Early on in Supergirl’s first season, I was searching for something to connect to. Sure, I had the badass, empowering female superhero. But I also craved a relationship to connect with. Usually those tend to be romantic-based because that’s what shows usually gravitate towards. But Supergirl caught me hook, line, and sinker with the beautiful dynamic between sisters Kara and Alex Danvers, who stole my heart since Day 1 and have held it since.
Supergirl’s latest hour “Midvale” wasn’t the stuff of season-changing proportions. But it didn’t need to be. If anything, Supergirl has always proved that its strength rests with its characters; its strength rests with its heart; and “Midvale” focused on the heart of Supergirl in Kara and Alex.
As a fan of characters before action, these are the kind of episodes that I crave as a fan. I yearn for moments to explore character dynamics and delve into different aspects of the characters I love. Since Day 1 of Supergirl, we’ve known that Kara and Alex have had sister bond like none other. But we were also aware that it wasn’t always like that. It was a bond that they grew into.
It’s ridiculous to think that there was a time that Alex thought Kara was the worst thing to happen to her. But then again, teenagers. They always know how to amp up the drama.
“Midvale” served as a release as much as it served as a launching point. Present-day Kara and Alex returned home following Alex’s breakup with Maggie, as well as Kara continuing to remain closed off. Both sisters have suffered their share of heartache, and sometimes you just need to go home to gather yourself again.
Once again, Supergirl reminded us that there’s no shame in grief. It’s okay to be a mess. Perfection is a misconception. Perfection isn’t realistic. Perfection doesn’t help you overcome tragedies in life.
While, on the surface, Kara appeared to be a little “better” than where we found her in the first two episodes, make no mistake that she’s continued to push her feelings down. Every day she thinks about Mon-El, whether it’s of the good times or the bad in losing him. But she has gotten better day-by-day. And that’s the point, grief is something that needs to be dealt with. It gets better. Day by day.
This time, we found a different kind of Alex, who was fresh off a breakup with Maggie after their differences in wanting kids. Alex had no choice but to end things because that was never going to work. That kind of disagreement would’ve eventually turned them against each other. Better to get out while things weren’t a battlefield. But that doesn’t make things easier.
This was the kind of episode that was enjoyable in its modesty and powerful in its execution. Per usual, there were several powerful themes throughout the hour, including found family, no weakness in grief, heroism, and the power of sisterhood.
Your typical action fan might not be hyped, but I love Supergirl’s recognition that balance in this show is important. A balance between the superhero of it all — which we did get in this episode — as well as the individual of it all.
I feel like I say this so much they might as well carve it on my tombstone, but if I don’t care about these characters, then I don’t care at all. Supergirl has always managed to make me care about these characters. And that’s made me care even more about the show.
This is one of those episodes of Supergirl that might ultimately be lost in what’s gearing up to be an action-packed, emotional continuation of season 3, but it was certainly one of those episodes that, as a fan, I’ll look back on as powerful because it brought us the Danvers sisters. And I’ll be forever thankful for that.
Let’s break down the beauty of found family and why it’s okay not to be okay:
I’ve always wondered how Kara and Alex went from strangers to sisters over the years. And “Midvale” was the very answer to that question. And it was a satisfying one.
While Kara and Alex are actual sister goals in the present, they weren’t always that way. Hard to believe, but there was a time when they didn’t get along. And where Alex thought Kara was the worst thing to happen to her. Luckily we worked through that in “Midvale.”
This episode saw the rise of the Danvers sisters as they teamed up to fight an injustice done to their friend Kenny, who was murdered for things he knew. This was the moment where Kara and Alex developed that sense of wanting to help people. While Kara might’ve always felt like she should use her powers to help people, you saw it become more about having powers and more about the internal desire to want to save people. You also had Alex get her first taste at being a protector, and suddenly the badass, crime-fighting Danvers sisters duo makes complete sense.
But perhaps more important than that, “Midvale” served as the beginning of Kara and Alex’s bond. It took teaming up get justice for their friend to put aside any differences they had and, in the process, learned a lot about each other in the process, including just how much they mean to each other.
It was interesting because the past and the present presented this parallel between Kara and Alex’s relationship. In the present, they’re incredibly close. But they’re also sisters, who happened to get into an argument. They later made up, as all sisters do eventually, and it was a beautiful moment. In the past, they couldn’t have been more distant. But they also became sisters, who happened to hang out with each other for the first time — willingly. They developed their relationship and forged that bond that has become unbreakable. It was truly a beautiful thing to watch.
In the beginning, Kara and Alex didn’t consider each other family. They had no desire to be each other’s family. But fate brought these two women together, and they soon learned that family isn’t something that you can plan for. Found family just happens.
Sure, there’s blood family. But then there’s found family, where you find family in the unlikeliest of places. For Kara, she found family on Earth. For Alex, she found a sister from Krypton.
They weren’t always family. The kind of family that loves, supports, and inspires you. That was something that we watched — the beginnings of — develop. While teenage Kara and Alex certainly began to cultivate that bond, it’s something that would be years in the making. Developing that love, trust, and respect.
But Kara and Alex found each other. They’re each other’s home. They’re the heart of this show, and nothing you saw will sway me. Supergirl has managed to bring such an amazing relationship to life, both in the present and now in flashbacks. Because, I’m not going to lie, I had the feels for teenage Kara and Alex, as well. I felt that bond.
In an episode that celebrated the wonder that is the Danvers sisters, we saw the hour come full circle between flashbacks and the present, which showed us the origin of their bond. This isn’t necessarily the episode that most people will look back on as we approach a busy second half of the season, but it’s an episode that’s incredibly important because of what it celebrates. It celebrates family. It celebrates love.
It’s Okay Not To Be Okay
If there’s anything I have confidence in with Supergirl is that it always celebrates what it means to be human. Even for an alien like Kara Danvers. This is not a show that’s going to look down upon its characters for feeling too much or preach weakness in emotion. This is a show that’s going to preach the importance of expressing emotion.
Supergirl has done an amazing job portraying the power of grief this season on several occasions, including Kara’s grief over losing Mon-El and now Alex’s grief over losing Maggie. Not once did a character tell another, “Stop feeling.” Not once did a character tell another, “Crying shows weakness.” Not once did a character tell another, “Emotion is weakness.”
While most of “Midvale” followed our teenage Kara and Alex, this was a theme prevalent throughout the hour. In our flashbacks, we saw Kara’s reaction to losing her friend Kenny — her first crush and the first person that saw her for who she really was. And accepted her and liked all of her. It’s kind of heartbreaking because then you realize Kara’s first love, Mon-El, was lost to her, too. (But not for long!) Kara referenced losing Kenny as losing one of the first people she cared for on Earth. And how it doesn’t get any easier. That was coming from the inner turmoil that continues to haunt her.
While Kara has certainly worked through the grief that still keeps her closed off, she’s still closed off. She’s still not entirely honest in her feelings. She feels as if she isn’t granted that luxury. She can’t be human and be Supergirl. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the theme of this season for Kara. She’s going to have to learn to balance both sides. Because there’s no Supergirl without Kara, and Kara also defines Supergirl. They work in tandem. While Kara isn’t there just yet in realizing the balance, she’s going to go through that journey this season.
For Alex, this is about dealing with the immediacy of grief. Immediately after her breakup with Maggie, Kara and Alex headed home as Kara thought it’d be a good idea to get away for a couple of days. While Kara is several months into the grieving process, Alex is at the very beginning. The denial. The anger. The sadness creeping in. And we all know Alex is someone that doesn’t like to show emotion. Even though there’s nothing wrong with that. But that’s just who Alex is.
This is just the beginning of the grief process for Alex. It surely doesn’t start and end with this episode. This is going to be a continual journey for some time as Alex works through her feelings. It could be quick or it could be prolonged. But everyone deserves time to handle their grief in the way they need to. And that’s something, as a fan, I really hope to see. I want to see Alex break down. I want to see Alex struggle. I want to see Alex rise above. It’s all part of the process. And I want her to become stronger for it. I want her to find a happy ending.
8 Things About “Midvale”
- Kara and Alex Danvers are the heart of Supergirl. Fight me.
- It’s really amazing just how much our new young Kara and Alex resemble their grown-up counterpart. It was eerie. Especially Kara. Also, I’m going to need more flashbacks featuring these two. I loved them.
- Not gonna lie, I flat out screamed with joy at that Chloe Sullivan nod in the episode. So Clark has a tech friend that can help? Hehe. Now, I’m off to binge Smallville once again.
- Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh are the embodiment of “as close to perfection as one can get.” They’re amazing women and actresses, and they’re chemistry is fire. It’s a pleasure watching them in scenes together. And that final scene of them just driving and singing in the car, my heart was smiling.
- “I feel at home with you.” Kara Danvers hitting me right in the Danvers sisters feels.
- A small moment that caught me emotionally off guard was when J’Onn disguised himself as Kara’s mother-look-alike, FBI agent to talk to Kara about not using her powers. When it was revealed it was J’Onn — looking out for Kara — my eyes watered.
- THAT PREVIEW. MON-EL. MON-EL RETURNS. SORRY, I CANNOT STOP SPEAKING IN CAPS.
- Get ready for my next review, haters. This one’s dedicated to you.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.