Battle ‘Ships: The Flash’s WestAllen vs. SnowBarry

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When The Flash first premiered last year as a spinoff of superhero show Arrow, I thought it would be a nice antidote to its predecessor’s often dark and depressing storylines. Everything about it felt simpler: a less complicated superhero, more humor and an established love story from the very beginning. This show had none of the Laurel/Felicity/Oliver angst of Arrow. Though it might take a while to get there, it was clear that Barry Allen and Iris West were endgame.

Fast-forward to a year and a half later, and I’m forced to eat my words. The Flash might actually be more complicated than Arrow at this point, with time travel, alternate dimensions and two pretty solid ‘ships to choose from. Some fans definitely want Barry with long-time crush and best friend Iris, while others are busy shipping him with Caitlin Snow, his fellow scientist, confidant and friend. None of the couples are exactly canon at this point, though Barry has locked lips with each lady and both still seem like they could be potential contenders for his love. Who are we rooting for in the race to win the speedster’s heart? Let’s break it down:

“WestAllen”: Iris West and Barry Allen

In the comic books, Iris West is Barry Allen’s Lois Lane. Hell, she’s even a journalist, and on the show she uses her reporter-instincts to get closer to the Flash through all of season one. Now that she knows Barry’s secret identity, Iris is even more protective, making it clear that at least part of her heart has always belonged to her life-long friend.

Barry spent most of season one pining for his first love, though it was clear that Iris had no clue about his feelings and was pretty focused on her relationship with the late-Eddie (STILL SO SAD). The fastest-man-alive eventually admitted his feelings for the friend he grew up with, but it mostly just made things awkward for a while. Then they finally made out at the end of the season:

Unfortunately, Barry had to travel through time, wiping the entire kiss from existence. But we’ve already seen into The Flash’s future, featuring an Iris West-Allen byline on an article from 2026. And when Barry recently traveled to Earth 2, he discovered that his doppleganger was already married to his version of Iris…which led to some hilariously unexpected kisses. So despite side romances with Eddie and Patty Spivot (very cute in her own right!), it seems like these two are the pair to beat as far as The Flash is concerned.

“SnowBarry”: Caitlin Snow and Barry Allen

From the minute Caitlin and Barry appeared on screen together, fans picked up on the comfort and genuine affection between the two scientists. In the beginning, there were whispers that she might be the new Felicity to Iris’ Laurel. Yes, the show might have planned to have their hero with one girl, but another (smarter, geekier) girl could still swoop in to steal the show. But it would be way too simple to say that Caitlin is a second-coming of Felicity and therefore that’s why she deserves Barry’s heart. Though the two women are both ridiculously smart, trustworthy and an integral part of their respective superhero teams, that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

Felicity is quirky and awkward, an endearing quality that pairs well with the stern and damaged Oliver Queen. Caitlin is sensitive and capable, and often feels like the straight-man to Barry and Cisco’s boyish charm. She’s the one Barry calls when he’s in trouble, when he needs answers, and the friendship that has blossomed between the two is genuine, stable and necessary to keeping Barry grounded. I would have assumed it ended at friendship if the writers didn’t obviously troll us about the pair: first they have an intimate night out in early season one with karaoke, stripping and Barry putting Caitlin to bed. Then they straight up make out in episode 1×19:

Fine, it isn’t actually Barry. But it is really Caitlin and she does let herself get lost in the kiss. If nothing else, it proves how strong the chemistry between the two is; now it’s hard not to see how much they flirt/admire one another in every single episode. Plus, Caitlin has been through a lot of heartbreak between losing both Ronnie and new love Jay, so some might say her time has come to find a love that’ll finally stick around.

Verdict: WestAllen. We wouldn’t be surprised if both women end up with Barry at some point, but everything is pointing to the fact that Iris is the woman he’s meant to be with in the end. The fact that she’ll eventually have his last name is a pretty big milestone to overcome. Sure, The Flash isn’t afraid to mess with future timelines, but there’s a love between Barry and Iris that can’t be denied.

Candice Patton’s Iris is no Laurel, struggling to manufacture a relationship that feels doomed from the start and extra-doomed from the lack of chemistry between the stars. No. Grant Gustin and Patton are adorable together and while their chemistry is more of a slow-burn, it’s definitely there. Seeing them as husband and wife on Earth 2 felt deliciously satisfying –- and a sign of things to come. Caitlin and Barry obviously care a lot about each other, but they just don’t have the epic-love vibe that’s clearly building between Barry and Iris.

Are you rooting for “WestAllen” or “SnowBarry?” Vote below in the ultimate Flash showdown of ‘ships!     



Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.

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