‘The Flash’: Showrunner Opens Up About the Fate of Joe West

In The Flash Season 6, the storyline has amped up the drama and raised the stakes due, in part, to an uncharacteristically fragmented Team Flash. Cisco, Caitlin, and Ralph have each taken leave on separate occasions for one reason or another, leaving the core group to fight at less than full strength. Now, Joe West, who has been Barry’s surrogate father since before he became The Flash, is away in the witness protection program. Fans may worry that Joe is gone for good. But, Eric Wallace, the showrunner for The Flash, has opened up about Joe’s planned return.

Jesse L. Martin
Jesse L. Martin | Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Previously on ‘The Flash,’ Joe took off

In the back half of The Flash Season 6, Joe began his relentless pursuit of a dangerous criminal organization called Black Hole, and its ruthless shot-caller, Joseph Carver. In Season 6, Episode 16, “So Long and Goodnight,” Carver decided to retaliate. He ordered hired gun, and fan-favorite metahuman, Rag Doll, to eliminate Joe.

The villain nearly succeeded in fatally harming both Joe and the mother of his child, Cecile. In desperation to keep his family safe, Joe hightailed it to parts unknown as a part of the witness protection program. Joe has been separated from his friends and loved ones ever since.

Barry visited Joe when he discovered Iris was in danger

In the episode after Joe’s departure, “Liberation,” Team Flash had to deal with some major bombshells. Most notably, Barry discovered that Iris had been trapped inside the Mirrorverse for months while her duplicate was doing Eva’s bidding in the real world.

In The Flash Season 6 Episode 18, “Pay the Piper,” Barry visited Joe to break the news that his daughter was missing. Joe recalled Wally’s intuition that something was off with Iris, and he also admitted that he perceived her behavior toward Barry as cold. But never did he imagine that she had been replaced by an impostor created by the Mirror Master.

Surprisingly, after Joe and Barry’s brief heart-to-heart, Barry returned to STAR Labs without Joe to attack the problem at hand. It remains to be seen how long Joe will be away. But, based on what showrunner, Wallace, has revealed, Joe’s homecoming is in the foreseeable future.

‘The Flash’ showrunner teased Joe’s return

Wallace recently spoke to CBR about Joe and the actor who portrays him, Jessie L. Martin. The outlet quoted the showrunner as saying this:

“Don’t worry! Joe is gonna be back. He did not leave the show permanently. We love Jessie [L. Martin]. In fact, one of my favorite Jesse moments is coming up in a couple of episodes from now. But don’t worry, Jesse will be back.”

Joe is not the only character to be conspicuously absent during crucial turning points in the storyline. Cisco left shortly after Crisis on Infinite Earths to complete his metahuman cataloging project. Ralph’s day job as a private investigator pulls him away, seemingly more frequently now that he is on the trail of Sue Dearbon. And Caitlin, aka Frost, tends to come and go from STAR Labs with little or no explanation until now. When speaking with CBR, Wallace revealed the approach he has taken in season 6. He said this:

What we do on the show a lot, is we’re a six-season show going into our seventh season. So, we have eight series regulars. That’s a lot to feed, narratively speaking. Plus, those people have been working for six years really hard. One of the things that I wanted to do and institute in season 6, when I came in, was use what I call the Star Trek: [The Next Generation] model. Sometimes it’s Riker’s episode, and so he shines, but maybe Worf isn’t even in it. Or sometimes, it’s a Worf episode and there’s not much Troy going on or not much Dr. Crusher. Then sometimes it’s all Dr. Crusher or it’s all Troy. It doesn’t mean those other characters are gone! It just means, quite frankly, a hardworking actor is getting some well-earned rest that allows us, when they do come back, to really focus in on their story.

Eric Wallace to CBR

Read more: ‘The Flash’ Season 6 Finale Preview: Carver Gives Barry a Bitter Pill