‘The Flash’ Preview: Grant Gustin Warns That ‘Things Fall Apart’ Once the Mirrorverse Cracks
Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) may be no more, but The Flash has a new brainiac on its hands on the March 9 episode as Barry (Grant Gustin) discovers that the Artificial Speed Force has granted him Super-Speed Thinking. One of the upsides to this little twist is that it allows Barry to finally figure out how to open a portal to the mirrorverse where wife Iris (Candice Patton) is trapped.
The downside? Well, pretty much everything else. Turns out, with great knowledge comes a greatly reduced sense of humanity, so before you know it, this upgraded version of our hero is all logic and no emotion. Which does not sit well with Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), Allegra (Kayla Compton) or Cisco (Carlos Valdes), all of whom realize that cold-blooded Barry is willing to write-off Iris’ fellow prisoners Kamilla (Victoria Park) and Singh (Patrick Sabongui) to save his wife. By hour’s end, however, that may not matter because, well, you know what they say about it being bad luck to break a mirror? It’s apparently even unluckier to break into a mirrorverse.
Here, Gustin gives us some advance scoop on the episode, teases what’s next for the WestAllens and catches us up on his life as a soon-to-be-dad.
How have you been?
Grant Gustin: Good. Yeah, it’s been crazy with the pregnancy and everything.
Yes, big congratulations on that. And you’re going to star in a Netflix movie, Rescued by Ruby. That’s so awesome.
Yeah. I’ve learned my lesson, also. Like I am pretty sure it’s going to happen but I’ve been at this stage before and then schedules can complicate things. But it looks like this one is actually going to happen. [Laughs]
Good. You came back with last week’s episode full of all of these huge emotional moments and, this week, you get this great challenge to play basically a soulless Barry.
[Laughs] We were calling him “Spock Flash.”
It must be so nice, seven seasons in, that they’re still finding ways for you to have new takes on the character.
Oh, 100%. I mean, both of these episodes, back-to-back. I was nervous, you know? I was nervous about doing all the Wellses. I had some apprehensions about even being able to do the French accent and even the more subtle things like doing Harry and actually being able to kind of emulate what Tom did with the character. And then with this Spock Flash episode where Barry, like you said, is soulless. It was like dialogue overload because he was like a computer. We were supposed to shoot this one right before the shutdown [last year] and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a tinge of relief when I was like, “OK, I don’t have to memorize all of these pages of dialogue.” [Laughs]
And like you said, this was supposed to be part of your lead-up to the season finale. How strange was it to have this be the second episode of the new season?
Honestly, I think the biggest challenge for us jumping back in this season was that you usually have the whole season to kind of rev up to the finale. And then we had the seven, really eight months off — we were here for about a month before we were able to start filming again — and then we jumped back in and it was supposed to have that energy of leading up to a finale. And we kind of weren’t all there emotionally after everything we’d all gone through in real life for those past seven or eight months. I think we were all had the “beginning of the season” kind of energy. So at times, I think we were struggling with remembering how heightened everything was supposed to be. It kinda took us a minute to rev back up.
In the March 9 episode, we get some forward movement in the race to save Iris. How nice is it to finally get to do more scenes with Candace?
You know, it was weird to spend like an entire season apart. And I know the fans were more than ready for her to get out of the mirrorverse. [Laughs] So it’s so nice. We had done like a little bit of work here and there, but she was playing her mirrorverse version of Iris, which made for a much different dynamic between the two of us.
And at least initially, when she comes out, you know it doesn’t necessarily go smoothly…because this is The Flash. Things kind of fall apart when when she first comes out and that was again kind of a tough scene to shoot because we had just gotten back into work. One of our first few days of filming was her coming out of the mirrorverse, this big emotional scene for Barry and Iris.
The hour leaves us with a legit cliffhanger. Actually two, including a major callback to the first season. How bad is it going to be for Barry given that everything that happens tonight is sort of his fault?
These things have kind of added up over the years. One of my favorite things about Barry at the beginning of this journey was how optimistic he was. I also tried to pull some of that into my own life. And I feel like we’ve almost gone in opposite directions because seven years of these hardships — and like you said, a lot of them are directly related to decisions that he has made. So it’s hard on him and I think it’s made him less optimistic over time. It’s affected the type of leader he’s capable of being at times and this is going to be another tough hurdle for him.
How does he win his team back?
I mean, they’re a family, you know? So I think we’ll see them kind of rally around each other and, as always Barry will learn from his mistakes the hard way.
Showrunner Eric Wallace told me last week that the next graphic-novel arc after the Eva story really showcases Barry and Iris as a couple.
Yeah, we do see them like that. Obviously Candice and I have a lot more work together this season than we did last season. And yeah, it’s a new stage for Barry and Iris. We’re going to see them. They’ve been married for a minute now and they’re talking about things about the future that married couples talk about. We’re going to see them exploring the next stage of their relationship, which has been cool.
There was a paparazzi shot of you walking to set in costume holding what looked like a Nintendo Switch case. What’s your game?
[Laughs] Mario Kart! I’m a PlayStation guy, but the Switch is obviously very portable and the cast, we have gotten into like getting on Zoom together at times and playing Mario Kart against each other. Brandon McKnight (who plays Chester) is really good. Kayla Compton (Allegra), her husband is really good. I hadn’t played in years, honestly, so now I have been carrying it around and practicing in my trailer so I don’t get showed up when we play on Zoom. [Laughs]
And of course, you made quite a splash with one of your Instagram posts. You have gone full daddy at this point, like literally and in the “yassss daddy” way.
Oh yes. [Laughs]
View this post on Instagram
This whole last, lost year has been kind of like a comic-book plot, we’ve all been in this weird suspended animation. And now, you’re expecting a baby, you guys are the elder statesman of the Arrowverse, you’ve changed your body. So how are you doing?
I’m doing really well. This was the first time in seven years that I’ve had time to just stop and take better care of myself. And my wife has been just great for me — in life and in general since we met each other — but since we got married, she’s just so balanced. It’s really helped me recalibrate a lot of the things in my life.
I just tried to build better habits in my life. I’ve incorporated a lot of meditating, exercise and just taking better care of myself in general. So I just feel kind of happier and healthier and more present. And let me tell you, it’s made my job a lot more fun. I feel like I’m not taking things for granted as much as I had in the past. We’ve done six and a half years and I want to make sure that I do appreciate this incredible job while I still have it.
The Flash, Tuesdays, 8/7c, The CW