Why the Arrowverse Occasionally Makes Me Want to Throw a Brick Through My TV

A friendly little take on everyone’s favorite shared Superhero TV Universe (that isn’t on Netflix) and a breakdown of why at least once a week, I watch an episode from the CW’s DCTU Arrowverse and then promptly go take out my emotional aggression on a heavy bag at the gym…or light the nearest car on fire.

For those wondering, I actually really enjoy the CW slate of shows.   Arrow The Flash have been 2 of my favorite shows consistently over the last 5 years, Melissa Benoist’s take on the “Girl of Steel” has been charming and refreshing, and I even warmed up to Legends of Tomorrow…sort of, in a way.  But for those who watch these shows week to week in an unbiased fashion, most can attest that there are plot lines, dialogue, and/or running trends throughout the programs that occasionally make you want to… well, kick a puppy, slap your grandmother, and then throw rocks through every window, in every house, in your neighborhood.  So let’s commiserate together, shall we?


The Ways the Arrowverse Ruins My Life on a Weekly Basis

AV 4

7. There should be more musical episodes

Hahahahaha, lolololol, jkjk.  I’m not serious.  Listen, I love musicals, I love all of these cast members that took part in the crossover, and I would pay a bajillion dollars to see a Broadway show with Kara, Winn, Cisco, Barry, Malcolm, Joe West and Martin Stein, but that episode made noooooo sense, other than to say “hey! Look how talented our cast is!”  We know already, now get back to telling us Iris is going to die soon!  I honestly just put this on here to get your attention.  Let’s get back to the (real) list!

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6. Again?…Really?… 

Let’s see if you catch a pattern developing here, in regards to the “Big Bads” we’ve seen so far on The Flash:

The Flash Season 1: Evil Speedster, turns out to be a trusted confidant of Team STAR Labs

The Flash Season 2: Evil Speedster, turns out to be a trusted confidant of Team STAR Labs

The Flash Season 3: Evil Speedster, turns out to be…???

Now, I enjoyed the living hell out of both full seasons of The Flash, not minding at all that we got 2 evil speedsters in a row, each culminating with a “switcharoo” for a major member of the team. Once Savitar was revealed as Season 3’s “Big Bad,” I began to experience some hesitance to the process, especially with his identity still a secret.  While I have my own theories on who Savitar is, if I happen to be right, it would mean another member of the team (albeit a variation from the future) is revealed as the villain, and I’m sorry, but 3 seasons in a row is a bit excessive.  Rumor has it that Season 4’s year long antagonist will not be a speedster, and that is a refreshing turn.  I love Barry and Wally, and Wells’ version of the Reverse Flash has been my favorite villain to date on the series, but its time to show that someone without super speed can royally screw up your life.

AV 3

5. Time Travel, Time Shmavel

If The Flash, particularly season 3, has taught us anything, it is don’t time travel.  No, really.  Don’t do it.  It royally pisses people off, people end up dead, characters turn all metahuman-y, and people’s daughters get turned into sons.  Barry has received 472 lectures in the last year having to do with the consequences of time travel…yet…and I’ve stated this before, but it still drives me absolutely bats— crazy…why can the Legends of Tomorrow crew mess with time travel EVERY WEEK, never leaving the past as it was, yet there are no ramifications or consequences to their actions.  None.  Last we saw, the Legion of Doom succeeded in creating an apocalyptic future in which most of our heroes are dead, but shouldn’t that affect Arrow The Flash, as they all exist on the same timeline/same Earth? I understand the difficulties in that, but Barry gets chided every 7 minutes about what he did, and he’s only created a few alternate timelines.  The Legends, I’m guessing, are on their 57th one.  Legends really has turned into a good show, but still! Does anyone have a PhD in time travel, or know a Doc Brown that I can run this by?

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4. Hey, What Ever Happened to…..

Where is Deathstroke!?  Captain Boomerang?!  King Shark???  Damn your DCEU, Warner Brothers!  I’m well aware of the character power struggle between the cinematic and television versions of the characters, but I would have lost my mind if Slade Wilson came back as the big bad for Season 6 of Arrow or the Flash had to deal with his Rogues Gallery throughout all of Season 4.  These characters just…go away, even though they are some of the biggest villains in DC lore.  I am NOT okay with this!  Alright, I kind of am, because I STILL watch the shows, but I will write harsh words about it!

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3. Fan Favorites 

Do you ever have a character that you absolutely love, and then their character suddenly turns into an a–hole, and you don’t love them anymore?  Hmmm, you must be watching Arrow or The Flash.  Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow seem to have avoided this pitfall (for the most part) thus far, but the 2 former shows drive me up a f—ing wall with how often these “character metamorphoses” take place.  Barry Allen is quite literally the greatest man on Earth, or the first 2 seasons of the Flash would have you believe.  But season 3 said, “whoooaaaa, hold on there big fella,” as if in a 1940’s Western, and turned Barry into Central City’s biggest moron, with a side of “dickish” to match.  We get it, Barry’s going through a lot, but you’re changing the very foundation of who Barry is and what makes him so damn likable.  If you can’t root for your hero then, well, there goes the entire foundation of your show.  The show also made Cisco an insufferable d-bag in Season 3 as well, but thankfully corrected their course.  Felicity is such a ginormous example of this that she gets her own section (see: #1).

DC Comics Multiverse Action Figures

I will note, though, that the CWverse does use the reverse effect as well on their stable of characters.  I hated Laurel through the first couple seasons of Arrow, but by the time of her death she was one of my favorites on the program.  Same with Iris West.  The writing and plot lines for her character in the inaugural season of The Flash were, as the kids say, “Garbage Town, USA,” but over the last season and a half, she has turned into the proverbial glue of that show, shining whenever she’s on screen.  John Barrowman has always played his character, Malcolm Merlyn well, but I hated him (in the way you’re supposed to hate a villain) through the first season of Arrow.  By season 3? My favorite character on the show.  So I suppose the writers giveth, and the writers taketh away…

Side Note: Some might claim that Oliver Queen should be in the above list, but I say “nay!”  My reasoning?  Through his ups, downs & dozens of plot lines, Oliver Queen has always been an a–hole.  His idiocy ebbs and flows, but his a–hole meter? Always in the red. And yes, I love him still.

AV 7

2. Returning Characters…Sort of

So the word is out that Katie Cassidy will return to Arrow in Season 6 as a full season regular, but she’ll return as the divisive plot device known as Black Siren, Earth 2’s septum pierced doppelgänger of Laurel Lance, who at the time of this article is locked up within STAR Labs being rehabilitated.  Last we saw of her, she was being used by Prometheus to screw with Team Arrow, but Oliver saw good inside of her.  I can assume this will be the course she is set to journey throughout Season 6, but at the end of the day, she REALLY isn’t Dinah Laurel Lance.  Not the one we tolerated, then hated, then loved through Seasons 1-5.  This is my point: The writers make a decision that gets a poor reception from the masses -> The writers try to correct this move by bringing back said character, but in a different capacity -> Fans tell each other, “Ya know, I’m glad **insert character here** is back, but its just not the same.” -> Fans go cry in their bed, holding a picture of the original character, a la the animated Wolverine meme.  And herein lies the problem.  Laurel Lance, Leonard Snart, Henry Allen.  All brought back, but with slight changes (or in completely different manners) that never quite live up to the original character they portrayed.  Is that not a slight disservice to the original character?

Black Canary Tee Shirt

City of Heroes
Arrow — “City of Heroes” — Image AR201a_0073bc — Pictured: Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak — Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW — © 2013 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

1. Felicity 

Dear God, Arrow writers, what have you done?  Season 1 introduced the world to a whip smart, sarcastic, beautiful young intern by the name of Felicity Smoak.  Quickly becoming a fan favorite, she was a much needed optimistic light in the midst of Oliver’s consistent darkness.  The viewers pined for her to get the man of her dreams, Mr. Queen.  Then she got him….and the world as we knew it ceased to exist.  Or, it existed, but in a new, crappy reality.  The 2 season long dumpster fire known as “Olicity” not only threatened to derail an entire show, it turned the lovable IT girl with the 1,000,000 watt smile into one of the most poorly written characters on television. To quote, well, myself at least once a week while watching a CW Superhero program, “AHHH!!  No real human would ever act like that!”(<— That goes for Oliver as well…and about 15 other characters).  Felicity became intolerable, with snarky (see: back-handed) comments and horrible decision making; bitter, passive-aggressive and cold.  Season 5 has been set to correct an awful lot that went wrong in the previous s—storm seasons of Arrow, but Felicity has never truly returned to the character that so many came to love.

Felicity Smoak IT Girl Tee Shirt

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My point is… , let’s be honest, I don’t really have a point.  I just used any of you that cared to venture down this far as my internet therapist, and for that I’m eternally grateful.  I will continue to watch the CW stable of “super shows” and they will continue to drive me nuts, and I will continue to light neighborhood cars on fire and then blame Ray Palmer and James Olson.  Cool?  Alright, glad we’re still on the same page. **Internet high five!**

What do you think? What drives you cray cray? Let’s discuss below, K?

Lou Mattiuzzo is a full time teacher, full time father, full time husband & full time superhero enthusiast.  Are you still reading this? Go read a book!  Reading my “work” will not make you smarter, just more cynical and probably a little unhinged…but I thank you, anyway!  Follow him @Sweetest_Lou

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8 thoughts on “Why the Arrowverse Occasionally Makes Me Want to Throw a Brick Through My TV”

  1. Felicity for sure is #1. I DOOOOOOO think you are correct about your theory on Flash.(But about 10% of me thinks it may be Wally) Good read as always brother

  2. Great work! I hope all windows, cars, puppies, and grandmothers in your area are still in good condition. I did have some thoughts on # 5 though.

    Barry and Legends time traveling are very different. Barry has always changed time for selfish reasons. The season 1 tidal wave is arguable, but its always been to save someone he loves or improve his speed right? The Legends are generally putting themselves in danger trying to stop someone else from screwing with time. If they don’t who will? They don’t face consequences like Barry because they aren’t the ones doing the damage generally. Instead of those time-travel lectures Barry gets, the Legends typically have empathetic conversations that lead to character development which in turn finds the Legends not making those negative choices. Rip never goes overboard trying to save his family (and his more hubris attempts to kill Savage hinder the team in later episodes), Mick & Snart don’t rob history blind or change their tragic childhoods, Jax doesn’t save his father, Sara doesn’t bring back Laurel or avenge her killing at the wrong time, & Amaya doesn’t save her village… yet? And the show has brought up how good intentions in the past can cause aberrations, Martin had to reconcile creating a daughter. This all drives on the emotional toll of being Legends. Note Nathan breaking under it and telling Amaya about her village. The show has a tendency to shy away from this serious with its campy nature but the undertone is there.

    If you don’t like the show or how they use time-travel that’s fine, but I see your 5th point about time travel like comparing an arsonist with firefighters. to explain:

    If [arsonist] has taught us anything, it is don’t [play with fire]. No, really. Don’t do it. It royally pisses people off, people end up dead, characters turn all [scarred], and people [suffer drastic changes]. [Arsonist] has received 472 lectures in the last year having to do with the consequences of [playing with fire]…yet…and I’ve stated this before, but it still drives me absolutely bats— crazy…why can the [firefighters] mess with [fire] EVERY WEEK, never leaving the [building] as it was, yet there are no ramifications or consequences to their actions. None.

    See what I mean?
    So glad you wrote this up, always love reading my fellow fans’ thoughts. I think you pointed out a lot of what stunts the shows, things that should be addressed from on high. Great read.

    1. This is by far the most in depth and well thought out argument I’ve ever seen lol. I have to give you props, because you make some incredibly valid points. I see what you mean by the Flash & the Legends time traveling for different reasons. I agree, the Flash has always done it for, while understandable, selfish reasons. It’s true that the Legends are trying to right the wrong, and protect history (and the future) from someone LIKE the Flash in a lot of ways. As for your difference between the two, I would tend to agree with you on your reasoning.

      But what about the fact that, although they might be protecting history (the future) in so many ways, shouldn’t their actions have natural consequences? Maybe not the lectures that Barry gets, but consequences in the sense that by altering anything in the past, the future is going to look different across the shows? Like I had mentioned, the LOD changed the future, but none of that was seen on the Flash/Arrow. Are we to assume it happened, but went back by the time the next episode aired? And if so, shouldn’t we see small “cracks” in the present, much like Diggle’s daughter turning to a son or Cisco’s brother being killed, like we did after “Flashpoint”? Really, I’m just playing devil’s advocate at the moment, because your previous response was so good, I would like to read another one!

      Thank you so much for reaching out and commenting, especially in a respectful manner. Your comment was well thought out, and thought provoking, and truthfully, I enjoyed the shit out of it. Hoping to hear from you again.

      And yes, my grandmother is doing good, my dog lives the good life, and I’ve replaced all broken windows in our neighborhood 🙂

      1. More changes like that would be amazing. I was especially expecting more from Flashpoint, I was hoping moving Legends from Thursday to Tuesday meant the Legends would literally be cleaning up after Barry every week. Same for Doomworld, but at least Legends did us the courtesy of killing the other two shows in-universe (Damien’s collection). And it’s not hard to admit the Legends aren’t the best firemen, haha. To be fair, we have evidence these cracks happen but they just aren’t significant enough for the characters to acknowledge them to the audience. It was only when the Legends went missing that the cracks became apparent enough for Nathan to go to Oliver. That being said, yes it would have been much funnier & world-building for instance if after the Turncoat episode we’d seen Mick’s D.C. statue in a later episode of Arrow or Flash that month, visiting the president maybe. Or Cisco to be reading a Mecha-Samurai comic one week after Ray lost his suit, and commenting that its based on a real Japanese myth/legend.
        I think that’s something they were shying away from last season so we would all be sooooooooo shocked when the Legends weren’t actually returned to the moment they left. But I’m hoping the Merlyn, Darhk, & Laural contracts this year pave the way for characters to switch shows more often and allow for some coordinated references. Having a midseason line-up mix up for the shows sounds kinda fun too.

        Stepping off that, do you have thoughts on Firestorm? Their either over-powered or useless purgatory. Personally the only thing I can think do is have Jax go to college or want to take break to visit his mom, that way him and Stein guest star on The Flash. Then have Jesse Quick join Legends, she is both a speedster and super scientist so that’s one fewer actor to pay (or one more to add to the team) and I imagine an easier job for the CGI team.

  3. I agree, I would’ve loved to have had those little asides to what’s going on in the rest of the universe. I also agree with the fact that they have shown that little cracks do exist, they just aren’t Earth shattering revelations like I feel they should be.
    Firestorm, to me, is a weird case. I never quite warmed up to Firestorm 2.0. I hear what you are saying in terms of the Firestorm powers, since the character is seemingly at times the most powerful being in the world (with one of the most brilliant minds on Earth), yet is relegated to 2nd tier team member behind fan favorites like Sara Lance. Also, and this is my own personal opinion, but I never cared for any of the Firestorm storylines, even when Stein was revealed to have a daughter thanks to Flashpoint. I would be fine seeing him/them leave the core cast for season 3, maybe have both actors sign similar contracts to Wentworth Miller & John Barrowman, leaving the option open to use the character (or either 1/2 of the character) across the shows. Hell, Katie Cassidy is coming back on Arrow as a season 6 regular, so there’s always the option to bring him back fully into the fold in the future. And I do agree that Jessie Quick is essentially made for LoT. It gives you another tough, brilliant female character to counter Sara, since Amaya is no longer around. For season 3, I’d love a big shakeup to the team. I’d be in favor of Rip Hunter dying to protect the team in the finale, and the team disbanding after the fact. Cut to season 3, where some sort of “shit goes down”, and Sara has to put together a new crew. Enter Jesse Quick, Wild Dog, & with a little bit more of the Universe hopping, Mon-El. Round out the cast with a newbie character, and bring Ray Palmer back for the hell of it, you’ve got your new core Legends group.

    Thank you for the awesome comment! I really appreciate the time and thought put into it. PLEASE comment as much as you’d like, because seeing differing opinions on the topics and discussing them if my favorite part of this job!

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