Joe West Returns to ‘The Flash’: Why Was Jesse L. Martin Gone So Long?

The CW

Tonight, you might notice that fan favorite Joe West is finally back on The Flash for Season 5 Episode 15, the big King Shark vs. Gorilla Grodd episode. But why was Jesse L. Martin gone so long?

Joe West’s absence has been pretty apparent lately. When Nora West wanted to learn more about her past, she had to chat with Cecille rather than Joe. When Iris needed help, she went to Cecille. When Nora West was severely injured, Barry told Cecille not to call Joe and tell him to come. That was all out of character for someone as protective as Joe West.

The show’s storyline is that Joe West was gone because of the threat from Cicada. He left town with his new baby so the baby wouldn’t be hurt. Of course, alert fans knew this wasn’t really in Joe’s character. And before Jesse L. Martin’s last day on the show, fans noticed that something seemed off. He was rarely standing in any of his scenes, and it started to become very noticeable.

Well, it turns out that Jesse L. Martin was gone all this time because he injured his back during hiatus. He needed time off to recover. In a statement to EW, the studio said: “Jesse Martin is taking a medical leave of absence from The Flash. We wish him a full and speedy recovery and look forward to his return as Detective Joe West.”

They didn’t elaborate on what he did to his back, but it must’ve been pretty bad for him to be gone this long. He last appeared in episode 4 of The Flash this season.

We first learned he was returning when Danielle Nicolet shared an Instagram post including Martin, where he looked happy and healthy.

Fox released a few photos of Martin’s return tonight:



Tonight’s episode is the big Grodd vs. King Shark showdown. The synopsis reads: “THE ULTIMATE SHOWDOWN — When Gorilla Grodd (voiced by David Sobolov) attacks Central City, Barry (Grant Gustin) and Team Flash find themselves teaming up with an unexpected ally to defeat — King Shark (voiced by David Hayter). However, when they hit a snag, they bring in Dr. Tanya Lamden (guest star Zibby Allen) to try to reach the man behind the shark, Shay Lamden (guest star Dan Payne).”

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