13 Arrowverse Storylines That Hurt The Shows (And 12 That Saved Them)

Arrow Evil Oliver League Assassins

For consistency and quantity in superhero entertainment, it’s hard to top The CW’s Arrowverse. Since launching with Arrow in 2012, the Arrowverse has been much like the comics on which its based.

There’s been home to a bevy of unbelievable exciting plots, there’s been countless heroes and villains duking it out, and there’s been the highest highs and the lowest lows in terms of story decisions.

While the overall picture of the Arrowverse is one of harmless and fun superhero entertainment, not every storyline has been a winner. For every great good vs. evil tale, there’s a story in the Arrowverse where no character acts smartly, or even like themselves.

A tightly written Arrowverse story can grab the audience’s interest and never let go. Meanwhile, a bad one can damage a series (or the universe) for years to come.

This list is an examination of both sides of the Arrowverse spectrum. This is about the stories that worked and turned the Arrowverse shows into everything they could be, reaching their full potential.

It’s also about the stories that did the exact opposite. The ones that, no matter how you slice it, were just a mistake.

Most interestingly, these good and bad Arrowverse stories are often two sides of the same story coin. A great Arrowverse story can often make up for the mistakes of a previous failed one.

So here are the 13 Arrowverse Storylines That Hurt The Shows (And 12 That Saved Them)!

25 Hurt: The Never-Ending Parade of Canaries – Arrow

Arrow Dinah Drake Black Canary Using Canary Cry Juliana Harkavy

Sara Lance is a fantastic character but she's the first in long line of weird decisions for Arrow. Sara started life as the other woman.

The sister of Oliver’s long-time girlfriend, Laurel Lance, Oliver cheated on Laurel with Sara and seemingly got Sara's life taken away from her in the Arrow pilot.

In season 2, it was revealed that Sara was alive and that she had passed away far later than the audience realized. Sara became the Canary and was Oliver’s first real superhero partner.

In Arrow season 3, Sara passed away (for real this time) and Laurel took over the mantle becoming the Black Canary. Doubling down on the tragedy, at the end of Arrow season 4, Laurel passed away at the hands of Damien Darhk.

Things got even more complicated in Arrow season 5  when Laurel’s replacement, Dinah Drake, was found and the Earth-2 Laurel Lance, Black Siren, crossed over to Oliver’s world.

In other words, in six seasons of Arrow there’s been three Canaries, four if you count Black Siren.

This isn’t a condemnation of all the Canaries or their characters. Sara Lance is one of the best Arrowverse characters, period.

The never-ending cycle of Canaries has just severely diminished the characters’ presence on Arrow.

Arrow pays lip service to the idea that Black Canary is important but not enough to give her the starring role she should have on Team Arrow.

24 Saved: Jennifer Rejecting Her Powers – Black Lightning

Black Lightning isn’t (technically) part of the Arrowverse. There’s every indication that Black Lightning takes place in its own universe with its own heroes and villains.

Even if Black Lightning never crossovers with any other superhero series, though, it can still be viewed as a part of the same multiverse. There’s undeniable similarities between Black Lightning and the Arrowverse shows, from themes to tone.

In Black Lightning’s stellar first season, the show did a lot of things right.

One of the smartest moves was having Jefferson Pierce’s daughter, Jennifer, discover her powers towards the end of the season… and reject them.

Jennifer is far from the first character to suddenly learn they have superpowers, not just in the Arrowverse, but in any show.

It happens so often that there’s a basic pattern set in place. The character with the powers is surprised by them, tries to hide them, and then once the secret is out, immediately embraces it.

Jennifer subverted expectations at every turn. She not only immediately told her family about her powers, but she also then decided that she had no desire to risk her life and become a superhero.

Jennifer’s fear and rejection of her powers made the character tremendously relatable and added something fresh and exciting to the basic superhero trope.

23 Hurt: James Olsen Becomes Guardian – Supergirl

Supergirl James Olsen Guardian Cadmus

There’s been no Supergirl character that’s been more adrift than James Olsen. Based on Superman’s dorky best friend from the comics, Jimmy Olsen,  Supergirl went in a different direction that usual for James.

James isn’t remotely nerdy or dork in any way. Instead of being a redheaded Superman fanboy, Supergirl made James into a 6-foot-tall hunk.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with changing Jimmy into James. The issue was that in so radically changing James’ character Supergirl didn’t know what to do with him besides making him Kara’s heartthrob love interest.

When that didn’t work, as Kara and James had no chemistry, Supergirl pivoted and turned James into the superhero Guardian.

Though not as mainstream as Cyborg, Guardian is one of DC’s biggest African-American heroes. He deserved a spot in the Arrowverse. However, once again the issue wasn’t that Supergirl made James into Guardian. It’s how they did it.

James (and Supergirl) stupidly tried to keep his hero identity a secret from Kara making James’ big transformation into a barely a D-plot of the season.

Rather the fix the problem of James’ lack of story, Guardian just reinforced how little he mattered to the series. James turning into his own superhero had no impact to anything going on with Kara.

Supergirl barely even focused on the interesting angle of the evolution. This was Superman’s sidekick being inspired to become his own savior. Yet none of that came across.

22 Saved: Slade Wilson’s Revenge – Arrow

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen and Manu-Bennett as Slade Wilson on Arrow

Arrow season 1 has its fans but when the show (and universe) really began to kick into high gear was season 2. Arrow season 2 is the year that started to morph the series from a singular show to an interconnected universe with the introduction of Barry Allen as The Flash.

Yet, even more importantly, Arrow season 2 told the story of Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, and his campaign of revenge against Oliver Queen.

Arrow season 1’s main villain, Malcolm Merlyn, was great but he revealed himself to Oliver a little too late in the game. In addition, Malcolm quickly became more of an antihero than a villain.

Deathstroke, on the other hand, was brutal, vicious, and the baddest of news.

Slade raised Arrow to a whole new level of quality. Deathstroke turned Arrow into a much more tense, exciting, and at times, even more emotional show.

There are many reasons that many Arrow fans consider season 2 the pinnacle of the series. The showdown between Slade and Oliver is at the top of the list.

Whether Arrow season 2 is the best season of the show is a matter of personal taste.

However, what can’t be denied, is that that creatively the show was firing on all cylinders. Arrow took everything that had been built up throughout the first season and poured into season 2.

21 Hurt: Oliver Joins the League of Assassins – Arrow

Arrow Evil Oliver League Assassins

Sadly, Arrow went directly from the highest highs to, if not, the lowest lows, then something that was pretty damn close.

Arrow season 3 was an uneven and disappointing follow-up to season 2. This is mainly due to Arrow season 3’s main plot, which saw Oliver come up against Ra’s al Ghul and eventually join the League of Assassins.

On paper, the idea sounded alright. The introduction of Ra’s al Ghul wasn’t as well planned as Slade Wilson’s turn to villainy but Arrow did attempt to make it way.

Throughout Arrow season 1 and 2, hints and clues leading to Ra’s and the League’s existence were dropped. Yet outside of his stellar second episode, where Ra's engaged in a duel with Oliver (and stabbed him), the leader was completely underwhelming.

Ra’s never seemed like an ageless and wise teacher of a League that was centuries old. He was just a thug whose hair, for whatever reason, seemed perpetually damp.

Every scene with Ra’s fell flat.

Things got even worse when Oliver was forced to join the League. Arrow tried so very hard to convince the audience that the status quo was changing forever and Oliver would be the new Ra’s al Ghul.

All of it fell on deaf ears. The twist never seemed permanent, and the master plan of Ra’s was lifted directly from Batman Begins, as he tried to destroy Oliver’s hometown.

20 Saved: Alex’s Coming Out – Supergirl

Supergirl Mr & Mrs Mxyzptlk Alex Maggie Valentine's

Before Supergirl season 2 began, it was announced that one major character would be coming out. The revelation was something the show wanted to do in season 1 but they never managed to find the time.

Quickly into the second year of Supergirl, it became clear that this character would be none other than Kara’s sister, Alex.

Besides the fact that Alex never had a serious relationship in season 1, there wasn’t too much to set up Alex’s coming out. Yet Supergirl still managed to do it perfectly.

Alex realizing that she was gay and developing feelings for new character, Maggie Sawyer, Alex's self-discovery became one of the most realistic and interesting coming out stories in recent TV memory.

Supergirl managed to explore the obstacles and difficulties of Alex coming out without falling back on old tropes.

No one close to Alex struggled to accept her orientation, and Alex didn't become rude and angry to cover up her feelings. Those are real issues that hadn't been explored at length on TV. Chyler Leigh played Alex’s confusion and excitement over her feelings perfectly.

The character was always an important part of Supergirl, but the coming out story gave Alex her own story and identity. After coming out Supergirl was able to tell stories with Alex that were just as personal , but had nothing to do with her orientation.

19 Hurt: Iris Not Knowing Barry’s Secret Identity – The Flash


Superhero secret identities suck. They certainly serve a purpose, though. No hero wants their villains to learn about their personal lives. Trying to keep that identity secret can add a new level of tension to certain stories.

The reason why secret identities can be such a drag, especially in the Arrowverse, is that the heroes will keep up the charade even with people that should know the truth.

The Flash season 1 is, by far, the best year of the speedster’s show. Yet throughout the entire first year, The Flash stuck to the ridiculous story conceit that Iris West couldn’t know that Barry Allen was The Flash.

Iris was kept in the dark about Barry’s costumed activities so that she could be “protected.” This was despite the fact that not knowing The Flash’s identity, and wanting to, put Iris in danger over and over again.

Barry would’ve saved himself and Iris a whole lot of trouble if he just told her the truth from the start.

Yet The Flash thought it would be more dramatically interesting to keep the two worlds separate. It wasn’t even close. The charade was exhausting and mildly cruel to Iris.

Keeping Iris out of the loop, especially where nearly every other character including some villains found out, just made her feel tertiary.

Iris didn’t feel as important as she should because she wasn’t involved in the bulk of the story. Thankfully, Iris learned the truth before season 1 ended but even that was too late.

18 Saved: Iris Becomes Team Flash Leader – The Flash

The malicious thing about keeping Iris out of The Flash secret for so long is that it took years for her character to recover.

Since Iris was the last person to know that Barry was The Flash, she felt like an outsider to Team Flash for far too long. She was interloper when she should’ve been a founding member, being Barry’s best friend and future wife.

When Barry ended up being imprisoned in the Speed Force in the season 3 finale and left Iris behind, the show did something very smart.

Iris became the leader of Team Flash and it finally clicked.

It is a little ridiculous that Iris, a blogger, is qualified to be the leader of a group of super geniuses and superheroes. However, logic can be applied to anything on The Flash and come back wanting. Barry’s superspeed alone is unbelievable.

The bottom line is that Iris as team leader just works for the character and the group dynamic.

Iris begin the team leader integrates her perfectly into the main thrust of the show. Even though she doesn’t have the résumé, Iris’ forceful but friendly personality is the correct type of leader to corral the many personalities of Team Flash.

17 Hurt: Lena Luthor Being Kept in the Dark – Supergirl

Melissa Benoist and Katie McGrath as Kara Danvers and Lena Luthor in Supergirl

As damaging as Iris not learning her best friend’s secret identity was for her character, the same situation happening to Lena Luthor on Supergirl is even worse.

Lena hasn’t been with Supergirl since the very beginning. She was introduced in season 2 and became a series regular in season 3. However, Lena still should’ve learned that Kara Danvers is Supergirl a long, long time ago.

Lena has quickly become Kara’s best friend. Other than her sister Alex, Lena has become Kara’s confidant and personal ally.

Lena is constantly there for Kara but Kara has gone to great lengths to hide her Supergirl identity from Lena.

There’s no way that Lena finding out would really impact Kara’s life. Lena already works closely with Supergirl. Kara’s personal and private lives are barely that separate. She’s not protecting Lena at all by not telling her.

The weirdest thing is that Kara’s identity shouldn’t be a mystery. Lena is one of the smartest Supergirl characters.

She has figured out that Alex works for DEO, learned that Sam was secretly Reign, and devised a way to create her own Kryptonite. There’s no way that Lena can’t figure out the only thing that separates her best friend and Supergirl is a pair of glasses.

There’s plausible suspension of disbelief and then there’s aggressive and willful stupidity.

16 Saved: The Legion of Doom – Legends of Tomorrow

Legends of Tomorrow Midseason Finale Legion of Doom

Legends of Tomorrow season 1 is a bit of a mess. The time travel series bounces through subplots, introduces life-changing MacGuffins repeatedly and just overall lacks direction.

In Legends of Tomorrow season 2, things refocused and tightened up considerably. This is mostly due to the show’s new antagonists, the Legion of Doom.

The Legion weren’t the most original villains, and this isn’t just because they get their name from a DC Comics supervillain group, that is much, much bigger.

Every single member of the Legion of Doom got their start on another Arrowverse version. The (main) Legion of Doom was made up of Arrow’s Malcolm Merlyn and Damien Darhk, with leadership from The Flash’s Eobard Thawne.

However, The Legion of Doom helped Legends of Tomorrow find its voice and reach its true potential.

Like Legends of Tomorrow, The Legion were just the right mix of wacky antics and real tension and threat. The trio of villains were just as much fun to watch as they were menacing to take down.

However, it is a bit of a shame that Legends of Tomorrow couldn’t create their own villains and had to steal them from other shows.

Yet one of Legends’ greatest strengths is taking other Arrowverse characters, like Sara Lance and Wally West, and doing more with them than their original shows ever did.

15 Hurt: The Insane Rise and Fall of Felicity’s Career – Arrow

Arrow has tendency to make Felicity Smoak a little too capable. Oliver’s skills with a bow and arrow aren't completely in line with psychics, but there are still limitations to them.

Felicity’s hacking skills, however, are basically magic. Felicity can do whatever the plot demands but it’s rarely too egregious. Felicity adds more to Arrow than she takes away, even when she’s breaking all manner of logic and sense.

Yet with one Felicity-centric storyline Arrow crossed a line. Arrow introduced Felicity as a lowly IT girl. When Ray Palmer bought Queen Industries in season 3, he immediately promoted Felicity to the company's Vice President.

This was a weird, but keeping in line with Ray’s character and his borderline obsession with Felicity. When Ray passed away, though, he left the entire company to Felicity. She went from an IT girl to a CEO of multi-billionaire dollar corporation in less than a year.

Felicity was in no way qualified for the job. Felicity struggling to be a CEO and failing would’ve been interesting if that’s the story Arrow told, but it didn't.

Felicity did lose her job as CEO eventually but only because backdoor dealings, not because she was horrible manager who never actually ran her business. Felicity as CEO took her too far, way too fast.

Arrow is currently dealing with things the right way by having Felicity start from the bottom with a start-up. Even that can't totally wash the ridiculous taste of her meteoric rise out of viewers' collective mouths.

14 Saved: Thea Embraces Her Dark Destiny – Arrow

Malcolm Merlyn and Thea Queen in Arrow

Thea Queen is an original creation of Arrow. The CW series decided that Oliver needed a family and it’s only afterwards that the comics followed suit.

Before Arrow, Oliver Queen had no sister and after Arrow, Emiko Queen was introduced. In other words, Arrow was free to do whatever they wanted with Thea and they chose an incredibly interesting route.

During Arrow season 2 it was revealed that Thea wasn’t Oliver’s full biological sister. Thea was the daughter of Moira Queen and Malcolm Merlyn.

Discovering that she was the child of a sociopath, Thea had a bit of an identity crisis. She fell into the manipulative arms of her real daddy.

Malcolm took Thea, one of the more innocent Arrow characters, and turned her into a dangerous machine.

Thea’s dark transformation quickly made her into one of Arrow’s most dynamic characters. Thea became a perfect mirror for her brother Oliver.

Furthermore, Arrow was able to use Thea falling to the dark side to dramatize Oliver’s feeling of love for his sister.

Before Thea became involved with the superhero life, Oliver’s care for Thea always fell a little flat. With Thea being trained by Malcolm and eventually turning into Speedy, Arrow brought Thea into Oliver’s world in the best and most dramatic way possible.

13 Hurt: The Mystery of Savitar – The Flash

The Flash did such a good job with the reveal of Reverse Flash that they repeated the story, not once but twice, in subsequent seasons.

In The Flash season 2 and season 3, the villain wasn’t just another speedster. It was another speedster who had intimate knowledge of Team Flash and was secretly one of them.

In season 2, The Flash revealing that Zoom was really Jay Garrick (who was really Hunter Zolomon) was lazy but fine.

It was stupid twist that was nearly identical to the Harrison Wells is Eobard Thawne thing, but fans at least got to know Zoom well, inside and outside the suit. (He just happened to be a dangerous maniac.) Yet there’s no defending season 3 villain and its big twist.

During season 3, it was revealed that Savitar was Barry Allen himself… well in a manner of speaking.

A future version of Barry being Savitar would’ve been an interesting twist. However, Savitar was a future time remnant of Barry, which took away all responsibility from Barry and his capability to become a villain.

The Flash could’ve done something daring and really explored Barry’s character by having him fight a darker future version of himself. Instead Savitar was as lame as possible.

He wasn’t even revealed until very late in the season and was defeated in just a few short episodes after the big unveiling.

12 Saved: The Tragedy of Reign – Supergirl

Supergirl - Reign

Supergirl’s biggest problem in its first two seasons was not having a strong central villain. Whether Kara was facing her uncle, Non, or her boyfriend’s mother, Queen Rhea, Supergirl never really found an interesting conflict.

Non and Rhea both came straight out of evil alien central casting. Their motivations were thin, their characters shallow, and the only threatening thing about them was their strength.

Teri Hatcher at least had fun playing Rhea but an energetic performance didn’t make for a tense fight.

In season 3, Supergirl finally introduced a villain worthy of a season-long subplot. Her name was Reign. The central concept behind Reign wasn’t totally brand-new.

Unlike the comics, Reign is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde scenario. Normally, Reign is mild-mannered Samantha Arias (who became a very close friend to Kara Danvers). However, when Reign is activated Sam disappears. Sam’s consciousness is sent to a pocket dimension and Reign wreaks havoc.

The twist allowed Supergirl to have it both ways with their villain. Reign was able to be unstoppable monster.

Meanwhile, Sam and the tragedy of what was happening to her allowed Supergirl to add some pathos to their villain, without sacrificing what made Reign so scary. (It also helps that actress Odette Annable was able to communicate the terror of Reign far better than any previous villain.)

The tragic story of Reign wasn't new, but it told an old story very well.

11 Hurt: Everything About Vandal Savage

Casper Crump As Vandal Savage On Legends Of Tomorrow

Vandal Savage should’ve been the perfect villain for Legends of Tomorrow season 1. As one of DC Comics’ best-known and scariest immortal characters, Vandal seemed the best for a time-traveling series.

Savage could appear in any era, in any situation, and be a threat for the time-hopping, pleather-wearing crew.

Legends of Tomorrow did use Savage to create interesting set-up for episodes… but that’s about it.

Savage was less an immortal and undestroyable threat and more just a creepy ex-boyfriend who wouldn’t go away.

Legends of Tomorrow made the unforgivable decision to tie Savage’s origins and motivations to the lives of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Savage’s life was linked to the Hawks and he was dangerously obsessed with Hawkgirl.

No part of the story felt vital or even remotely interesting, and it wasn't just because Hawkgirl was the weakest written member of the Legends crew.

Legends of Tomorrow could’ve done something special with Vandal Savage. He should’ve been overloaded with personality and menace. Instead Savage was one guy with an unhealthy crush, a way-too-wide grin, and a widow’s peak.

Legends of Tomorrow didn’t even have the decency to realize that Savage wasn’t working and shunt him off to the side.

The longer the first season went on, the more he appeared until it became unbearable.

10 Saved: The Mystery of Reverse Flash – The Flash

Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells The Flash

A twist so nice that they used it thrice. During The Flash season 1, the big reveal was that Harrison Wells was, in fact, Eobard Thawne.

From the very first episode, The Flash was suggesting that there was something up with Barry Allen’s mentor.

By the midseason finale it was revealed he was the Reverse Flash, but it wouldn’t be until the very end that all the pieces came into place.

Team Flash learning that their de facto leader was, in fact, their greatest villain shocked the team. The pay-off to the Reverse Flash reveal was brilliantly done.

Harrison Wells being Eobard Thawne changed The Flash forever and properly introduced one of the Arrowverse’s best villains.

As strong as the reveal was, the story leading up to it might’ve been the best part. The Flash dropped clues at just the right intervals and kept the audience guessing throughout the first season about The Reverse Flash.

Even though it was obvious there was more to Harrison Wells than met the eye, the specifics were still shocking and wonderfully spaced out in their reveals.

By the end, the audience felt nearly as betrayed and tricked as the characters, which is exactly how they should’ve felt.

9 Hurt: Oliver’s Baby Mama Drama – Arrow

When Arrow first revealed that Oliver had fathered a son with an old girlfriend in a season 2 flashback, it didn’t seem like the story would go anywhere.

The moment just seemed like an Easter egg-- a nod to fans who knew about Oliver’s son in the comics, Connor Hawke.

Yet in Arrow season 4, it was revealed the show did have real plans for Oliver and his offspring.

Oliver ran into his ex Samantha and met his son, who was named not Connor Hawke but William Clayton. The story that followed was one of the most frustrating and idiotic in Arrow history.

Samantha, for no apparent reason, told Oliver that he couldn’t tell anyone about William’s existence, including Felicity, who was his fiancée at the time. Oliver, again for no apparent reason, agreed to these terms.

The entire affair was just a transparent and illogical excuse to break Felicity and Oliver up, which it did, and in way, that didn’t make sense for either of their characters.

Felicity looked selfish, Oliver looked idiotic, and Samantha was just insane.

Arrow could’ve found a method to have Oliver deal with being a father in a way that was organic and compelling. Instead, the show went for the weirdest and most soap opera-esque option.

8 Saved: Cold’s Redemption Arc – Legends of Tomorrow

Leonard Snart Captain Cold sacrifice Legends Of Tomorrow

Captain Cold has operated in a unique moral place in DC Comics. He’s the leader of the Rogues, but he often doesn’t claim lives and won’t harm any civilian.

He even joined the Justice League for a time. Although the circumstances around that membership and even if it's still canon remains a little dubious.

Yet in Legends of Tomorrow, the Arrowverse Cold was able something the original Cold never did. Cold went through a full and satisfying redemption arc that ended on the most final and heroic note possible.

Cold’s redemption began on The Flash. The series that introduced Cold to the Arrowverse had to do a bit of ground work.

The Flash needed to soften Cold to even make it possible for him to join the group of heroic misfits on Legends of Tomorrow. Yet once a member of the series, Legends of Tomorrow fully committed to turning Cold from Rogue leader to true hero.

Cold’s redemption was methodically built with each and every episode in Legends of Tomorrow season 1. It was, by a large, the most consistent and well told story throughout the inaugural year of Legends.

So when Cold ending up paying the ultimate price as the season ended, it was totally earned and supremely satisfying.

7 Hurt: Kara and Mon-El’s Star-Crossed Spats – Supergirl

Though Kara pined over James Olsen for the entirety of Supergirl season 1, when Supergirl season 2 arrived, the series (rightfully) realized that relationship wasn’t working.

James and Kara were done away with and Chris Wood arrived as Kara’s new love interest Mon-El of Daxam.

Mon-El and Kara were more interesting to watch than James and Kara. Sadly, the series gave the couple a little too much to do in season 2.

Kara and Mon-El’s constant bickering dominated the entire year. Mon-El did nothing to respect or honor Kara’s wishes.

The two were the height of dysfunction and rather than try to move them forward every episode, Supergirl often just doubled down on the arguments. Or, even more accurately, Mon-El would do precisely the wrong thing and never get called on it.

More than anything else, Kara and Mon-El’s romance was the main storyline of Supergirl season 2. After all, it was his mother who showed up towards the end of the season and tried to break them up and destroy most of humanity in the process.

Kara’s love life being the focus on a Supergirl season isn’t the worst idea. The relationship with Mon-El could’ve been interesting, but Supergirl just didn’t move the couple ahead enough to justify all the time spent on them.

6 Saved: Oliver Becoming a Single Father – Arrow

All the angst surrounding Oliver entering William’s life didn’t endear the audience to his character. Arrow wrote William out of the show towards the end of season 4 and he seemed like he was gone for good.

However, William returned at the end of season 5 and the time off had allowed Arrow to find the right angle for the charcter.

William’s mother, Samantha, was the only Arrow casualty in the season 5 finale. It was a lame choice, as the cliffhanger could’ve destroyed everyone, but it just picked the most useless and unlikable character of the bunch.

However, by eliminating Samantha, Arrow was forced to have Oliver face the realities of life as a single father. A story that could’ve been terrible was instead handled tremendously.

Arrow learned all its lessons from the baby mama drama with Samantha. Oliver struggled to raise William, but all his difficulties felt in-character and were emblematic of his growth and maturity.

William turned Oliver’s personal life upside down and made him a much more compelling figure.

Oliver wasn’t just alone in the world anymore. He had responsibilities and interests. William tied Oliver to the world and made his every act of suiting up as the Green Arrow that much more interesting and dangerous.

5 Hurt: The Hawks’ Resurrecting Angsty Love Affair – Legends of Tomorrow

Hawkman Hawkgirl Legends of Tomorrow

The same cannot be said for the other half of Legends of Tomorrow season 1. While the Cold arc became emblematic of what the show could do with an Arrowverse character, the saga of Kendra and Carter was an example of everything that can go wrong.

Due to their connection to villain Vandal Savage, Hawkgirl and (the mostly deceased) Hawkman were giving starring roles in the first season. It was, in a word, awful.

Actors Ciara Renee and Falk Hentschel tried their best. (Even though it is ridiculous that Falk, a gigantic German man, was playing a constantly resurrecting Egyptian prince.)

Yet there was just no character development with either Kendra or Carter. They were plot devices and little else.

Kendra constantly remaking that she was “just a barista” became a running joke among Legends of Tomorrow fans but that’s because the show could find no other angle for her character.

The idea of Kendra and Carter is a sound one. They are two lovers who are constantly doomed to be reborn and find their way to back to one another, shortly before dying again.

However, Legends did nothing to allow the audience to invest in the characters or their romance.

Everything interesting about them was almost systematically removed or smothered, like putting Kendra into a rushed love triangle with Ray Palmer.

4 Saved: Sara Lance Becomes the Captain – Legends of Tomorrow

Legends of Tomorrow needed to rebound, creatively, in season 2. Luckily, it did. Legends of Tomorrow's season 2 is fantastic for several reasons.

The show found its comedic groove, landed a trio of terrific villains and, most importantly, began the year by handing the reigns of the Waverider over to Sara Lance.

When Legends of Tomorrow began, Rip Hunter was the leader of the team. Even though Legends got a great actor like Arthur Darvill to play Rip, the series could never make him more than mildly interesting.

Rip was too upstanding and too stoic to be the leader of the misfit Legends. Sara Lance, however, fit in perfectly.

The White Canary is an example of everything the Legends could become. Sara was someone with a dark past than rose above it. She had two seasons of development on Arrow and she was able to hit the ground running on Legends.

In season 1, Sara was the clear stand-out character. Season 2 recognized that fact by making her the leader of the ship when Rip got lost in time.

Sara, and actress Caity Lotz, sparkles in the lead role on Legends. Sara’s dark past makes her one of the show’s most complicated characters.

As captain, the series has never shunted Sara off to the side or diminished her journey. Even when she’s put into the “exasperated mom” role trying to wrangle in the Legends, it’s still so compelling given Sara’s history and growth.

3 Hurt: Team Arrow Civil War – Arrow

The sixth year of Arrow was always going to be let down given the terrific season 5. Most of the season is relatively well told.

Repeatedly, Arrow season 6 shows Oliver’s growth and maturity as a character. Yet the season is still put down by quite a lot of fans. It’s likely that Arrow season 6 would be viewed much more favorably by fans (and critics) if it wasn’t for one major storyline, the Team Arrow civil war.

Around the midpoint of season 6, Arrow made the decision to split Team Arrow into two factions.

On one side was the new members who Oliver had recruited during season 5. On the other side, was the original three members.

This could’ve been a way for Arrow to explore the new characters outside Oliver’s shadow. Instead, Arrow just made everyone act like children.

The initial break did make some manner of sense. Oliver didn’t treat Dinah, Rene, and Curtis with the most respect.

Yet the longer the conflict went on, the more unreasonable the “recruits” seemed. They whined that Oliver was too brutal and ruthless, while being even worse, on both counts, themselves.

Throughout the civil war, Rene swung an axe at Oliver’s head, Curtis tried to cripple Diggle, and Dinah almost claimed the lives of several people in cold blood.

The trio were more vicious and damaging than season 6’s main villain and they were still supposed to be the heroes.

2 Saved: Prometheus’ Reign of Terror – Arrow

Prometheus Arrow Season 5

Before Arrow season 5, it seemed like the series had run out of steam. Seasons 3 and 4 were not what they could’ve been.

Arrow seemed to be hitting the same themes and beats with slightly different variations. Then Prometheus landed as the main villain and everything changed.

Before his introduction, Prometheus was hyped as a villain that Arrow could only have managed in their fifth season.

It seemed like misleading marketing, but it turned out to be absolutely correct. Prometheus was the distillation of the previous five seasons of the series into one terrifying villain.

Prometheus, otherwise known as Adrian Chase, was the son of one of Oliver’s early victims on his season 1 list.

Because of his father's passing, Chase hunted down Oliver looking for revenge and crafted a brilliant plan. Chase was prepared for every move Oliver would make, because according to the show, he’d been planning his revenge for five years.

Prometheus was an excellent mixture of charisma, menace, and undeniable brilliance.

He nearly ruined Oliver’s life but he proved, even late in the game, that Arrow could tell an amazing season long story. The right villain and the right motivations had to be in place.

After years of Oliver fighting supernatural threats, Arrow getting back to basics with Prometheus was just what the show needed.

1 Hurt: Flashpoint – The Flash

Grant Gustin in The Flash Season 2

During The Flash season 1, Barry Allen was faced with an impossible choice. He had to go back in time and watch his mother's life be taken.

This is because if Barry saved his mother, time would change forever, possibly for the worst.

It was a heartbreaking and incredibly mature moment for Barry that wrapped up on all the story threads of season 1. However, then the end of season 2 arrived, and The Flash flushed all of that down the toilet.

After watching his father loose his life, Barry went back in time (again) and saved the lives both his mother and father.

It was selfish, stupid, and highly irresponsible. Barry created a whole new (and worse) timeline and went back on the character development the character had achieved in season 1 and season 2.

The Flash did nothing to earn Barry’s monstrously selfish actions. Barry made the decision to wreck everyone’s lives in one short scene in the season 2 finale.

The Flash then proceeded to spend the first half of season 3 justifying why Barry rewrote the timeline. It never made sense. Barry was just a jerk.

The most outrageous thing is that causing Flashpoint didn’t even stop Barry from trying to change time.

Throughout season 3, Barry kept time traveling like a mad superpowered dog that needed to be put down.


What are some of your favorite and least favorite Arrowverse storylines? Sound off in the comments!

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