Warning! Spoilers ahead for The Flash season 7 episode 16, “P.O.W.”
The Flash season 7 is barreling towards its two-part finale and Iris West-Allen’s latest storyline could bring back the Arrowverse’s multiverse following its collapse in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Time and interdimensional travel have been heavily utilized in the shared universe ever since The Flash unlocked the titular character’s abilities to move backwards and forwards in time. The team’s trip to Earth-2 opened up yet another gateway to traversing the multiverse. While Crisis on Infinite Earths changed that for good, Iris’ situation could unlock the multiverse once again.
Iris has been noticeably absent from two episodes of The Flash. In season 7’s episode 15, Barry revealed she wasn’t feeling well and was recovering from a bout of illness at home. In the following episode, however, Iris confirmed what she was experiencing was far more than a regular cold; when she sneezed, her eyes briefly and startlingly flashed green before returning to their normal color afterward. Why the illness is affecting Iris in this way remains unclear, but her symptoms have led her molecules to become unstable, inducing headaches and time displacement.
At the end of the episode, Nora West-Allen confirms that Iris will be okay, but there’s no telling when her symptoms will clear up or what will happen before they do. That said, it’s possible Iris moving in and out of the timeline could play a crucial role in the future of the multiverse and the reason for her predicament may be hiding in plain sight.
Iris Is Phasing In & Out Of The Timeline
Iris’ absence from The Flash season 7’s episode 15 was suspicious, especially since it involved a possible pregnancy storyline that was happening without her. In the following episode, however, fans learned why Iris has been absent. As it turns out, her cold wasn’t a normal one and it was somehow causing her to phase in and out of the timeline. It got so bad apparently that Deon, the Still Force, swooped in to protect Iris by using his abilities to stabilize her from phasing through various temporal planes, moving her to “pure temporal strains” to keep her alive. If it wasn’t for Deon, Iris would have fractured through time itself, which doesn’t sound very pleasant and could have unprecedented repercussions.
This subplot creates an interesting twist considering everything happening on The Flash right now. Between what’s going on with Iris, the Godspeed clones, August Heart — who originated as Godspeed in 2049 pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths — coming into the picture, and Barry dreaming about Nora telling him there seems to be something wrong in the future, Iris’ timeline instability may be the one thing connecting each of these separate storylines. That said, the reason why she’s suddenly phasing in and out of the timeline has yet to be confirmed on the show, but all roads seem to be leading back to one cause.
Iris Being Pregnant Is Causing Her To Be Unstuck From Time
Barry and Iris have been trying to conceive for a few episodes now. After Barry dreamed about Nora the first time, he assumed Iris was pregnant only for the results of the test to come back negative. However, this could have been a false negative. Considering that Iris’ presence in the timeline has been unstable, it’s possible that she is already pregnant and doesn’t realize it. What’s more, being pregnant with speedster babies won’t follow the same patterns of a normal pregnancy and it’s possible that Iris carrying metahumans is causing her to be unstuck from time. Her phasing in and out of the timeline could be The Flash’s equivalent to morning sickness.
This could also explain why she will be able to regain her speedster powers in the season 7 finale. In the comics, Iris phases back and forth in time because it’s revealed she is actually from the future and was sent back to the 20th century by her birth parents. The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace has teased this storyline coming into play, but like with all things that make their way onto the show, it will probably be a loose adaptation from the comics storyline it’s based on. Traveling between timelines because of a pregnancy might be the closest the series gets to this particular comics arc in this instance.
Jay Garrick’s The Flash Return Hints At Alternate Earths Connection
Jay Garrick (aka, The Flash of Earth-3) was last seen prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths, warning Barry of the impending doom facing the multiverse. However, the speedster didn’t participate in the crossover, nor was he confirmed to be alive in the aftermath that saw the multiverse rebooted and Earth-1 merge with others (including Supergirl’s Earth-38) to become Earth-Prime. Jay will be appearing in The Flash’s two-part season 7 finale to aid in the Godspeed clone war. How his reappearance will be explained remains to be seen, but it’s possible he will show up courtesy of Iris’ temporal phasing. Jay originally hails from Earth-3 and his return to The Flash coinciding with Iris being able to phase through time (and maybe dimensions) could be connected. Iris may be acting as the bridge between Earth-Prime and Jay’s world without even realizing, and the superhero series might confirm that he is now from Stargirl’s Earth-2 instead.
Theory: Iris’ Temporal Phasing Brings Back The Multiverse
In The Flash season 6, Nash Wells detected particles of Eternium, an interdimensional (and multiversal) element, on Iris prior to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. At the time, nothing much came of it, just another tease that seemed to lead nowhere. However, this could come back into play now that Iris is phasing through temporal planes in season 7. It’s possible the combination of Eternium and her moving in and out of time now allows her to connect to not only different time periods on Earth-Prime, but alternate universes as well. Perhaps before she is finally stabilized, Iris will indeed fracture through time and that’s what breaks the barrier separating Earth-Prime from the rest of the multiverse, which has remained a secret post-Crisis.
Namely, Iris’ temporal instability could alert her and The Flash to the fact there are still other worlds out there despite the collapse of the multiverse during Crisis. After all, Stargirl exists on the rebooted Earth-2 and it’s been confirmed that Jay Garrick will make an appearance on the series in its sophomore season. And so Iris’ temporal imbalance could open the gateway to interdimensional travel once more, reestablishing the connection between Earth-Prime and other earths. There has to be a reason for why Nash detected Eternium on her. All of this could also be setting up The Flash’s five-episode crossover event in the fall. Whatever the reasons behind Iris’ phasing in and out of time, the introduction of this storyline for her could finally tie together so many loose plot threads for The Flash and the Arrowverse at large.