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A Distant Sun and a Villainous Mother

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Supergirl Season 2 Reviews: Episode 17, “Distant Sun”

Yes, this episode title is a pun on sun/son. Anyway, ready for a new female Big Bad? Because last night, we got one. That’s right, Rhea, Mon-El’s mother, has officially joined the ranks of Supergirl villains. Oh, and Lynda Carter is back as Wonder Woman the President of the United States. God, we love her so much. So buckle up, folks, Gretchen and Elizabeth are here to meet all your Supergirl needs. Maybe not all. Most?

Quick Recap

Relatable.

The episode opens with Mon-El making Kara breakfast, but she leaves to go fight an alien. Madame President Lynda Carter (YASSS) calls J’onn to talk about the Daxamites. Across town, Alex and Maggie run into Maggie’s ex-Emily after yoga. Alex proves she’s Cool Girlfriend by asking Emily to join them for dinner. At the DEO, J’onn tells Kara she has a bounty on her head. Kara agrees to lay low for 24 hours while they hunt down the Daxamites whoever put the bounty on her head. Mon-El tries to make being a bartender sound fancy to his parents and then confronts them about putting the bounty on Kara. They deny their involvement. Rhea lays on the guilt to get him to come home.

Emily doesn’t show up to dinner with Alex and Maggie. Maggie explains that their breakup was bad, and Alex reassures and supports her. A bounty hunter interrupts the Superfriends game night (Kara, Winn, & James forever!), and uses Mon-El to attack Kara. Winn gets the bounty hunter to back down (with a stapler) while James and Kara fend of Mon-El until he’s free of the mind control. J’onn gets the telepath to admit the Daxamites placed the bounty. Alex confronts Emily about bailing on dinner, who tells Alex that Maggie cheated on her.

True to form, Mon-El wants to run from his parents and the bounty. Kara wants to talk to Rhea because she believes even she can change. Mon-El is not sanguine but agrees anyway. They meet with Rhea at the Fortress of Solitude. Kara meets Rhea’s disdain with politeness and a desire to make peace. Rhea responds with a Kryptonite sai to Kara’s face. She stabs Kara in the leg and, to avoid further damage, Mon-El agrees to go with her back to Daxam. Lar-Gand is genuinely happy to see Mon-El. Rhea calls off the bounty, and Lar-Gand is taken aback that she ordered it in the first place.

Alex talks to Maggie about cheating, but the conversation quickly turns to how Maggie hides painful pieces of herself from others because she doesn’t trust them. Rather than judge Maggie, Alex urges her not to be guarded about her past. Kara interrupts with the news about Mon-El. At the DEO, J’onn reminds everyone that they’re under orders not to engage, but Kara pleads with them to go now, or she’ll lose him. On the ship, Mon-El tries to get his father on his side about creating a democracy for Daxam. Rhea interrupts and orders Mon-El imprisoned for his radical ideas.

We love Alex being both super healthy and in deep smit.

The DEO team use a retrofitted transportation gate to zap Kara onto the Daxamite ship. She beats off the guards while Winn frees Mon-El from prison. Rhea tries to stab Kara, only psych! Turns out it’s J’onn (we will never get tired of this gimmick). Kara zaps aboard too, and Rhea almost kills her. After more fighting, Lar-Gand steps in to tell Rhea to back off. The Superfriends beam back to Earth and the Daxamites go on their way back home. Alex watches as Maggie finds resolution with Emily. Madame President is not happy with J’onn. When she signs off, we see her full alien face. Kara and Mon-El have a heart to heart about being heroes and helping each other. Rhea tells Lar-Gand that he ruined their marriage by prioritizing Mon-El’s happiness and kills him (called it).

Best Quote: “You don’t have to be guarded with me. I’m not here to judge you for things that happened in the past. I’m here to help you heal.” — Alex Danvers

Thoughts & Feelings

In the past, Supergirl has veered more toward unconventional villains or at least villains that avoided falling neatly into heavily tropified boxes. Apart from Brainiac, who admittedly was the weakest of the villains in S1, Supergirl’s female villains have sidestepped neat categorization. Rhea, however, is an intersection of tired tropes about female villains.She’s an Evil Matriarch willing to do anything to keep her son by her side, even kill. She’s also the Evil Queen pitted against the now-redeemed Noble Prince Mon-El and his Superpowered Princess girlfriend, Kara. Her control over her less ambitious husband, whom she disposes of due to his perceived ‘betrayal’ (i.e., ‘weakness’ in the form of his reasonableness and compassion) veers her close to Lady Macbeth territory, too. She might as well have had a neon sign screaming “Stereotypical Evil Lady Villain” emblazoned on her crown once she brought out that pair of kryptonite sais.

There may be something to be said for genuine, purely evil female characters when they exist in the same universe as so many other more nuanced female antagonists. Elizabeth is personally a humongous fan of Lady Macbeth and welcomes that comparison with open arms and an ear-to-ear grin. For her, a female antagonist that is written with this combination of tropes would be much more problematic in a show that doesn’t have a soccer team’s worth of female characters to compare and contrast her to. There is a full spectrum of women protagonists and antagonists on Supergirl. One of Supergirl’s greatest strengths is that we can fill out an entire alignment chart using the female characters alone.

Maneuvering Rhea into position as the farthest evil point on this universe’s Good to Evil scale for female characters starts to falter for both of us in that they covered this arc’s setup in only two episodes. The jump to deadly violence is a huge escalation from the manipulative tactics she used last week. She went from verbal manipulator to remorseless killer so fast our heads are still spinning. That’s not to say she couldn’t or shouldn’t have gotten here eventually, but the pacing feels rushed. Kara makes a reasonable, impassioned plea for peace and respect for Mon-El’s happiness. To which Rhea responds with a kryptonite sai to the face. Um, what?

And did one of the writers forget that Daxamite women have been depicted as both subservient to men (“On Daxam, when a woman wants to please a man…”) and primarily sexual objects (“Things were a lot easier on Daxam when I objectified women…”)? Where did this manipulative, controlling, murderous woman come from in this culture? Not that cultures with subservient, objectified women can’t produce purely evil villains. Only, with the lack of set-up, we’re scratching our heads at how Rhea came from the planet we’ve heard about all season.

It also has the unfortunate side effect of erasing pretty much anything good in the depiction of the Daxamite rulers we’ve gotten thus far. Last week we got “unapologetic slavers” alongside “loving parents,” definitely a conflicting portrayal. We have to say that slavery probably wasn’t the best way to escalate the dramatic tension in this arc, especially since it was never mentioned before 2.09. It ends up muddying the waters with Mon-El and Kara’s relationship struggles in an unhelpful, nay counter-productive, way. Given the history of slavery in our country, this plot element needed far more development than a casual mention in a few episodes with no follow through in the lives of our heroes.

And no matter how loving Rhea and Lar-Gand are as parents, this aspect of their characterization will never balance out against “slavers and slave owners.” Not even Rhea’s, “When you call we come, even to places that disagree with us,” can make the Daxamites sympathetic enough for us. We keep coming back to, “Yeah, but slavery…” We’re confused by what the show is going for here. What the writers have done with the Daxamites isn’t so much nuanced as confusingly inconsistent. There are conflicting accounts of them, sure, but not in a compelling way.

We know the writers didn’t mean to drop the Unfortunate Implication balls all over the living room floor, but they’re there. And they’ve become a serious tripping hazard for the show’s internal morality and have interfered with some viewers’ ability to connect with Mon-El’s redemption arc. And since his arc (and his/Kara’s relationship) is being given the most attention since the hiatus, these Unfortunate Implication balls need addressing.

Kara does not approve of the sloppiness.

This would work so much better if slavery weren’t involved. Rhea specifically went from “kind of sympathetic-ish, because she loves her son” to flat out Evil. As we said, it’s not that this angle couldn’t work per se, it’s that it’s not really working as presented. It seemed like in 2A they were setting up for a “things aren’t always what they seem” sort of angle, especially since Krypton and Daxam have such a messy history. To then throw in the additional angle of the Daxamites being slavers feels like they’re adding dark gray morality for its own sake, rather than for a narratively compelling reason. The consequences of this addition to Daxam’ history were clearly not thought through. If they really wanted to go with this angle, we think it needed a few more trips to the drafting table before adding it to an already top-heavy season.

Moreover, what does all this mean for Kara, our protagonist? Lillian was an anti-alien extremist who wanted to kill every alien on Earth until Jeremiah talked her down to deportation. Her conflict with Lena, while compelling, is ancillary to the main villain arc for the most part. Like Asami with her Dad, Lena chooses the side of the angels, but that does not in any way change Lillian’s master plan. Because the main villain plot of Lillian this season has been using Cadmus to kill/deport aliens. And this affects Kara very, very deeply. She herself is an alien, as are many of her closest friends and loved ones. Plus, she is also a refugee and understands how important Earth is to aliens just looking for rest and amnesty from tragedy, trauma, war, and pain.

Rhea, on the other hand, as presented, is little more than a disapproving parent. At best, she’s a mother who opposes Kara dating her son. Yes, there is an element of legacy involved, perhaps even an undertone of how a desire for legacy can warp someone into a villain. And were that foregrounded more prominently, that would be actually compelling. But we had to read between the lines to get this meaning out of the conversation between Rhea and Kara last week, and even then it was much thinner than the surface explanation of it being about Rhea calling out Kara for being ‘prejudiced’ (against slavery). Ultimately, we have to deal with what the show presents us, which gives Rhea’s driving motivation to hurt Kara as her not wanting Kara to ‘steal her son’ the way Kryptonians ‘steal everything.’

The particular phrasing of ‘steal everything,’ is important, too, because it implies that Rhea is talking about far more than just the fact that Krypton’s destruction unwittingly caused the destruction of Daxam. She could be just referring to this event, but that makes this particular phrasing seem odd. Why not just make it about the fact that Krypton’s destruction also destroyed Daxam? Narratively, is that not like… enough? Why bother implying there were other things? You don’t need to plant any more plot seeds, Supergirl; you can barely harvest what you’ve already planted!

Furthermore, the concept of legacy is warped by Rhea framing it as “making Daxam great again.” Given the real-world referent for this phraseology and the fact that the system Rhea and her husband seek to restore is founded upon slavery, Rhea’s desire to restore Daxam is not some noble goal that nuances her character. It actually makes her worse. Because she’s willing to kill Kara to re-found the Daxamite culture, which involves getting the intergalactic slave trade back up and running.

Nevertheless, the motivation front and center this episode was Rhea’s desire to have Mon-El back in her life, which the context framed not so subtly as having him back under her control.

“Your life will always be Rhea’s responsibility.” — Lar-Gand

Legacy may be part of her motivation, but it’s back-grounded in favor of her dislike for Kara being a Kryptonian and having ‘poisoned’ her son against her. So again, we go back to the stakes for Kara. What does Rhea mean to her as a villain? How is Rhea significant for Kara’s arc? She’s more of an antagonist for Mon-El, not for Kara, and that’s a strange choice for the Big Bad of the final quarter of the season. At best, we have an obstacle for Kara’s love life, which isn’t a bad story, only its stakes are significantly diminished from Lillian threatening all the aliens on Earth (including Kara, J’onn, and Mon-El). “My boyfriend’s mom doesn’t like me and wants me dead” just feels…cheap? Melodramatic?

A shitty mom being shitty to Kara and stabbing her because she doesn’t like her lacks the emotional weight of an Aunt Astra or Lillian Luthor. Even Silver Banshee and Livewire had the added thematic weight of being rivals for Kara Danvers in the eyes of her mentor, and thus were foils for the development of her human self. Rhea just…likes to stab her son’s girlfriend because she feels threatened somehow and doesn’t like Kara’s family? Sorry writers, the heavy-handed Romeo and Juliet analogy didn’t really sell it. And it was heavy-handed. Like, Twilight levels of “look at this metaphor we’re using!!”.

And if the show wanted to do a ‘relatable bad mother’ we already have one: Lillian. Real world bad mothers don’t typically stab their son’s girlfriend after saying she’s ‘stealing her son.’ Lillian is a relatable ‘bad mother’ because she neglects, manipulates, and gaslights Lena. She takes her husband’s cheating out on the child, something real people do. Most real people don’t try to kill a rival for their child’s affection. Even more so, Lillian is a villain as well as a bad mother. She’s a villain because of her anti-alien/refugee stance. Take that away, and she’s still a shitty mom. Rhea? She’s a bad guy because she’s a manipulative, controlling mother, and that’s a big difference. It’s a trope that Gretchen especially is ready to be quite done with, thank you very much.

The fact that Mon-El, the Good Prince, convinced his father to defy the tyrannical woman in their lives only deepened our discomfort with Rhea’s handling this episode. Lar-Gand went from potential co-conspirator to a put-upon husband unaware of the evil machinations of his scheming wife. Who put a hit out on their son’s girlfriend. Having been convinced by Mon-El to be better than his past, the reasonable husband steps in to calm down his ‘crazy wife’ whose motherhood has turned her into a villain. Then, said evil wife kills her husband because his decency toward their son is a betrayal of their wedding vows, arranged marriage or no.

Given the deftness and care with which the show has treated female villains in the past, the lack of nuance here is astounding. At worst, it prioritizes the growth and change of two basically decent but entitled white males who were ignorant of how oppressive and problematic their culture was at the expense of a woman whose villainy stems from a fundamentally gendered trait. At best, it’s a bunch of tired tropes about female villains haphazardly cobbled together to create a motivation for Rhea to become the new Big Bad of the season. Sure, it’s not sexism, but it’s still not great.

What we’re getting stuck on here is where exactly they’re going with this, and why it couldn’t have been done in a smarter way. For Elizabeth, it works fine as presented, but only if you accept Rhea as a Lady Macbeth-esque character who doesn’t really need justification for being an outright evil person. In conjunction with Lillian Luthor, Rhea works as yet another shade of evil mother. For Gretchen, the use of multiple tired tropes for female villains with zero nuance came off as too lazy for a show like Supergirl, one that traditionally does nuanced villains even if they are evil, of which Lillian was one.

But we’re still back to “why was this a critical plot point to have?” If you think about it, removing the slavery element actually makes the plot work better, though we still have an issue of redundancy in the narrative. We did need some sort of ‘test’ of Mon-El’s character development to demonstrate his progress, but it didn’t need to be taken to this far of an extreme. The audience would understand that Mon-El has progressed as a character without having to balance that progress against his mother and society being so incredibly evil. A man turning away from his own parents is an emotional beat that works just fine on its own. The audience understands that this is a significant and difficult thing to do. We don’t need the writers to hammer the point home so melodramatically.

This moment, however? Good drama.

We can sort of see the threads where the writers were trying to be topical with the “make Daxam great again,” line, but being topical should never take priority over the story you’re already telling. All they did was create a minefield of Unfortunate Implications for the narrative and the audience to navigate, and it doesn’t seem like they really have a gameplan for how they’re going to get themselves back to safety. There were better and more appropriate places for them to get topical in this arc. This was not a direction they needed to take.

We’re going to break up for a bit to talk about Mon-El, but don’t worry, we’ll come back together to talk Sanvers and conclude our review.

Gretchen: Aside from his place as one of the Nice Guys™ working to change his dad in the face of his evil mother, I don’t have much to say about Mon-El. The romance still isn’t working for me, but it’s far from the sloppy, unmotivated mess that we’ve gotten most of the season. He’s finally evincing behavior that I can pinpoint as ‘attractive’ to Kara, even if it does come at the expense of having any relationship to anything that’s preceded.

I tend to think of being domestic as a cheap level up tactic because it adds ‘romance’ without actual substance. But, I could see what they were going for in this scene. It does address the similar scene in 2.14 where Mon-El acted entitled about waking up next to Kara and dismissed her gestures of romance. (He dropped the flowers she brought him into a lampshade for heaven’s sake.) So, I can see how they are using this parallel scene to mark his growth. He’s the one being domestic and romantic, he supports her superheroing, and she responds with appropriate appreciation. “You’ve changed” might feel a bit unwarranted to me at this point, but again, I can see what they’re going for.

I don’t hate it; it just doesn’t move me. It’s purely personal, I admit. It’s taken too long to get him to ‘basic boyfriend decency’ that I have zero emotional investment. I’m more cranky at how Supergirl used the crossover last week to fix their plot problems rather than address it on their own show. Aside with my distaste with how that reconciliation was framed, it feels like cheating. For how long Mon-El was a jerk, this “suddenly good at relationships” version of him feels unearned. But I think it’s due to an overall lack of planning and poor pacing not just of his ‘growth,’ but of his entire arc post 2.09. It’s difficult for me to appreciate the ends when the means have been so sloppy and have paid zero attention to Kara’s perspective.

Elizabeth: I already know this is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I kinda like Mon-El now. I can’t say I find him a particularly original or fresh character, but I don’t mind him. I don’t have a personal issue with the Frat Boy archetype, and I don’t really have an issue with the Reformed Fuckboy archetype either. As I said last week, “behind every good man is a very tired woman.” I can totally see why people don’t like this particular trope being used in Supergirl, but for me, it works fine. He’s made a lot of progress, and I don’t find it out of character for Kara to want him to change. Stubbornly believing in people is kind of her thing, after all.

The writers are relying on a lot of tropey shorthand to express his growth as a person. And for me? It works. He’s got the apron on, he’s got the copy of the Joy of Cooking, and his impassioned defense of the position of mixologist is a quick yet definitive illustration of how his viewpoints have changed over time. Having him latch on to the culinary arts is definitely not an accident. This development, like a lot of other things this season, suffers greatly from a lack of consistent setup and pacing across the two parts of the season. It’s rushed in some parts but dragged out across others. But as it stands now, I’m happy with the end result, even if I’m not necessarily happy with the path they took to get here.

In the end, I want Kara to be happy, and there are certain things that Mon-El can offer that no one else really can. The Daxamites and Kryptonians are at odds with one another throughout their entire history, but that means that Kara and Mon-El have a shared history together. And while he’s certainly problematic, I don’t think he’s The Worst™. He does put a smile on her face, and he’s clearly got intentions to make up for all the shitty things he’s done. That’s a long checklist to work through, but I want to give him a chance to work through it. I want to see where they’re going with this relationship across the final part of the season. My opinion may change again, and it has a lot over the course of the season. But for now, he has the benefit of the doubt from me.

So here’s something we do agree on; Sanvers just raises the bar, again and again, each week, doesn’t it? Hot damn.

Just kills us now. This is perfect.

Dealing with exes is almost always an unmitigated, messy disaster. We don’t care who you are, running into your ex (or your partner’s ex) in public is zero fun for everyone involved. Especially when that ex was a really long-term one. Poor Maggie looked like she would rather pull a tooth out with pliers than have that conversation, which was made delightfully worse by how incredibly cool Alex was about it all. Snaps to Alex for being nothing but friendly and polite, and double snaps to Alex for poking a little fun at that fact to try and get Maggie to crack a smile. Sanvers continues to set an excellent example for how adults are supposed to act in relationships. That doesn’t seem like something that needs to be said, but television loves its obnoxious and contrived relationship drama. Sanvers will be having none of that, thank you.

We were mildly concerned that this was going to get messy when Alex went to talk to Emily on her own, as that is typically a guaranteed fight-starter in relationships. The show lets us dangle on that worry straight (heh) through the beginning of the confrontation scene, with Alex laying out the whiskey tumblers and the “we need to talk” posture. It almost felt like a setup for a breakup scene. Teddy bears were strangled in fear. But that would be tired and needlessly dramatic, and with Sanvers, the writers always opt for the better direction.

What Alex does instead is lay out a sympathetic, yet firm, reading of Maggie as a person. Like most things with the writing in the Sanvers relationship, it takes you aback with its unapologetic honesty and bluntness. Alex lays out what the problem is without being accusatory or confrontational. She says that Maggie has a bad habit of keeping hard things to herself because she has learned that trusting other people with her vulnerability is dangerous. But Alex also makes it very clear that this problem is 1.) valid, 2.) understandable, and 3.) by no means insurmountable. Goddamn, that’s how you do this conversation well.

Maggie’s tearful relief mirrors our own, that’s for sure.

The interesting thing about the approach that Alex takes is that you can tell that this speech was rehearsed. We’re sure she had a few earlier drafts that involved a lot of yelling and typical Alex hotheadedness. But, by the time she actually spoke to Maggie, she calmed down and was ready to have a level, yet serious, conversation about the issue at hand. This is an incredibly difficult thing to do for anyone, let alone our favorite renegade Alex. But she does it, and their relationship is all the stronger for it. Maggie is able to get some much-needed closure with her Emily, and Sanvers gets to walk into the sunset yet again as the walking embodiment of #RelationshipGoals they’ve consistently been across this season.

The best thing about the Sanvers relationship is that while it has plenty of potential drama to it, and some of it does play out in a dramatic way, it is explicitly written to avoid the wrong kind of drama. Alex and Maggie do fight, but they fight in the right way; they fight over understandable miscommunications. Their solution to these conflicts is to figure out where the miscommunication occurred, as opposed to pointing fingers over whose fault it is that one took place at all. And it isn’t an accident that the queer relationship is the one that settles fights in this manner. Using Alex and Maggie as the role models, and their relationship as the stabilizing element within the narrative says a lot about what the writers are trying to do with this piece of queer representation.

There is a lovely mirrored effect to how Maggie and Alex support one another from 2A to 2B. In 2A Maggie is the one supporting Alex, validating her coming out experience and being the anchor during that emotional time for Alex. In 2B we have Alex returning the favor by validating Maggie’s past experiences as a gay woman, providing Maggie with the stabilizing core she’s clearly lacked for the majority of her life.

The writers have done a tremendous job with balancing the emotional labor in this relationship. They’ve created a relationship that is greater than the sum of its parts but also allows Alex and Maggie to be their own, separate people. It’s not two incomplete parts making a whole; it’s two complete people creating something new together. It’s an important distinction, and one that is commonly absent from portrayals of wlw relationships, as codependency and unhealthy intensity are all too common in these portrayals.

While the rest of the narrative can be frustratingly all over the place, the Sanvers arc is nothing short of perfect. It honestly deserves an article all on its own for how incredibly important it is. But we’re already running really long in this review, so let’s start closing everything out on that happy note.

Randomness

  • Emily is an Artist, you can tell by her giant portfolio
  • Alex is right. Yoga is awful. (At least to Elizabeth. Gretchen loves yoga.)
  • It’s cute that Maggie tends to call Alex ‘Danvers’ when she’s teasing her.
  • Kara’s like “That’s me!” when she sees the bounty hunter’s hologram. Our cinnamon roll.
  • Winn’s hipster joke about planets, lol
  • Elizabeth deeply identifies with Winn accidentally making more work for himself because he’s the ‘computer guy.’ Happens allllll the time.
  • Superfriends game night! I love that they play Settlers like I used to in college
  • How did the telepath control Mon-El in the fight if he couldn’t see what was happening?
  • It was nice to see Kara actually doing clean up after the many times she’s had stuff broken. She’s definitely not getting the security deposit back on that apartment.
  • Nice Star Wars joke, Mon-El. We like the implication that he basically just does nothing but absorb human culture like a sponge all day. A worthy use of his time, in our opinion.
  • Mortal Combat reference!
  • We still want to know what kind of alien Madame President is.

In Conclusion

We get it, Supergirl.

Aside from Rhea’s rather rushed villain arc, the overall pacing of the episode worked well. It’s a tense nail-biter, up there with the best of them. The conceit of diplomatic negotiations worked well to encourage our team to think outside the box, plus we always love seeing Lynda Carter as the President. Seeing her morph into her alien form gives us hope that we’ll be seeing her again in the show before the season ends. Excuse us while we go fangirl in the corner for a while. We’re as bad as Kara was when the President came to town.

We do want to know about those sais Rhea used, though. We suppose that it could be extrapolated that other races would know about Kryptonian powers on planets that orbit yellow suns, and that the Kryptonians are vulnerable to kryptonite in general. But how did Rhea have the foresight to bring them along? Do they just keep kryptonite sais around for fun? That’s not… entirely unbelievable, considering the interplanetary antagonism. But, they don’t really have a compelling reason to believe they’d ever be seeing a Kryptonian again. Did they hear about Supergirl’s presence on Earth and wanted to be prepared in case she came knocking on their warship door? Did they just happen to have them in their armory and it was a happy coincidence they ended up needing them? Why yes, we probably do put too much thought into these things, but that’s kind of our thing, isn’t it?

Winn continues to be our favorite secondary character after Alex and Maggie. He had so many good one liners this episode we lost count. Seriously, whoever is writing his dialogue really loves him and gets him, because Winn is on point. His nerd levels are off the charts, second only to his adorableness. We want to hug him. We hope he’s having lots sexy time with Lyra, too.

Oh, speaking of Winn, we finally got a Superfriends game night again! Wooo! Maybe next week James can have more than a handful of lines? That would be nice. As much as we like seeing him be a good backup and working as a team with Supergirl and the DEO, we miss him in the main cast. The Guardian plot has kind of fizzled, which we were not expecting given how much it was hyped early on in the season. We’d like more screen time for him. Really, he just needs something to do in the plot. They try to add him in where they can, but it’s just not working right now. Fixing this needs to be a top priority finishing out this season and going into the next one.

Kara’s arc has been obscured for several weeks now, making it much harder to talk about. She does things, for sure. But regarding a unifying theme or trajectory for her? That’s harder to pin down. There was potential for further investigation with the concept of legacy re. Daxam last week, but that seems to have fizzled with Rhea’s turn to full villain. We could still get a deeper investigation of this premise, though, so we can’t discount it. Should Rhea join forces with Lillian, that would be a perfect storm of complicated parent-child dynamics and legacy issues for Kara, Mon-El, and Lena. Considering the desperate position that Lillian has been left in after “Luthors,” there’s a good chance that throwing her chips in with Rhea might be a compromise she’s willing to make to accomplish her ultimate goal of getting all the aliens off of earth.

The show has been dancing around the idea of Kara’s abandonment issues since the beginning of the season, and that may still have payoff despite the seeming resolution that the moment on the ship brought Kara and Alex. Should Mon-El get injured or return to Daxam, we could see this coming up again. Indeed, there was an element of desperation to Kara’s desire to get him back that seemed to hint that her abandonment issues are still there just below the surface.

Oh, honey.

Still, we’re not seeing a lot of intimate exploration of Kara Danvers herself right now, and we’d like to see that change, and soon. There are only five episodes left in the season, and we’d like to see the high emotional stakes for Kara/Supergirl that we’re used to. The show has been taking the time to explore the other characters in-depth, but this decision has given precious little room for Kara’s own character arc except in how it relates to the other character’s arcs. We wouldn’t go so far as to say that the writers have forgotten who the protagonist of the show is (not yet), but Kara’s development has been a bit stunted in favor of a larger ensemble approach to the storytelling.

If this is the compromise we have to make to have Sanvers, the Luthors arc, and the Martian arc, so be it. But it gets a little harder to swallow with the less successful story elements of this season. We believe they’re going to bring it back at some point, but keeping Kara’s character development front and center will be something to work on in season three.

Supergirl will be on hiatus for the next three weeks, so we’ll see you again April 24th with “Ace Reporter” (and more Lena!), which we hope means Kara will be getting her job at CatCo back!


Images Courtesy of The CW

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When not working on her degree or at her actual job, Elizabeth pursues her true passion of complaining at great length about pop culture on the internet. She serves as a Managing Editor for The Fandomentals. You can find her on Tumblr, Twitter and Steam @ohemgeelizabeth

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