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The Flash has introduced many mysteries in Season 5 thus far, but it hasn't revealed much about one character many fans are talking about. What's going on with Joe West? The character has been seen sitting through most of the early episodes this season, and was just recently seen leaning up against a doorway in "News Flash." Now The Flash has laid all speculation to rest by explaining Jesse L. Martin injured himself and will be temporarily leaving the show for medical reasons.
Apparently, The Flash has been making sure Joe West doesn't have to move a lot due to a back injury Jesse L. Martin suffered over the hiatus. A studio rep explained that the injury will keep Martin off of The Flash, but did not say how long or when he'll disappear. There was also no explicit confirmation by the rep to TVLine that The Flash would address why Joe would be absent, although it is being reported it will be mentioned.
It'd be ideal if The Flash addresses Joe West's absence, rather than just have him disappear for an undisclosed amount of time. Jesse L. Martin has been such a presence in past seasons that fans were quick to pick up on the fact something was up when he was just seated through many of his Season 5 scenes. Removing him completely will definitely have an impact on the drama, but hopefully it will be what Martin needs to better heal.
If The Flash does explain Jesse L. Martin's absence, it will be interesting to see what leads to his exit, however temporary. Joe could say he's leaving Central City with his family until things die down. The Flash could also just get meta and have Detective Joe West suffer from the same back injury Jesse L. Martin has. Either would put him out of commission and allow Martin to relax while the rest of The Flash cast presses on filming Season 5.
If ever there was a time for Jesse L. Martin to get fewer scenes in The Flash, Season 5 would probably be it. Between Iris and Barry dealing with Nora, Cisco being sad, Caitlin trying to figure out if her father is alive, and Ralph and Sherloque Wells tracking down Cicada, there's a lot to cover. Joe's second round of fatherhood is cool and all, but I think it's safe to surmise fans want to spend more time on the aforementioned things than that.
It's also worth mentioning we don't know how many episodes Jesse L. Martin filmed before taking medical leave. The Flash could have 2-3 more scenes of West strategically positioned for maximum comfort and pretending everything is fine and he's always been a fan of sitting. Even if he is going away, at least fans can lay to rest any theories that Joe was secretly a villain in disguise who wasn't great at standing.
The Flash will roll on while Jesse L. Martin is on the mend, as Season 5 airs on The CW Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. For a look at the other television shows popping up over the next couple of months, be sure to visit our handy fall premiere guide.