The Arrowverse is back in full swing, building up to a four-series crossover and starting to hint at each show's big bad of the year, looking forward to weddings, and generally having a lot of super-powered fun at the start of this new season. They are also killing it when it comes to female representation; or at least, three of the four are.
Supergirl, which has always been the most female-centric of the CW's universe, continues to put its female characters front and center. Beyond the superheros and villains, though, Supergirl has also been focusing on female friendships this season. Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Lena (Katie McGrath) continue to develop their relationship, while also bringing newcomer Samantha (Odette Annable) into the fold. Along with Kara's sister Alex (Chyler Leigh), they form a group that supports each other in a wonderful way. Legends of Tomorrow continues to add new female heroes to the team with Zari (Tala Ashe) bonding (slowly) with Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) while Sara (Caity Lotz) heads up the team as Captain. And The Flash pulled out all the stops in recent weeks to address the friendship between Iris (Candice Patton) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker). Finally, Joe's (Jesse L Martin) new fiancee Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) and Cisco's (Carlos Valdes) girlfriend Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) round out the women of Team Flash.
But where the rest of the Arrowverse is killing it, the one that spawned it all seems to be falling down. Arrow has fewer female main characters than ever, and no female friendships appear this season. What's gone wrong with the women of Arrow, and how can they get back on track?
Who Are The Women Of Arrow?
Although Arrow has had its fair share of female characters in the past, the current roster of main characters has only two: Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Dinah (Juliana Harkavy).
Felicity has been a part of Arrow from the beginning, although she started life as a secondary character who just happened to be really, really good with technology. Since then, Felicity has become an integral part of Team Arrow, even getting her own superhero name: Overwatch. She directs the team from the Arrow Cave, and uses her prodigious hacking skills to help them figure out how to take down their enemies. She's also the on-again, off-again love interest of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), currently on-again and happily helping him with his son. Of all the women in Arrow, Felicity is probably the one with the most screentime, and the best-developed character. We've seen some of her past, her personal and professional triumphs and tribulations, as well as her lowest points over the years.
Dinah, meanwhile, is a new addition to the team, and the latest incarnation of the Black Canary. She first appeared around the halfway point of season 5, a metahuman with a natural canary cry, and a police officer with a desire to do good. She joined Team Arrow after a while, and has since started to build a good working relationship with the team while working at the Star City Police Department. However, she's still something of a blank slate. Dinah's past has been explored a little, including how she got her powers, but her personality is still in need of a little more.
Where Did All The Women Go?
The current lack of female characters is, thankfully, something new for Arrow, which has previously featured a host of different female heroes and villains. However, the vast majority of female characters on Arrow have been slowly bumped off (or simply disappeared) over the past five seasons, bringing us to the current gender imbalance.
Thea Queen (Willa Holland) has been a big part of Arrow since season 1, with a journey through some very dark places, but the season 5 finale put her in a coma. That same finale killed off William's (Anna Hopkins), although she was never a big part of Arrow's story. Sara Lance left to go time-traveling with the Legends, and her sister Laurel (Katie Cassidy) was killed off in season 4. Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) had an interesting arc early on, but was murdered in season 2. Artemis (Madison McLaughlin) was revealed to be a traitor and left the team, Felicity's mother had brief relationship with Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) before that ended and she left, the Al-Ghul sisters have both come into play, but have left once more, and Katana (Rila Fukushima) is living a life of solitude somewhere. Over and over, great female characters appear on Arrow, but they just don't stick around.