Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is having a rough year. After dealing with the disastrous consequences of Flashpoint and having to defeat a horde of evil aliens earlier this season on The Flash, Barry accidentally traveled to the near-future, where he witnessed Savitar murder his girlfriend and intrepid reporter, Iris West (Candice Patton).
When the CW drama returns Tuesday, figuring out how he can save Iris will be first on Barry's mind - but that's far from the only drama Team Flash will face in the back-half of this season. TVGuide.com spoke with co-showrunner Aaron Helbing about the arrival of Black Flash, Savitar's ominous premonition, how Iris will play a role in saving herself, and more.
Barry witnessed Savitar kill Iris in the future. How will that weigh on his mind, and how will he attempt to stop that from happening?
Aaron Helbing: It's going to weigh tremendously. To be honest, that's going to be a huge driving force for the rest of the season, trying to garner as much information as they can from that event. And they're going to do whatever it takes to save Iris.
What is Iris' first reaction like when Barry tells her what he saw?
Helbing: Oh, she's devastated. She's now facing her mortality. She knows the end date, and that's terrifying. But now that she has an end date in mind, that kind of emboldens her through the rest of the season because, "I know when I'm supposed to die, so I'm not going to die until that point." That's going to cause some friction between Iris and the rest of the team.
Iris is such a great, competent character. Will we see her become very proactive in saving her own life or will it be a lot of Barry and the rest of the team trying to save her?
Helbing: She always plays a vital role. She's essentially Flash's beating heart. With respect to that, the team is going to... they have superpowers. Vibe (Carlos Valdes) has the ability to go into other dimensions. Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) is the second fastest man alive. I would say that they're kind of taking the forefront, but Iris is always going to be involved in those conversations and she's going to be that North Star for that entire team. "This is what we're working towards. This is what we're going to do. We're going to prevent Iris from being brutally murdered by Savitar."
Why does this keep happening to Barry? Do you think Barry is destined to watch his loved ones be murdered by other speedsters in front of his eyes?
Helbing: Any time you're a superhero and you're the best at what you do, you become a lightning rod for bad villains. For example, the Reverse-Flash (Matt Letscher). The whole reason he became Reverse-Flash is because he was so infatuated with the Flash. He just worshiped the Flash. Because of that hero worship, that actually warped his mind and helped him become the Reverse-Flash and he became, essentially, the thing that Barry hates. We referenced that in Season 2 when Barry and Reverse-Flash had their altercation. I think it's just because Barry is such a phenomenal character, such a phenomenal superhero, that bad things happen to these guys. The best way to get at Barry is to hurt the people that he loves.
How will what Barry learned from Flashpoint affect the way he goes about trying to save Iris?
Helbing: It impacts him greatly in that he comes clean. He comes clean about what he saw and because of that, it brings them all closer together and helps them really work together to stop that future event from happening.
Savitar warned that one member will betray Team Flash. Will we see the team members start to grow suspicious of each other? How will that knowledge play out?
Helbing: It's present and they're all looking at each other. They don't know if Savitar's telling the truth or not. He's a villain, so you can't necessarily trust everything he's saying. But that's something that will be revealed down the line.
Wally is already faster than Barry was when he first got his powers. What should we expect of him next?
Helbing: What you should expect from Wally is that, even though he's now a speedster, he's still the same Wally West that he was when we met him in Season 2 as this reckless, cocksure drag racer. Wally's got this inherent need to be the best at what he does. And so, knowing that he's faster than Barry at this point in time when Barry was in training, that only further emboldens Kid Flash to think that he's already faster than Barry and that he already knows as much as Barry does. All he's going to learn is that he isn't as fast as Barry and he needs to slow down to really become the fastest man alive. The thing about Barry is he had Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) as a mentor in Season 1. He had Zoom/Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) as a mentor in Season 2. Now, he's kind of on the other side and he's going to play the mentor to Kid Flash.
As Wally continues his training, how will the power dynamic potentially shift within Team Flash?
Helbing: It depends on the day. We're going to exploit that relationship between Kid Flash and Flash and, "Who is the fastest man alive?" So you'll see in an episode that play out.
How will Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) continue to grapple with her powers and the fears of turning into Killer Frost?
Helbing: She's going to continue to do whatever it takes, to seek out help from friends. We saw her seek out help from her mother and that didn't really help her in the long run. It's something that she'll grapple with for the rest of the season. Hopefully, she can find a cure. We're watching a tragic story unfold.
Black Flash, who is basically Death, is going to appear! How will he be different from the challenges Team Flash has faced before?
Helbing: The thing about the Black Flash is he has the ability to essentially kill the Flash, in that he sucks all his energy and life force, the way the Time Wraith did. He's going to be a formidable adversary for Barry, but he's also going to teach Barry a lesson and that's going to help Barry realize what he needs to do to save Iris.
Will the show visit any of the other earths this season?
That's something we're talking about. We haven't landed on necessarily a reason to go to another earth, but that's the beauty of the Flash. There's the multi-verse. There's always other earths and doppelgangers that we can meet and explore.
The Flash returns Tuesday at 8/7c on The CW.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)