on this issue and see if we could glean any insight into Barry and Iris’ rough patch in “Mixed Signals.”
The issue itself is titled “One Bridegroom Too Many!” (complete with exclamation point!), and the story arc is pretty much what you imagine it being just based on that. While I don’t necessarily believe that Barry is going to find himself interrupting Iris’ wedding to another man, in the continuity of the show Iris has been engaged before. Eddie hasn’t been much of a feature on The Flash since the first season (though I, personally, have really enjoyed Rick Cosnett’s cameos when and where they do crop up), but Barry has been living in the shadow of Iris’ first love. In “Mixed Signals” when West/Allen are in couples’ therapy they do reference the fact that Iris was engaged previously and that this is one of the factors that had driven the wedge between Barry and Iris.
Eobard Thawne (then Professor Zoom, now Reverse-Flash), is the comic’s original villain and could present a very real threat to the television wedding of Barry and Iris. Though it’s unlikely that he is going to be able to switch places with Barry and beat the Fastest Man Alive to the altar, there’s always the chance that he and his good buddies in the Legion of Doom might want to ruin the best day in our protagonists’ lives.
Fun fact: Wally West also features prominently in a wedding issue of his own—1998’s THE FLASH #142 wherein he wed Linda Park. Now, on the show, we saw Linda as a love interest for Barry, so there’s probably not a good chance that we’ll see that issue translated literally for The Flash TV show. However, there is a good chance that if this show runs for many more years to come that Barry and Iris won’t be the only married couple in S.T.A.R. Labs.
I also like West/Allen’s use of “gold standard” just within the closed continuity of the show because they are one of the only functional couples that we have in the #DCTV universe. I’m sure there are some Olicity fans screaming at their computer screens, but Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak haven’t stayed together for more than a handful of months at a time and they seem determined not to be together—although if you aren’t watching Arrow that romance is back on the rise, so be sure to tune in for your fill!
Even from The Flash’s first season when Iris was with Eddie and Barry was with any number of other women (including, for a brief while, Felicity—do you think that ever causes awkward moments between Barry and Ollie?), they were both at their best when working in tandem. The instances of collaboration between Barry and Iris have always highlighted the strengths of these respective characters and really showed what made them individuals, but also unique as a pair. They are the purest partnership in this universe (and that includes Supergirl, despite the fact that it takes place on a different Earth), that has remained together for the longest time with the least amount of interpersonal drama.
Simply put, Barry Allen and Iris West are the gold standard couple of the #DCTV Universe. They are the best suited for each other, the most mature and the pair that most deserves a culmination of their lifelong affection. Maybe their nuptials were messy in their original incarnation—and there’s a good chance they will be on screen as well—but I, for one, am looking forward to them.
Here’s hoping that “Mixed Signals” is just the name of this episode and not a pervading problem for the rest of this season of The Flash.
I’d love to read your predictions for Barry and Iris’ wedding and what you think “Mixed Signals” might be holding for the future of their relationship down in the comments!
Ashley V. Robinson covers The Flash as a part of the #DCTV Couch Club. You can find her on Twitter at @AshleyVRobinson and on the Jawiin YouTube channel. The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW.