It’s that time of year again. The current seasons of our favorite shows, including those within The CW’s Arrowverse, have come to a close. Now comes the painful, months-long wait for Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow to once again grace our television screens, as we desperately seek other forms of temporary weeknight entertainment to hold us over.
With each of the current season finales still fresh in our minds, not to mention plenty of time on our hands, we thought it might be worthwhile to look back at each finale of each season of each of the four series to see which of them reign supreme, and which ones we wish we could forget. Here are the best Arrowverse season finales so far:
Arrow Season 3
Episode Title: My Name Is Oliver Queen
As a whole, Season 3 of the Arrowverse’s flagship show left much to be desired. That being said, it should come as little surprise that the season finale ranks so low on this list. The episode sees Oliver face off against Ra’s al Ghul in the pair’s final confrontation, but for a climactic battle, it didn’t really feel all that climactic. Perhaps this is due to the fight choreography not being quite on par with earlier episodes. In any case, what truly holds this finale back is the conclusion. There were a lot of questions left unanswered, but not in the way you typically expect from a season finale. It was more loose threads than cliffhangers. Also, Oliver and Felicity riding off into the sunset felt more like a fitting end to the series rather than the season. Had there been some semblance of drama in the episode’s closing moments, then maybe it could have been ranked more favorably.Advertisement
Arrow Season 4
Episode Title: Schism
While Season 4 was better than Season 3, the differences are far from night and day. They’re more like night and later night. Yes, Neal McDonough’s Damien Darhk was one of Arrow’s standout antagonists, but his final battle with Ollie evoked too many memories of The Dark Knight Rises. What’s more, this episode somehow managed to have stakes that felt way too high and way too low at the same time. The idea of a barrage of nukes hurtling towards Star City is a little much for a supposed street-level hero, and yet, Curtis and Felicity’s rooftop banter does nothing more than undermine the severity of the situation. All in all, the best way to describe this episode would be lackluster.
Supergirl Season 1
Episode Title: Better Angels
Despite Season 1 of Supergirl airing on CBS rather than The CW, it’s still considered to be part of the Arrowverse, and no less immune to subpar season finales than any of the other shows. Ultimately, the episode lacked some much-needed tension, largely because of the fact that the climactic conclusion that was set up in the penultimate episode, Myriad, was resolved no more than 10 minutes into the finale. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Non decided that Earth wasn’t worth saving and instead opted to kill everyone, which was a move that felt a little too heavy-handed (raising the stakes simply for the sake of raising the stakes). Kara’s “goodbye” scenes with each and every character before her suicide mission were a little cheesy, but to the episode’s credit, it did manage to captivate viewers in the final moments, with the crash-landing of a mystery pod raising a number of intriguing questions. It’s the kind of ending you want from a season finale, and certainly more than we got from Season 3 of Arrow.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 2
Episode Title: Aruba
When a massive timequake spells bad news for the Legends, they realize that they’ll be forced to break the cardinal rule of time travel – the one that Rip Hunter has been drilling into their heads since Season 1 – in order to repair the timeline and stop the Legion of Doom. In this respect, the finale of Season 2 works. It’s a thrilling premise, and watching it all play out is every bit as exciting as you could hope for. However, Rip opting to leave the team felt a bit strange, considering the fact that Amaya stayed – a move that will surely be problematic for the future Vixen. Additionally, the cliffhanger that the episode closed on wasn’t exactly the best way to wrap up what was a largely good season.
Supergirl Season 2
Episode Title: Nevertheless, She Persisted
All hands were on deck for the Season 2 finale of Supergirl. Superman, Miss Martian, and Cat Grant all made triumphant returns, and the rest of the show’s regular ensemble cast were all present and accounted for, as well. The use of General Zod felt cheap and the fight between Supergirl and Rhea wasn’t as strong as it should have been, but the rest of the episode was full of strong moments that carried plenty of emotional weight. Mon-El’s forced departure was a sad, but fitting way to end the character’s arc this season and keep things from feeling too “happily ever after.” And once again, the season ended with an exciting tease of what’s to come, with a flashback showing a mysterious Kryptonian ship departing for Earth moments before the planet’s destruction, and likely planting the seeds for Season 3’s big bad.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 1
Episode Title: Legendary
While Season 1 of Legends of Tomorrow had its fair share of peaks and valleys, it certainly managed to finish off strong. That’s very much how the episode was, as well, with the convolution of Vandal Savage's scheme and the poor writing of Hawman and Hawkgirl partially made up for by heavy emotional beats and the end of Hawman and Hawkgirl. Still, despite being shaky at times, it’s the tease of the Justice Society of America in the final scene that makes the whole episode worthwhile. It’s far from perfect, but it sure is entertaining.
The Flash Season 3
Episode Title: Finish Line
After seemingly witnessing the death of Iris in the penultimate episode, the Season 3 finale of The Flash is off to an emotional start from the moment it begins. And while it was pretty much telegraphed in the previous episode that it wasn’t Iris, but rather a disguised H.R. that bit the bullet, seeing him die in Barry’s arms was no less saddening, especially given Tracy’s reaction to the death of her newfound love. It was great to redeem Caitlin/Killer Frost yet still have her refuse to rejoin Team Flash, but the actual climax of the episode brought forth some questionable writing decisions. Jay escaping from the Speed Force to assist Barry against Savitar was a fun moment. However, to then suddenly have him remember that the Speed Force prison needs a prisoner in order to remain stable felt like a lazy excuse to set up the final scene of Barry taking Jay’s place in the prison. It’s still a fun episode, but by far the weakest of The Flash finales thus far.
The Flash Season 2
Episode Title: The Race of His Life
There was a lot of payoff in the Season 2 finale of The Flash. There was the reveal of the man in the iron mask’s identity, the resolution to the impending doom of the multiverse, and Barry overcoming his emotions to focus on defeating Zoom in a manner that was truly heroic. What’s more, there were plenty of amazing moments for longtime comic book fans to gush over, such as the homages to Crisis on Infinite Earths and the more recent Flashpoint. It did seem odd, though, that at a time where everything finally seemed to be going right in Barry’s life, he would feel the need to travel back in time and save his mother. It seemed like the writers knew they wanted to head in the Flashpoint direction for Season 3, but weren’t entirely sure how to execute it properly. In any case, this nitpick did little to deter from what was an overall fantastic conclusion to a stellar second season of The Flash.
Arrow Season 2
Episode Title: Unthinkable
The final faceoff between Oliver and Slade was everything we could have asked for, and more. The intercut scenes of the duo fighting in both the past in present are brilliant, and the episode marked a major step in the evolution of Oliver Queen from murderous vigilante to outright superhero. After Slade killed his mother, the fact that Oliver was able to overcome his emotions and not execute him was a powerful moment. More importantly, though, it showed us that there was more than meets the eye in regards to Ollie’s time on Lian Yu. The episode didn’t have quite the same emotional touch as the Season 1 finale, but the action sequences and fight choreography are arguably some of the best of the series.
The Flash Season 1
Episode Title: Fast Enough
After an exciting first season, The Flash managed to go out with quite a bang. The sight of the future Barry signaling to his past self not to save his mother was a fun reference to Flashpoint, as well as a clever bit of foreshadowing for the Season 2 finale, and Eddie’s sacrifice was absolutely heartbreaking. The episode also introduced audiences to the type of Earth-shattering, timeline-altering themes that would become prevalent in the series moving forward. Most importantly, though, is the fact that the final scene gets your heart racing, then closes without a definitive ending, bringing the concept of cliffhangers to new heights and leaving you salivating for more. Plus, the tease of Jay Garrick’s helmet was easily one of the best Easter eggs of the season.
Arrow Season 1
Episode Title: Sacrifice
The finale to Season 1 of Arrow was a highly emotional roller coaster ride that knew exactly how to raise the stakes in ways that count. The action was top-notch, and Ollie shoving an arrow through his chest just to reach Merlyn was a stunning example of just how far he was willing to go to save his city. The character of Moira, whose motives had always been questionable, finally began her road to redemption, but the absolute heart of this episode lies within the death of Tommy. That the series was willing to kill off a main character so early into its run showed audiences that Arrow wasn’t going to hold back when it was time to up the ante, and even as the episode closes all we’re left with is a look at the destruction of Starling City. No glimmers of hope, just pure chaos.
Arrow Season 5
Episode Title: Lian Yu
After five years of flashbacks and five years present-day evolution, Oliver Queen’s 10-year journey from rich party boy to merciless assassin to superhero finally ended. This episode was very much the culmination of everything that’s transpired since the pilot episode. We get to relive the scene of Ollie’s rescue from Lian Yu, but with new perspective; we get the full redemption of Malcolm Merlyn, who sacrifices himself to save Thea and co.; we even get the redemption of Slade, whose presence when Oliver refuses to kill Adrian serves as a clever callback to his and Ollie’s climactic battle in the Season 2 finale. Then, or course, you have one of the best-executed cliffhangers in any of the Arrowverse shows, as Oliver and his son are forced to watch Lian Yu be blown to bits with their friends and family still on it. Are they truly dead? Probably not, but nevertheless, it was a shocking moment that marks yet another milestone in Oliver’s life, as the island – which has very much been a part of him since Season 1 – has now been destroyed. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess.