‘The Flash’: Why is Barry Allen the ‘Paragon of Love’?

The Flash‘s Barry Allen has been many things: a son to Henry and Joe, husband to Iris, father of Nora and Bart, a friend of those at Star Labs, a forensic scientist at Central City PD, and, of course, The Flash. With so many roles, it’s easy to forget that Barry Allen has also been called the “Paragon of Love,” especially when it has only been referenced a few times in the show. But just what does it mean that Barry is the Paragon of Love?

Introducing the Paragons

Cast members of 'The Flash' smiling in front of a black curtain
(L-R) Danielle Panabaker, Jesse L. Martin, Candice Patton, Grant Gustin, and Tom Cavanagh of ‘The Flash’ | Smallz+Raskind/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. via Getty Images

In the greater Arrowverse, not all superheroes are created equal. Screen Rant explains how in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, which happened during The Flash’s sixth season, we learned that some stand out from the rest. They are known as paragons, representing love, hope, destiny,  courage, honor, humanity, and truth.

The seven paragons needed to come together under Oliver Queen and Mav Nov (the Monitor) to defeat the Anti-Monitor, a villain who had escaped his supernatural confines, as prophesied in the Book of Destiny.

However, they needed to be revealed first. The Book of Destiny was key to identifying four of the seven paragons, but Barry Allen was not one of them. Allen was first revealed to be the Paragon of Love after Ray Palmer (The Atom) and Cisco Ramon (Vibe) joined forces to create a paragon detector. 

What it means to be the Paragon of Love

This reveal isn’t surprising. Barry’s love–for his wife, friends, and family–has always been a driving force equal to the speed force. Fighting with his heart is one of The Flash’s defining characteristics, even if some Reddit users believe this results in poor decisions. The crossover put into words something that Allen had always been.

The relationship between Allen and Iris West-Allen, who Candace Patton plays, plays a significant role in the series, which might be why she didn’t seem surprised when the detector revealed the Paragon of Love. Furthermore, Allen’s love for his time-traveling children shines brightly in the most recent season as we see him attempt to protect them.

Allen’s son describes a particular foe as his arch-nemesis, just like Eobard Thawne was for his father. However, the parents must learn when to let their children fight. We’ve also seen how Allen becomes a lesser hero when he forgets to rely on his heart in the season seven episode “The Speed of Thought,” when The Flash gains the ability to think at super speed.

While he can calculate all the logical outcomes of any given situation, he forgets to factor in emotional outcomes. Allen’s loss of emotion causes him to hurt his friends until he realizes the cost of having no emotions and destroys the artificial speed force.

Although the event has only occasionally been mentioned in The Flash, both Caitlin Snow and Harrison Wells have reminded Allen that he is the Paragon of Love to inspire him and help him defeat foes. The latter is a compelling moment when Wells calls Allen a “once in a lifetime hero.” Screen Rant details other reasons why Allen is the right choice for Paragon of Love.

The other six Paragons

Allen is not the only paragon. The paragon detector reveals that newcomer Ryan Choi is the Paragon of Humanity, and Supergirl’s J’onn J’onzz (Martian Manhunter) was the Paragon of Honor. Supergirl herself is the Paragon of Hope, and Sara Lance as White Canary is the Paragon of Destiny.

Lex Luthor uses the Book of Destiny to rewrite reality to make himself the Paragon of Truth, while Kate Kane (Batwoman) discovers she is the Paragon of Courage in her show’s first season.

The team successfully defeats the Anti-Monitor but not without irrevocably rewriting the universe to a single universe: Earth-Prime. Also lost are the lives of Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) and Sara Lance (White Canary).  Of course, few people stay dead forever when it comes to fantasy shows such as these. 

There was no crossover event in season seven of The Flash, but fans won’t have to wait long to see their favorite superheroes team-up. Season eight will start with a crossover. Perhaps it will reference Allen as the Paragon of Love.

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