It seems like a lifetime ago that Oliver Queen began his solo crusade to save Starling City, but five seasons later, and things aren’t looking quite so lonely for the Green Arrow. Besides his own team of vigilantes, Oliver was soon joined by The Flash, Supergirl, and the Legends of Tomorrow, who each came together to form what we now know as the Arrowverse.
Over 12 collective seasons of television (not including Constantine and Vixen), they have all had a hand in saving the planet, the multiverse, the very foundation of time, and, uh… Oliver’s city. But in that time, there has been plenty of relationship drama along the way. It’s inevitable that four separate teams of superheroes would eventually begin to pair off, but the Arrowverse has had a tough time in finding the right partners for its major characters.
In fact, some of the best relationships in The CW’s shared universe haven’t lasted long enough to be included here. Cisco’s romantic arcs with Golden Glider and Gypsy still haven’t led to anything serious, while Sara and Captain Cold had an equally exciting chemistry over on Legends, before the latter sacrificed himself. We’re looking specifically at the various Arrowverse pairings that have been seen as legitimate couples, and ranking on which has the most chemistry, and the least distraction from the actual plot.
Here are the Major Relationships of the Arrowverse, Ranked.
16. Oliver & Felicity (Arrow)
There were hints all through Arrow’s second season that an Oliver/Felicity relationship might be where the show was heading, and in a world where these characters had any sort of shared interests, it might have been interesting to see where it went. Seasons three and four only rammed home the fact that these are two people who have nothing in common besides their good looks, and Arrow has built a fandom around two characters who have stunted the development of their own show.
Season five has rekindled “Olicity” in its later episodes, but only to highlight that both Oliver and Felicity consistently keep secrets from one another, apologize in a moment of near death, and then repeat exactly the same formula. It goes without saying that season two Felicity was a delight, but having a popular female character in close proximity to your male protagonist is no excuse to just throw them together.
15. Kara & Mon-El (Supergirl)
Supergirl has been involved in her fair share of relationship drama in her brief time as part of the Arrowverse. Early in season two, Kara broke things off with James Olsen before they had even started, and Mon-El was introduced as her principal love interest. The pairing continues to divide fans as the season draws to a close, but they do have something in common at the very least.
The problem is more that the show mistakes Mon-El’s sense of humor and charm for relationship material, when actually, he spends most of his time making things worse for Kara’s alter ego. Kara herself has done nothing all season but outline how wrong they are for one another, and while their little disputes are clearly supposed to come off as endearing, it’s factually hard to disagree with her. Rather than stay true to why she broke up with James in the first place, she has simply replaced him with a less interesting character.
14. Wally & Jesse (The Flash)
There’s nothing offensive about Wally West’s relationship with Jesse Quick, but it’s a relationship that just doesn’t need to exist. Sure, they have the shared experiences of gaining super speed and protecting their various Earths as superheroes, which is more than you can say for some of the other entries on this list, but what have they offered the Arrowverse as a couple?
Besides not having to pay Keiynan Lonsdale for an episode when he conveniently disappears off to Earth-2 (or Earth-3, where Jesse has replaced Jay for no good reason and presumably left her own Earth in ruins), the answer is not much at all. Their development was just fine (if a little rushed), their back-and-forth is okay, and their screen time just distracts from the actual plot. Maybe their relationship will go somewhere over time, but we’re not leaping for joy at the prospect.
13. Iris & Eddie (The Flash)
To the casual viewer, Eddie was never anything but a roadblock for Barry to overcome in his infinite pursuit of Iris, but any DC character with the surname Thawne is generally considered to be bad news. All through season one, there was a fair amount of intrigue as to how Iris’s relationship with Eddie was going to pan out, and it eventually allowed for the most shocking moment in the show’s run.
All that aside, it was difficult to get attached to Eddie and Iris when their relationship was highly unlikely to survive the first season. We’re not entirely sure Eddie’s sacrifice was worth the time spent with Barry as he longingly watched the love of his life settle for another man, and Barry’s interference only relegated Eddie to “typical jealous boyfriend” stereotype, while Iris became the object of a love triangle.
12. Roy & Thea (Arrow)
Without knowing anything about comic book Roy Harper, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he was introduced as nothing more than a setback for Thea. Just as Thea seemed to be getting her life back on track following her brother’s return to life, along came a vigilante-obsessed delinquent who was never going to be anything but a love interest character.
But as the characters developed, it became more and more clear that Roy was changing things for the better. Their relationship became the one constant in the havoc of Arrow’s middle seasons, as they learned together what it meant to be a hero. When Thea was stuck in the Glades in the season one finale, and when Roy turned to the dark side in season two, their relationship had become strong enough to overcome anything.
11. Caitlin & Ronnie (The Flash)
Out of all the characters in the Arrowverse, Caitlin has had the absolute worst luck when it comes to her love life. She lost the love of her life twice in a year, her season two romance happened to be with a supervillain, and just as things were starting to move forward with Julian, she straight-up died, only to be reborn as a villain herself. We hope Caitlin and Julian’s dynamic does eventually turn into a real relationship, because no character deserves it more.
We didn’t get to see much of Caitlin and Ronnie together, what with Ronnie being presumed dead through most of season one, but when they were briefly reunited, no relationship had felt more hard-earned. It’s clear what they meant to each other in just a few scenes together, and their improvised wedding was the one happy moment in a super dark season finale.
10. Oliver & Laurel (Arrow)
The original Arrowverse couple, Oliver and Laurel seemed to be a sure thing from the pilot episode of Arrow, but the first season in particular was rife with missteps both in front of the camera and behind it. Oliver had not only cheated on Laurel with her sister, but was directly responsible for Sara’s (apparent) death, and so things weren’t exactly set up for a heartfelt reunion.
Add in the fact that the show quite clearly didn’t know what to do with Laurel in season one, and it becomes clear (through no fault of Katie Cassidy’s) why she didn’t quite hit with fans.
Laurel came into her own in later seasons, with Sara returned from the dead, but Arrow had already marked her for a premature death. Through flashbacks and hallucinations, we have seen glimpses of what Oliver and Laurel could have been, if only she had been handled fairly, and it’s just a shame that the show couldn’t bring that dynamic to the early seasons.
9. Barry & Patty (The Flash)
With Iris on the backburner for the time being, Patty Spivot was introduced as a temporary love interest to Barry, but the sentiment backfired somewhat. In casting Shantel VanSanten, Barry and Patty became an instant hit, and a certain section of fans are still calling for her return over a year since she left Central City.
On another show, Barry and Patty would realistically have put all other relationships to shame, because you’d have to go a long way to find two people more perfectly matched. Patty was just as bright, just as driven by a sense of justice, and possibly even more awkward than Barry.
Barry and Iris have a history and longevity that is tough to top, but Patty came close in such a short space of time. Rather than being there simply to fill the void left by Iris, she actually had a significant arc of her own, and the show might have benefitted from keeping her around, even if not as a love interest.
8. Nate & Amaya (Legends of Tomorrow)
The show has been running for two full seasons, but Legends of Tomorrow is surprisingly short on successful romantic arcs. The Hawks’ relationship was unnecessarily interrupted by Ray in season one, while Sara and Snart never had the chance to really get going. That leaves Nate and Amaya, better known as Steel and Vixen, as Legends’ sole representative on this list.
By contrast to the previous entry, Nata and Amaya have almost nothing in common, which actually works in their favor on a show that often relies more on its inter-team banter than its plot. But as Nate tries to catch Amaya up on the classic movies of the past, a genuinely interesting plot thread is developing between the pair.
Eventually, Amaya has to leave the team and start a family, so that her granddaughter can wear her mantle in the present, but her loyalty to Nate threatens to disrupt the timeline they are trying to protect. Hopefully season three can answer our questions without ruining Legends’ best ever pairing.
7. Oliver & Shado (Arrow)
Oliver’s relationships over the years have drawn criticism for the simple fact that he seems to end up with every woman he meets, with throwaway names like McKenna Hall, Isabel Rochev, and Susan Williams coming to mind, but his Lian Yu romance with Shado is a definite exception.
After Oliver lost his mentor and Shado her father, their coming together over his legacy made sense, and the relationship itself was the driving force behind Slade Wilson’s transformation into Deathstroke, which made for a full season of Arrow at its absolute best. Even after she was killed, Shado’s influence on Oliver as a man and as an archer is still relevant in present day season two, and their dynamic was a huge factor in the one-time success of the flashbacks.
6. Ray & Felicity (Arrow)
It’s easy to forget that Ray Palmer made his CW debut on Arrow, mostly because fans have actively tried to block the show’s third season from their minds. Long before he became a Legend, Ray was introduced as a potential adversary to Oliver, before Felicity made him see the error of his ways. That right there is proof that there was more to Ray and Felicity than a mutual love for all things nerd.
After the death of his fiancée, Felicity was the turning point in Ray’s life, while Ray was open with Felicity in a way Oliver has never been. It’s a genuine shame that Ray couldn’t stick around, because he and Felicity are more entertaining together in their brief crossover scenes than Oliver and Felicity have been for three whole seasons.
5. Barry & Iris (The Flash)
Barry Allen and Iris West make up one of the most iconic relationships in DC Comics, but even they aren’t exempt from criticism when it comes to The CW. There’s definitely a case to be made about how hard the writers pushed their brother/sister dynamic in season one.
To give the writers their credit, it was made clear very early on that Barry and Iris would find each other in any timeline or on any Earth, and the brief distractions of Eddie and Patty were only ever going to be brief. This has allowed three seasons’ worth of growth for the characters, who are separately just as likable as ever, despite the endless relationship drama that has plagued the other shows.
Ultimately, Barry and Iris are looking more comfortable together as each episode goes by, and the endless possibilities of The Flash should mean that it only gets more exciting. As long as they don’t break up again just to keep people watching.
4. Oliver & Helena (Arrow)
Some of season one’s best episodes revolve around the Huntress, which says a lot considering the consistent high quality of Arrow’s early days. Oliver’s first instinct is to recruit his new girlfriend to his cause, but as she descends further into villainy, she represents a huge learning curve in how Oliver balances his personal and private lives.
In training her, Oliver gives her the tools she needs to kill her father, and his hesitancy at letting others join Team Arrow as a direct result makes it that bit more special when Felicity, Roy, Thea and Laurel are eventually introduced to the Arrow Cave.
Not only is Helena a great character in her own right, who might have been a perfect match for Oliver if not for her own crusade, but her effect on Oliver tells us more about his character than we could ever have worked out on our own.
3. Alex & Maggie (Supergirl)
Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer are a rare example of when putting two popular and interesting characters together actually works. The duo broke new ground for LBGTQ representation in becoming the Arrowverse’s first lesbian couple, but more important in the context of the series is the fact that both actors have actual chemistry.
For the most part, “Sanvers” has also given a lot to its show, with Alex’s coming out and Maggie’s guiding her through it acting as arguably the most impactful recurring plot thread through Supergirl’s second season. On the flip side, their individual character moments are shelved in favor of developing the relationship just a little too often, and here’s hoping that Supergirl can find the right balance between Alex and Maggie as separate characters, and Alex and Maggie together in the future.
2. Diggle & Lyla (Arrow)
Diggle is a main character on Arrow; the second-billed name on in the credits and one of the show’s three main faces, but his relationship with Lyla is secondary to Team Arrow’s crusade. The married couple putter along in the background raising their son (formerly daughter – looking at you, Barry Allen), and it’s a breath of fresh air on a show that takes so much pride in ripping happy couples apart.
On the few occasions that they have fallen out, it is resolved quickly in light of their bigger problems, and the rest of the Arrowverse should take tips from Mr. and Mrs. Diggle on how to sustain a healthy relationship.
In fact, their most recent dispute may have cost them the top spot on this list. Diggle (Team Arrow) and Lyla (A.R.G.U.S.) decided on the spot that they don’t like being lied to, which was a side story we didn’t need amid the havoc of the season run-in, and especially when Diggle and Lyla are the relationship that the Arrowverse so desperately needs to fall back on.
1. Oliver & Sara (Arrow)
Oliver and Sara were always going to be a throwaway relationship, but if only the showrunners had opened their eyes to what was actually going on, it might well have stuck. Of Oliver’s several love interests up until this point, Sara not only ticks all the boxes left unticked by the rest, she and Oliver have more in common than just about anyone over all four shows.
Oliver never had to worry about keeping things from Sara like he did Felicity and Laurel, because he and Sara had lived basically the same life from the moment the Queen’s Gambit capsized. There’s more to any relationship than shared experiences, but both know exactly what the other is capable of and what they have been through.
Their dynamic better suits the comic book relationship between Green Arrow and Black Canary (even if Sara was never technically the Black Canary), which is evident even in the latest crossovers, but the show was determined to run with soap opera drama over anything close to fun. Shado only died because Oliver chose Sara, and if Arrow had made the same choice, the last two seasons might have turned out very differently.
Disagree with our list? Let us know why you love Oliver and Felicity in the comments! Seriously, we’d like to know.