This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl Season 3 Episode 18
This week Supergirl was all about parent-child relationships. Estranged ones, close ones, even non-biological ones. The relationship between Sam and Patricia is the one we’re least invested in – it’s had the least screen time and isn’t all that pleasant. The attempt at redemption via death here falls a bit short, and her death makes little impact due to our low investment.
Kara gets inspiration to take down Reign by talking with M’ynn and J’onn, Aunt Alex watches over Ruby while Reign seeks to harm her, and the team finds Patricia Arias. Even when Lena lashes out at Supergirl to Kara, it’s by comparing Supergirl to her mother. If a woman ever tells you that you remind her of her mother, run. Be very offended, but run.
The continual unfolding of M’yrnn’s memory issues has so far been realistic and heartfelt. The frustration felt by both father and son is entirely relatable – it’s the kind of situation where no one has done anything wrong, but everyone is still hurting. It was great to see J’onn letting Kara in, much in the same way he has always been there to steer the Danvers sisters in the right direction. And it was good to see M’yrnn realize that he can still be incredibly useful. It would be nice to hear more about Green Martian culture (or any other alien cultures!) treat their elderly, hopefully with a better example than what so often happens in the United States.
Ruby has finally come back onto our screens, although she looks like she’s grown up quite a bit since we saw her last. Her relationship with Alex is a lot of fun to watch, though it seems a bit ridiculous that Alex, a literal secret agent, doesn’t lock her cell phone. It’s no surprise that many fans are still hoping for Sam to be revealed as something other than straight, given her great chemistry with Alex and Lena, her outright dismissal of ruby’s father, and Alex’s desire to raise a kid. It’s good to see Alex learning that having kids means more than just watching Young Frankenstein (though that’s no doubt an important part.) I’m looking forward to seeing how fast Alex breaks her promise to Ruby and deceives her again, for any number of legitimate reasons.
It seems the rift between Lena and Supergirl continues to go deeper than Kara realizes. As far as television conflicts go, this one is pretty much a tie: Supergirl is nearly indestructible and she does take the existence of Kryptonite very personally, and Lena was right to think that she would be upset. But Lena lied about the Kryptonite and then tried to claim that her lie wasn’t a lie, using the old omission technicality. Then again, Supergirl went behind Lena’s back to see if she secretly had Kryptonite…which she totally did.
Both women have a chip on their shoulder: Kara’s is about Kryptonite, and Lena’s is about being mistrusted for being a Luthor. It seems that often the things Lena does when afraid people will think she’s an evil Luthor are the things most likely to make her look like, while, an evil Luthor. I would love to see both characters reckon a bit more with their history – hasn’t Supergirl saved Lena many times, and believed her even when everyone thought she was evil? Shouldn’t that be worth something? It still seems odd for Lena to immediately jump toward decieving and mustrusting Supergirl, even before Supergirl had a chance to be all paranoid and cross the line. Asking James to spy on Lena was absolutely crossing a line, and something that James should take up with Kara rather than lying to her, especially if he no longer wants to be caught in the middle.
Mon-El’s choice to come back to Supergirl and the present tense is no great surprise, but it still feels earned. Good for Imra for insisting that she deserves someone who is all in. I’m not wild about the trope where the woman who’s getting dumped has to essentially dump herself and kindly send her man to someone else, but at least Supergirl tried to do it in a way that involved Imra standing up for herself. Still, it seems the writers are overly concerned with ensuring that Mon-El get or stay on viewers’ good sides, considering how often Mon-El and Imra mention the word honor in that conversation, and the fact that Imra reassures him he has done nothing wrong.
I still feel a bit odd about Imra’s choice to lie to Mon-El about going back in time, though, and this conversation resurfaces the issue. Imra still feels it was the right thing to do to go back in time, even though it meant risking their marriage. But might Mon-El have wanted a chance to weight in on that choice? Yes, Imra did it for her sister and most of humanity, but I’m still not sold on why she needed to keep it a secret, other than to give us another twist this season and to drive more of a natural wedge into their marriage, one for which Mon-El is naturally blameless.
Neverthless, if we’re talking about relationships feeling earned or not, the changes Mon-El has made over time and the tentative friendship he and Kara have built up fall entirely on the positive side for me. It’s clear that the writers understood the fundamental problems with his character – immaturity, taking up too much screentime, Kara taking the blame for his bad behavior – and brought him back with a considerable, though still reasonable, trajectory of personal growth. Some of the best character work for Mon-El is still his interactions with people other than Kara, and her setting and maintaining boundaries has helped give the characters and the fans some room to become reacquainted on their own terms.
The cape tricks continue to be a nice addition to the back half of the season’s choreography, which goes a long way toward keeping the relatively few number of villains from feeling a bit stagnant. This week’s new move, a cape-ified switcheroo from Kara and Mon-El, was a lot of fun to watch. The tricks also serve as a nice way to highlight the progress of Kara and Mon-El’s repairing of their relationship and its growth into something new.
Of course all this talk of parents has me wondering when we’ll see Papa Danvers again. I don’t particularly miss either Danvers parent, since they have had their own spotlight episodes already, but it certainly seems like the stage is being set for Jeremiah’s fraught return.
In the meantime, James will have to answer for lying to Supergirl, though hopefully he’ll do so by extricating himself from the issue. Lena is still working on a cure for Reign, Alex is still in charge of Ruby, and Kara has to figure out how to repair her friendship with Lena.