An Off-Screen Death in 'The Flash' Leaves Fans Reeling

Things are really speeding up in 'The Flash' with the death of a beloved character. How did Joe die in 'The Flash,' and is he gone for good?

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Dec. 1 2021, Published 8:50 a.m. ET

Joe West in 'The Flash'
Source: CW

One would think that a mega, five-episode crossover event featuring team Flash, Black Lightning's Jefferson Pierce, and Supergirl's Alex Danvers all banding together to fight Despero (Tony Curran) would be intense enough. Unfortunately, not everyone has made it out of what is being called Armageddon.

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The battle between good and evil rages on, with one unfortunate casualty. Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), foster father to The Flash, has died. How did Joe die in The Flash? Will we see him again?

Barry and Joe in 'The Flash'
Source: CW
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How did Joe did in 'The Flash'?

Like everyone, we noticed the suspicious absence of Detective Joe West from the Season 8 premiere of The Flash. Joe has been part of the show since the beginning, so not seeing him kick off such an important event felt very strange. Sadly, it was quickly revealed in Episode 2 that Joe is dead, but wait! There is a twist.

First, let's back up a bit before this all starts to feel very Back to the Future II. In the Season 8 premiere, Barry Allen aka The Flash (Grant Gustin), was told by Despero that The Flash would destroy the world. We don't know how, but a five-episode story arc called Armageddon doesn't sound promising. Turns out this is somewhat related to the death of Joe.

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Evidently, a deeply traumatic event cracks Barry's mind wide open, and what's more traumatic than losing a father figure? Joe's death drives Barry insane, which is where the twist comes in. Barry doesn't remember that Joe died six months ago, something we as an audience are also not privy to. That's not the last of the twists, though. Everyone else but Barry remembers Joe's death. This is wild. What is going on?

The Flash and Despero on 'The Flash'
Source: CW
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Is Joe gone forever?

We don't believe this is the last we'll see of Joe, and we're not just referring to flash ... backs (get it?). First of all, Jesse L. Martin was re-upped as a series regular for Season 8. It wouldn't make any sense to kill him off between seasons. Secondly, we're not entirely sure Despero is the only villain of Season 8.

Source: The CW
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We're being led to believe that Barry has lost his mind, but what if Barry is being set up? Perhaps Joe's death is the work of Eobard Thawne, aka the Reverse Flash (Tom Cavanagh), whom we know is returning this season. Reverse Flash can manipulate time, which suggests that he might have messed with time to hurt Barry. This could explain the death of Joe.

There is no way to know at what point in time Joe's death occurred, and whether or not that too can be manipulated. Sadly, we've already seen how much trouble The Flash has with changing history, but the show will undoubtedly find a loophole because Joe has to return.

Time travel as an form is so tricky and difficult to handle in any show or movie, but we're confident Joe will be back. Hey, at the end of the day, he's contractually obligated to! Time can't mess with that.

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on the CW.

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