This question provides a list of The Flash and Arrow episodes and the way that they crossover from time to time, and mostly seems to be concerned with the order in which to watch Arrow and The Flash.

However, I attempted to watch Arrow before The Flash was created and I couldn't stand it for very long, giving up on the show just eight episodes in.

I have since heard that The Flash is very good, and well worth a watch. Do I need to watch Arrow to understand The Flash, or will I get by OK if I only watch The Flash?

  • 4
    For what it's worth, it's widely agreed that Arrow gets much stronger after (ironically) the first eight episodes or so.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 16:45
  • I'll also point out that the tone/style of Arrow has been evolving since S1, such that S3 is more "fun" than previous ones; you may want to skip to S3E01 and see if you like it better; you'll only really miss a few major events (Who was Tommy? Who was Slade Wilson?) and it's pretty clear in context.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 12:06

4 Answers 4


No. It is not an absolute requirement.

The two shows are definitely entwined, and there are a number of crossovers between the shows, but you will not have any real problems feeling lost or confused without having watched Arrow.

Much like Angel and Buffy before them, the shows are written well enough that any pertinent crossover information is presented, or at least summed up enough that you won't be left scratching your head too much.

In fact, based on the confusion of a few of the crossover timelines, you may actually be less confused at some of it.

The sort of things you would miss out on are things like backstories of characters who show up, or explanations regarding why a character is wearing one outfit over another.

  • 4
    If you start watching earlier seasons of Arrow while watching Flash (or otherwise get out of sync), be aware that there are spoilers. Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 14:45
  • You say no, but then you imply it's a strong requirement and the viewer would be you'd be mostly lost if they didn't. I'm confused.
    – ikegami
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 21:32
  • @ikegami where do I at all say they would be confused by not watching both.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 21:45
  • You said they wouldn't be completely lost, leaving open the possibility that they would be mostly lost. Why did you do that? If contradicts what you're saying.
    – ikegami
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 21:57
  • 3
    Sorry, I don't agree on your interpretation of the phrase, but I'll update my phrasing for you.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 22:00

Single liner: Not necessary. The two are not interdependent.

The two series do not cross over a lot.

Having just the basic information, i.e. Who is Arrow, or Ray Palmer etc is enough, and this information can easily be googled.

P.S. - I myself watched The Flash without having watched a single episode of Arrow, and understood it just fine.


No, don't.

Really, don't. I watched season 1 of Arrow and part of season 2, didn't like it, and was so happy when I saw the Flash pilot (CW doing a Super-show right). As someone who religiously watches the Flash and never (ever) watches the Arrow anymore, these are some things that will confuse you. They sometimes refer to things that happened on Arrow - but so rarely you'll barely notice, during crossover episodes there is often some emotional component of the story that doesn't make 100% sense if you haven't seen Arrow, but all in all you miss out on nothing as these are all 2nd or 3rd degree story points.

However you may want to watch Arrow before Legends of Tomorrow, but that will be up in the air until mid way through next season.

Enjoy The Flash! I wish I could watch it for the first time again.


I was pretty much in the same boat as you. Except I couldn't stand the show like just one or two episodes in lol.

But I started watching the Flash and when it came to the crossover bits, my OCD wouldn't let me continue without getting the full backstory from Arrow first, and so I had to stop watching that too :(

But then, just a few days ago, I found this fantastic episode of Arrow, called "Arrow: Year One". It's a Season 2 special, that recaps everything that happened in the first season, in just 40 frickin' minutes. Frickin' godsend, if you ask me. Made the whole thing sooo much more bearable. I watched that, and got past all the sucky, tryhard, "show's finding its bearings" moments, getting only the most important bits, and then dove straight into Season 2. Which is actually not so bad so far -- I'm on Episode 5. It seems more well grounded, and the actors seem to have settled into their roles nicely enough. Although, I still think Stephen Amell's "brooding" face is just as ehhhh as ever. Oh, and also that . . . uhm, I'll just call her "woman in black leather outfit", to not reveal spoilers . . . too. Absolutely cringe-worthy acting.

Anyway, before I blather on any further, I suggest you do what I did, to not miss anything important from the DCTVU. Find Arrow: Year One, then watch Season 2, then watch Season 3 and The Flash in this order that I found online:

Arrow: Season 3 | The Flash: Season 1

The Flash 1×01: Pilot

Arrow 3×01: The Calm

The Flash 1×02: Fastest Man Alive

Arrow 3×02: Sara

The Flash 1×03: Things You Can’t Outrun

Arrow 3×03: Corto Maltese

The Flash 1×04: Going Rogue

Arrow 3×04: The Magician

Arrow 3×05: The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak

The Flash 1×05: Plastique

Arrow 3×06: Guilty

The Flash 1×06: The Flash Is Born

Arrow 3×07: Draw Back Your Bow

The Flash 1×07: Power Outage

The Flash 1×08: Flash vs. Arrow

Arrow 3×08: The Brave and the Bold

The Flash 1×09: The Man in the Yellow Suit

Arrow 3×09: The Climb

The Flash 1×10: Revenge of the Rogues

Arrow 3×10: Left Behind

The Flash 1×11: The Sound and the Fury

Arrow 3×11: Midnight City

The Flash 1×12: Crazy for You

Arrow 3×12: Uprising

The Flash 1×13: The Nuclear Man

Arrow 3×13: Canaries

The Flash 1×14: Fallout

Arrow 3×14: The Return

Arrow 3×15: Nanda Parbat

The Flash 1×15: Out of Time

Arrow 3×16: The Offer

The Flash 1×16: Rogue Time

The Flash 1×17: Tricksters

Arrow 3×17: Suicidal Tendencies

Arrow 3×18: Public Enemy

The Flash 1×18: All Star Team Up

Arrow 3×19: Broken Arrow

The Flash 1×19: Who Is Harrison Wells?

Arrow 3×20: The Fallen

The Flash 1×20: The Trap

Arrow 3×21: Al Sah-him

The Flash 1×21: Grodd Lives

The Flash 1×22: Rogue Air

Arrow 3×22: This Is Your Sword

Arrow 3×23: My Name Is Oliver Queen

The Flash 1×23: Fast Enough

Have a nice day, and a fun time watching your shows.

-- Nick

Disclaimer: All the ideas expressed in the above post are simply my opinion. If you disagree with them, that's okay; just move on.

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