It’s no secret that CW’s DC shows are filled with drama, humor, and action, but they all have another trait in common that largely goes overlooked by fans: suspense. Character deaths are common, and a lot of the time the circumstances leading to a particular character’s death can cause involuntarily sitting on the edge of your seat, whether that is a recliner, a couch, or even a stool. No seat is safe.
Suspenseful scenes don’t always have to involve a character’s death, as some scenes can be suspenseful by teasing a potential death or putting characters in situations that could result in death. Okay… so maybe they do all somehow involve a character’s death (or potential death). What can I say, deadly conflict induces the most suspense. Some of these moments had a happy ending as a hero jumped in at the last minute, while others, not so much.
10. The Flash Saves Patty Spivot From The Turtle
The Turtle may sound like a pushover, but he was anything but when he appeared on The Flash during season 2. The villain was dangerous because he was the literal opposite of The Flash, able to slow things down which made him appear to have superspeed when in actuality his speed hadn’t changed at all. His power could not completely freeze The Flash that way he was able to with normal people, but it was definitely able to briefly stop him in his tracks. Oh, and did I mention that The Turtle was also a complete psychopath?
Not only was Russell Glosson a metahuman whose powers could rival The Flash’s, but he was also a truly evil person. He wasn’t interested in killing Patty, but he was interested in removing the kinetic energy from her so that she wouldn’t be able to move and he could keep her on display forever. Like he had already done to his wife. Yikes. He didn’t do this at all to hurt Patty, he did it to hurt The Flash. The Turtle was unhinged, and while watching the episode you weren’t always entirely sure Patty was going to make it out alive. For being so goofy of an idea, The Turtle turned out to be both a great challenge for Barry and give us a mentally unstable character who brought the episode to a twisted final scene. In the end, Barry saves Patty, but that wasn’t always a given.
9. Cyrus Gold Made Lucas Hilton Shoot Himself In The Head
Back when season 2 wasn’t afraid to go a little over the top when it came to violence in a primetime CW show, a classic Batman villain delivered one of the more suspenseful scenes in the series concluding with one of the most twisted deaths Arrow has given us to date. Cyrus Gold, aka Solomon Grundy from the comics, was a friend of Brother Blood’s who was injected with mirakuru (the same stuff that made Deathstroke insane) and became a superpowered villain.
When Quentin Lance and his partner Lucas Hilton arrived to try and take out Gold in the episode Three Ghosts, the atmosphere of the scene just screamed “suspense”. As it turns out, Lance’s life was spared, but his partner was not so lucky. Gold had found Hilton, took hold of his gun while still in Lucas’ hand, turned it at the officer, and made him shoot himself in the head. Is it messed up that stuff like that makes me long for Arrow‘s second season?
8. Zoom Wrecks Barry
Barry just can’t seem to ever actually be the fastest man in the world. In season 2, not only does Zoom prove in the midseason finale that he is faster and stronger than Barry, but that he can toss the hero around like a rag doll. From the second Zoom caught Barry’s lightning midair and threw it back at the scarlet speedster, it was obvious Barry was in trouble. Barry followed it up with a fancy trick of fighting Zoom in the air, ultimately taking speed out of the equation. This seems to work for a second as it looks like Barry is gaining the upper hand, but when they get back to the ground it’s a different story.
Earth-2 Harrison Wells attempts to shoot Zoom with a speed dampening serum, but unfortunately for Barry Zoom catches the dart in the air and stabs Barry with it instead. The serum is followed by a few minutes of Zoom parading Barry around town in defeat, after beating the hero to a pulp. The suspense in the scene comes from the fact that at first, even after Zoom catches Barry’s lightning, the fight seems fair. Barry even seems to have the upper hand at some points, but the direction vastly changes as Zoom lets loose full ferocity after Wells shoots a dart at him. Up until Enter Zoom, the season 2 big bad didn’t seem like the greatest threat in the world, simply throwing weak Earth-2 baddies at Barry week after week. After the mid-season finale, however, Zoom was seen as a force to be reckoned with.
7. Dollmaker Captures Laurel
Arrow season 2 had so much going for it, that even some of the villains of the week provided interesting plots. Take Dollmaker for example. The character was true to the comics in the sense that the villain was a serial killer who turned girls into dolls. At the end of the episode, Dollmaker takes Laurel Lance because he has a history with her father, Quentin. When Dollmaker took Laurel and hooked her up to his machine that turned his victims into dolls, suspense ensued. Not only did he take Laurel, but he also took Quentin and tied him up, forcing him to watch the potential death and “dollification” of his daughter.
The final scene was so suspenseful because of how long it was drawn out. First, Dollmaker hooked Laurel up to his machine as Quentin repeatedly pleaded for her life. When that didn’t work, Dollmaker slowly turned on his machine as the substance that would have turned Laurel into a doll flowed slowly through the tubes getting closer and closer to her mouth. The whole time, Quentin pleads with Dollmaker to let her go and then ultimately begins to console Laurel who he believes is about to die. Of course, right at the very last second, Oliver comes jumping in out of nowhere, shooting an arrow at and disconnecting the main tube that was connected to Laurel’s mouth. Laurel may still be dead as of right now, but at least she isn’t a doll.
6. Ra’s al-Ghul Kills Thea
Oh Arrow season 3, how you have forsaken me. The third season was filled with a mess of unnecessary drama, lame villains, and an even lamer story line. However one of the final episodes of the season, Broken Arrow, stood out as one of the only noteworthy episodes in the entire season. Possibly, one of the most noteworthy episodes in the series. The episode picked up immediately after Arsenal went to jail, pretending to be the Arrow so Oliver could remain free. The episode included Deathbolt, a metahuman, a suspenseful jail fight involving Roy (which almost made this list itself), and one hell of an end scene that stood out as one of the best in the series.
When it was revealed that Roy was in fact still alive, another character was only moments away from being killed. The episode ended with Ra’s al-Ghul dropping in on Thea’s apartment. The two dueled for a relatively short amount of time before Ra’s ultimately ended up crashing Thea through a glass table killing her with his sword. It was truly an outstanding scene in the midst of a mundane season. How did the show follow that up, you ask? With an immediate promo that spoiled the fact the Lazarus Pit was going to be used to bring Thea back. Arrow‘s ability to wreck a good thing never ceases to amaze me.
5. Laurel’s Death
Laurel Lance’s death was a blow to Arrow fans. Green Arrow isn’t Green Arrow without Black Canary, and after spending the last two seasons building the character up, it was a huge shame that it was all so she could take an arrow to the chest. Damien Darhk, after breaking out of jail (along with pretty much all the other inmates), was confronted by Team Arrow. After a few minutes of the typical back and forth, Darhk let out his truly ruthless side by using his magic to stop an arrow that Oliver had fired at him and turn it on Laurel.
Darhk had his “reasons”, as Laurel’s father Quentin was inadvertently working for Darhk earlier in the season and gave up his whereabouts to Team Arrow. Darhk vowed his revenge on Quentin, and in one false swoop, he got it. The suspense in the scene came from the fact we already knew a main character was going to die from the tombstone teased throughout the season, and that the scene was dragged out annoyingly long. Not to mention Laurel even survived the arrow at first, mysteriously dying later that night at the hospital.
4. Zoom Kills Henry Allen
Barry truly cannot catch a break. First, Reverse-Flash kills his mother, Nora, and frames his father. Then in season two, Zoom does away with Barry’s father, Henry. Actually, come to think of it, Henry Allen probably catches less breaks than Barry, as less than a year after spending years in jail for a crime he did not commit he is murdered by Zoom. Barry just came down off of meeting the physical manifestation of the speedforce, making him feel invincible – which also just so happened to be the episode’s title. He was sure that after winning the speedforce’s “game” to get his speed back he could do anything. That’s why Henry’s death was such a blow. Our hero is finally confident and it is all pulled away from him in an instant.
When Zoom first took Henry, it was unclear what he was going to do with him. Then it all became clear as day when he took Henry to Barry’s childhood home in the same room where Eobard Thawne had killed his mother years before. Before Barry could even plead with Hunter Zoloman, Zoom killed Henry in cold blood by doing the old speedster trick of putting his vibrating hand through him. Make as many jokes about Barry screwing with the timeline as you want, but if both of my parents were killed in the same room by two different people, I’d want to go back in time and change it all also.
3. Barry Runs Back In Time To Save Everyone From Vandal Savage
This was one hell of a moment. In an attempt to stop the immortal Vandal Savage, Oliver and Barry go through with a plan that teams them up with new friends Hawkman and Hawkgirl. The plan, however, doesn’t go very well as Hawkgirl’s powers don’t work for her and Hawkman is taken out relatively early. When Oliver and Barry attempt to hold Savage’s blue energy beam back, they fail causing an explosion of blue light that literally took out anything and everything around it and in its extensive blast radius. Where was that power during Legends of Tomorrow?
Anyway, the explosion didn’t just kill everyone in the immediate area, but it also took out the entire city. The scene showed the light engulf Oliver, Felicity, Diggle, and the rest of the team, incinerating the characters upon contact nuclear bomb style. Their only saving grace was Barry Allen, as The Flash was able to outrun the explosion. He ran so fast that he managed to travel through time again ending up right before their confrontation with Savage. This time, Barry was determined the team do it right by warning Oliver that his one true enemy, Felicity, would be messing with his mind beforehand, and to not let it shake him.
2. ‘Out Of Time’
The episode Out of Time from The Flash‘s first season could have been a season finale. It started out relatively formulaic as Weather Wizard was introduced with a vendetta against Joe for killing his brother in the pilot. The show took an insane turn in the final third act as it built up a number of dire circumstances that were about the be erased by Barry accidentally time traveling for the first time. Not only was Central City seconds away from being drown in a tidal wave caused by Weather Wizard as Joe was bound and gagged and forced to watch, but Barry ended up revealing himself to Iris and Cisco figured out Well’s secret leading to one of the saddest deaths in any of the show’s timelines.
Cisco had been puzzled by the Reverse-Flash’s appearance during the mid season finale, The Man in the Yellow Suit, when he escaped for the forcefield trap Team Flash had set for him. Unfortunately for Cisco, he put Caitlin in charge of distracting Wells, and as it she turns out that is one of the few things she is truly terrible at. Wells realizes something is up and goes to S.T.A.R. labs. When he meets Cisco there, he had just figured out that the Reverse-Flash they had previously encountered was a hologram and Wells has been the villain all along. After a depressing speech about how Cisco was like a son to Wells, he drove his hand through Cisco’s chest, instantly killing him. Luckily, Barry just so happened to accidentally time travel just a little while later. What are the chances?
1. Moira Queen’s Death
Moira Queen’s death was no ordinary death. Moira Queen’s death was a sick, twisted consequence of Slade Wilson’s over the top vendetta against Oliver Queen, which served as nothing more than a way for Slade to deliver Oliver revenge in an extreme eye-for-an-eye fashion. Previously in the season, we were shown that while on Lian Yu, Oliver was forced to choose between Sara Lance and Shado as Professor Ivo was going to kill one of them. First off, Ivo is one twisted dude to put Oliver in the position. Secondly, Slade is even more twisted. To avenge Shado’s death, he made Oliver once again choose whose life he would like to save. This time, however, it was between his sister and his mother. By the end of the scene, Moira Queen was dead with a sword driven through her chest.
This scene tops the list for a number of reasons. For starters, it came out of absolutely nowhere. After a relatively tame episode from season 2 that focused on Roy Harper, Seeing Red ended with a surprise car accident that forced the limo Oliver, Moira, and Thea were in off the road. When the three woke up, they were in the same position from the island, with both of Oliver’s loved ones on the chopping block. For starters, we had no idea who Oliver was going to choose. He didn’t even know who he was going to choose. Would Slade just kill both of them? My mind was racing during this scene. This scene also showed Deathstroke at his absolute worst, forcing Oliver to relive the traumatic situation just because he didn’t like the outcome of the first time Oliver was forced to make the impossible choice. I guess he wouldn’t be Deathstroke if he were reasonableave it DC TV fans – the top 10 most suspenseful scenes from Arrow and The Flash.