Let’s do the time loop againnnnn.
The CW’s The Flash returns this Wednesday at 8/7c with what is far from its first take on a time loop episode. Why dip back into that well to kick off no less than the speedster series’ final season?
“It was all about me needing a story where I could explore nothing but pure emotion for Barry and Iris (played by Grant Gustin and Candice Patton),” showrunner Eric Wallace tells TVLine. “A lot of my favorite episodes are time loop episodes, but they always have one thing in common: somebody dies over and over. We did it ourselves in Season 5 where members of Team Flash die over, and over or on Star Trek: Next Generation, where the Enterprise blows up. But I wanted to explore what happens when you’re trapped in a happy place over and over again, where you’re a married couple looking to take your relationship to the next level. That’s the new wrinkle here. It’s like, ‘Hey, now. [Being stuck on this day] actually sounds kind of fun.’” (Fittingly, the day “WestAllen” keeps reliving is Feb. 1 aka Groundhog Day Eve.)
Bolstering WestAllen as a couple and keeping them together in a storyline for the first time in, well, a while is “one of the biggest, if not the biggest, priorities for Season 9,” Wallace avows.
“We’ve had them on their own separate journeys for [Seasons] 6, 7, and 8, because we had to build their characters. We had to level up Flash as a superhero, and we had to level up Iris emotionally as a journalist. That ball really got dropped in Seasons 2 through 5 or so. But now that we’ve done that, let’s level them up as a couple. And that means it’s time for some rom-com.”
As Flash fans who read TVLine regularly are well aware, Wallace already served up The Flash‘s final season last year, when he and others assumed that the Arrowverse series would not get picked up for another cycle. Meaning, many of his series-ending cards have already been played. So what was his mission statement in crafting this second farewell run, which will span just 13 episodes?
“My mission statement is to reward the audience with things that I know they have been asking for and looking forward to; scratching off things on my own bucket list, as a fan — the same thing with the writers’ bucket list; and ending on a really positive, high note,” the EP told TVLine. “I wanted us to be strong, emotionally, as much as we could, and then finally, deliver just a few surprises, a few old faces returning here and there.
“Upping the romance between Barry and Iris, then adding all of those other good things, creates a series finale where people will truly go, ‘Hey, that was a good one. That one’s going to stay with me in a positive way and really honor the legacy of the show.’”
All told, Wallace sees Season 9 as “a bookend” to the Arrowverse’s longest-running series. “That’s what you’re going to see throughout the season,” he says. “You’re going to see a lot of nods to Season 1, and a lot of things that were never resolved now get resolved. It’s all about bookending the series and finishing on a really high, emotional note.”
And might said high emotions revolve around Iris discovering she is pregnant? Or her and Barry even becoming parents…?
“I won’t say which…,” Wallace hedged, “but the answer is yes.”
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