10. Iris West
The Flash’s primary love interest is mercifully low on the list because she’s tolerable at first. She’s a harmless pillar of support and normalcy for Barry Allen as he deals with the pressures of being a speedster superhero. Though not as fleshed out as other characters on the show, Candice Patton manages to bring a bit more charm to the role than what was on the page.
Unfortunately, Iris soon takes a turn for the worse. She begins to develop an inflated sense of self-importance, and no one seems willing to call her on it. You could say it starts when she sabotages Barry’s relationship with another woman, but it escalates exponentially when she becomes the leader of the team. Yeah, the girl who’d shown no leadership skills whatsoever and whose biggest accomplishment was briefly writing for a newspaper is suddenly coordinating a group of superheroes and scientists.
This contributes further to her inflated ego, to the point where she never thinks she’s wrong. One of the most disgusting examples of this comes when we learn that her future self secretly nullified her daughter’s powers and avoided mentioning Barry’s exploits as the Flash. When said daughter comes back in time and keeps her at arm’s length because of this, Iris stubbornly stands by her future actions, believing that she must have had a good reason.
For many Arrowverse fans, however, the final nail in the coffin comes when Iris, having married the title character, confidently proclaimed, “You are not the Flash, Barry. We are.”
Legions of viewers have rightfully made fun of this line not only because it sounds plain insane, but also because it sums up everything wrong with the writers’ approach to this character. They clearly want to add agency to the standard superhero love interest. It’s a noble goal, but they force it in so clunkily here that it doesn’t feel the least bit natural.
That’s the word that best encapsulates Iris in the Arrowverse: forced. They understandably want to avoid making her another damsel in distress, but they misguidedly go for the opposite extreme in the process. Trying to convince us that she’s just as effective as her partner, if not more so, doesn’t work when he has a forensic science education and can run faster than the speed of light.