The following contains a few spoilers from the series finale of The Flash.
What Candice Patton was feeling most, as The Flash aired its series finale this Wednesday night, was gratitude.
“Gratitude that [The Flash] came my way, gratitude that I got to experience it,” she told TVLine in the farewell Q&A below, “gratitude that I survived it.”
An original cast member on the first Arrow offshoot, Patton has been with the show, as journalist Iris West-Allen, since Day 1 — the third series regular we met in that rollicking pilot. Now, nine seasons/184 episodes later, Patton is saying goodbye to Iris, and hello to…? “Time will tell,” she says. “Right now, I’m not super interested in doing anything, except kind of reevaluating the last nine years and living a somewhat normal life.”
Here, Patton reflects on her sometimes-difficult Flash run, leading man Grant Gustin, the big moments from the series finale, and more.
TVLINE | What’s the biggest difference for you waking up in “a post-Flash world”?
Freedom. I mean, it’s just nice, like, getting to have a life outside of work. It’s really nice. Working 14-hour days and shooting in another country (Canada) for nine years, there are a lot of sacrifices you make willingly so that you can have that experience, but it’s nice now to reestablish friendships and relationships, and get to cook and keep food in your fridge…. There are all of these small things that I’m really enjoying.
TVLINE | And when you wake up, you’re truly home.
Yeah. And I can actually nest, and go to Target and Home Goods…. I always felt like I was living between two places and living out of storage units and living out of suitcases, and I was never really fully in one place. This is the first time for me in, like, a decade that I can have one place and wake up there and have consistency in my life. It’s really nice experiencing that.
TVLINE | Candice, all told — now that you’ve had at least a few months of separation from it — how do you regard your experience on The Flash? Because I know it was very difficult for you in those early years…. [Patton’s experience with racist bullying in response to her casting, and how she almost quit the show in Season 2, is well-documented.]
I mean, I’m still very much aware of that [bullying], and I’m still processing a lot of that and the experience that I had, but I think that, as time goes on, there’s a lot of mixed emotions. Like, I feel mostly gratitude. Gratitude that [The Flash] came my way, gratitude that I got to experience it, gratitude that I survived it, gratitude that I learned so much from it, gratitude that I made friends that I’ll have the rest of my life. It’s like “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” At the end of the day, it’s an experience that is so precious to me. I was so lucky to have this, and that’s not lost on me.
TVLINE | If you could time-travel and give advice to your 20something self who had just been cast in the pilot, what would you tell her?
Buckle up! [Laughs] Buckle up, get some tough skin, and you know, get on with it.
TVLINE | Do you have a favorite season?
My favorite season, which I don’t think a lot of people liked, probably was Season 4. I don’t think that is a widely-regarded favorite season, but for me, it was a favorite. I remember that was a season where we started to add a little bit more humor into the show. Barry and Iris were in therapy, and Iris was wanting to get married and took Barry to the church. It was really fun for me to explore something different, because I really enjoy comedy and having these moments to play with Grant, because I feel like we both are good at bantering off of each other. It was really fun getting to improv and do something that I hadn’t gotten to do, because the show can be very serious, and there’s a lot of tears and spectacle. It was nice to have these, like, really comedic, silly moments.
TVLINE | What was it like having Rick Cosnett back for the end of this final season?
I didn’t really get to work with him very much, to be quite honest — I feel like we only worked together maybe a few days? — but I’m always thrilled to have Rick back. I mean, he was one of my first fast friends, and I was really, really devastated, actually, when he left the show [after Season 1]. I think I was probably more devastated than he was, because I knew that I was losing somebody that was really an anchor for me, so every time we’ve gotten to have him back, it’s like going back to the spark I had in the beginning of the show, of these really great memories. I was really happy that we brought him back for the finale. It felt right.
TVLINE | Grant had given me a heads-up that Rick was given a chance to do some new and interesting stuff, and it really was.
We didn’t get to see him play that [kind of character] early on. He was just “lovable Eddie,” so to see him play the villain, especially in that [series finale] hospital scene with him, Barry and me…. I’ve never seen Rick do that. I think of him as the sweetest, kindest, most polite person I’ve ever met, and here was this other side of his acting ability that I’ve never gotten to witness. I was super impressed, and proud.
TVLINE | Joe and Iris had a nice scene in the hospital after the baby was born, where he held and sang to Nora. Was it important to you to get one last meaty moment between you and Jesse/Joe and Iris?
Yeah. I feel like there were never really enough [scenes of them together]. I loved seeing Joe and his daughter and Barry have this family closeness, and we obviously lost that a bit in the last season, just because we didn’t have Jesse for the entire 13 episodes. So I was really grateful for any of those small moments we had. It was really nice to me that he was there for the birth of Nora and he got to sing this beautiful song. (Get details on that lullaby, written by Jesse L Martin himself.)
TVLINE | When Grant came by our New York office, I had him say a few things about each of the original cast members. Regarding you, he celebrated your strength and your ability to surprise him to the very end with the power of your performances.
Wow. That’s a very nice, humbling thing for him to say…. I really appreciate that.
TVLINE | And what would you say about Grant?
Grant, I mean… it’s similar. One thing I’ll say about Grant is that his work ethic is consistent and unmatched. I mean, I don’t care what’s going on. Grant is going to show up prepared, and he cares very deeply about the work. I feel like it was that way on Day 1, and it was that way on the last day, so you have to respect that about that guy.
TVLINE | Tell me about filming your last scene with Grant. Because I heard it got unexpectedly messy….
We were working with two beautiful babies playing Nora, kind of swapping them in and out, and in the shooting of that scene, Grant was like, “You know, when babies are naked and free, they feel free enough to just pee and do whatever they need to do. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the baby peed on you.” I was like, “Grant, that’s ridiculous. We’re fine.”
Sure enough, we do the birthing scene. I pull the baby close to me, hold her to my chest, and I felt something warm — but at that point, they’re putting goo all over me anyway, so I’m sweating, and it’s already an uncomfortable scene to shoot…. And Grant looks down, like, “She’s peeing, she’s peeing,” and I was like, “No. No, she’s not.” He’s like, “You’re covered in urine. It’s all over you,” and I’m just crying and embracing it, but laughing. I remember saying, like, “This is so appropriate for my last day, getting peed on.”
TVLINE | What’s next for you?
I don’t know. Time will tell. Right now, I’m not super interested in doing anything except kind of reevaluating the last nine years and living a somewhat normal life. I’m excited to continue working, but I think it’s really important for me to find something that I’m really excited about doing and passionate about doing. Another thing that I’m so grateful for The Flash is that it gave me stability to be able to…
TVLINE | …to take that time.
And not rush into anything, yeah. Again, not a lot of actors get that privilege, and I’m so grateful to this show for setting me up in a way that I can move forward and take the time to choose things that move me.
TVLINE | And what are you doing Wednesday night when The Flash series finale is airing? Any sort of viewing party planned?
As you know, I don’t watch the show. I notoriously have not watched probably since Season 1, and I don’t think I’ll watch the finale. I think it’s something that in a couple years, or when I have kids, I’ll revisit. But it’s always been just too close.
TVLINE | So it’s just “a Wednesday night” for you.
Yeah, it’s just a Wednesday night for me. I’ll cook food, maybe watch some trashy reality-TV show…. I do want to, like, make a post on Instagram or something. I’ve been having a hard time acknowledging the end of [The Flash] and creating something that feels meaningful and impactful to the fans. So, I really want to say something, finally. It’s just about figuring out what to say to show my gratitude and appreciation.