The Flash Season 9 Episode 1: Barry, Iris, the Time Loop, and More!

The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace breaks down the Season 9 premiere, and tells fans what’s ahead for the West-Allen relationship in the so-called “season of Barry and Iris”.

Photo: The CW

The following contains The Flash spoilers.

The Flash Season 9 Episode 1

The end of an era is upon us. After nine seasons, over 170 episodes and what feels like an endless assortment of speedsters, rogues, and various other metahumans, The Flash will end at the conclusion of its ninth season. And while the show is, thankfully, at least getting the chance to go out on its own terms, it’s still hard not to grieve its loss—particularly when both the genre and network it helped establish are in such a state of severe flux. 

On the plus side, the season 9 premiere “Wednesday Ever After” is one of the series’ best episodes in ages, an hour that fully embraces the bright tone, genuine humor, and huge heart that have always been so key to this show’s identity. The episode deftly balances entertaining comedy with emotional heft, setting up themes and character arcs that will doubtless resonate throughout the series’ final run of episodes. 

“From a 50,000-foot view, the trajectory that guided Season 9 was—Barry still has baggage in his past that he has to deal with in order to run forward into the future,” The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace tells Den of Geek. “I look at Seasons 1 and 9 as bookends to Barry’s journey. So some of the things that were left hanging in Season 1 have to be addressed, especially in a series finale, in order to get to the wonderful future with Iris and the two kids that we all know is coming.” 

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“Wednesday Ever After” is a classic time loop tale, which sees Barry and Iris reliving the same day over and over again as they try to sort out how much of their future they should trust to the events they already know are going to happen to them. Barry’s even put together a sort of binder about it, a road map to the safe and happy life the pair have been promised one day. But Iris resents the implication that her choices are somehow not her own to make. 

“Time loop storylines are a classic trope of fantasy and sci-fi storytelling,” Wallace says. “And when I thought about what needed to happen in the season premiere—this is the season of Barry and Iris being together. So I wanted a story in which they were literally together in almost every scene. The time loop trope became the perfect answer to that.”

Wallace calls the repeated scenes of Barry and Iris waking up together to start the day over again “hysterical” but points out that the repetition also allowed the episode to delve into weightier emotional topics.

“Free will, knowing your own future, determinism, those are all themes we got to explore,” he says. “It became a great way to have the rom-com humor vibe mixed with the more intense emotional things that we’re known for, especially the past few seasons on the show, and to wrap it all up in a really fun package and turn a very familiar trope on its head.” 

Fans will likely be delighted by the increased focus on the West-Allen relationship to kick off season 9, particularly after several seasons in which The Flash’s marquee couple have been kept apart by a variety of forces (and Forces) beyond their control. 

“We’re calling this the season of Barry and Iris,” Wallace says. “What does that mean? It means going on those babymoon adventures, some of which we’ll see on camera—for example, there’s a really funny one at the top of episode three. That’s one of my favorites. It’s so silly and wonderful. And there are others that we’ll see off-camera that they’ll refer to. But this is a season-long adventure that they’re going to go on. They might even go dancing at some point early in the season together. They should have some fun.”

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As a series, The Flash has been many things in recent seasons, but fun hasn’t often been one of them. Team Flash frequently found themselves bogged down in heavy-handed stories about poorly defined anthropomorphic nature gods and were forced to deal with everything from Iris’ time sickness and Frost’s death to Cisco’s sudden departure from Central City. Thankfully, that appears set to change (at last!) in Season 9. 

“I’ve been able to indulge in my lighter side this season,” Wallace laughs. “Everyone always thinks I’m dark and depressing but I love romcoms and I love soap operas. One of the best Barry and Iris moments this year is—look for a very special episode towards the middle of the season where it’s my homage to The Thin Man, a kind of updated Nick and Nora Charles. I’m not saying there are martinis or tuxedos, but we have a very comical murder mystery happening in the middle of the season that’s not only hilarious it might even have one of my bucket list guest villains I’ve been dying to get on the show for a while.”