The Flash’s second season saw Barry struggling with the power of Zoom and a failing ability to run. But he was not the only member of Team Flash to face a difficult year. For Dr. Caitlin Snow and Iris West, the year began with grief, but both characters discovered details about family and alternate selves along way as they put their pasts behind them.
When Bleeding Cool spoke with actors Candace Patton and Danielle Panabaker, both mentioned they had some hint of where the second season would take them. “[Executive Producer] Andrew Kreisberg said the West family would be the heart of the season and it would be this emotional rigor,” Patton said. Indeed, over the course of the year, Iris would be reunited with a mother she thought long dead and a brother she never knew about.
Kreisberg also gave Panabaker a hint of what was coming during a photoshoot in May of 2015. “[It] happened organically” she recalled. “They were already breaking the stories for season three, and he told me a little of what they were planning as they were figuring it out.” Details included a sneak peak into Zoom’s identity, but she noted getting advance knowledge like that is “uncommon” on the show.
“We’re just like audience members and we get the scripts one at a time,” she added. “And we slowly learn more and more as the days and weeks go on.”
For Patton, part of the surprise was playing an alternate Earth-2 version of herself — an Iris who is both a member of the Central City Police Department and married to Barry Allen. “She had so much agency and it was nice to see her be the problem solver,” Patton said. “It was great to wield a gun.” She also enjoyed the change in the dynamics on that Earth; with Barry and Iris in a committed relationship.
Earth-2 also presented Caitlin Snow in a villainous light as Killer Frost. Panabaker called the opportunity to play the character a treat. “That was definitely challenging,” she admitted. “I was nervous when the first episodes as Killer Frost came up. Was I going to be able to pull it off? How was it going to look?” The challenge magnified when a later episode called for the Caitlins of two worlds to meet and chat about their differences and similarities. The demands of appearing as two people on screen at the same time was “logistically challenging,” but immensely satisfying for the actress. In particular, Panabaker found herself intrigued by the reference to a “not-nice mother.”
“I’d like to learn more about that in both of their pasts,” she said at the time of our interview. In recent days, The Vampire Diaries‘ Susan Walters has been announced as playing Caitlin’s frosty mother.
For Patton, the extension of the West family lead to some of her favorite material in the second season as Iris and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) welcomed Wally — played by Keiynan Lonsdale — into their home. She highlighted several scenes of the new family sitting down to dinner. “Those scenes for me are the easier scenes,” Patton said. “They’re stripped down and really about having a heartfelt conversation versus the action stuff and the special effects, which we do as well. It’s nice when you can sit down and have scenes with actors you respect and admire.”
Both agreed playing different versions of their characters and keeping the parallel Earth idea straight was fairly easy. “I find the time wraiths and time remenants more difficult,” Patton joked. “When you sign on as an actor on a show, you think you’re going to play one character for however many seasons. Then we’re in a unique position where we get to play different versions and it’s really fun.”
Panabaker noted that the crew also help keep the timelines and Earths straight. For example, recalling the episode in which Barry ran back to the previous year to get help from the Reverse-Flash, the crew was ready to reset the clock on the production side. “Everybody’s hairstyle was a little bit different, the clothes were different,” said Panabaker. Returning to that earlier production mindset helped her remember who Caitlin was a year prior. She added external elements like costuming “inform the process.”
But one thing both Patton and Panabaker would like to see more of is Caitlin and Iris interacting. “That’s not a relationship we’ve seen a lot on screen,” said Patton. “Anytime we can see characters who don’t interact, it’s a treat for everyone.”
“It would be fantastic if we could see more of them together,” added Panabaker. “Our show does a fantastic job of empowering women and portraying strong women. It would be great to see them working together.”
The Flash: The Complete Second Season is available on Blu-ray and DVD in the US now and in the UK from Monday, September 12th.