This SUPERGIRL article contains spoilers for Season 6, Episode 15, “Hope for Tomorrow.”
Supergirl Season 6 Episode 15
Supergirl packs a whole lot into one incredibly long day in this episode. Kara finds herself in a real Sword in the Stone situation with the Hope Totem, which requires her to, “Inspire a hope that burns brighter and longer than the sun.” Alex and Kelly welcome Esme to their very adorably excited family, and have some pretty realistic first-day hurdles for a kid who has had a really tough time. But in the end, Alex Danvers and her family are going to be just fine.
Nyxly wisely decides to make Kara get the totem and then simply take it (and the previous totem) from her, by holding William hostage. Meanwhile, Mitch made a special literal (not metaphorical) gauntlet for Nyxly that lets her use the totems to use her powers again, derailing the negotiations at the Hague. Once again there’s a whole bunch of expository mumbo jumbo that feels convoluted, a bit cheap, and not like the real reason any of us is here. So let’s get back to Alex Danvers living her dream life!
It’s been a long and winding journey, but Alex Danvers is finally a mom. She had to make some painful choices along the way to get here, but thankfully, the writers have given her a family worth waiting for. Seeing all the Super Friends go full-on welcome wagon for Esme was lovely. This show was built on the notion of found family, but hearing the Martian Manhunter referred to as “Grampa J’onn” really cements that bond. Everyone sort of overdoes it, but in a very loving and natural way, from Brainy wanting to teach hand-to-hand combat to the hand-painted mural in Esme’s bedroom, to Alex pushing just a bit too hard.
There’s something important about the fact that Alex and Kelly’s first struggle as parents was decidedly non-alien. Like the famous Buffy episode “The Body” (but tonally 180° different), some of the biggest events in the lives of these characters are cold hard fact, the flesh and blood reality that the rest of us have to live with in the real world. There will be time for Esme to have trouble with her gifts, and we’ve seen some of that already. But Supergirl is also a show that is interested in showing that for a child like Esme, who was abruptly separated from her family and who has been bounced around to multiple bad foster families and group homes, feeling safe is going to be difficult, even now that she’s in a safe, loving home.
So many shows are uninterested in covering parenting for this age group – kids age-up off-screen, during time jumps, or they simply go up the steps like Cory’s sister on Boy Meets World and never return. But Alex and Kelly deserve this storyline and the writers are clearly committed to writing worthwhile stories for them that blend their lives as superheroes, friends, and parents. Using the Truth Seeker as a way to show Esme that Alex and Kelly could be trusted was a great way to blend the alien elements with the very grounded and loving story arc of Alex and Kelly’s first day as parents. A creature that has previously been used during tense interrogations has now become a child’s pet, serenely swimming in a tank during a warm scene that probably made more than a few viewers cry.
I’m also looking forward to seeing how Kara and Esme relate, since they were both traumatically separated from their parents and will (eventually) be adopted. The fact that Esme figured out Kara’s identity as Supergirl right away was perfect. It seems like Esme’s mimic ability might end up coming in handy at some surprising moments.
Aside from taking his children’s building toys incredibly seriously, Brainy also seems keenly aware of what Lena is up to when she’s working on her spells and trying to make a protection charm for the totems. Perhaps he’s not just a man of science? Or maybe in the future, science and magic aren’t quite as siloed off as they are right now. Either way, it’s intriguing.
In this episode, Supergirl suddenly tries to draw lines about when the Girl of Steel (and the Super Friends) do and don’t interfere in international politics and it frankly feels a bit late for that conversation. She says she doesn’t interfere in human history as though it’s a decree handed down or a set of instructions – when and from whom? Kara contends that self-determination is freedom, which certainly sounds good, but she says that in response to Lena asking about global nuclear disarmament in order to save lives.
Is Supergirl only allowed to catch missiles after they’ve launched, but not meaningfully prevent them from launching? What if she and the team mess up and something gets through? At what point to various countries factor Supergirl into their geopolitical calculus, and do they consider her a global hero or an American one? I would love for Supergirl to contend with these questions, but since it is unwilling to, it feels odd for the show to dip a toe or two in these waters six episodes before the final curtain falls.
The one moment that could have maybe made this work – if the show had at all connected it thematically – was William Dey. While Nyxly held him captive and Supergirl worked to free him, he complained that he was being discussed as though he wasn’t there, and presumably ignored as though he were powerless. In that moment he knocked the totem out of Nyxly’s literal gauntlet, breaking the bond between Nyxly and Kara, and giving Supergirl time to get the totems and them to safety. Considering the magic involved and the PTSD he’s been going through since being shot, it was probably a hard thing to do, but a human being used their free will to save the day.
Looking forward, it’s hard to imagine what Supergirl looks like without hope. Luckily, there are still small moments to inspire hope, like Esme finding a home with Alex and Kelly, William standing up to Nyxly, and Kara and Lena having identical opinions on children’s toys. Maybe that will be enough.
Otherwise, does Mitch sort of have a thing for Nyxly? Will the Super Friends ever realize that Mitch beaming Nyxly up like Scotty is their single greatest advantage so far? Who is Nyxly’s secret admirer (Lex Luthor) and why is he (Lex) ripping off the Hunger Games? (I mean it’s absolutely gotta be Lex, right?)