The Arrowverse. From the humble beginnings of just focusing on Oliver Queen, it’s since grown to include The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. It’s been great to see DC allow fan-favorite characters to appear in live action with the space to really delve into their characters and plots that the films might not be able to adapt. But on the other side of that, the showrunners sometimes get things very wrong. And whilst the shows are obviously aimed at comic book fans, they also have to cater to other types of audiences too.
This means that the storylines have to be simplified or changed so that people don’t get confused, which leads to some really different moments than what fans might expect. "Flashpoint" started in a similar way, but the main events were radically different. But aside from that, there are some moments across all The CW shows that just don’t seem to work well onscreen. Failed relationships, bizarre concepts and big series-spanning events just don’t have the weight the writers intended. We’ve looked at all four shows and picked out the moments that made us squirm for all the wrong reasons. Here are the 15 cringiest moments in the Arrowverse.
15 BULLET-RIDDEN LAPTOP
‘Olicity’ has been a bittersweet romantic relationship from day one of Arrow. Some fans loved it, whilst others couldn’t stand it. And even though the relationship developed between Felicity and Oliver in different ways, their first meeting was undoubtedly embarrassing. Oliver takes a ‘broken’ laptop to the IT department, and claims that his friend spilt coffee on it. Even though it’s ridden with bullet holes.
Even after Felicity points that out, Ollie still asks her to recover any information from it. Logically, it makes no sense. Why hand evidence from a vigilante related crime scene to a civilian? She could’ve called the police and then this series would have been over before Ollie even took the Green Arrow name. But the exchange between the two is so awkward and not as cute as the writers intended.
14 THE RIVAL
The Flash started off with a strong villain in Eobard Thawne (the Reverse Flash), and followed up with Zoom (Hunter Zolomon), who was still entertaining but just a little too similar. Fans hoped that the third season would give birth to a new villain who wouldn’t rely on speed powers. They were so wrong. The first two episodes gave us ‘The Rival’ who fought against Kid Flash.
He was a poor carbon copy of the Reverse Flash and Zoom combined. His dialogue felt cheesy and stereotypically villainy. The Rival’s costume was a little too similar to Zoom’s from the previous season too. With his death and subsequent revival -- his part in the third season opener felt seriously weak. making him even less menacing and more cringey. Since The Rival was a Jay Garrick villain from the comics, it was a poor adaptation from the TV series.
13 BUG EYED BANDIT
Killer bees.' Nuff said. The ‘All-Star Team Up’ episode of The Flash saw Felicity and Ray Palmer come to S.T.A.R. Labs for help with the A.T.O.M. suit, and ended up helping The Flash fight a metahuman named Brie Larvan. Larvan was played by Emily Kinney, who gave a stellar performance on The Walking Dead. Unfortunately, her appearance on The Flash is no way near as impressive.
She plays a crazed ex-employee of Mercury Labs, and sets hundreds of robotic bees on her former bosses and co-workers. Then there’s the ‘hack-off’ between Larvin and Felicity. It just felt like a cheap way of pitting two female characters against each other, whilst giving Felicity something to contribute to the episode. The actual team-up aspect of the episode worked like a charm, but the writing of the Bug Eyed Bandit felt like the writers had taken a day off.
12 SARA AND JAX ENTER RIP HUNTER'S MIND
Legends of Tomorrow did its own version of ‘Inception’, just not very well at all. It saw Sara and Jax enter Rip’s mind to restore his personality so they could go find the Spear of Destiny. But when they go inside his mind, it’s a copy of the Waverider. To make things worse, the pair have to fight evil copies of themselves. Yawn.
It was a boring affair, and having a character fight a subconscious version of themselves felt weird and out of place when it didn’t really have any significance to the plot. It was put in so that Sara and Jax had something to do whilst the others were looking for a part to fix the Waverider. Essentially, the episode was a filler, but it filled us with disappointment and reasons to roll our eyes.
11 RENAMING STARLING CITY TO STAR CITY
PR stunts can be pretty big sometimes. Although maybe not as big as changing the name of an entire city just to cheer people up, because that’s what Ray Palmer does in Arrow season three. When Palmer Technologies takes over Queen Consolidated, Ray decides that after two terrorist attacks, the citizens of Starling City need a morale boost, and tries to rename it to Star City.
It’s a really cheesy way of circling the city back to the name it has in the comics. The writers should’ve just given the city the ‘Star’ label to begin with, instead of using an unnecessary plot point to do so. They even keep the name after the end of the third season as a way of honoring Ray Palmer after his ‘death’.
10 BARRY AND FELICITY KISS
It seems like superheroes and their friends can never get a romantic break. Felicity and Barry were friends before the particle accelerator incident, and she decides to come check up on him when she hears about his new abilities. Throughout the episode there are a few clues that the two are getting closer and closer, which is not such a terrible thing.
Hell, if they fleshed out a genuinely interesting relationship between the two, it might not have been that bad. But, by the end of the episode, the writers rush the pair’s affections and Barry kisses Felicity after they agree to just be friends. Given that Barry pines over Iris every five seconds, the kiss feels so awkward and out of place, and especially since it’s never really mentioned aside from one comment in the animated Vixen series.
9 LISA SNART KISSES CISCO
Cisnart? Lisco? Whatever fans are calling this pair, it’s undeniable that some of their meetings on The Flash have been awkward and weird. With Lisa using her sexuality as a way of getting Cisco to do what she wants, it’s a very strange relationship. And for a man as intelligent as Cisco Ramon, he really plays into it. The writers even give us a tragic back story for Lisa to make her vulnerable.
But there’s nothing for the pair to bond over at all. No common ground that they particularly share. Sure there’s a little chemistry, but she’s a villain after all. Their kiss in ‘Family of Rogues’ doesn’t come across as awkward necessarily, but more eye-rollingly unbelievable. You never see The Flash kissing one of his villains -- keep a lid on it Cisco.
8 OLIVER AND FELICITY GET 'MARRIED'
Don’t get us wrong, there are some genuinely well-written and tender moments in the relationship between Oliver and Felicity. But after their break-up, staging a wedding simply to draw out Carrie Cutter, AKA Cupid, just seems like baiting fans of the relationship to sit up and pay attention. The pair of them are clearly still bitter towards the other about the end of their relationship, leading to such an awkward scene when they’re both ready for their upcoming ‘marriage’.
It might be a clever tactic to lure a romance obsessed villain into the open, but the actual writing of the episode just feels incredibly awkward for everyone involved. It doesn’t bring the pair closer together, nor does it push them apart -- it just happens. And we’d like to forget it ever happened, as it's not quite glorified fan-fiction, but it’s not far off either.
7 JIMMY OLSEN BECOMES 'GUARDIAN'
It seems that in The CW, vigilantism is an infectious condition -- give it a season or two, and everyone gets a costume. Supergirl is no different. Martian Manhunter actually worked brilliantly as part of the plot, but Jimmy (sorry, James, he finds ‘Jimmy’ annoying) taking on a vigilante role in season two seems silly. Firstly, the fact that he initially keeps it a secret from Kara is ridiculous. Even though he seems to be mildly successful as a hero when fighting Parasite, wouldn’t it be useful to team-up with another hero?
Plus, the show already included the original Guardian from the comics, James Harper, in a previous episode. They should’ve introduced the character properly and given him the adaptation that he deserves. Don’t even get us started on the helmet, as it looks like a poor, unfinished attempt of the Spartan helmet from Arrow. We’re not convinced.
6 FELICITY'S EX-BOYFRIEND
Again, Felicity’s romances are the thing that sometimes brings her character down. It’s a shame, she’s a genuinely intriguing part of the show that seems to constantly be defined by her relationships. In "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak", her ex kidnaps both Felicity and her mother to ensure that the genius hacker gets the criminals access to some money trucks.
The damsel in distress routine is boring and has been done to death on Arrow over the past five seasons. And even though Ollie isn’t the one to actually defeat the ex, that beat goes to Felicity, he gets pretty close. We get the writers want to focus on Felicity because fans love her character, but with this and the staged wedding, do the showrunners take the occasional cue from fan fiction? Certainly seems that way sometimes.
5 COUNT VERTIGO
Arrow was bold in many of the characters and storylines that it adapted onscreen. One of the characters it initially got very wrong, was Count Vertigo. Before Peter Stormare took on the role, the first Count Vertigo was terrible. Seth Gabel has given some great performances before (his role on Fringe was fantastic), but his version of Vertigo was absolutely awful and so very cringeworthy.
He played the character like a pantomime villain. He was so eccentric and weird, it felt very out of place with Arrow’s serious, gritty tone. Maybe the writers were trying to go for a Joker-type character for the series, someone who would find humor in pain and suffering. What we actually got, was a cringeworthy villain who hissed his lines and completely failed at being intimidating.
4 BARRY'S LITERAL BLIND DATE
Oh Patty Spivot. She was a small part of The Flash season two, until she discovered Barry’s speedster alter-ego. Surprisingly, before that point their relationship worked quite well. Onscreen, they just worked well as a couple and both seemed happy together. That is until Barry was blinded by Doctor Light, and continued to go on a date with Patty, pretending everything was fine.
The scene was like something out of a poorly written romantic comedy. Cisco wires up a microphone and glasses so he can direct Barry through the meal, but Patty isn’t stupid and manages to see through the charade. Unfortunately, it plays out so poorly onscreen that it makes the portion of the episode nearly unwatchable. It’s only the chemistry between Patty and Barry that keeps the audience interested.
3 OLIVER AND FELICITY SLEEPING TOGETHER POST BREAK-UP
Flashbacks -- sometimes they work, and sometimes they really don’t. Well during Arrow season five, we were given a flashback of an event that occurs between season four and season five. Oliver and Felicity had broken up, and Curtis for some reason had decided to play matchmaker. He leaves them some food and wine, then after both practicing the salmon ladder, Felicity makes a move… and they exercise in a different way.
It feels so out of place with where the characters are at in season five, that it’s somewhat lame and totally bizarre. Yes, it’s meant to parallel the pair being trapped underground in the episode, but the flashback just felt so awkward to watch after seeing them argue, fight and break up before this flashback had even occurred. The writers tried making ‘Olicity’ a thing and it clearly didn’t work. Just let it die now.
2 YET ANOTHER EVIL SPEEDSTER
Surprise, surprise. When writers find something that works, they usually stick with it until it’s overdone. Well, The Flash writers found something they liked and flogged it until it became extremely boring. You’d be forgiven for not understanding Savitar’s origin, it uses all sorts of time-bending excuses, but the villain is the ‘God of Speed’ and wants to kill Barry. What’s new here?
The reveal behind the mask was shocking at face value, but when it was followed up, it became nearly laughable. The plot of Barry trying to stop Iris’ death was interesting, but it’s a shame that the villain was yet again a speedster who was faster than him. And when Barry finally defeated Savitar and wore the metal costume, he made it explode. Obviously. It felt like a very weak ending for a show that attempted to include its own version of "Flashpoint".
1 THE FLASH/SUPERGIRL MUSICAL
Fans of Glee might’ve enjoyed this callback to Grant Gustin’s previous role, but we didn’t. At all. Is this the worst episode in the entire Arrowverse? Quite possibly. ‘The Music Meister’ puts The Flash and Supergirl to sleep, and in their joint dream the characters all play roles in a noir filled musical with a meaning. The fact that the technical term in the show for this sleep is ‘whammied’ gives you an indication of what to expect. It’s a poor effort all round.
It’s capped off by a near unwatchable musical number by Grant Gustin, who serenades Iris with a song telling her how much he loves her. It’s cringe-worthy, it’s embarrassing to watch, and the only interesting thing about it is that it crosses over with Supergirl. And even then, she’s not given the best character arc either. Avoid this episode like the plague.
Are there any other Arrowverse moments that made you cringe? Let us know in the comments section!