This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl Season 3 Episode 17
Supergirl is hurtling toward the season finale with yet another strong episode. Sam and Julia fend off the emotional demons of the people their world killers killed, and Kara pushes herself to the brink during a magical eclipse. There’s also a hefty dose of betrayal afoot, with Lena getting busted for hiding Sam and a whole lot more, Kara asking James to spy on his girlfriend, and James ratting out Supergirl to Lena. I was skeptical of the James and Lena pairing and I’m not wild about putting James between the two women, but at least it’s an effective way of bringing Lena and James more into the fold. It also sets up an interesting parallel for Kara and Lena’s relationship, which is a more interesting comparison than James’s relationships with the two women.
Mon-El’s heart to heart indicates that the eventual love triangulation is drawing near. It’s hard to feel too bad for Mon-El – which amazing woman who loves him will he wind up with? His selfish behavior from last season makes him less sympathetic in this regard, as does Kara’s concerted effort to draw boundaries. Ultimately J’onn is right, like always: there’s nothing for him to do. Part of moving on is letting go. He doesn’t get to comfort Kara or fret over her anymore, at least not so long as he’s married to someone else, who by the way is standing in the same room.
I do take issue with Supergirl saying that she saved Julia. Yes, they brought her back from the brink, but she also died because of it. I don’t think she gets credit for saving someone if they actually saved her and then died in the process.
A word about costumes. Lena sports an Action Girl braid and the low-key catsuit Alex has worn, which means it’s only fitting that Alex get an upgrade. Her new suit is cool but not cumbersome, and Winn is just so excited to show it to her. Even better, though, is how amazing it is to see this many women in superhero suits with nary a boob window in sight. The world killers, Supergirl, Alex, Imra, and Lena all look ready for battle, just like J’onn, Guardian, and the rest of the Legion. The women’s outfits are cool as hell but still practical, and a nice reminder of the not-so-subtle differences when a show about women is actually for women.
In an otherwise-strong episode, there were still a few things that stuck out. We’re way beyond the limitations of suspension of disbelief to think that Lena doesn’t know that Kara and Supergirl are the same person. We likely passed that point more than a season ago, but most episodes allow us to overlook that fact. During this episode, Lena asked Supergirl who she is point blank, and a major part of how Lena talked her way into going to the Kryptonian valley is the fact that she knows Sam and Supergirl doesn’t. Of course we all know that Kara does. It would be a delightful twist to find out Lena knew and simply used Supergirl’s desire for secrecy against her in that moment, but I doubt that’s what’s going on here.
James confessing to Lena that he’s Guardian – and that Supergirl asked him to spy on her in that capacity – only made the secret loom larger and more ridiculous. Luckily, it also suggests that Supergirl will one day do the same. In the meantime, Lena has some secrets of her own.
Right at the end of the episode, Lena dropped a big bomb on us. Er, James. She can make Kryptonite. This has obvious positive implications for the fight against Reign, but it also means that Lena spent time learning how to make it, adding more doubt over what loyalty she has to Supergirl, if any. It’s hard not to read this plot twist as another way to separate Lena and Kara, after (perhaps unintentionally) writing the Queer-El coupling too well. Otherwise, it’s simply another retread of the same old “but she’s a Luthor!” ground we’ve covered so often before. While I dislike any plot points inspired by gay panic, at least that’s a logical reason to be so repetitive with Lena.
Oh and there was one more shock to end the episode: Reign is going after Ruby. One of the bext images from the episode is the heartbreaking way Sam’s writing simply devolved in a repeated, child-like scrawl of Ruby’s name. An unintended side effect of sending Sam to where Reign was, is that Reign swapped places with her and learned that Ruby is Sam’s emotional anchor. Time for the gang to rally around Ruby to protect her from a triple-charged world killer wearing her mother’s face.