It's been a couple days since The Flash's latest episode aired, but we're over here still thinking about that scene.
You probably know the one, though there were many scenes worth mentioning in "Liberation," where Eva's plan finally succeeded and she got out of the mirror, and Mirror Iris, the one who's been masquerading as real Iris for several episodes now, died in Barry's arms. At one point, Mirror Iris' arms turned into metal spikes and she and a nearly powerless Barry had a massive fight, but that's not even the scene we're talking about.
At the very end of the episode, after Barry figured out what was going on and had watched Mirror Iris die, knowing real Iris was still trapped in the mirror world, he sat in front of the mirror and professed his love to his wife, even knowing she couldn't hear him. On the other side, in another dimension, Iris was doing the exact same thing, breaking a million WestAllen hearts in the process. And Candice Patton says it was a hell of a thing to shoot.
"For me, that was probably the hardest thing I've ever shot on the show," she tells us.
"It's been difficult in general just shooting the mirrorverse stuff this season, because you're shooting oftentimes against a mirror and you're looking at your own reflection, and you can see the camera guys in the reflection and all this stuff happening that has nothing to do with this world, so there's a lot of distractions that are happening," she says. "Thus far I've been able to kind of navigate it and let it go and really focus, but having that really deeply emotional, important, impactful moment with Barry and not having...you know, Grant's acting to a mirror himself, and I'm acting to a mirror, and we're doing it on different days, so not having each other there, and also looking in a mirror, it was doubly difficult that day to emotionally feel like I was getting to where I needed to be."
Luckily, director Jeff Byrd was "so patient" as Patton tried to make it work.
"But I do remember leaving set that day and feeling like I just blew it, so I'm grateful if you or anyone else felt emotionally impacted by it. I'm so grateful that it came out."
It's been a tough road for Barry and Iris this season. They spent the first half of the season just sure Barry was going to die in the Crisis, and for almost the entire back half of the season, Iris has been trapped in the mirror while a reflection of her has been making Barry pancakes and sleeping in their bed and running The Citizen.
The fact that the show took a little break for a few weeks means it's been almost three full months in real time that we've been waiting for Iris to get out of the mirror, or at least for someone to realize Iris was trapped in the mirror, so this week's episode, when Barry went full Homeland with the clues that Iris was not Iris, felt like a huge relief.
"It does feel like it took a really long time," Patton agrees. "At the same time, I think it's a testament to how well Mirror Iris was able to keep the charade going. She was very good at using the emotional bait that only Barry and Iris would have between each other to kind of manipulate Barry. Even kicking him out, and the reasons why she wanted him out of the house, those are things that Barry and Iris have dealt with in their relationship before. So I mean, I think she did a good enough job to convince everyone for a long time that nothing was suspicious. But yeah, they're the smartest people in Central City. I wanted them to figure it out."
In figuring out how to play Mirror Iris, it was important to Patton to make it clear why Barry wouldn't figure out that something was wrong right away, and "believable" that it would take him as long as he did. But she also wanted a character who would grow and evolve over her few episodes.
"I wanted this mirror version of Iris to kind of grow, from her first day as a human to get progressively more evil but also more human at the same time," she says. "So I wanted her to be as close to the Iris that we know, and over time, see these moments of her just having these sinister ideas or sinister moments and just kind of like, just a sprinkling of us getting the impression that she is a little bit different."
Mirror Iris may now be gone, but by the end, she almost felt human. Sure she was still saying "Success is assured" and referring to Eva as her mother, but she almost seemed to care about Barry and the real Iris, just a little.
"I really have to give a lot of respect to the writers for doing that," Patton says. "I think it's really easy to create a villain and hate them so much and kill them off, and then we're glad to see them go. I'm just grateful I got to play this character for many episodes, and she had a send off where people kind of empathized with her. It was a really beautiful moment to kind of see this Pinnochio effect of her becoming a real person and having real human feelings and attachments, and in her last moments, feeling alive for the first time ever. I empathized with her when I read it, and I'm so glad that the audience, who probably hated her for all these episodes, had that moment of empathy too."
So what's next, now that Eva's out of the mirror, Mirror Iris is dead, and Barry knows where Iris is? Stay tuned for part two of our interview with Patton, where she also opens up about the effect this experience might have on our favorite reporter.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.