In addition to strong heroes and awesome fight scenes, every good superhero TV show needs captivating couples worth rooting for. Viewers need something to keep them invested when their heroes aren’t saving the world. The love lives of heroes provides insight into how they find a balance between fighting crime and trying to be normal. After all, Superman is nothing without Lois. The romance is just as important to a comic book show’s success as the costumes. Look at the difference in a show like Gotham compared to The Flash. Even on The Walking Dead they take time from killing walkers to fall in love.
On The CW’s Arrowverse, they have had plenty of couples the audience can’t help but love. Barry and Iris, Oliver and Felicity, Caitlin and Ronnie, and Alex and Maggie come to mind. Fans love these pairs because their stories jump off the screen and keep them interested through every twist, turn and tragic death. Viewers are excited to see them and care about what happens to them. However, for every legendary couple there are some that don’t work. Frankly, there were more than we had time to write about, but these are the top 15 Arrowverse couples with no chemistry.
15 JAMES AND LENA
James Olsen is one of Superman’s best friends, has become the hero Guardian, and now runs CatCo Media. However, with all those accomplishments, he’s still the second most boring and useless character on Supergirl. In first place is his new love interest Lena Luthor.
As Kara’s best friend, a scientific genius and a Luthor, it seemed like she might be an interesting addition to Kara’s life. While viewers are constantly reminded how smart she is, she makes a lot of stupid decisions. In an effort to give these two something to do, they have recently been paired together. Unfortunately, they are so lacking in chemistry, their appearance on-screen brings any action and storylines to a screeching halt. Perhaps the writers can just decide they need to move back to Metropolis to make their romance work, because currently no one cares.
14 IRIS AND EDDIE
Any comic book fan worth their salt knows that Barry and Iris are endgame. No matter how many obstacles are put in front of them, they always end up together. When The Flash premiered, Iris was in a very serious relationship with Joe’s partner Eddie Thawne. Eddie was a good guy who genuinely loved Iris, but we all knew where the story was eventually headed, so it was hard to care about their issues.
It didn’t help matters that even as friends, Barry and Iris were unconditionally devoted to each other. Eddie was often the third wheel to his own girlfriend. As a matter of fact, Eddie was such a good guy he sacrificed himself to save everyone else. He deserved better than what he got, but we did all see it coming.
13 MOIRA AND WALTER
Upon his return to Starling City, Oliver had to know that things would have changed in the five years he was away. One of the biggest shocks to him was his mother’s marriage to his father’s business partner and friend Walter Steele. Walter was a good man, who didn’t deserve to be caught up in Queen family drama. And yet, he was kidnapped by Malcolm Merlyn to send Moira a message.
The problem was, Moira and Walter’s love was never really believable. Even if the show had sold them as an older couple who just wanted to be companions, it would’ve still been hard to believe. Walter’s main concern was always helping the kids and taking care of Queen Consolidated, while Moira only cared about keeping her many secrets. They were basically two people who happened to live in the same house.
12 OLIVER AND SUSAN
Following their breakup in the second half of season four, it was only a matter of time before Oliver and Felicity started seeing other people. Felicity found a fresh start with Detective Billy Malone, so Oliver was forced to get out and date again. As mayor, he began a relationship with reporter Susan Williams, a woman who was constantly criticizing him on TV and actively investigating his five year absence. Not his smartest move.
Susan just never seemed overly important to Oliver. She was a nice girl who he could spend time with and not get to invested in. It was obvious to everyone that she was just a placeholder until Oliver and Felicity had their inevitable reconciliation. In fact she was so forgettable, does anyone remember what happened to her once she was rescued from Prometheus.
11 JAMES AND KARA
For the entire first season of Supergirl, Kara spent all her spare time pining after James. He had a girlfriend, but he slowly developed feelings for Kara. The problem was at no point during that year did they exhibit the slightest bit of chemistry. Sure they made great friends, but there was actually nothing that screamed romance. Looking back on it now, James didn’t have any chemistry with Lucy either, so we obviously know who the problem was. If we’re being honest, James is kind of boring and Winn has always been a better choice for Kara.
At the start of season two, they finally went on a date and were headed toward becoming a real couple. Things got off to a rocky, awkward start and thankfully Kara realized that they were better off as friends and stopped this ill-fated romance before it started.
10 SHADO AND SLADE
Shado and Slade are a curious case, as they were never technically a couple. However, Slade was secretly in love with her for some time and never quite got over the fact that she chose Oliver instead of him. Maybe a simple conversation could have helped everyone avoid years of pain and anguish. Things only escalated out of control when Oliver saved Sara instead of Shado.
Once he became infected with Mirakuru, that love, grief and jealousy turned into an extreme obsession. While on his murderous rampage through Starling City, he often saw her talking to him, urging him on in his revenge. Experimental drugs aside, this seemed like a crazy overreaction for a girl he never even kissed. At least fans got a fantastic character out of all the heartbreak.
9 WALLY AND JESSE
Much like other pairs on this list, Wally and Jesse suffered from being the odd two out on Team Flash, and as such ended up becoming a couple. It’s always going to be hard for viewers to develop a rooting interest in characters who don’t get much screen time. Though Wally is Joe’s son and Iris’ brother, he’s stuck playing second fiddle to Barry. He will never be the main speedster in town.
Jesse Quick doesn’t have those problems, as she’s her city’s No. 1 speedster. However, she lives on a different Earth, which means there’s no solid reason for her to frequently show up. Even when she broke up with Wally, because long distance relationships are hard, she did it off camera with a breakup cube. These two just never clicked on any level and in the end, the writers cut their losses.
8 CAITLIN AND JULIAN
Caitlin Snow has not had the best romantic history. Her husband Ronnie died saving Central City, then Jay turned out to actually be the supervillain Zoom. After all that, she reluctantly tried again with Julian, only to have her alter ego Killer Frost mess up things. The poor girl just can’t catch a break.
Where Ronnie was her one true love and she was clearly attracted to Jay, Julian felt like a stand-in while the writers figured out where they were taking the character. There was never a fire or spark that captured the audience’s attention. To be fair, this isn’t on her, as no attempt was made to make Julian anything other than a milquetoast thorn in Barry’s side. At this point, the producers should just find a way to bring back Ronnie, because obviously no one else is good enough to win Caitlin’s heart.
7 THEA AND ALEX
Much like Caitlin, Thea has already had her one true love, so no one else will really measure up. Roy Harper understood her life, her family and even got along with her overprotective brother. They were great together, which meant they obviously had to breakup. Since Roy left town, Thea has devoted herself to crime fighting and helping Oliver as mayor. During his campaign she finally got another love interest in Alex Davis, the savvy political operative.
As it turned out, Alex was extremely unimportant to season four’s Damien Darhk story and their relationship mostly happened off-screen until his tragic death. Considering Willa Holland’s limited schedule, it seems like producers should just let her move away to be with Roy and finally give her some happiness.
6 WINN AND LYRA
In the first season of Supergirl, Winn was the trusty best friend who was not so secretly in love with Kara. In season two, he was over his crush and hit his stride working for the DEO. The only thing he was missing was a serious girlfriend. The writers tried to rectify this situation by hooking him up with alien Lyra. Her presence solved nothing.
It turned out she was a thief who just used men to further her own agenda. She did nothing but lie to him from the moment they met. She framed Winn for art theft and he still helped her rescue her brother. She became even more unlikeable when she almost came between Winn and James during their Guardian crime fighting work. Maybe producers finally recognized that Winn deserves better, as she hasn’t been seen since the middle of season two.
5 RAY AND KENDRA
Poor Ray Palmer can’t stop getting caught between destined lovers. First he fell for Felicity, only to realize that her heart would always belong to Oliver. He rebounded and joined the Legends to travel through time. Sadly, he ended up in the same trap when he fell for Kendra Saunders. While stuck in 1958, Ray and Kendra became a couple and he even proposed. Not only did their characters not have anything resembling chemistry, we all knew how the whole affair would end.
It’s very hard to get invested in a couple when everyone knows that she has a true love who she is destined to meet and fall in love with throughout time. No matter how hard they tried, it was impossible to buy in to Ray and Kendra’s romance. As expected, Carter came back, he and Kendra reconnected and Ray was once again left with a broken heart.
4 BARRY AND PATTY
A common problem for superheroes is balancing their real lives with their costumed lives. They have to decide who will know their secret and who they will lie to to protect them. On The Flash, most of Barry’s friends and family know his secret. However, when he met Joe’s new partner Patty Spivot he decided to have a slightly regular life and they began dating. Patty was a pretty smart detective and it didn’t take her long to put the pieces together.
Despite their similar interests and personalities their whole relationship felt forced. It was as if the writers felt Barry needed something else to do until they could finally put him and Iris together. Patty never felt like anything more than temporary, so the couple had the same feel.
3 OLIVER AND HELENA
When he first came home, Oliver was not ready to be back in polite society. His life revolved around putting arrows through people. Slowly he began to live a little bit of a normal life, including dating again. On paper his pairing with Helena Bertinelli seemed perfect. Except the Arrowverse version of The Huntress was very different from the comic book version. She was an unhinged assassin bent on killing her father and anyone who got in her way.
Oliver thought he could change her, but of course he was wrong. She actually used everything he taught her to become a more efficient killer. In the end, the only good thing that came from this couple was the insight Oliver gained from meeting the female version of himself.
2 FELICITY AND RAY
Season three of Arrow began with Oliver and Felicity finally going on a long-awaited date. Unfortunately, Oliver decided he couldn’t be the Arrow and be in love, so he wanted her to move on. She did when she met Starling’s new tech billionaire Ray Palmer. The two geniuses seemed made for each other. It was Felicity who helped Ray figure out some of the tech for his ATOM suit.
They actually started out in a good place, but as the season progressed Ray became an afterthought to Felicity’s Team Arrow duties and he eventually realized what we all knew, Oliver and Felicity were meant to be. This left Ray out in the cold (a place he would become familiar with). Now we get to see them as friends, a dynamic that works much better for the characters.
1 OLIVER AND LAUREL
The Arrowverse has a lot of examples of unlucky men and women getting caught between star-crossed lovers. However, Arrow may be the one place where the comic book couple everyone expected to happen just never worked. The minute The CW announced it was doing a Green Arrow series, fans wondered how they would approach the storied romance between Oliver Queen and Laurel Lance.
Turns out the answer was poorly. Oliver’s cheating on Laurel with her sister Sara, which led to Sara’s presumed death put a damper on their reunion. Laurel’s relationship with Tommy and addiction spiral after he died also contributed to their separation. On her deathbed Laurel confessed that while Oliver was the love of her life, she knew she wasn’t his. Well that says everything. While they may have been meant to be on the page, their TV counterparts could never make it past the friend zone.