It’s been an interesting year in the corner of the DC Comics world known as the Arrowverse. Following a well-received midseason mega crossover, the CW’s superhero shows have taken fairly divergent paths. Supergirl has both grown and stumbled in its sophomore season, making its world more compelling while also devoting too much time to the wrong storylines. Arrow has hit on something of a creative rebound after the nadir of season four, thanks in large part to a hugely compelling villain. Strangest of all, The Flash, once the consensus king of DC television, has found itself in a mopey, lifeless rut three seasons in.
The finish line for all three seasons is in view with only a handful of episodes left for each series (Legends of Tomorrow, which may have had the strongest season of any of the DC CW series this year, wrapped up its delightfully nutty second season a few weeks back). There are almost certainly still some pretty big reveals to come.
We take a look at what we’d like to see for the remaining episodes this season, as well as where we’d like to see the shows go from here in general. These are the 15 Things We Still Need To See In The Arrowverse This Season.
15. Arrow – How Oliver Gets Back To Lian Yu
There’s one thing you can generally get all Arrow fans to agree on: the flashbacks are a drag. While the flashbacks in some seasons have been passable and necessary to the main plot (season 2), they generally default to boring, diversionary time sucks, with season 4 being the greatest offender.
The producers have promised season 5 is the end of the flashbacks, as Oliver spent five years ostensibly stranded on Lian Yu. Of course, he spent a generous amount of those years not actually on Lian Yu, but he is still discovered there at the start of the series, so it will be interesting to see how the show manages to get him from the depths of the Russian mob back to his own island of personal hell.
14. The Flash – More Jay Garrick
When Barry’s father was killed by Zoom late in season 2, there was something of an understanding that we’d be seeing more of Earth-3’s Jay Garrick, also played by John Wesley Shipp. The idea of Barry having something of a mentorship with a man who shares his father’s face felt like very fertile storytelling ground (plus Jay’s Flash costume is wicked cool).
Yet Jay’s only shown up a handful of times this season, and he was unceremoniously stuck in the Speed Force the last time we saw him, seemingly taking him off the board for the final confrontation with Savitar. The Flash is in dire need of some hope and goodwill this season – something Jay’s always been a reliable source of. He should be playing a bigger role.
13. Supergirl – The End Of Jimmy Olsen As Guardian
Sometimes, when a show is in its early days, the writers will find that certain characters end up being more important than they originally intended, while characters they thought would be major players end up fading into the background. Managing those role changes can be awkward.
To the surprise of many, Jimmy Olsen ended up being a weak link by the end of Supergirl’s first season. Despite clearly being imagined as a long term love interest for Kara, the two simply had very little chemistry, and Jimmy was largely relegated to the sidelines.
Season 2’s solution to this problem was to make Jimmy the street-level superhero Guardian. The results have been rough. Jimmy is unconvincing as a dark, broody hero, and any time we’re watching him beat up goons we can’t help but wonder what the more interesting characters are up to.
12. Arrow – More Of Adrian Chase’s Backstory
Arrow has had a lot of problems the last few seasons, chief among them a lack of a villain that felt like a real threat. Season 3’s Ra’s Al Ghul was a complete misfire, and while Damien Dahrk was a fun character, it never felt like he was really worthy of being a season-long Big Bad. While Prometheus felt like another underwhelming antagonist early on, that all changed when he was revealed to be Star City District Attorney (and Oliver Queen confidante) Adrian Chase. Chase’s heel turn suddenly loaded the show with genuine menace, which it hadn’t really had since the salad days of Slade Wilson.
11. The Flash – A Bigger Role For Joe West
Among the many missteps The Flash has made this year, perhaps the most basic and egregious is how the show has relegated Joe West to a glorified extra. In the show’s dazzling first season, Joe was the beating heart of the story; the fundamentally decent man who took in Barry after his father went to prison. He raised Barry as his own, and then surprisingly nurtured and encouraged him on his path toward becoming a hero.
This season, Joe has barely had anything to do other than beg Barry to stop Savitar from killing Iris. Non-super characters sometimes get marginalized on shows like this, but Joe West should be an exception. He’s directly responsible for the man Barry has become, and the character deserves better than being a bystander.
10. Supergirl – General Zod
Supergirl has always had a bit of a villain problem. The Kryptonians led by Astra in the first season were basically a bust, while the likes of Indigo, Livewire, and Silver Banshee all felt like minor leaguers. Maxwell Lord was clearly conceived of as Lex Luthor stand in, but he was so forgettable the show essentially forgot he existed and no one minded. The Cadmus storyline in season 2 has been stronger, though Lillian Luthor has not exactly been an amazing antagonist.
Borrowing villains from Kara’s cousin feels like a slippery slope, but news that General Zod is coming to National City feels like something the show needed to do. It immediately ups the stakes and gives Kara a genuine DC Universe heavyweight to take on.
9. Arrow – More Vigilante
Part of the reason Adrian Chase’s reveal as Prometheus was so surprising is that the show played on comic book readers’ expectations to pull off a fantastic fake out: Adrian Chase is generally the secret identity of Vigilante, the brutal anti-hero who showed up early in season 5 of Arrow. Many immediately assumed Chase was Vigilante, dismissing him as a candidate to be Prometheus. Indeed, the show knowingly played into this expectation, making sure Chase and Vigilante were never around at the same time.
Chase’s reveal as Prometheus has left us with a huge question: who is Vigilante? Showrunner Marc Guggenheim has suggested we may not learn the answer to that question for a while, but Vigilante is a great wild card player on the show, and it’s hard to imagine him sitting out the season’s climax.
8. The Flash – Return Of The Rogues
The producers of The Flash, at the very least, seem to understand they have exhausted their old hat; the season-long arc where Barry takes on a mysterious, ultra-powerful speedster. Savitar has easily felt like the most underwhelming of the lot, as the show limps to the finish line of season 3 in angst-riddled fashion.
The show should take a cue from the comics and start planting the seeds for the Rogues to be the show’s next big bad, rather than the sort of “villains of the week” that have felt more like nuisances than genuine threats this season. Organized super-crime in Central City could be a fun, refreshing shift away from the world-ending, reality-bending stakes of the first three seasons’ main villains. The Flash’s rogues gallery is too fun to pass up.
7. Supergirl – Less Kara and Mon-El Romance
The most polarizing aspect of the DC/CW shows tends to be the relationship storylines (just do a search on Twitter for “Olicity” if you need tangible proof). Supergirl largely sidestepped the issue in its first season, as it was obvious by the end of the season the Kara/Jimmy romance was a dead end. However, the show’s second season has dived headfirst into the choppy romance waters.
Mon-El, a Daxamite who has trouble understanding Earth customs, is a charming character, and there was clearly chemistry between him and Kara from the very start. The two being paired off made a certain amount of sense. The problem is that the relationship has come to dominate the show’s storylines way too much. This is supposed to be a show about Kara navigating her dual life as a superhero and a reporter, not a romantic comedy where aliens occasionally menace Earth.
6. Arrow – Resolution To The Oliver/Felicity Relationship
Speaking of romance drama, a case study on how it can get you in trouble is Oliver and Felicity. Once a beloved pairing, the show badly bungled the relationship in season 4 with terrible soap opera plotting that saw both characters making highly ridiculous choices in an effort to drive a wedge between them.
Season 5 has almost completely ignored this history, as Oliver and Felicity have reverted to their pre-romance working relationship. Yet it’s impossible to bury that history, and the show does itself a disservice by letting the awkwardness just hang in the air.
5. The Flash – Savitar’s Identity
More than either Reverse Flash or Zoom, Savitar has largely felt like an empty vessel. We know virtually nothing about his motivations; he just seems like a generically evil goon. The fact that he looks like a gigantic, glow in the dark Power Rangers villain does not exactly add to his menace. This character has been a severe misstep in a season full of them.
A lot of the character’s legacy will undoubtedly rest on his eventual unmasking. It’s difficult to imagine a pre-existing character who could somehow legitimize the character’s vacuous machinations, or redeem this season’s dour slog, but you never know.
4. Supergirl – The Return of Cat Grant
Supergirl’s most winning relationship in season 1 was pretty easily the highly combative mentorship Kara enjoyed with her boss, Cat Grant. Calista Flockhart managed to strike a perfect balance between hostility and compassion for Kara that was equal parts funny and heartwarming.
When the show switched networks and production moved from Los Angeles to Vancouver, real world logistics meant Cat Grant’s days on the show were likely numbered (Calista Flockhart was not moving to Canada). However, the show didn’t kill off Cat, and it’s been known for awhile she’d be making a guest appearance near the end of the season.
3. Arrow – Thea Back As Speedy
Arrow’s having something of a rebound season, but it’s still been lacking in a couple of curious ways. One of the most glaring failings is the sidelining of Thea. While most of Team Arrow had been reassembled by midseason, Thea’s reluctance to return as Speedy has never made much sense, especially considering she happily donned the costume again for the four-show crossover. Add to that the fact that she’s been wholly absent from long stretches of the season and it’s hard not to wonder if there are issues behind the scenes.
That would be a shame, as Thea’s developed into one of the show’s best characters, and her evolution from drug-addicted teenager to confident superhero was one of the show’s most rewarding and unforced storylines.
2. The Flash – The End Of The Killer Frost Storyline
The Flash hasn’t seemed to know what to do with Caitlin Snow since the first season ended with the heroic death of her fiancé, Ronnie Raymond. She enjoyed a traumatizing romance with the man who would eventually be revealed as Zoom in season 2, while season 3 has largely dealt with her grappling with her Flashpoint-induced Killer Frost powers. Like most of the rest of season 3, it’s been a decidedly uneven character arc.
Caitlin has always been best utilized when she’s the earnest, smartest voice in the room. Her vacillating between panicky victim and an overly hammy villain performance has been frustrating, and it’s time this storyline is wrapped up and the character gets back to basics. Caitlin Snow deserves better than this cheesy sideshow.
1. Supergirl – The Return Of Superman
Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman was what many DC fans had been clamoring for: a bright, morally uncomplicated Man of Steel ready to help the people of Metropolis with a wink and a smile. It felt like a throwback to the days of Christopher Reeve, and it was met with almost universal praise.
Given his reception, it’s hard to believe Supergirl has had the discipline to not utilize Superman more this season. It’s also commendable; Superman dominates whatever show or film he’s in by virtue of being, well, Superman, but Kara Danvers has proved herself more than capable. Still, it’ll be nice to see Superman on the small screen once again, and it will hopefully pave the way for an expanded role for the Man of Steel in the Arrowverse going forward.
What do you need to see in The Flash, Supergirl, and Arrow before they end for the season? Let us know in the comments!
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