The Flash: How Many People Learned Barry Allen Was The Flash In Season 1?


Secret identities are as old as comic book super heroes themselves. Not every costumed crimefighter has one, but in print, the ones that do tend to guard them pretty well. Or at the very least, they make every effort to avoid their civilian and heroic identities remain separate.

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In TV and movies, this isn’t as true. Marvel had Iron Man out himself to the world at the end of his first solo film, and both he and Captain America appear without their headgear so often, it makes you wonder why they even have helmets at all. There’s a practical reason for this — you don’t get Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans to star in your stories and then hide their faces completely for two hours — which makes it a little easier to understand.

That brings us to the super hero shows of The CW, where both the Arrow and the Flash ostensibly have secret identities for the most time-honored of reasons, which is to prevent the bad guys from striking at them through their loved ones. In practice, though, neither Oliver Queen nor Barry Allen has been particularly careful about safeguarding their secrets, and the result is that there are plenty of people who realize exactly how they spend their nights (okay, Barry does fight evil during the day, as well).

At least in Oliver’s case, it’s taken him three seasons for his cover to be blown. On The Flash, Barry was almost as quick about revealing he was the Fastest Man Alive as he was … well, being the Flash.

While it might take a spin back through all of the episodes this summer to make sure I didn’t forget anyone, here are all the people I could think of off the top of my head who learned Barry Allen was the Flash during Season 1.

Barry’s parents, Henry and Nora Allen

It was probably pretty important for Barry to tell his dad he was the Flash, seeing as his primary goal for most of Season 1 was to find his mother’s killer and clear his dad’s name. While that didn’t necessarily mean he needed to come clean with his father about gaining super-speed, but once it became clear the Reverse-Flash was the murderer and that Barry was actually present as an adult on that fateful night, it was going to come up at some point.

What’s amazing is that even though when the events of the series begin, Nora is already dead, she still managed to find out about Barry’s alter ego. Thank you time travel! Granted, it was a surprising and emotionally powerful scene, but it’s taking identity reveals to another level when the deceased are involved.

Barry’s surrogate family, Joe and Iris West

I’m guessing that if I was hit by a bolt of lightning that turned me into a speedster, I’d need someone to confide in too. Joe West was perhaps the most logical person for Barry to turn to, given that he essentially raised Barry as his own son.

Iris not knowing the truth was a major subplot for much of the season, but you just knew she was going to either figure it out on her own — aspiring investigative journalist and all — or Joe and Barry were going to break down and tell her. The funny part was that she finally confirmed it simply by walking into S.T.A.R. Labs when no one was expecting her, and when you think about it, that really could have happened at any time.

Speaking of the place where Barry spends a big chunk of his time …

Barry’s S.T.A.R. Labs pals, Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow

Again, this was an absolute necessity. A big theme of Season 1 of The Flash was that Barry’s success as a rookie super hero was a team effort, and it’s doubtful he would have triumphed against all the challenges he faced without the tech and moral backing of Cisco and Caitlin.

It’s also worth noting that Barry’s science buddies were there from the very beginning, so it’s not his “fault” that they knew. No choice in the matter.

Some of Barry’s greatest foes, Reverse-Flash and Captain Cold, plus a few other bad guys

What I just said about Cisco and Caitlin goes double for the Reverse-Flash. He’s from the future, guys, of course he knows that Barry is the Flash! That knowledge was a big part of his entire scheme to … turn Barry into the Flash. If you didn’t watch Season 1, that’s not going to make any sense to you.

As for Captain Cold, that was entirely Barry’s doing. He chose to unmask in front of Snart, not even knowing what we know about his unique honor code, which he’s kept as far as we know. Leonard wouldn’t even tell his sister, so the secret is ironically probably safer with him than with some people close to him.

There could be more as well. It’s reasonable to expect that since Grodd can get inside his mind, the gorilla knows it’s Barry Allen behind the mask. Everyman certainly knows the truth, as he was masquerading as Barry for a bit using his morphing powers. The Flash also intentionally unmasked in front of Girder, though he was killed off. That makes four, possibly five villains, and I’m probably missing someone.

Can’t forget General Eiling, who isn’t technically a villain, but also certainly isn’t a straight up good guy. Like Snart, he might protect Barry’s ID for his own purposes, at least.

Eddie Thawne and both halves of Firestorm (plus Professor Stein’s wife!)

In the end, it was pretty important for Eddie to find out Barry was the Flash, despite the complications it added to the Iris-centered love triangle. Not only was he leading an anti-Flash task force at one point, his heroic fate would not have been possible if the “good Thawne” wasn’t in on the secret. I’m not even sure we can call it that at this point, really, though Eddie isn’t telling anyone else where he is now.

Firestorm is really two men, Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein, and both of them are fully aware Barry is the Flash. Just for good measure, Stein’s wife also knows. Ah well, she seems like a nice lady.

Pretty much everyone on Arrow

Let’s run it down. Oliver Queen? He’s the one who named Barry the Flash, so yes. Fellow science lover Felicity Smoak? Naturally.

Team Arrow stalwarts John Diggle, Roy Harper and Laurel Lance? Check, check and check. Johnny come lately and wanna-be super hero Ray Palmer? Yep, he knows too. Even Malcolm Merlyn, who Barry calls a super villain, knows he’s the Flash thanks to the events of the Arrow Season 3 finale.

Just in case seven isn’t enough, I can’t remember if Thea Queen, Sara Lance, Lyla Diggle or Nyssa al Ghul ever found out or not, but it wouldn’t surprise me.


That’s 22 people and one gorilla who all found out about the worst-kept secret identity in recent memory over the course of 23 episodes, or an average of one per episode during Season 1 of The Flash. Some are no longer with us, and most of the others can be trusted not to spread the knowledge to anyone else, but man, that’s a poor job of protecting it by someone who wears a mask and can vibrate fast enough to obscure his features if he wants. Let’s hope Barry clamps down on things next season.

Next: More Flash: 5 big questions after the Season 1 finale

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