Supergirl 2×05 Review: Embrace Who You Are

One of the most important lessons one can learn in life is to never be sorry for who you are. While you might feel like your differences are singling you out, they’re actually defining what makes you the unique individual you are. But when it comes to embracing who you are, sometimes that’s much easier said than done.

In Supergirl’s latest addition, “Crossfire,” several characters were confronted with that reality as they struggled to accept who they really were, as well as accepting that others can’t be who you want them to be.

Supergirl continues to be my favorite DC Comics show on television because of its flawless portrayal of very real-life issues. It’s a reminder that even the strongest — the super — struggle with the same issues as us mere mortals. And perhaps the toughest struggle that any of us can face is the battles we wage with ourselves.

Not All Aliens Are the Same

One of the things I’ve been looking forward to seeing is Kara taking on a mentor role as she helps assimilate Mon-El into the human world. It was an assimilation that was so well executed in its humor and realisticness — we’ve all had those moments where we’ve felt like we were an alien given our surroundings. Only here, Mon-El was a literal alien having quite a time of adjusting to the big and small of Earth. “Protection? Like a sword?” It were the little one-liners that made Mon-El’s assimilation into our world so endearing. It brought the kind of humor that a show like Supergirl is known for. Mon-El’s story is the perfect example of writing to your characters instead of writing to your plot. They never let the story overtake Mon-El. He always felt like he was thriving in this plot, which is what your characters should do.

But the biggest struggle came for Kara as she took on this mentor role and tried oh so hard to give Mon-El a human backstory similar to her own. It’s not Kara’s fault: she took her cousin’s lead and felt like Mon-El would benefit from the same. Only Kara soon learned that not all aliens are meant to wear glasses and pose as reporters. Mon-El, whatever his purpose may be, needs to discover that on his own. Now that he’s been fired but still in need of a job, Mon-El is going to need to find a new purpose now that he’s a part of this world. And now that Kara is more open to guiding instead of directing, I feel like she’ll be able to grow as a mentor and perhaps even grow as a person. People change people. And I feel like this is one of those relationships that are going to be really important down the line.

Alex’s Identity Crisis

It’s such a pleasure to actually get to focus on Alex’s story outside of her being Kara’s sister. Alex Danvers is a character that is so complex and, to be honest, was kind of being held back last season. There’s so much to explore with her emotionally, and this season has already proven to be her coming out party. Speaking of…

Alex is a character who has never really been too in touch with her emotions. She’s someone who has been dictated by her work and by protecting Kara. We’ve never gotten to see Alex’s romantic life, and we learned exactly why this week. Ever since Maggie Sawyer came onto the scene, something inside of Alex changed. It was evident from their first meeting. Maggie brought something out in her that we’ve never really seen before. It began to confuse Alex as she was met with these emotions that she’s never experienced before.

So of course when Maggie came right out and asked Alex if she was into girls, Alex quickly denied it. That was never something that she ever really thought about. But once Maggie asked the question, it was something that Alex couldn’t quite shake. So much so that it eventually led her to have a heart-to-heart conversation with Maggie where she got really personal about her life. She’s never really been one to be intimate before. Sure, she’d been asked out, but it was never something she saw for herself. That was until Maggie showed up. In a way it’s like Maggie has woken Alex and is showing her the potential of what could be. And it’s definitely one of my favorite relationships this season. I ship it. Hard.

The Cadmus Threat Gets Real

There’s a vast difference between last season and this season when it comes to the show’s big bad. Last season’s started off strong (Astra) only to fall flat (Non) in its execution. To be honest, after Astra was out of the picture I didn’t really take the threat of Non too seriously. But Cadmus has proven to be a whole other monster this season as it’s slowly planted the seeds of its significance and just how big of a threat it poses to Supergirl.

Perhaps the main advantage that it holds over last season is the fact that I’m actually scared about this threat. It’s because the threat of Cadmus is more than one person. It’s an organization that has the intent of basically eliminating the threat of aliens and taking over this world. This week, Cadmus took things to another level as it put alien weapons into the hands of humans as a scare tactic to dictate the mindset of humans when it comes to aliens. Cadmus is a threat because of how they’re slowly working to push their beliefs on this world. They’re not threatening with physical violence. No, their threat is much greater as it rests on attacking the minds of these citizens. And that threat is even scarier.

James Has Hero Aspirations

A storyline that I never expected to be on board with, James’ need to be involved in the more physical aspect of being a hero is something that if handled right could be a good story. While I’m still iffy on how James’ suddenly came to this epiphany that he wants to be fighting crime in the trenches, once you look past that it’s easy to see why James might feel that way. Given how Supergirl has changed the Jimmy Olsen we know from the comics into a more physically imposing threat, this transition makes sense. But what also makes sense is how James got to this point. James has been living in the shadows of his costumed hero friends. He’s watched as they’ve gone on to do work that is meaningful to them in ways they never imagined. Basically James wants to find his purpose like Kara and Clark both have.

James, who has proven that his superpower can be with his brain just like Winn, has made it clear that he doesn’t want to be a sidekick any more. He wants to make real change. And as an audience member I can believe that. I’ve been waiting for the moment where I once again start caring about James. Perhaps this is the story. Given Supergirl’s track record with brilliant storytelling thus far, I have no doubt that this will be done justice.

Lena Luthor is the Best New Addition to DCTV This Season

Lena Luthor is a character woven with complexities and strengths alike that easily make her my favorite new addition to the DCTV universe this season. And that includes Superman. Sorry, but maybe if he had a larger role. No, but regardless the addition of Lena Luthor is slowly setting up what has the potential to be a phenomenal arc featuring Lena and Cadmus, which might just test who Lena really is. Right now Lena is distancing herself from this Luthor persona that reeks of Lex Luthor’s hatred and insanity towards aliens. Lena, who isn’t really a Luthor, is choosing to change the Luthor name for the better. But given the latest revelation, perhaps Lena’s vision can only save herself.

There’s such potential to explore Lena’s past — how she’s been influenced in the past, how she’ll be influenced in the future, and how it’ll ultimately affect her character. Having her mother be the leader of Cadmus was the perfect twist in Lena’s growing story. It makes you stop for a second and really wonder if Lena is who we’ve seen her to be so far. Is there more to her that we still don’t know? Is she close to crossing the line of where her brother and mother stand? Can Lena be trusted? Can Lena be the one good Luthor? I’m so emotionally invested in her story already as Supergirl shows how you can introduce new characters in a meaningful way without laying waste to its preexisting characters.

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.

Alyssa Barbieri

Senior Managing Editor

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment. Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes. Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters. TV Editor and Sports Editor. I write about DCTV, This Is Us and so much more. Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.

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