Supergirl Season 3 Episode 4 Review: The Faithful

"The Faithful" is a contemplative episode of Supergirl that shows signs of growth.

This Supergirl review contains spoilers.

Supergirl Season 3 Episode 4

“The Faithful” is a lovely continuation of last week’s religious elements, this time focusing on the women of National City while letting the question of faith take center stage.

The episode jumped through time a bit in an attempt to pull a couple of fast ones on us, although the initial “is this a flashback?” gambit didn’t work quite well enough to be worth the move. That said, hero-worship seems like a natural occupational hazard for someone with powers, and as Kara pointed out, the difficulty of fighting faith makes for an interesting departure from the usual alien of the week.

It was great to see the original three members of Team Supergirl back in action, although it was so short-lived that it ultimately served as more of a reminder that Supergirl still doesn’t know what to do with two of the original main characters. I’m glad the show left its love triangle behind when it left CBS, but I still enjoy James and Winn as characters, and the show has struggled to provide either of them with a meaningful plot that can maintain viewer interest for more than a couple of episodes at a time.

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Alex comes to a realization

In one of the most badass Girls’ Nights ever, we learn that Lena’s isn’t interested in kids and Alex is still having a tough time with that issue, while the ladies celebrate Sam’s big merger. Notably, for all those curious about a potential Sam/Alex pairing, Sam doesn’t make her orientation known, only the non-existence of Ruby’s father.

Maggie and Alex’s break-up is inevitable, and that is a sad thing. That said, there may be some wisdom in not marrying the first person you seriously date. After all, there’s a reason Maggie was hesitant to be Alex’s first girlfriend to begin with. Still, Sanvers has served as the central couple of the show (yes, even during the Karamel episodes), and I’ll be sorry to see the relationship go.

On the positive side, it seems like they’re positioning the break-up as inevitable but blameless. That’s a more realistic, mature way for a couple to separate than what we, and certainly preferable to fridging Maggie, or any other trope that involves Burying your Gays.

Supergirl is a God (sort of)

The villain of the week (played by Chad Lowe, Rob’s lesser-known brother) presents a maturation for the show: while he is an antagonist, the episode questions what it means to be a bad guy even more directly than others have in the past. I greatly enjoy that the first person to see through Kara/Supergirl was a cult leader, and one who picked up on it immediately, no less, speaking to his ability to see Supergirl for who she really is. The prayers to Rao were quite beautiful, and it’s hard not to have at least some admiration for a religion that asks for protection so that followers may protect others in turn. It all seemed pretty innocent until Olivia’s boyfriend set a fire to enter join the group by having Supergirl save him.

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Even after he advanced to attempted mass-murder, it never felt like Coville acted out of malice. It’s easy to see why he’d make a good cult leader – he read Kara like a book, and when he realized lives would actually be lost, he tried to help put a stop to his own plan. And of course, Maggie was right: he’s entitled to free speech and has even more protections as a religious leader, something that Kara clearly struggled with. All this is to say, Coville is one of the most complex antagonists we’ve seen so far, a trend that I hope continues. In any case, I doubt we’ve seen the last of Coville.

I’m always a bit wary when any version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is played, since it can feel like a short-cut for an emotional payoff, but in this case it fit the tone of the episode quite well. James rightly points out that faith has value, and we see Kara practice the religion she was raised with for the first time. J’onn and his father’s brief scene of prayer was a nice addition, and I hope we’ll see more discussion on this topic in the future.

Sam struggles, in more ways than one

Sam’s clearly great at her job, although it comes with a price. Sam opened up more in this episode, yet another casualty to Kara’s adorably unrelenting friendliness. Sam and Lena have a lot in common so I hope that bond continues to develop. She now appears to be a genuine member of the badass lady squad of National City, a group she will likely need to face down the hooded lady that the exploding pod unleashed.

That chain of events was a bit fuzzy – is the demonic-looking woman just in Sam’s mind? Is she a real person but one who attacks the mind? How exactly did Coville’s pod manage to affect the other subterranean pod? Whatever the case, we’re looking at a tough road ahead for Sam and her new friends.

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Rating:

3.5 out of 5