Oh, how life imitates art. Especially when it comes to the Supergirl fandom.
Just as the Supergirl fandom has differing opinions — which can amount to personal insults — Kara and Imra found themselves confronted with opposite ideologies when it came to defeating an evil that threatened to destroy the world in “Of Two Minds,” which is perhaps the most brilliant episode title to date this season.
“She’s being irrational.”
“She’s not listening to me.”
“Success is the only thing that matters.”
Stop me if you’ve heard any or all of these before as a fan of anything.
There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion. In fact, the beauty about the day and age we live in is that we’re allowed to have our own opinion about anything and everything. Be it something deeply profound like religion or something less substantial like fictional television. The fact that we can form our own thoughts about things is empowering.
Then how come when it comes to voicing your opinion in fandom that the empowerment is replaced with insult? Why do people attack other people’s opinions and choose to judge them or to harass them because they ship something different or have a different ideology than someone else? We should be encouraging people not only to form but voice their opinions. Free will and free expression is something to be celebrated, not berated.
The beauty in everyone having their own opinion means that you are going to come across someone that has a different opinion than yours. There’s this almost immediate defense that seems to go up in today’s fandom. Whether it’s because you’re preparing for an onslaught of insults because your opinion is different from others or because you’re the one afraid of the insults and decide to dish them out on your own.
There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion. There’s also nothing wrong with having an opinion that’s different from someone else’s. We’ve all been molded by our own experiences and our own emotions, which gives us each a unique perspective on life and fiction. Which means that we all come and stay with Supergirl and other fictional entities for specific reasons unique to us. That’s the beauty in television. There’s something for everyone to enjoy. And you don’t have to put someone else’s opinions down in order to do that.
The Supergirl fandom is a fandom divided. Divided by ships. Divided by beliefs. Divided by the reasons we enjoy this show. But division goes against everything the term “fandom” represents.
Fandom is “a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of empathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest.”
We all share a common interest: Supergirl. Sure, we love some characters more than others and dislike some characters. But we each share in the beauty and emotion that this show has brought us.
The thing that most fandoms can use more of is respect. Respect everyone in the fandom. Respect the actors, respect the producers and writers, and respect the fans. It’s okay not to agree with them. It’s even okay to get mad about things. But don’t attack them for their beliefs. Allow them the same freedom to enjoy the show you enjoy even if it’s for a different reason.
That was something that Kara and Imra learned in this episode. While they both had different beliefs in how to handle Pestilence, they came to an understanding where they could see why they felt the way they did and accepted that. Kara wasn’t a bad person because she wanted to try and save the villain that would kill millions. Imra wasn’t a bad person because she wanted to kill the villain that would kill millions.
Just as Supergirl fans aren’t bad for liking something that others might not like. We’re all entitled to our opinions. And we’re also entitled to respect.
A Question of Morality
I love when Supergirl delivers brilliant episodes that make me question individual ideologies and morality in a way that’s explicit and just in its delivery. In the case of “Of Two Minds,” which so brilliantly depicted Kara and Imra’s differing approaches to handling Pestilence (as well as Sam’s inner struggle), we were presented two different methods that dealt with opposite ends of the morality spectrum.
Pestilence is a villain that, in the future, is responsible for the deaths of millions. Kara and Imra butted heads when it came to handling Pestilence. Kara wanted to save the human side (Grace), while Imra wanted to kill Pestilence to prevent her from ever delivering swift injustice upon millions. Both Kara and Imra had their own opinion in how to handle the situation. Both didn’t agree with the other’s opinions. Both were right.
Kara believed that the way to defeat Pestilence was to save the human side of her.
If you didn’t enter this episode believing that Kara would attempt to save Pestilence’s human side, then you don’t know Kara Danvers at all. Kara’s belief that all people have good inside of them and her desire to want to save everyone — even those too-far gone — is what defines her as a person and as a hero.
So as Kara was faced with the unknown and uncertain — a third World Killer that threatened the lives of millions — she never once doubted her ideology that everyone is capable of and deserves saving. Kara is someone that leads with her instincts — instincts that have individuals’ best interest at heart. Even though it seemed impossible to save a World Killer like Pestilence — especially after losing Purity — Kara sticks it through because that’s the kind of person she is.
“Everyone deserves saving,” Kara tells Pestilence, trying to talk her off the ledge. Trying to get through to her in a way she wasn’t allowed to truly get through to Purity before it was too late.
Supergirl is a hero that relates to people on an emotional level. She’ll always have their best interests at heart. She’ll always enter a fight believing she can save everyone — hell, even the bad guys.
While Kara wasn’t able to get through to Pestilence the way she nearly had with Purity — something that still haunts her and drove her actions in this case with Pestilence — she never betrayed the person and hero that she is. Kara will always look for the best in others, even when they fail her. But the fact that she never changes her beliefs — even in the midst of failure and heartache — is inspiring. We need more people in the world that believe there is good in all people. That want to help make this world a better place.
Kara was right. Trying to save Pestilence was the right thing to do. It was worth a shot. Because killing, while easy, isn’t always the solution. Just as Kara was right in trying to save Pestilence, Imra was also right in wanting to kill her.
Imra believed that the way to defeat Pestilence was to kill her.
Likewise, if you didn’t enter this episode believing that Imra, someone from the future, would attempt to kill Pestilence then you haven’t been paying attention to her warnings or the fact that she hails from a future where this future Blight has plagued her world. Imra is someone, like Kara, that is driven by her beliefs and desires and loved ones. And while her ideology straddled the line of morality, it wasn’t wrong.
One life versus millions of lives.
Seems like a pretty easy deal, right? For Kara, not so much. But for Imra, who has already seen this bleak and horrid future, yes. And this goes back to experiences shaping the person that you are. Imra knows so much more about Pestilence and the plague that’s to destroy her world. She’s responding accordingly.
When Mon-El suggests that there must be a way to defeat Pestilence without making a moral compromise, Imra responds: “Success is the only thing that matters.”
This isn’t a statement made on apathy. This isn’t a statement that makes Imra a bad person. This is a statement 100 percent defined by Imra’s experiences and how they’ve affected her and motivated her to get to this point. Don’t forget she lied to Mon-El about why they were here. Imra had her reasons, like we all do.
Imra isn’t someone that wants to kill or destroy lives, even one. But Imra knows how this story ends. Imra is going to choose to end one life over millions. If she gets the chance, she’ll end this. Because she’s from the future. She knows that Supergirl fails. She knows that this is a plague upon existence. She doesn’t have a choice. Sometimes, heroes have to make the difficult decisions that others cannot. Imra was willing to do that.
I couldn’t say I’d do anything different. If I knew what was coming, if I knew the death toll that awaited me, I wouldn’t even hesitate to do the same. Especially if that involved a loved one.
This was a big episode for Imra because I feel like, at least for me, it brought a sense of understanding and clarity for me as a viewer. Imra was so closed off both with Team Supergirl and the audience that it was hard to get to know her. The moment where she comes clean to Kara — and we learn why Imra was here — about watching her sister die at the hands of the plague the Blight would bring forth was such an emotional moment. It helped me better understand Imra, and it shows you why she was willing to risk everything and do whatever it takes to prevent the Blight from ever happening.
Imra was right. Killing Pestilence was the right thing to do. To prevent the deaths of millions and give all of those families their loved ones, it would be worth it. But just like Imra was right in wanting to kill Pestilence, Kara was right in wanting to save her.
That’s the beauty of this episode. Supergirl was able to so beautifully give each woman and her opinion it’s own stage and not gravitate towards Kara being right because it’s her show. I really feel like we got to see both sides of this morality fence, and it was beautiful.
When all was said and done — and Pestilence united with Reign and Purity — Kara and Imra were left with nothing but their beliefs and a sense of understanding that came with experience. There was one thing that they could both agree on: The importance of love and how it motivates their actions and emotions. Imra is fighting for her sister, as is Kara with Alex. Common ground. Understanding. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s also something that isn’t unrealistic and it is indeed very attainable.
Confronting Your Darkness
The thing that I loved about this season’s Big Bad Reign is that she’s more a psychological villain than anything. Sure, Supergirl is the one that has to take her on in a physical form. But we have Sam doing the dirty work in trying to fight off her inner darkness and prevent Reign from rising. This episode, “Of Two Minds,” which is also brilliant in this instance, showcased the battle taking place within Sam. Two sides. The Yin and the Yang. The good and the evil. And it was terrifying and compelling at the same time.
As Lena continued to try and find a way to save Sam from Reign — which brought us some beautiful, raw moments of emotion between Katie McGrath and Odette Annabel — we got a deeper look into the workings of Sam’s mind and the terror of this inner struggle. Lena was forced to put Sam into this parallel universe of sorts — where Reign had existed until she was set free — in order to try and find Reign’s weakness and thus try to separate Reign from Sam. Each time Sam went under, she came face-to-face with Reign, who attempted to appeal to her dark side and get her to give in.
“It’s like facing your shadow. Everything dark you’ve ever feared about yourself,” Sam says about confronting Reign.
Reign is the embodiment of the evil within Sam. While we all have evil inside of us, Reign is an evil unlike any other because she can take over in such a massive way. But each time Sam faced Reign, Reign would try to back her into a corner to force her to give into the darkness. To try and make her believe that there was no way out of this. That darkness would always win. No matter how scared Sam got — especially with threats of Ruby’s life — or how angry she got, she never let Reign win. She never backed down.
While Sam may have lost this battle — as Purity and Pestilence rescued and united with Reign — I keep coming back to this quote from Reign that holds the key to Reign’s demise: “You’re strong. Much stronger than you should be.”
Reign is right. Sam was strong enough to keep her contained for so long. Sam is strong enough to beat her, as well. No matter how much Reign tried to get Sam to embrace the darkness and tease her with power and control, trying to get her to surrender, Sam never did. That’s important to keep in mind in knowing that Reign got control again. Only it wasn’t because Sam allowed her to. Sam hasn’t given in or given up when it comes to Reign. Now it’s just a matter of time to see how Sam’s story plays out.
She was overcome by the darkness, but she never gave in. Remember that.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.