One of the things that the Arrowverse does best is to form long-standing emotional connections between their dozens of superhero characters and the millions of people who watch their shows. The thing about that? Eventually some of those people are going to need to go. Whether it's actors who are ready to move on or stories that call for a dramatic sacrifice, characters are going to leave, move, change...or die. And, as you might imagine, the fans tend not to like that very much. Each time there's a death in the Arrowverse, as in the comics, it's somebody's favorite character...and in a lot of cases, the heroes' deaths come as a shock.
Starting eight seasons ago, Arrow introduced a new world of characters that has since expanded to include The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Batwoman, and Black Lightning. Of course, along the way there's been a lot of heartbreak.
So what are the most memorable, saddest, and most controversial deaths in the Arrowverse? Well, read on as we pour salt in your wounds!
The idea that your main character might lose a child? That's devastating. More so, arguably, when it's The Flash. That show is generally so upbeat and devoid of cynicism that when tragedy strikes there, it feels even harder to believe. You keep expecting something to change, and the death to be reversed, and it's crazy when it doesn't.
That's part of what made the death of Nora West-Allen, who was essentially written out of existence in the finale last season, so heartbreaking. And it didn't help that a lot of fans assumed the character would be brought back in some way following "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and...well, no. That didn't happen.prevnext
Dying in the final installment of "Crisis on Earth-X," the heroes of Earth-1 had to deal with the loss of a powerful ally in Firestorm and a friend in Martin Stein, who had been struck down while trying to escape Earth-X. For a time, his psychic connection with Jefferson Jackson (the other half of the Firestorm matrix) kept him alive, but when he realized that he was in danger of killing Jax rather than being saved by him, Stein had a heartbreaking scene where he said goodbye to Jax and took a "cure" that separated the pair.prevnext
One of the first truly shocking Arrowverse deaths was the murder of Moira Queen by Deathstroke during the show's second season. The heartbreaking scene, which also saw great acting by Stephen Amell and Willa Holland as Moira's terrified kids, actually was so iconic that they revisited it in the series finale earlier this year.prevnext
Apparently, losing a parent in the second season was something that they decided they wanted the Arrowverse to embrace. During his showdown with Zoom, Barry Allen lost his dad -- Henry Allen, played by original Flash actor John Wesley Shipp. The episode was heartbreaking and those heaertstrings would be pulled on plenty more times in the coming seasons.prevnext
Catherine herself was a loss for the series, but it was really the acting of Mary (Nicole Kang), whose anguish at the loss really sold the magnitude of the moment. The stepmother, who had been partially responsible for Alice's trauma in an indirect way, become a lightning rod for the villain's hatred and ultimatley sacrificed herself to save Mary when both of them were poisoned and there was only one dose of antidote.prevnext
The biggest and most surprising death of the first season of Arrow was Tommy Merlyn. Given how often he reappears and is referenced, it seems like the producers second-guessed it...but either way, fans were heartbroken to lose the character so soon, and then excited to revisit him (or versions of him) every time he showed up during the course of the show.prevnext
Laurel Lance's death was not much of a surprise in some ways -- fans had been speculating about it for a while, in part because her role as the show's designated love interest had long since been discarded in favor of a romance between Oliver and TV's radically reinvented version of Felicity Smoak. Still, the episode was pretty intense, and even when you saw it coming, it was still a shock to see one of the series' few remaining people who had been in the pilot say goodbye in a pretty violent way.prevnext
Barry Allen of Earth-90
TV's original Flash, who came back (once again played by Shipp) in the "Elseworlds" crossover, didn't make it through the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" event. The actor said that he knew as soon as he was invited back for "Crisis" what was going to happen, and certainly plenty of fans guessed it as well...but that didn't stop his sacrifice, and the romantic moment from his 1990 pilot that got spliced into Crisis, from being a tearjerker.prevnext
Oliver Queen almost didn't make the list -- not because his death wasn't felt pretty intensely, but because we had about a year to get used to the idea. Between "Elseworlds" and "Crisis on Infinite Earths," it was pretty clear that Oliver wouldn't survive the Crisis...but even so, watching him die -- more than once -- and express his love and pride for Felicity and Mia was hard to sit through without a tear.prevnext
This one's still fresh. Spoilers, we guess?
Behrad Tarazi, the brother of Zari and the primary reason she agreed to essentially jeopardize the timeline to save her family, recently died...to save her. Without his totem, he was helpless against one of the Fates, who took him out while trying to get her hands on part of the Loom of Fate. Again, not only was it sad to lose Behrad, but the reactions we got out of Nate, Ava, and Zari were a gut punch.prevnext
These may not have been quite as heartbreaking as the others, but for one reason or another, these deaths hung with us.
Ronnie Raymond: Losing this half of the Firestorm Matrix was certainly sad for fans who loved the character, but it lost a little of its emotional punch because it was essentially an explosion and we didn't get the same intimacy as a "real" death scene.
Damien Darhk: The man who kept finding ways to come back from every form of death finally took his own life, using Genghis Khan's sword to eradicate himself from existence once he figured out that his daughter had found peace and would be okay without him. It was not quite a full redemption arc -- somebody like Damien was never going to get one -- but it was as close as you're going to get for him, and fit with this season's arc on Legends perfectly.1comments
Beth Kane: Following the events of "Crisis on Infinite Earths," a second Beth Kane -- one who had not been transformed into the twisted and cruel Alice -- showed up on Earth Prime, looking to her sister for help and quickly forging a close bond with Kate. It was tragically short-lived though as, in a sad twist of fate, Beth was murdered by someone who believed she was Alice.
Samantha Clayton: She was never a huge character on Arrow, and the loss of her death was largely overshadowed by the relief that after the Arrowverse's biggest-ever season-ending cliffhanger, most of the other characters we loved were still on the board...but it's hard to argue that it wasn't tragic to see another innocent person die because of her proximity to Oliver Queen -- and of course, seeing how it all impacted young William didn't make it easier.prev