WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for The Flash Season 4, Episode 3
The Flash may be the show's hero, but the latest pregnancy twist belongs to his father: Joe West is going to be a daddy... again. After raising his daughter by himself, adopting Barry Allen as his own son, and adding an estranged third child to the West family, Joe and Cecile apparently have another baby on the way. That's the bombshell the makers of The CW series dropped on the entire Flash audience in the latest episode's final moments, growing the size of the West AND Arrowverse family by one... and raising the stakes for this season much, much higher.
It's not the first time that a sudden injection of a surprise child adds a dose of drama and intrigue to an Arrowverse show, with Oliver Queen's long-lost son introduced in just Arrow's second season. Becoming a father changed the Green Arrow forever, but Joe West has been down this road before.
Which means the real question now facing fans of The Flash is: how will becoming an uncle and guardian angel to an unborn West baby change Barry Allen's mission?
Did It Happen in The Comics?
We would like to say that knowing the history of DC Comics and West Family lore, the child yet to be produced by Joe West and Cecile Horton has their fate laid out for them. But the truth is... we're in uncharted territory. From the very beginning, it was clear the writers of The Flash were breaking with the canon for the sake of their own story, introducing 'Detective Joe West,' father to Iris West, and adoptive father to Barry Allen. That's all an original invention for The CW series, where Iris West's parents played a small, largely secondary role (specifically in the life of her grandson, Bart Allen). The same goes for Barry Allen's other adopted sibling Wally West: originally introduced as the son of Iris's brother... who doesn't exist in the Arrowverse at all. Cecile Horton also played an attorney in the comics, but her story never extended any further. So, what can fans expect?
While there may not be any literal parallel to draw between Barry's soon-to-be niece or nephew and one in the DC Universe, it still fits with the overall spirit of The Flash as a legacy, not a single hero. In the realm of DC, it's the family dynamic of speedsters and the Allen family in general that sets 'The Flash Family' apart. There was Barry and Jay Garrick who first forged a brotherly bond across realities, before Wally West took Barry as a father figure and mentor (and Jay an uncle of sorts) of his own. Then came Bart Allen, Barry's grandson, raised by Jay - with Joan Garrick, Iris Allen, and Linda Park keeping their husbands in line every step of the way.
Those father and brother-ly bonds have been lifted for The Flash TV show in spirit, if not in specifics. Will Joe and Cecile name their son 'Bart' as a tribute to the son who has saved their lives countless times in his superhero alter ego? And if Barry Allen has already seen the future, could that child's future as Impulse be alluded to for fans? Expect every details to be heavily scrutinized for hints from here on out.
Immediately, the news of a pregnancy for Cecile and Joe will be a double-edged sword. Sure, they'll share in the same kind of bliss and new beginning of Barry and Iris's promised wedding... but it has to be salt in the wound for the newly-single Wally. He'll likely get over it (or be absent from the show, so it won't actually matter) but before we even get into the superhero stakes of the West on the way, there's the emotional upheaval. After all, Iris and Joe have been through a lot in the past few seasons, so it's hard to imagine that the news of another child - especially so long after his previous kids, and not long after adding an adult son - will be taken lightly by Iris. The showrunners have actually kept away from exploring any relationship between Iris and Cecile, so hopefully this unexpected announcement will be a first step.
Of course, there's also the danger and potential supervillain risk to pregnancy to be immediately concerned with. Honestly, in a town as riddled with metahuman crime and catastrophe as Central City, a district attorney having a child to worry about would be enough. But add the fact that Cecile is living with one of the CCPD's top detectives, whose son is the very superhero those villains are trying to harm... let's just say this pregnancy will probably give Joe more grey hairs than his first time around. We obviously hope that the impact of Cecile and Joe's new bundle of joy will be focused on emotion, family, and broader stakes for the future of their city and world. And, just as obviously, look forward to celebrating another member of The CW's Flash family.
But as superhero stories in general, and The CW's Arrowverse in particular have shown, having a baby to worry about is almost always a recipe for disaster and heartbreak. Our advice? Tread lightly, Flash writers.