You know what would be really cool to see in a future season of the Arrowverse? Interconnected storylines across shows.
I don’t mean that all of the shows need to be full-on crossovers, like they’re all working toward the same goal. (Partially because it would be really hard to conceive of a threat that the combined forces of the Green Arrow, the Flash, Supergirl, a whole squad of time travelers, and their assorted allies couldn’t defeat in minutes.) That would be frustrating for anyone who’s not interested in spending all their time watching four different shows.
No, what I mean is, the shows–especially The Flash–love setting up this who’s-the-bad-guy plot, or how-can-we-defeat-this-threat, or where-or-when-is-our-enemy-hidden. Whatever it is, there’s some element of mystery that’s supposed to keep the viewers hooked.
Well, if the writers are going to do that, they might as well make it a real mystery: hide clues! Give just enough details that a dedicated viewer can figure it out! Not with random, lucky guesses that happen to fit, but with genuine reasoning and detective skills. There are four shows! That’s so much time to work with! There’s a mysterious big bad whose identity is unknown on The Flash? Make a one-episode subplot of Legends that ties into that bad guy–but only if you’re really looking. Arrow’s season villain is impossible to defeat without, like, arrows that leave rainbows in their wake? Hey, here’s a piece of tech over on Supergirl that, if cleverly repurposed, could do just that. Pause one of the shows at just the right moment and look, in the background is a hint at something somewhere else. This character name mentioned offhandedly over here? Hey, maybe that’s related to something over there!
Probably my favorite thing in the world of fandom is seeing everyone analyze information, puzzle out secrets, collectively investigate what’s going on and what might happen. This universe has a lot of great writers and four shows, and it really would not be that much more effort to pull off something like this–nobody would notice its absence, after all, if they change their minds halfway through a season! We won’t expect episode-long subplots or brief character mentions to become important.
But if they did? As someone who watches all four shows, it would be incredible to watch everything come together as the seasons end. This week, right here, the week before the season finales? The fandoms would be in an uproar, throwing information and screenshots from four different shows back and forth, trying frantically to piece everything together while we still have the chance. And, regardless of cliffhangers, seeing the solutions to everything would be amazingly satisfying.
There’s a difference between “secret” and “mystery”. And one of them is a lot more interesting to watch.