In the past year or so, the CW has slacked off a bit when it comes to the quality of their shows: Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, etc. The shows were subjected to lazy or over-complicated writing, a focus on relationships rather than the superheroes themselves, and so much more. It was a hard time for us DC fans. Luckily, since then, they have gotten their act together because it’s been very, very hard to focus on our love of the basic superhero foundations of the shows with so much extraneous and unnecessary additions.
Arrow is so far on par with seasons one and two, Legends of Tomorrow has finally hit its stride, and so forth. The CW DCEU shows are good again, and let me be the first to tell you that it’s an incredible breath of fresh air- I’m finally excited for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday once more, and with a massive crossover coming up, there’s plenty of reason to be drooling with anticipation.
That being said, I’ve been pretty positive on all of these shows up until this point. However, even the best TV shows on the network have their missteps, plot holes, and inconsistencies. If you dig deep enough on every episode, I guarantee you’d find something in one of the four shows at least every week. Over the years, I’ve noticed some of these plot holes, and while they don’t detract from the whole experience, they are a bit bothersome.
So get your critic’s glasses on, gentle readers, it’s time to point out 15 gaping plot holes in the CW superhero shows. From Supergirl to Legends, no show is safe from our long reach.
15. Roy Harper Being the Arrow
This first plot hole comes from the third season of Arrow. In it, the League of Assassins and Ra’s al Ghul himself showed up to challenge Oliver Queen unlike any foe before them. This eventually led to the former offering Queen the mantle of Ra’s al Ghul. Naturally, Ollie declined that offer, but that decision wasn’t without its consequences. Ra’s took it upon himself to rob Oliver of everything that he loved so that he would have no choice but to concede to the League. As such, he disguised himself as The Arrow and began killing all kinds of criminals. Naturally, the police force put a bounty on the vigilante and eventually found Ollie’s base of operations. Despite having almost clear evidence against him, though, Roy Harper (Arsenal) took the fall and told the public that he was The Arrow and was put in prison for it. However, this doesn’t make sense. In an earlier season of the show, Roy Harper was held hostage by a criminal and The Arrow came to save him. That entire event was broadcast to the public, yet nobody thought to refer to it when Roy Harper claimed that he was the vigilante? Odd.
14. Yamashiro Family Line
I noticed this little bad boy in the current season of Legends of Tomorrow. The team got sidetracked in feudal Japan and found themselves face to face with a tyrannical warlord. As such, they had to pick up some samurai swords and start fighting to protect a local village. During that episode, Nate (or Steel, as they like to call him) was being cared for by a local woman and her father. After some probing and disclosure, Nate discovered that the woman was engaged to marry this warlord. Obviously, he took it upon himself to stop the warlord and prevented her from having to marry him. The Legends succeeded, and the warlord was killed. Afterward, it was revealed that this woman’s last name was Yamashiro. For those of you that haven’t kept up, the Yamashiros were in Arrow as friends from Oliver’s past. However, the problem comes a bit later. While it’s great that the warlord was killed, wouldn’t that mean that the present-day Yamashiro family would have at least had a severe change if not being wiped out altogether? After all, their ancestor didn’t get married like history intended. But, we’re just left to speculation as the shows won’t deal with it anytime soon if at all.
13. The Death of Eobard Thawne
Before I continue, I’m not going to pretend that I understand time travel nor do I claim to be any kind of expert, but this has bugged me for quite some time. In the first season of The Flash, the Reverse Flash was killed because his ancestor, Eddie, shot himself so that the villain would be erased from existence. The show eventually explained this in a fairly complicated timeline scenario, but I was satisfied with the ancestor, until there were a few instances where a change in a previous time nearly resulted in another character being wiped from existence. This proposes an issue with Eobard’s death. For example, this villain is still running around, but as a version of himself before The Flash season one. However, this cannot exist because his ancestor is dead. If his ancestor is dead, he would’ve never been born and his actions would never have happened. It would’ve started a chain reaction of events that would’ve abruptly changed the timeline, like when Barry created Flashpoint. As such, Eobard should no longer exist, and he shouldn’t be forming the Legion of Doom.
12. Kara’s First Flight
I know I’ve said this before, but Supergirl is the only CW superhero show that I couldn’t get into. One of the reasons for this are because of the plot holes I spotted in the pilot episode. You see, the show establishes Kara as a girl who has never used her powers for decades. She strove to lead a normal life with a normal job and a normal family. However, bad things start to happen that cause her to denounce her normality and become Supergirl. One of the first things she does is save a falling plane from the sky by flying up to it. However, this should not have gone nearly as easy as it did. It’s been shown many times that Kryptonians take time to adjust to their powers as they’re used. Kara is no different, especially considering the fact that in the show she never attempted flying before trying to save the plane. She should’ve been inexperienced, sloppy, and perhaps even failed in the mission altogether. Man of Steel would tell you that flying takes a long time to learn, but maybe Kara is just a natural? That choice is up to you guys.
11. Laurel’s Fighting Progress
Laurel is both one of the most loved and hated characters on Arrow. She was fairly well-liked at first, but the moment she started to become Black Canary, nobody liked it. Then she died and everyone threw a fit. It’s bizarre to me, but that’s not the point I’m here to make. I’m talking about how Laurel progressed as a fighter. In season three, after her sister was killed by Malcolm Merlyn, she decided to take up the mantle of the Canary and learn how to fight all on her own. She trained for a few months while under former vigilante Wildcat, and became pretty prominent, perhaps too prominent. You see Laurel was able to go up against multiple members of the League of Assassins, who had years of training from Ra’s al Ghul, while she was working out in her off hours under a washed-up hero. Don’t get me wrong, she should be a good fighter, but not so good that she could ever stand against the League of Assassins alone right away. While viewers got over it eventually, it’s still something that bothers me a bit; though I am still sad that she’s gone.
10. Vandal Savage’s Ashes
In last year’s Arrow/The Flash crossover, we were introduced to two new heroes, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, as well as the villain Vandal Savage. That battle was brutal at first, showcasing everyone being obliterated except for Barry, who ran back in time to earlier that day and set everything right. It took that entire group two tries to take down Vandal Savage. Now, with some engineering help from Cisco, the team was able to put together a weapon that could bring this immortal tyrant to his knees, or in this case, a pile of ashes. At the very end of the episode, Malcolm Merlyn went to the death site of Savage and placed his ashes in an urn, claiming that Savage now “owes him one.” However, not only are we never told just how Vandal Savage regenerated, we are never shown how Merlyn was rewarded or attacked for his involvement with the matter. It is never dealt with on Arrow or Legends, not even in a throw-away line for exposition. Granted, that was the weakest year for the DC TV shows, so I guess I’ll cut them some slack this time, but let’s hope they don’t do it again with next week’s crossover.
9. Zoom Didn’t Take Jay Garrick’s Powers
Regardless of how you feel about Zoom in season 2 of The Flash, you couldn’t deny that he was one of the most twisted and terrifying presences that we had seen in that universe. After a few episodes, it was revealed that Zoom was not only a speedster, but also a “speed vampire” of sorts. He sought to steal speed from others, and his next target was Barry. As the two clashed and took their battle across dimensions, Barry found that in Zoom’s prison, there was another man in a cage. There was a mask around his face and there was a lot of ambiguity as to who he was. In the end, though, he was revealed to be the true Jay Garrick (a moment I’m sure fans of the series and the older series geeked out at), another speedster. However, Zoom never stole Garrick’s speed. All he did was steal his name and use a mask to suppress his powers. What makes even less sense is that Garrick is probably even faster than Barry, and Zoom had him. Why wouldn’t he take Garrick’s speed? If he did, he could’ve easily overwhelmed Barry and killed him.
8. Bizarro Going After James
Sometimes there is lazy writing, and other times writers give characters motivations based on what the audience knows. If you don’t understand what I mean, let me explain. In season one of Supergirl, the villain Maxwell Lord created Bizarro to fight Kara by going after someone she cares about. In the episode before that one, Maxwell just discovered who Kara’s sister was. You would think that he would send his creation after Alex then, right? Wrong. Instead when Lord sends Bizarro out, the creation doesn’t go after Alex. She instead goes after James because somehow she knew that Kara loved him, even though Kara never openly expressed or declared that she felt that way. What makes this even worse is that Kara was dating Adam at the time, so why didn’t Bizarro go for the obvious choice and try to take down Adam? Unlike some of the other points on this list, this plot hole is one that bothers me, but perhaps I’m a bit biased in saying that. Regardless, it’s one of the most thoughtless moves I’ve ever seen writers pull in the continuity of a TV show.
7. The Arrow Cave Under Thea’s Club
It was some nice character development in the later seasons of Arrow when the writers did away with the “drug abusing little sister” trope for Thea. Instead she became a fully fleshed out business woman, who began her career by managing her own club at the lot where the Arrow Cave was located. However, for an extremely long time, she did not know that her brother was the Arrow, and strangely, never discovered the Arrow Cave. That blows my mind, to be honest with you all. The entrance was disguised as the door to a freezer, and you mean to tell me that never once did Thea even think to open it or was even curious to know what was on the other side? C’mon, it’s a club! Furthermore, how did no drunk customers stumble across it and decide to go snooping around. Main characters do it in films and TV all the time, why shouldn’t random characters do it as well? Fortunately, the Arrow Cave was eventually found and Ollie was forced to relocate elsewhere with a nice upgrade and better technology. However, I’m still waiting for them to stop calling it the “Arrow Cave.” It needs to be called the Quiver at some point- it makes so much sense.
6. The Hunters
In the first season of Legends of Tomorrow, from the very beginning, the team was targeted by a hunter named Chronos. After a mysterious and relatively convoluted plot twist, Chronos was revealed to be one of the team members from the future (Heat Wave). After regaining their ally back, he went on to tell them how the Legends had a huge target over their heads. As such, they were being followed by a group known as the Hunters. They were all of equal or greater strength than Heat Wave as Chronos, so there was a lot of reason to be worried. Furthermore, Chronos was so deadly and skilled that he managed to cause a lot of problems for the team on several occasions. A whole team of them would be almost impossible to defeat, right? Unfortunately, this couldn’t have been further from the truth. The Hunters showed up in the Wild West in knock-off paintball gear and the battle that ensued was over almost as soon as it had started. The Hunters went down like total pushovers and the Legends team stood over their lifeless bodies in triumph, despite not being able to deal with just one of them for half of the season.
5. The Gold Gun
When The CW first announced that it would be doing a TV show based on The Flash, I was a little bit skeptical at first. After all, there a lot of crazy and wacky things in Flash comics, and not all of them translate to the screen very well. That said, the direction they took with it found the proper balance of campy and grounded. With some things, however, we did have to suspend our disbelief a little bit. Other things were a bit too ridiculous that they didn’t even make sense though. Perhaps the best example of this is the Gold Gun. When Leonard Snart brought his little sister into the picture, he had Cisco create a weapon for her that somehow shoots molten gold. There are number of scientific and in-show reasons why this gun makes no sense, but I will do my best not to try to go on a super rant here. After all, they don’t explain how it works in the show, so we’re only left to assume. If the gun runs on gold, the amount of gold they would need would be much more than the actual heists they (Leonard and Lisa) pull off, and even if it weren’t gold, the show makes it out to behave just like gold.
4. Felicity Flashback
Remember how in season two of Arrow everyone thought it would be an amazing idea to have Oliver and Felicity become lovers for real? After seasons three and four ended, a lot of those people aren’t saying that anymore, thankfully. There were so many problems with the “Olicity” relationship, but the one that bugs me to this day was during a flashback in season three. Oliver is doing work for Amanda Waller, which lands him in Star City before he officially made his return. He was near the old Queen Consolidated building when a pre-Arrow Felicity walked into the room. He watched as she saw a picture of the presumed-dead Oliver Queen and proceeded to coyly say how attractive she found him. Then Oliver smiled like he had already met and was interested in Felicity.
From the get-go, that was a moment put in there by the writers to “validate” Oliver and Felicity’s relationship. However, in the continuity of everything, it simply doesn’t make sense. Felicity was an IT girl and didn’t have a lot of business going up to the highest point in QC. Then she conveniently expressed her attraction to Oliver’s picture while he was in earshot.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Flashpoint as much as the next guy, but the direction they took with the show isn’t nearly as interesting as the comic version. There are a few inconsistencies I have about Flashpoint, but I’ll only talk about the ones that really stick out to me. The first one is when Barry decided to go and restore the timeline back to the way it was, the timeline should only have progressed as we remembered it. Instead we have a lot of new problems to face. Somehow Barry saving his mom then letting her die again resulted in Caitlin getting ice powers, Cisco’s brother dying, Joe and Iris not talking, and so forth. That alone doesn’t make sense to me. The other issue was that, when Barry came back to the original timeline (that had since been altered), the problems that I mentioned before, save Caitlin’s powers, were all solved very easily. Joe and Iris not talking for almost a year? Barry has one conversation and they’re back to how we remember them. Everything was just fixed so easily that it was almost pointless to create Flashpoint other than the presence of Dr. Alchemy.
2. The Separation of Firestorm
From the moment I began watching Legends of Tomorrow, I knew that this one was going to be a problem. After all, the effects on Firestorm are expensive, and the writers have to find ways to keep him out of the fight as much as possible in order to save money. This has resulted in many episodes (especially in the first season) splitting up Martin Stein and Jefferson Jackson as much as possible, for believable or unbelievable reasons altogether. At times, it doesn’t even make sense. A lot of their problems could have been solved if the two just merged and flew around shooting fireballs at everything. Instead, they couldn’t do that because Jackson had to stay and watch the ship, or the timeline had to be kept intact. Season two has proven there is no intact timeline anymore, so Firestorm should able to fly around and burn whatever they want at this point. And what’s the point of bringing them to the team if you never utilize their powers?
1. Barry at Laurel’s Funeral
This is the one continuity error that many people pointed out and still make reference to today. Look, I’m not pretending that holding a shared universe across four different shows is easy, and there was bound to be a mistake at some point, but let’s try and break this one down, shall we? At Laurel’s funeral in Arrow, Barry Allen speeds over to share his condolences with Oliver then speeds away again. However, in the current timeline in The Flash, Barry did not have his speed. He gave it up to Zoom. I really can’t hold this against the writers, but I think where they slipped up is showing that scene with Barry at the beginning of the season. In the beginning of TV seasons, sometimes the writers are still figuring out how they’re going to move the story forward, and it’s likely that Barry wasn’t planned to have lost his speed by the time the funeral was in the present day. However, as both shows moved on, it’s likely that they both went in their own direction and the way they lined up simply wasn’t good. However, with how the shows were progressing, they didn’t have much of an option.