References: Stills from DC Legends of Tomorrow S03E08 come from Screencapped.net, the transcripts from the episode come from the Springfield! Springfield! website which has transcripts for tons of films and TV episodes and the gifs embedded in the piece (as well as the promo image for the header) come from WestAllenGifs.com.
In a May 2017 Dear Prudence column, a newly married bride sent in a question regarding the fact that her husband’s best man had the gall to propose to his girlfriend partway through the wedding ceremony, thoroughly stealing the spotlight from their friends’ special day. She was wondering whether or not they should seethe quietly about the absolute infringement on their super special day or if her husband should just straight up cut off his friend for the rudeness.
Slate.com’s awesome agony aunt, along with basically everyone on the internet, was rightly upset on the author’s behalf because well… that’s a shitty move from someone that’s supposed to be your friend.
What could be worse than proposing during your friends’ wedding?
How about… pushing your way into their impromptu ceremony, turning it into an unexpected “double wedding” and stealing the spotlight from them (even stopping them from saying “I do”?
On The CW’s Crisis on Earth X, another bloated crossover set to raise the ratings for some of their less loved superhero shoes, one major feature in the marketing was the wedding between Barry Allen and Iris West from The Flash.
Iris and Barry are an iconic comic book romance that’s up there with the Batman/Catwoman romance and the Clark Kent/Lois Lane relationship. They are, as the show itself claims, “the gold standard” and a romantic ideal. It doesn’t hurt, that Barry and Iris are also the ancestors of a bunch of the speedsters in the DC universe. If they don’t get married, a bunch of future speedsters probably won’t happen.
Anyway, Barry first proposed to Iris back in Season 3, Episode 14 “Attack on Central City” and then again three episodes later in episode 17 “Duet”. Barry’s reasoning for proposing the first time is to change their future and protect Iris from dying so of course… doesn’t go that well.
During the second crossover between that series and Supergirl (this was actually the first CW crossover for the shows), he sings a song to Iris that shows that this time, he’s proposing for the right reasons: because he loves her and wants her in his life no matter what the future may bring them.
It’s literally one of the sweetest and most romantic moments that the CW Multiverse has provided us with and you can watch both proposals below.
However, events in the third season led to the characters putting the wedding off until season four and then for some reason, The CW decided to have the wedding of the century during their Crisis On Earth X event.
(And by some reason, I mean that the CW recognized that the promise of the Westallen wedding would be a HUGE ratings boost for some of their flagging shows (Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow in particular).)
Which, in and of itself, isn’t a problem.
The problem was the way that the wedding eventually played out with their first attempt at getting married interrupted by the Earth-10 versions of themselves, characters who are basically Nazi allegories at the start of the crossover and their second attempt being interrupted by their friends Felicity and Oliver who saw that time as the perfect time to get married as well…
Literally at the same time as Barry and Iris.
Y’all can watch the entire scene for yourselves here (including the vows), but I’m going to analyze the whole thing…
Near the end of the crossover before everyone splits off and heads back to their various cities/dimensions/eras, Barry and Iris kind of sort of still want to get married. I mean, they’d already had the ceremony, but they had yet to say their vows and exchange the rings.
Oliver volunteers his pal Diggle (who is ordained) to oversee the proceedings so that it’s official. Oliver and Felicity wind up being the best man and maid-of-honor respectively. Which is also fine.
So they get up to exchange their vows and it’s literally the sweetest thing ever because my god… they’re just such sappy, sweet people.
Barry’s vows are amazing. He’d tried to write his own vows out, but he realized that he well… he didn’t need to because everything he wanted to say was already inside him or whatever:
My entire life has been marked by two things. The first one is change. From when I was a kid to when I was an adult, things were always changing. But no matter how different things became or what new challenges I had to face, I always had the other thing that my life was marked by.
And that’s you.
You’ve always been there. As a friend, as a partner, as the love of my life.
You’re my home, Iris.
And that’s one thing that will never change.
Iris’s vows aren’t any less romantic as they refer to a childhood memory that she’s clearly kept close as the root of her own love for Barry:
Um, when I was nine years old I wanted to be a ballerina. Remember? Even though I was not a very good dancer. And the day of the recital I froze. I couldn’t move, and I wanted to die.
And then I looked in the audience and I saw you.
And you got up and you climbed onto stage and you did that whole routine with me. And we killed it.
I mean, we brought the house down.
And from that moment, I knew that with you by my side, anything was possible.
The Flash may be the city’s hero, but you, Barry Allen, you’re my hero.
And I am happy, excited, and honored to be your wife.
Look at this schmoop.
Look at how much Barry and Iris clearly love each other and how perfect they are for one another that their vows are kind of just… too romantic to be real. Everyone’s moved. There’s not a dry eye in the house (or wherever they’re getting married)
Diggle gets ready to pronounce them “man and wife” and then…
Olicity interrupts (like Felicity literally doesn’t give anyone but Oliver a chance to speak):
Felicity: Um, if you guys don’t mind I mean if you don’t mind, really if you don’t mind, but would you marry us too? Will you marry me?
Oliver: I thought I mean, I thought you didn’t believe in marriage.
Felicity: No, but I believe in you, and I believe that no matter what life throws at us our love can conquer it, married, unmarried. I love you. My greatest fear My greatest fear in life is losing you.
I think we were all kind of like Diggle… eyeing the proceedings like “did this woman really…” because that’s some extra awful nonsense here.
As Beth Elderkin points out over at io9’s “Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak Are Earth’s Worst Wedding Guests”:
These people are seriously the worst. A wedding that was one of the most-anticipated events of the year for DC CW-verse fans was ruined by Oliver and Felicity. They chose to selfishly interrupt their friends on one of the most important days of their lives with their own dramatic bullshit, over and over and over again, culminating in them stealing the spotlight for a marriage brought under duress. Screw you guys. I hope you don’t get any presents.
It’s not enough that Barry and Iris didn’t get to fully have the wedding of their dreams because of Nazis in the multiverse, but that when they do go to confirm their love and make things official with the guy Olicity brought in to marry them, they don’t even get to have that to themselves.
Barry and Iris don’t even get to say “I do” to one another. They don’t get to have their wedding for themselves. In gifsets of the kiss on social media, you don’t even get to see Iris and Barry kiss for the first time as a married couple because Oliver and Felicity’s kiss obscures theirs.
Now here’s where I start to “make it all about race”, so settle in for the ride, folks:
When WestAllen shippers – many of whom are Black women – complained about the “double wedding” (that wasn’t really one…), Olicity shippers called them “salty” and “selfish” in addition to saying that “clearly Iris was happy to have them be a part of their wedding because she didn’t say anything and was smiling, so why can’t you be happy?”
So Iris is happy so there’s no use in complaining over the fact that Olicity could’ve waited to do this on their own time. Black women are in the wrong for wanting one of our own to have something that’s just hers.
Flash forward to the next episode of The Flash where, upon receiving an absolutely unwanted gift of an expensive espresso machine from Olicity that’s not on their registry, Iris goes:
Clearly, Iris wasn’t as cool about the double wedding as she supposedly appeared to be in the crossover episode.
Which brings us back to the Dear Prudence column from earlier this year. When the column came out, it did the rounds on Tumblr. Basically everyone that saw it understood that taking the spotlight off of the folks originally getting married in order to have your own good news/time in the spotlight was in bad taste.
Originally, I’d expected that as a result of this column and similar posts on the subreddit for relationships, fandom would absolutely understand the reason behind and empathize with the anger of Black fans and even Iris once the show released that clip.
I guess I forgot that the mistreatment of Iris – misogynoir taken to a nasty nasty extreme by non-Black fans of The CW’s superhero shows and superhero comics in general – is basically second nature to these fans. They can’t imagine giving Iris an inch of empathy and the idea of Black fans daring to look for it is so galling that they must rush to put us (and her) in our place.
Despite making a whole entire video about the ways that the Flash fandom actively is racist towards Iris West and Candice Patton, I guess I thought they wouldn’t be absolute racist walnuts this time around.
But I was wrong and this fandom still has a major misogynoir problem.
Here are some of the comments that I saw about Iris (and WestAllen fans) following the “double wedding” and the subsequent Flash episode that showed how uncomfortable she’d been with it:
In the notes of the above gifset (which I reblogged specifically to call out the misogynoir of fans) we’ve got such gems as:
“My honest opinion.. the flash writers want to steel some of that Olicity buzz by hating on them.. West-Allen will never generate the same amount of passion that Olicity does, and this is the best way to take some of the attention; get the Olicity fandom angry on twitter!”
“They are making Iris bitter (plus ungrateful ((about the gift)) and bitchy to top it all off; because all of those comments were shady AF and below her) for no REASON!
The only reason this whole thing happened was the writers wanting drama. The more WestAllen peeps fight with Olicity people the better it is for them. All publicity is good publicity and God knows that when it comes to them doing their job and promoting their shows they are LACKING.
Could this whole scene have been handled better? Absolutely. Why are you guys even surprised that it wasn’t? Since WHEN do the writers NOT mess things up when it comes to the DCTV ‘verse?
Barry and Iris, Oliver and Felicity, are freaking married. Can we just drop the annoying parts of the situation ((Thank you, writers!)) and focus on the good now?”
“I’m so proud our show doesn’t resort to taking cheap shots at other shows to look better. Keep going Flash and LoT. You keep getting smaller and smaller in my eyes. It’s not like they came to your actual wedding ceremony and demanded getting married. The whole thing was a spur of the moment thing. You were eloping and asked OLIVER AND FELICITY’S friend for help. They didn’t steal your fairy tale wedding. Grow up!”
“So…Iris couldn’t move on with “upstaging” her in her impromptu wedding at the park and have it in her to just be genuinely happy for her friend whom she saw almost got killed trying to save the world, right in front of her, by the same Nazi monster her now husband set free.
Barry and Iris deserve each other.”
Never been an Iris fan and recently not Barry either. The flash can screw everyone over and he is always seen as a HERO.. really? the amount of shit he has pulled.
Well this just confirmed it for me, completely done with this show!!
Oh yeah, ‘I’m not bitter’
After going through facing the end of the world crap, if you care about shit like that, you are shallow.
Completely correct, Barry & Iris deserve each other, 2 shallow halves make one shallow whole!
Olicity fans have been calling Iris West and WestAllen fans selfish, bitter, rude, jealous, and a whole bunch of rude names since the end of the crossover.
This post alone has well over three thousand notes and while many Black fans are on the post calling out the rude and racist Olicity shippers whose empathy seemed to dry up once their ship got what they wanted, there are still dozens more people on this post and across the internet on other posts that think that Iris West and fans of the WestAllen ship are ultimate bitches for having negative feelings about a poorly handled and significant event.
For daring to express dissatisfaction with the way the one event they were looking forward to during the crossover played out, they were painted as well… “angry black women”.
They were painted as selfish.
As “incapable of moving on”.
All because the fans (and Iris, obviously) were annoyed by Felicity shoving herself into a wedding that wasn’t hers instead of waiting two minutes for Diggle to be free so that he could marry them.
Why so much anger towards this Black character and tons of Black women?
Something that The Flash fandom (among other fandoms) has a huge problem with:
In and out of fandom, Black women aren’t allowed to have anything that’s just for ourselves.
Not our anger, our frustration, or even our happiness is solely our own. Whatever we do, whatever we want, whatever we have, White Feminists ™ always rush in to let us know that it’s not really about us.
They have to let us know that it’s not about Iris West or about the WestAllen wedding (despite the fact that well… The Flash literally put out a promotional wedding photo of the couple for the crossover…). They have to let us know that we’re just haters that want to get in the way of their delightful fun and that we don’t want to support “women getting along”.
#IntersectionalFeminist is something that they slap on their social media profiles even as they chastise Black women for “making things all about race” when they comment on non-Black fans’ treatment of Black female characters and Black fans.
We’re the ones pitting women against each other when they are the ones calling Iris a shady bitch for telling her husband, in private, that she’s bitter about the fact that they didn’t get to have the wedding they wanted and that their “best friends” stole the spotlight.
It’s “whining” and “bitching” to talk about how the interruptions were nonsense. Once, with the Nazi alternate versions, was understandable. But ending the crossover literally with Felicity shooting her shot and derailing the WestAllen Wedding was not.
(Apparently, by the way, Olicity went on to have a wedding (reception?) of their own in the next Arrow episode that, spoiler alert, isn’t interrupted by their best man/maid-of-honor trying to steal the spotlight. So, they didn’t even need to do that nonsense.)
Iris’s wedding should have been ABOUT IRIS.
It should’ve been about her making this commitment with the man that she loves and solidifying something that they’d been planning for all season and that will impact them for years to come. It should’ve been a moment for Black women in the fandom to celebrate because Iris has been one of the best forms of representation for Black female nerds since she came on the scene.
But it wasn’t.
It was about Olicity.
And it became about how Olicity fans think everyone but them are entitled assholes.
(Meanwhile, Olicity as a ship wouldn’t even exist if not for their entitlement…)
But I get it: white women can do nothing wrong according to White Feminism ™.
Even though Felicity was in the wrong for inserting herself and Oliver into Iris’s second wedding ceremony, Iris will always be the villain for daring to complain in private (a complaint Olicity will never catch wind of) for how her special moment was derailed by two people who should’ve known better.
Because Iris is Black and Black women (fictional or otherwise) don’t ever get empathy or understanding from folks in and out of fandom spaces.