This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl Season 3 Episode 20
Superficially, Alex’s story this week was about finding and stopping an enemy from her past who threw a bomb at her in a public place while she was with Ruby. But that served as just an entry point for Alex to realistically contemplate what parenthood will look like, given her line of work. Alex’s early attempts were ham-fisted to say the least – shoe-horning that Ada Lovelace reference in between all her declarations of being “chill” was a bit much. But I appreciate the attempt to incorporate children and Alex’s desire for parenthood into the show.
Television is not a medium known for handling children well. People get pregnant as a plot device, and babies are shuttled away shortly after birth so they don’t weigh down all the momentum. Or there are time jumps to show only the child’s more interesting years, a la The Originals. But Supergirl is taking a stab at having Alex grapple with the reality of her desire to be a parent, in a way that suggests we might see Alex fostering a kid rather than giving birth or adopting a baby, which would be an excellent opportunity to dig into that world as well as the parallels to how the Danvers family took Kara in.
It was great to see Collins from the Midvale episode as suspect number one on Alex’s list of enemies. Even though he turned out not to be the bomber, he was a good guess and a welcome throwback to one of the best episodes of the series. Short memories are a frustrating writing flaw, one that Supergirl has done their best to thwart. Going back to Alex’s past like this is one of the benefits of having three season’s worth of history built up, and it recalls the incredibly effective look into Alex and Kara’s past that was “Midvale.”
Winn got the chance to be there for a kid with a supervillain parent, as Ruby was left in his care once Alex and J’onn went off on their mission. It was incredibly discordant to see Winn be such a jerk to Ruby in the first place. Yes, he was hangry and sleep-deprived, but he’s the person who jumps to welcome beleaguered strangers to the DEO. I understand story-wise that they needed somewhere for him to go on his emotional trajectory, but I wish they had had the confidence in the children-of-villains concept to stick to a more realistic reaction from Winn.
The opportunity to be the person he once needed is huge and, given Winn’s season-long trajectory of reconsidering his childhood, it’s a natural fit. I could almost see Winn starting a Big Brothers/Big Sisters type mentoring organization for kids who are actually or practically orphaned by villainy.
Reign spent most of the episode taunting Lena, who contemplated what she might have to do if Supergirl didn’t make it back in time to save Sam before Reign becomes immune to Kryptonite. It’s good to see Lena contemplating the ethical issues that she can’t simply surmount with technology and her fantastic brain. I’m hoping that eventually, she’ll be pushed toward a conundrum that forces her to think about her fight with Supergirl from a new angle, without completely washing away the harm that Kara has done with all her secrets and lies.
Speaking of secrets and lies, they were on Kara’s mind as she and Mon-El found themselves on Argo, the last remaining vestige of Kryptonite. I’m glad Kara is finally grappling with the secrecy inherent in her dual identities, because it feels odd that she hasn’t done so before this fight with Lena. Mon-El certainly presents an interesting option – in the future, he and all other heroes live out in the open. How vital is her secret identity really? Last week’s episode very effectively used James’s secret identity crisis to show both the necessity of a secret identity, and the ways in which Kara is still incredibly privileged and protected, even if she is outted.
Kara was able to reunite with her mother, although it was a strangely antiseptic meeting – they didn’t even hug goodbye! It seems from the previews like some of that will be saved for a future episode. Instead, they caught up quickly on dead relatives and the many awful things Alura was once party to and now regrets. The concept of learning from the sins of the past to create a better future is a good one, which I hope carries over into Kara’s fight with Lena.
Mysteriously, the deciding vote who gave Kara the black rock she needs to vanquish Reign is also our mysterious guardian of the world killers. I would have hoped that her invocation of Rao’s name would have at least piqued Kara’s interest, but apparently not. What does this mean for the substance Kara brought back – is it effective? Or do the followers of Rao have some greater plan for Kara, which requires her to vanquish the final world killer? Either way, time is up: Reign is free, and our heroes need to act fast to stop her.