Post Mortems
The Flash Iron Mask Jay Garrick Earth-3

The Flash's Man in the Iron Mask Speaks: Season Finale Twist 'Blew My Mind Right Off Its Hinges!'

No matter what Earth you live on, be forewarned that the following contains major spoilers from the Season 2 finale of The Flash.

This Tuesday on The Flash‘s Season 2 finale, a series of season-ending, heartbreaking twists were capped by the awaited reveal of Zoom’s mysterious prisoner aka The Man in the Iron Mask.

By the timeThe Flash the clock struck 9, viewers learned that the familiar, hidden face belonged to cast member John Wesley Shipp, who a week prior had been killed off as Earth-One’s Henry Allen and now is playing Earth-Three’s Jay Garrick. For good measure, Shipp “speedsuited up,” once again donning a Flash costume as he did on TV in the early 1990s.

TVLine spoke with Shipp about seeing his role on today’s Flash evolve, the practical problems with wearing an iron helmet, life on Earth-Three and more.

TVLINE | When you first joined The CW’s The Flash, did you get any hint that there was a long-term plan for you, or did you assume your casting was just a knowing wink to the 1990s series?
I figured that I was brought on for a number of reasons. One, there was still a very loyal fan base for the first show — including [Flash executive producers] Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti and [DC Comics chief content officer] Geoff Johns, who informed me that they had been fans growing up with the first show and wanted to include me on some level. I figured from the beginning that my job was what they said it was: to play Henry Allen; to sort of graft my following onto Grant [Gustin], which was a joy and a pleasure to do; and to be a tool in Grant’s tool box, a place where Barry could come when the special effects stopped and really bare his soul to the audience, through Henry Allen. I figured once that was completed, and Barry had fully accepted his role as a superhero, my job was done. So, I have to say that Henry’s death this season was not a surprise to me; I was fully anticipating it. What I wasn’t anticipating was what comes next, and that blew my mind. Blew it right off its hinges.

TVLINE | If I told you 26 years ago you’d be wearing a Flash costume again, would you have believed me?
I would not. I remember the last scene that Mark Hamill and I did out in southeast L.A. at 5 in the morning. I was in the Flash suit and of course he was being The Trickster, and I was so relieved to never have to put on the superhero suit again that I ripped the wings off and threw them in the air. Mark got those wings, and he still has them — it never occured to me to keep anything. But because it was such a grueling season — we had to do practical effects, we did not have the possibility of doing so much in CGI — I swore at that moment that I would never, ever get into another superhero suit ever again. Well, now 25 years older and 25 years wiser, I know never to make those kinds of statements!

TVLINE | Had you been Flash Iron Mask Revealedkeeping tabs on this Man in the Iron Mask mystery? Were you aware of it at all?
I was, yes, because I’m very fond of that cast. I got to be in the enviable position of being both a part of the show and a fan of it, because I got to drop in, skim some good emotional material, and then sit back and watch it. Now, I have to tell you something about the [stand-in] actor who played the Man in the Iron Mask, which I find remarkable. I asked to meet him, and if you go back and watch the way he uses his hands, he was told to study three actors, and I was one of them. The Man in the Iron Mask can only communicate in the way he uses his hands, and the day that he filmed those scenes, he was told it was me that he was to be imitating. And I was told by everybody that his work was remarkable in that way. It just proves that there are no small roles. Someone who shows that much dedication, my hat was off to him.

So yeah, I knew about the Man in the Iron Mask, but I didn’t know where any of that would come down, and I certainly didn’t think it would have anything to do with me.

TVLINE | Did any tailoring need to be done to his outfit when you went to assume the role, any adjustments to the Iron Mask?
No, that’s just a big ol’ heavy iron mask and it clamps right down. The first time they put it on me, I tried to say something in a normal voice and I almost deafened myself — the reverb in there was like Yow! I was like, “I really hope I don’t have to keep this on very long, because it is so heavy and so claustrophobic.” But it’s very effective — it looks menacing!The Flash

TVLINE | Have you been told anything about the show’s version of Earth-Three? On Earth-Two, for example, people tend to be opposites, there’s a “retro” veneer to the aesthetics…..
The only thing I know about Earth-Three is what I gathered from the comics, that that’s where Jay Garrick is, that that’s where these old villains go. Indeed, that’s what happens at the end of our finale — Zoom turns into Black Flash and goes off to Earth-Three, so I’ll be very interested when we get to the point of exploring exactly what Earth-Three is like and how close they’ll stay to the comics.

TVLINE | And there’s always the opportunity for you to play Earth-Two’s Henry.
He’s been mentioned but never seen, right. Listen, Greg and Andrew flew up from L.A. during the filming of the last episode, and we had a good, long conversation…. I always knew Henry Allen was closed-ended. He was there for a specific purpose, to get Barry to the point where he could fully own his powers. Henry always had a limited shelf life. But morphing into this new character, the opportunities are limitless, because, as you mentioned, there are limitless worlds, there are so many different things that could happen…. In fact, Greg told me that one reason they were so excited about having me morph into Jay Garrick is that there are so many more ways that they could use me. I can’t wait to see what they are.

TVLINE | You recently, finally had scenes with your former 1990s costar, Amanda Pays. What do the two of you make of this new Flash?
We just get together and laugh. We look at the young kids and go, “I’m so glad it’s them doing the heavy lifting now instead of us.” [Laughs] We remember the hours and hours and hours we worked on the back lot at Warner Bros. or on location…. It’s made somewhat easier now by the fact that you can do so much more in CGI, but still, for the person in the red suit…. It’s a good thing that Grant is 25 years old! [Laughs]

TVLINE | That’s what Lee Majors once told me, that being the “The” in a show’s title — The Fall Guy, The Six Million Dollar Man… The Flash — is arduous work.
That’s the best way to put it.

What did you think of the Iron Mask reveal?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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54 Comments
  1. Jimmy says:

    John Wesley Shipp back in a Flash costume was one of the best parts of whole episode. So glad the Zoom storyline has come to an end. It dragged on way too long.

    • Will says:

      This, all this! The season felt longer than last year… ugh hopefully Zoom is done for the foreseeable future..

  2. herman1959 says:

    WHAT??? Greg Berlanti, I used to love you, but now we are through. But I will still watch the show because I love IT!

  3. jrex says:

    And again Barry has messed with the timeline, this time by saving his Mom. I hope it doesn’t end up like it did in the Flashpoint storyline in the comics, but it is bound to mean problems next season.

    • Gail says:

      Well we already know things have changed because Barry from Season 1 disappeared when current Barry saved his Mom. It also means Reverse Flash Welles is going to be back.

      • Steve says:

        not reverse flash wells but earth 1 wells(the one killed by reverse flash in season 1 episode 17)

        • MrLah says:

          remember the time wraith from Ep 17, there was a moment the time wraith look just like Zoom (his mask ripped half by barry in the fight scene) and all its blue colour turns to red( that means negative speed force) The Black Flash , Reverse Flash, Savitar??

          • Eddie says:

            I think the Wraith just drained Zoom’s speedforce energy making kim revert to his “less fast colors” before he injected himself with the Velocity formula.

    • wklis says:

      Think, Rip Hunter.

  4. piebokou says:

    I feel so special because I called it :D

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      With the correct Earth…?

      • Steveo263 says:

        It would’ve been hard to call that one since Jay’s Earth-3 seems to have nothing to do with the Earth-3 of the comics.

        Although it’s certainly interesting that Earth-3 got a namedrop the night after we met a Tiny Owlman on GOTHAM.

      • piebokou says:

        lol not exactly I did not say which earth he would be from I just said that h was not gonna be from earth 2.

    • Daniel Combs says:

      I called it as well, that it was the Henry Allen (Jay Garrick) from E3. Even the build of the stand in MITIM actor looked like JWS build.

  5. Gail says:

    Yeah I guessed it was Henry Allen who is known as Jay Garrick. However I missed that he was from Earth 3. So I guess with the finale we are about to see Flashpoint. However I don’t see how this is possible without changing Arrow . Perhaps Rip Hunter will put things right.

  6. Mary says:

    Bet John likes that suit better than the one he had to wear when he was playing The Flash in the early 90s..

  7. Dj says:

    That Flashpoint ending wow. You knew at some point they would go there. But still it blew me away when he did it. Now I wonder how much stuff Barry screwed up. I bet Barry returns powerless and Wally is the Flash.

    • Gail says:

      Most important he will not have the father relationship with Joe. What type of person will Barry be.

      • Coconuts says:

        Omg nooo I will cry

        • MrLah says:

          If the Flash saves his mother, then everything would be reset? Right? then, Arrow timeline and everything…it would be reset back..Huh, then the show producers might as well use the Flashpoint refernce. it means robert queen is arrow .. wow..Season 3 would start off Barry in prison.. and Caitlin as Killerfrost, and Cisco is the one who realise the timeline is vulnerable.. I guess

      • herman1959 says:

        Ooh, so Barry and Iris will be grown-up best friends solving the so-called “incest issues” that some posters (not me) are having? I feel a little better now, thanks Gail.

        • Coconuts says:

          Incest? Those posters would be just be ignorant. Incest is based off of science. In order for incest to even exist the people MUST share biological DNA. Incest and one’s morality/ethics should not be viewed as one.

          Plus Barry had a crush on her before he moved in and that can’t shut off so then I guess they were doomed for ” eternal incest”?

          • tvjunkie says:

            Of course its not actual incest, but it’s incest-like. It’s with individuals in a brother/sister dynamic. It’s still creepy in that respect, even though legally it’s fine.

      • b-mystique says:

        This would devastate me as their relationship is one of my favorite things. I still haven’t recovered from this.

    • herman1959 says:

      My brain hurts!

  8. Coconuts says:

    The finale was just WOW! Had me at the end of my seat the whole time. I was so happy when Barry and iris kissed in season 1, then Barry runs back into the friend zone. I waited patiently for this kiss. I killed for that kiss scene and I thought hmmm finally I like this ending. Well I spoke to damn soon! Stupid Barry went BACK to before he even lived with Iris and messed up everything.

    What gets me pissed is… He knows that he caused so much damage the first time he did that.. Why in the hell would he do it again. I’m so worried about the effects of saving his mom. Will all the relationships and friendships become non existent? I want to cryyyyyy

  9. Jeff hunter says:

    Wow that was a great ending to a great year,loved every minute of and I’m looking forward to the Fall!jeff#Rebirth

  10. patrickmaloney33 says:

    This season finale had pretty tame twists, nothing that blew my mind at least! But I said the same about the worm hole last year and it opened the world to Earth 2. Hopefully this leads to a Flashpoint situation!

  11. shutuprob says:

    Seems to me that the show’s Earth-2 is the equivalent of the comics’ Earth-3 — most of the characters on the show’s Earth-2 are either evil dopplegangers or less morally forthright than their Earth-1 versions. And thus, unless I missed something when my DVR cut out just as Barry was running into the wormhole, Real!Jay is a founding member of the Justice Society of America.

  12. Joey Padron says:

    I knew it would be John as real Jay when Henry said his middle name is Jay. Cool to see him in The Flash costume and that he is from earth 3! Glad Zoom is done on the show. Not good what Barry did at the end of episode. It will be interesting what changes that will happen in season 3.

  13. ktc1986 says:

    I loved the reveal, it makes so much sense because Jay in the comics is typically older than Barry and has more experience, plus keeping John Wesley Shipp around is always an added bonus. I know they don’t follow convention too closely but i’m surprised he’s from Earth 3 as it’s typically depicted as an Earth where the heroes actually villains, and in their case their version of Flash is actually Johnny Quick.

  14. patrickmaloney33 says:

    The Jay Garrick twist just didn’t add much for me! Like it was just them confirming there was a real Jay out there… And then sent him off the show lol even though he will probably return

  15. Nicolas Agudelo says:

    I think they are now going for the story of the flashpoint paradox, if they do it right it’s gonna be awesome to see that, can’t wait for season 3 O:

  16. raige says:

    what the what did he just do.he just ruined everything he ever had in his life.

    • chapter says:

      yeah,the stupidest idea ever.c’mon barry,you just got iris,zoom is gone.And you did what!…?he just killed himself.hes dead! Sometimes i wish i had the power to live in movies and tv show worlds.I would have given him a dirty slap in the brain.HES WORST THAN ZOOM.

  17. Jess says:

    I WAS SPOILED BECAUSE OF THE DEADLINE ARTICLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE. UTTERLY DISAPPOINTED BY THE SPOILER…but not by the reveal. BUT STILL!!! SO ANGRY RIGHT NOW.

  18. J Budz says:

    When will they reveal that Wally has powers!!!!!!???!!!!! That was what I expected the finale would have been!!

    • Blue Lantern Kitty says:

      I was waiting for Jessie to get powers, too. I mean, her dad even calls her “Jessie Quick.”

  19. drhenning says:

    What Earth number are SuperGirl and Superman on I wonder???

  20. DD says:

    Since after last week, the majority of the commentors guess that the Man in the Iron Mask was JWS as Jay Garrick (doesn’t matter which Earth); and after Matt said yesterday on Ask Ausiello Live that what the Man in the Iron Mask does after that will be insane (paraphrasing here) — , I kept waiting for there to be some twist or something after the reveal. I like after all that buildup, it was a bit of a let down for anyone (like me) who didn’t watch the original Flash series (thus is not necessarily “blown away” by JWS playing a Flash…)

  21. Gabby says:

    I was so pissed after the finale I just kept think what ik the world was the actual point of all this ” learning to let his mother go journey and accepting loss” to literally have him 2 eps later go forget that I’m gonna do it anyway seems like character regression to me. On a lighter note I think we can all safely say we call the entire Jay reveal, well most people did I was actually happy it was JWS I really hated Henry dying like he did but I guess I will accept their reasoning.

    As for that beautiful moment between Barry and Irid…..I’m just watching the writers like isn’t this not out of time all over again will Irid ever have a moment with Barry she remembers wl they every just let these two be happy all pertinent questions I need answers to.

    My only request is that all this flashpoint esqe sl doesn’t get resolved in the first episode of next season there needs to be some kind of fall out for sure.

    Finally someone please please let Nora finally rest after this I don’t know how many more sl of her dying we need to see before Barry actually gets the point let the woman rest in peace please

  22. Azerty says:

    I enjoyed the episode but I am really disappointed by that reveal. It is definitely not mind blowing as announced since lot of people guess it as soon as Jay was revealed as Zoom. Plus it is not a game changer since Real Jay didn’t stick around to teach Barry or to become a father figure. And there is no reason for Zoom to say “you wouldn’t believe me if I told you m” “it is too confusing”. That’s not confusing at all real Jay is from Earth 3 and Henry doppelgänger that’s all. What is confusing (for a Flash storyline)?

    • Blue Lantern Kitty says:

      With the latter remark, I took it that Zoom meant that for Joe, himself, it would be too confusing. He’s made up his mind who Joe is, and that doesn’t include Joe understanding alternate universes, dopplegangers, etc.

      As far as the former, that one I saw more as a little kid going “ha ha, I have a secret!”

  23. Alexis says:

    I called the man in the iron mask reveal a long time ago so I wasn’t shocked at all. I am however upset with the events that transpired in the last 5 minutes. Really Barry? Did you not learn anything from the time you spent in the speedforce. I just want to slap him so bad. I’m all for flashpoint but I hope this doesn’t undo all the character and relationship developments we’ve been building these past 2 seasons including westallen. Also someone better tell Barry to “Run Barry run” because if I ever come across him, his catching these hands.

  24. sw1ft says:

    Now that the season is over.. Where the hell was Mirror Master? I thought they said they were adding him this season. I hope it ain’t because of the movie, that sh!t is gonna bomb hard. Especially without Grant. I’m so upset with that casting

  25. 134sc says:

    Does anyone know if the Jay Garrick suit is from the comics? Every Jay suit I’ve ever seen has the big lightning bolt across the upper body

  26. Sarah says:

    I went back and watched the Wraith/Jay scenes again after reading this, and there’s nothing in the episode that suggests the Wraiths took Zoom/Black Flash anywhere other than back into the Speed Force (where Barry says they came from, and where I believe Black Flash is supposed to hang out). I have a feeling JWS told us something he wasn’t supposed to here…

  27. wklis says:

    The time trip by Barry at the end. I’ll expect to see crossover from the folks at Legends of Tomorrow to do some repair work.

  28. Lex says:

    I like this show, but it had problems this year. The good guy Flash from Earth 2 who was a scientist and constructed a sort of ‘cannon’ to propel himself back to Earth 2 is actually ‘time remnant’ (essentially a disposable copy) Zoom who was a killer getting the electric chair. That’s a big stretch, because he was doing some good work on that big machine. The ending with the Time Wraiths (whatever they were called) just come in at the right time and get Zoom and take him away, perhaps to become the Black Flash. It doesn’t matter, because Barry…

    Well, you know what happened. Still, not bad.