With the notable exception of Superman, virtually every superhero in the comic book world wears a mask when they have an alter-ego they want to protect. The mask, though, isn’t always for them; it’s to also protect the people they care about, as Batman once so eloquently put it.
Secret identities are a cornerstone of the superhero genre. Over the years, some heroes, like Tony Stark, for instance, let go of their alter-egos and let the entire world know just who they really are. Other people, however, choose to have their private lives stay private. At least, that’s how it is in the comics. In movies and on television, things are slightly different.
In the comics, the Flash does everything he can to make sure no one knows his secret identity. That’s not the case, however, on The Flash TV series. It feels like, at this point, that everyone on the show knows Barry is the Scarlet Speedster. While that’s not exactly accurate, that notion isn’t far from the truth, either.
Here’s Everyone Who Knows The Flash’s Secret Identity.
15. Team Flash
Let’s get the obvious people out of the way first. In the comics, Barry tends to work alone and rely heavily on his CSI skills, but in the show, he has a team that does most of the heavy lifting in regards to identifying villains and their weaknesses. And why wouldn’t he? He’s got genius-level scientists helping him out, such as Caitlin Snow, Cisco Ramon, and Harrison Wells, all of whom are privy to his secret identity. They were the ones who took care of him while he was in a coma, after all.
Over time, though, more and more people have joined Team Flash, such as Eddie Thawne, Joe West, Iris West, and Wally West, as well as the Earth-Two Harrison Wells and his daughter, Jesse Quick, who happens to be a speedster now, too. The latest addition to the team is Julian Albert, played by Harry Potter star Tom Felton, who Barry revealed his secret identity to this season. Then there’s Jay Garrick (the real Jay Garrick), who isn’t exactly a member of Team Flash, though he is a Flash in his own right. That has to count for something.
14. Patty Spivot
Barry Allen may be destined to be with Iris West, but he’s sure taken a stab at dating several women on the show, including Detective Patty Spivot, played by Shantel VanSanten. She and Barry began dating shortly after she joined the Anti-Meta-human Task Force at the CCPD along with Joe West. Since Barry works as a CSI (or does he? We rarely see him doing actual CSI work.), their paths eventually crossed, and because he’s the Flash, he naturally had to maintain his secret identity, even while dating her.
Later in their relationship, Patty began to suspect that there was something more to Barry that he wasn’t telling her. Eventually, after putting together some evidence, she surmised that Barry and the Flash were one in the same. But he wouldn’t reveal his identity, and he chose to sacrifice their relationship rather than tell her the truth. It was all for naught, though. When she left Central City, she tricked Barry into believing there was a gunman onboard her train. He came to her rescue as the Flash, but quickly discovered it was all a ruse to uncover the truth.
13. Linda Park
Just like with Patty Spivot, Barry Allen decided to give love a shot when he briefly dated Linda Park (Olivia Cheng), who worked as a sports journalist alongside Iris West at the Central City Picture News. Comic book fans will recognize Linda as the one true love of the first Wally West, not the New 52 version represented on the show.
Team Flash may be fully aware of the multiverse, but that doesn’t mean everyone else in Central City is. So when Flash asked Linda to masquerade as her villainous Earth-Two counterpart, Dr. Light, to bring down Zoom, the superhero revealed his secret identity to her to get her to trust him. It turns out, after a few minutes of immediate shock, knowing one of your friends (who you also briefly dated) is the Flash becomes an easily acceptable reality.
When their plan failed to capture Zoom, Linda relocated to Coast City with a friend to protect her from the evil speedster as well as her doppelganger, but despite Team Flash defeating Zoom last season, Linda still hasn’t returned to Central City.
12. Mari McCabe (Vixen)
In the comic book world, superhero mantles tend to be passed on to other people. Sometimes those people are sidekicks, and sometimes they are the children of the superheroes, such as Mari McCabe, played by Megalyn Echikunwoke. Her family’s totem grants the wearer the powers of the entire animal kingdom, but only if those powers are used to protect innocent people. Mari used the power as the crimefighting hero Vixen, and that is how she met both the Flash and Green Arrow, where she also learned their secret identities.
Instead of ordering a live-action series for Mari, The CW commissioned an animated series for the superhero, which airs on the network’s web channel, CW Seed. The animated series remains a part of the Arrowverse, and if it becomes successful, the network might consider spinning off the character into her own live-action series. For now, however, in live-action, the role of Vixen is being represented by Mari’s grandmother, Amaya Jiwe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers), who joined the Legends on their mission against the Legion of Doom.
11. General Wade Eiling
So far, the majority of villains on The Flash have been speedsters or someone associated with one. General Wade Eiling, played by Clancy Brown, was a notable exception, especially since he came to Central City representing the U.S. Army. General Eiling frequently appeared as an antagonist throughout the series’ first season, primarily due to his history with Harrison Wells, S.T.A.R. Labs, and Gorilla Grodd, who he and Wells were performing experiments on in order to develop a form of psychic interrogation. He didn’t discover the Flash’s secret identity through proper channels, but rather, he presumably saw Flash unmasked after fatally shooting Bette Sans Souci.
In the comics, General Eiling is typically referred to as The General, a master tactician with regenerative healing powers. He was once a member of the Suicide Squad, which would have been interesting to see in the Arrowverse if it wasn’t for the DCEU hijacking the team for the Suicide Squad movie.
10. Tony Woodward (Girder)
When it comes to comic book TV shows like The Flash, the writers and executive producers tend to take liberties with the source material. Not knowing what’s coming, or who the person behind the mask is, can keep the audience at the edge of their seat. Sometimes, though, they change characters’ origins just to build an emotional arc for the hero.
For instance, Greg Finely appeared as the Flash villain Tony Woodward, aka Girder, in the series’ first season, in which he was depicted as Barry’s childhood bully. The thing is, in the comics, he never knew who Barry was. In the TV series, however, Cisco points out how messed up it is that Barry’s childhood nemesis was now an unstoppable metahuman.
On the show, Tony developed the ability to harden his body into steel after being exposed to molten steel during the particle accelerator explosion. In the episode “The Flash is Born,” Team Flash caught Girder and temporarily imprisoned him inside S.T.A.R. Labs. When they locked him up in the Pipeline, Flash unmasked himself to Tony, thus revealing his secret identity…for some reason.
Aliens are the cornerstone of the science fiction genre; one only needs to look at franchises like Alien, Star Trek, and even Star Wars (though that’s more space fantasy) to see the influence extraterrestrials have had on Hollywood. That notion extends to the superhero genre, as well. While the vast majority of aliens are being represented on Supergirl (due to Kara Danvers herself being an alien), the creatives behind the Arrowverse brought the Dominators into the fold on Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow earlier this season.
Of course, when it comes to aliens, there is always a government conspiracy to cover up the first contact, and it’s no different in the Arrowverse. In the four-way “Invasion!” crossover event, NSA Agent Smith (no first name) was behind the cover-up of the country’s first encounter with the Dominators in the ’50s, and as it turns out, he knew Barry Allen was the Flash all along. In fact, the reason the Dominators returned after half-a-century is because Barry broke the truce Earth had with the Dominators by traveling through time and creating the alternate reality Flashpoint. Way to go, Barry!”
8. Hartley Rathaway (Pied Piper)
It should be clear by now that Barry has a problem with time travel. Everyone, from Harrison Wells to Jay Garrick, tells him not to do it, but he just can’t help himself. And now, instead of messing with the past, he and his friends are going to prevent Iris’ death by changing the future. He’s surely stepped up his game. While there are normally adverse consequences and alterations made as a result of time travel, there can also be beneficial changes.
For instance, one of the first times Barry traveled through time, he returned to his present to discover that the one-time villain Hartley Rathaway, aka Pied Piper, was working alongside Team Flash to defeat a Time Wraith. In this altered reality, Hartley knew Barry was the Flash, but we don’t know when or how he was told. In the previous timeline, Hartley, a former physicist at S.T.A.R. Labs, attempted to get revenge on Harrison Wells for firing him, and he was going to do that by killing Barry.
7. Bette Sans Souci (Plastique)
Another character whose origin story and background was radically altered for the small screen was Bette Sans Souci, aka Plastique. In the comics, she was introduced as a terrorist hellbent on separating Quebec from Canada. After a failed suicide bombing attempt, she genetically engineered her DNA to imbue her with the power to direct an explosive force from her body. In the TV series, however, she gained the ability to turn anything she touches into an explosive after being exposed to dark matter as a result of the particle accelerator explosion.
Unlike her comic book counterpart, Bette wasn’t necessarily a villain on the show. She was an EOD Specialist in the U.S. Army, who Team Flash thought would be a great addition to the crew. Wanting to help her, Flash took Bette to S.T.A.R. Labs, where they could determine the strength of her powers as well as teach her how to control them. It’s assumed that Barry told her he was the Flash sometime between rescuing her and introducing her to Team Flash. Even if he didn’t, when he unmasked himself moments before her death, she would’ve found out then.
6. Leonard Snart (Captain Cold)
The phrase “no honor among thieves” may not apply to most villains, but it surely does to the Rogues, a group of villains who oppose the Flash, yet aren’t as cold-blooded as the sort of baddies you’ll find in Batman’s rogues’ gallery. They have a code they live by, at least in the comics, and part of that code is that they don’t kill. While we’ve seen a handful of Rogues members appear on the Flash, only three of them have actually worked together: Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and Golden Glider. Among those, the first person to find out Flash’s secret identity was Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold.
In the episode “Rogue Time,” Snart tortured Cisco Ramon’s brother, Dante, which forced Cisco to begrudgingly admit that the Flash’s real name is Barry Allen. Snart could have told anyone Barry’s secret, but he didn’t. Despite being a villain, Snart took Barry’s secret to the grave, and he even sacrificed himself to save the Legends. At this point, we may not be able to consider him a hero or a villain one way or the other, but he is certainly a Legend.
5. Eobard Thawne (Reverse-Flash)
The first person to find out Barry Allen is the Flash also happens to be the last person to find out Barry Allen is the Flash: Eobard Thawne, aka Reverse-Flash. Thawne is Barry’s arch-nemesis, who traveled back in time to murder Barry’s mother and divert his life down a different path. Being from the future has its perks, namely knowing virtually everything that will happen, and that’s how he knew Barry Allen would become the Flash long before the would-be Scarlet Speedster was struck by lightning. Unfortunately, in order for Thawne to travel back to his time, he had to impersonate Harrison Wells and train Barry to run fast enough to help him make the time jump.
Matt Letscher plays Thawne in the Arrowverse, and though his ancestor, Eddie Thawne, sacrificed himself to prevent Eobard from ever being born, the Reverse-Flash became a time aberration. He has to constantly move to avoid being caught by the undead version of Zoom, who is hunting Eobard on as a servant of the Speed Force. Will he catch him? Hopefully, we’ll find out later this season on Legends of Tomorrow.
4. Hunter Zolomon (Zoom)
Comic books can be confusing at times, especially when there are several people that use the same name. Fans of The Flash series understand that the Reverse-Flash is Barry Allen’s arch-nemesis, but the thing is, Eobard Thawne wasn’t the only Reverse-Flash.
In the comics, the mantle of Reverse-Flash has been carried by five people in total, with Hunter Zolomon appearing as the third Reverse-Flash. In the TV series, though, Hunter, played by Teddy Sears, doesn’t go by the name of Reverse-Flash, but rather by his comic book name, Zoom. In the comics, he is the archenemy of the original Wally West, but his origin and master plan for defeating the Flash was altered for the TV series.
In the season two premiere episode “The Man Who Saved Central City,” Hunter waltzed into S.T.A.R. Labs, pretending to be Jay Garrick, and told Barry Allen that he knew him to be the Flash. It was never explicitly stated how Hunter knew Barry’s secret, but seeing Team Flash hovering around the Flash’s costume inside S.T.A.R. Labs is surely damning evidence.
Before getting his own show in 2014, Grant Gustin first appeared as Barry Allen in a two-episode story arc on Arrow, which was meant to act as a sort of backdoor pilot for The Flash. At some point, Barry is enlisted by the archer’s teammates to help save his life, and thus, Barry discovers that Oliver Queen was, in fact, the Arrow. So, it only makes sense that when Barry found out he had super speed, Oliver was one of the first people he told, and Ollie would then go on to train him in the art of crime-fighting.
Thanks to Arrow and The Flash‘s three crossover events, as well as the occasional cameo here and there, virtually everyone on Team Arrow knows that Barry Allen is the Flash, including Felicity Smoak, John Diggle (who still cannot fathom how fast Barry is), Laurel Lance, Curtis Holt, Rory Regan, Rene Ramirez, Roy Harper, and Thea Queen. Then there’s Malcolm Merlyn, who isn’t a member of Team Arrow, yet found out the Flash’s secret identity when the Scarlet Speedster went to Nanda Parbat to rescue Oliver and his friends.
Before moving to The CW, Supergirl aired on CBS, but fans wanted to see the Girl of Steel crossover with the Arrowverse, so the creative minds behind the scenes made it happen. National City’s hero may exist in a different universe, but that’s the beauty of comics — the multiverse opens up a slew of possibilities, and so Flash was able to travel into Kara Danvers’ universe and help her out with a villain or two.
Upon reaching her Earth in the episode “World’s Finest,” Barry revealed his secret identity almost immediately to Supergirl. Then he did the same with her friends and collaborators, Winn Schott and James Olsen. Later on, Supergirl took Flash to the Department of Extra-Normal Operations, where he revealed his identity to everyone there, including Lucy Lane. Interestingly, though, the one person who knows Barry is the Flash, yet wasn’t explicitly told is Cat Grant. She might be the only person to discern the Flash’s secret identity right off the bat. Then again, she didn’t become a world-renowned journalist without being attentive.
Leonard Snart may have been one of the Legends, but he knew Barry Allen was the Flash long before he set sail in the time stream, and so did Ray Palmer. Interestingly, though, Mick Rory didn’t find out who Flash was until the four-part “Invasion!” crossover event last year, when Barry revealed his secret identity to everyone at the S.T.A.R. Labs hangar, including Mick, Sara Lance, Amaya Jiwe, and Nate Heywood.
Among the Legends, Martin Stein is the only person to have worked with Team Flash before joining the crew of the Waverider. He did so after separating from Ronnie Raymond, the second-half of Firestorm. Later on, when Stein was dying, the team convinced Jefferson Jackson to replace Ronnie as Stein’s partner, thus saving the professor’s life.
Last season on Legends of Tomorrow, both Kendra Saunders and Carter Hall found out the Flash’s secret identity. Cisco dropped the ball and accidentally told Kendra who the Flash was, while Carter put two-and-two together when he saw the Flash unmasked in the Arrowcave. As for Rip Hunter, it’s never revealed when he finds out the Flash’s identity, though we can assume he knows it’s Barry judging by the message found aboard the Waverider.
What other characters know who the man behind the scarlet mask is? Let us know in the comments.