Honestly, I don’t know what it is about DCTV shows when it comes to seriously delivering at the end of their seasons, but Supergirl is really starting to deliver near the end of its third season after a somewhat lackluster middle. Seriously, every single one of these DCTV shows could benefit from shorter episode orders — more focus, less filler.
In Supergirl’s latest hour, “Shelter From the Storm,” the last five episodes of the season became clear. We’re gearing up for the final showdown between Supergirl and Reign. We’re gearing up for the fracturing between Kara and Lena. And we’re gearing up for the end of a love triangle and a sense of clarity within.
Supergirl is at its best when its focusing on these characters and their emotions. And even in an action-packed episode like this, that was the case. Reign seeking out her mother and killing her. Reign seeking out Ruby wanting to kill her. You could feel Sam’s emotion deep inside Reign. Then you had Kara and Lena squaring off and watching as their relationship began to fracture amid issues of mistrust and misbelief. And then there was the Kara/Mon-El/Imra triangle, where for the first time it felt like there was significant progress made. All of this was driven by the characters’ emotions, which is something you can really see on your screen.
This is usually the point in a season where I can begin to see the endgame of the season. To see the destination but not know how to get there. “Shelter From the Storm” was that episode for me. I saw several storyline seeds planted and hints of foreshadowing all around. I felt the stakes raised in that regard. And I began to feel that these last few episodes of Supergirl season 3 might just be some of the best.
Let’s discuss how this Kara/Mon-El/Imra love triangle is being handled in the best way possible, Mon-El’s journey to finding clarity, the fracture between Kara and Lena, and whether Sam can be saved.
How An Unnecessary Love Triangle Is Handling Itself…Surprisingly Well
When did this unnecessary love triangle that I hated from the get-go actually stop to handle itself pretty well? Because I’m shocked at how I’m enjoying it? From the beginning, this was a love triangle that felt like the kind of contrived drama used to thrust an obstacle in between a couple for the sake of their being an obstacle. Typically the most popular obstacle is another person. We’ve seen this story before: Timeless, Alias, Grey’s Anatomy, you name it. The “but I’m married” trope is one of the most popular tropes in love triangles. But honestly, I never expected Supergirl to get to a place where I can actually see the good in how they plan to wrap this up.
Now, I still don’t get the purpose of this love triangle. It exists as a means to separate our two soulmates. But I do respect how they’re choosing to handle it from here on out.
Perhaps the best thing in all of this is how Supergirl didn’t make Imra out to be the villain. Yes, she was immediately disliked by the Karamel fandom (myself included) because she was the obstacle in between our ship. And Supergirl could’ve mistreated her in that way and villainized her. But Imra has never been the villain here. If anything, she’s been another victim. In love with a man whose heart is torn and whom she fears his heart already belongs to another.
Just as I discussed last week, there was no way that Mon-El was going to come out of this entire situation not looking like the bad guy if he chose Kara and left Imra behind. It had to be Imra that made the choice for him — that allowed him the choice to follow his heart. And that’s exactly what she did.
Imra isn’t stupid. She’s actually highly intelligent in all matters, including matters of the heart. And while she loves Mon-El and she knows he loves her, she cannot hide or ignore the fact that his heart belonged to Kara first and that a part of it will always belong to her. She knew when they came back to the past that his old feelings would arise. She had to have known how difficult it was for Mon-El to move on after losing Kara. Remember, it was years. Their marriage didn’t start off as love, it was politics. But it became something else. Still, Imra knew that his heart would always belong to Kara.
So as Mon-El, Imra, and Brainy were headed back to the future — and word was that Kara and the team would benefit from a Legion manner in the odds of defeating Reign — Mon-El instinctively wanted to go to her. He didn’t say it, but you saw it in his eyes. His first instinct was to go to Kara — to make sure she had his support, to make sure he could put his life on the line if need be. For Kara. But that sense of duty, that honorable nature that is deeply embedded within Mon-El — contrary to what these ignorant haters would like you to believe otherwise — took over and he understood that it was his duty to accompany his Legion members back home and leave Kara’s fate in the air, even as it killed him from the inside.
“You’re saying that because you think you have to do it for me. Out of duty.”
And there it is. Exactly what I hit on last week, confirmed by Imra herself. Mon-El has changed over the past seven years — novel concept, I know. You mean a person can change? Over an extended period of time? A person can learn from their mistakes and become better for it? You mean, an audience is actually interested in that character growth? Of course I am!
Mon-El was never going to be with Kara as long as he was with Imra. Mon-El was never going to leave Imra like the old Mon-El would’ve. Mon-El promised himself to Imra, and he was going to honor that promise. There was a sense of duty in it all. But Mon-El wasn’t following his heart in all of this. But he was willing to sacrifice his heart for his honor. Even though his feelings and love for Kara run deeply — and are obvious to everyone.
Imra, being the smart woman she is, picked up on it immediately. This isn’t something new she’s just noticing. She’s watched for weeks, especially over these last couple of weeks, as Mon-El has been more conflicted than ever about his feelings for Kara. The more he’s around her again, the stronger those feelings become. There was only so long he could push them down, deny them. Imra knew that if Mon-El came back with them that he wouldn’t be with her completely. So she gave him the choice — the choice to follow his heart (more on that below).
Imra hit on a very important topic in this whole thing: She deserves a partner that will choose her with a full heart. But she knows — and he knows — that his heart is conflicted right now. He owes it to himself and to both Imra and Kara to find clarity within himself. Imra did this for herself as much as she did it for Mon-El. Because she’s right: Everyone deserves a partner that will give them 100 percent of their heart, no doubts. Imra knows she deserves that. And Imra knows Mon-El deserves that.
Now, she wasn’t breaking up with him, per se, she’s giving Mon-El the chance to find clarity and finally give someone his whole heart. But, I think we all know where this is headed…
Follow Your Heart
When it comes to endgames, shows usually are fairly clear in who their endgame is after a certain point. And Supergirl has made it damn clear that their endgame, as far as Kara is concerned, is Mon-El. The story arc this season, while painful and hard to bear at times this season, was the stuff that epic love stories are made of. If Kara and Mon-El weren’t the intended endgame, their journey wouldn’t be this painful. It would be easy. It would fizzle out.
I believe, Karamel shippers, this is the episode where everything changes. With just five episodes remaining this season, Mon-El is at the point where he understands that he has to follow his heart. He’s at the point where he understands that he loves Kara. He’s at the point where he understands that, if he wants her back, he’s going to have to prove himself to her.
From the start of the episode, all maps led to Karamel and all of the good they’ve done for each other:
“I’m really happy I got to see you again. Witness the man you’ve become.”
“It meant the world to me to be back here with you.”
The impact that they’ve had in each other lives — whether as friends or lovers — has been substantial. They’ve inspired each other to be better versions of themselves. They experienced the highs and lows of first love and first heartbreak together. They’re learning what it takes to fight for true love. Because true love isn’t something that is handed to you. You have to fight for it.
As referenced earlier, I’m enjoying how this love triangle is being handled. Still not a fan of the love triangle in the first place, but I do appreciate how they’re handling this in a mature manner. Imra isn’t the villain just because she’s the obstacle. Mon-El isn’t the villain because he happens to love two women, albeit one more than the other. Kara isn’t the villain for being hurt by Mon-El being married. No one is excused here.
I love how Imra was the one to step up. It paints her in such a mature, strong light as she values love, honor, and truth. She’s not going to be petty with Kara because Mon-El still clearly loves her. She’s not going to steal him away to the future to prevent him from being with Kara. She’s letting him be true to them all.
Mon-El is a man conflicted. He was forced to leave Earth after a lead outbreak and vanished into a wormhole. He existed for years without Kara. He refused to love anyone else. He stopped living for awhile. When he opened himself up to friendship with Imra, which was followed by a political marriage that morphed into a real marriage, he found love again. Whatever they had, that we haven’t seen, I’m sure was beautiful. It wasn’t done out of spite. It was two people living their lives. It was Mon-El realizing — after years — that he had to move on. It’s what Kara would’ve wanted.
But he never forgot Kara. Mon-El never forgot Kara. He never stopped trying to be a better man for Kara. He never stopped loving Kara.
Everything that Mon-El is now — the honorable, mature, and kind hearted superhero he’s become — is because Kara inspired him to be so. That’s how deep his love and admiration and respect for her runs. She is a part of him. And that’s something that, even if he hadn’t returned to Earth, would’ve never disappeared. He would’ve continued to carry that necklace around as a reminder of his first love; as a reminder of the woman that assured him that he could be a better man; as a reminder of the woman that assured him that he was worthy of that.
But when Mon-El returned to Earth, that was all it took. All it took was one look. One look for all of those emotions to come flooding back. And Mon-El was back in that spaceship. Only this time, he was going towards Kara instead of away from her.
Mon-El is a man conflicted. He loves Imra, he does. But not in the same way he loves Kara. That much is obvious, even to Imra. But Mon-El has remained honorable and true beside Imra. And Imra has dealt with it for the time being. She’s seen it day in and day out. She’s witnessed the longing glances, the knowing smiles, the chemistry, the love radiating out of his eyes. Yes, she’s been hurt. But instead of acting in a way that network television usually relays, Imra decided to do what was best for all of them: Allow Mon-El to choose.
Imra gave Mon-El permission to choose what his heart wants — whether that’s her or Kara. Whatever that is, that’s going to be a big part of these last five episodes. Wait, who am I kidding? It’s going to be Kara. There’s no way it’s not. Not when it comes to endgame. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be an easy road from there on out. But Mon-El will finally find a sense of clarity. Just as he owes himself and Kara and Imra. He’ll follow his heart. And his heart will ultimately lead to Kara.
The Beginning of the Fracture Between Kara & Lena
From the moment Lena Luthor was introduced to Supergirl and her friendship with Kara Danvers began, there was an immediate sense of deja vu that I couldn’t quite shake. Anyone that knows anything knows of the relationship between Superman and Lex Luthor, the vitriol that stems from their mutual hatred of each other. And if you’ve watched Smallville, you’re aware of the unique twist on that dynamic that portrayed younger versions of both as friends-turned-arch enemies. So it was natural, when Lena was introduced, to assume the same.
The thing was that Supergirl introduced Lena as someone that didn’t want to be boxed in by her last name. She didn’t want to be a Luthor, not the way her mother and her brother had been. She wanted to right her name and do good in this world. But as we started to explore Lena a bit more, we saw that there was some darkness inside of her. As there is within all of us. But when it comes to a Luthor, you can’t ignore that when this show is waving it in your face.
I have to admit, I didn’t want Lena to be evil. Because it would’ve been too predictable. And too tropey. Why did she have to be evil? But as fate is pulling her forward in her life, we’re starting to see just how Lena can fall off the path and into that Luthor box. Not that it’s for certain. But I can certainly see how it would be possible.
This episode was an important one in the relationship between Kara and Lena, who have become good friends over these past couple of years and developed this sense of trust and friendship. But when things are good, that’s when you know it’s all about to go to shit. And you could say that Supergirl and Lena’s relationship has gone to shit over these past two episodes.
Both Kara and Lena have been lying to each other. Both of them doing the unthinkable because of mistrust. And neither of them really owning up to it as they should. Lena lied about Sam being Reign and about possessing Kryptonite. Kara lied about sending James to sneak around at Lena’s place. Both knew. Both began to trust less. Even at the conclusion of this episode, where Lena pretended everything was good and Kara forced the words “I do trust you” out of her mouth, I didn’t believe it. I didn’t believe Lena believed it. I didn’t believe Kara meant it.
And in case Kara needed any more proof, she heard it from the cat’s mouth. As Lena confided in Kara her true thoughts about Supergirl and working with her:
“Supergirl isn’t all truth and justice like she claims to be.”
“I can never trust her again.”
This is the beginning of the fracture of Kara and Lena’s relationship. The part where their possible nemesis origin begins. They’re lying more and more to each other. They don’t trust each other. They have different ideologies. They don’t agree with how the other deals with things. They feel betrayed.
Lena doesn’t trust Supergirl. She doesn’t believe in what Supergirl represents. She’s starting to craft this evil narrative about Supergirl, which is eerily reminiscent of her brother’s own relationship with a Super. It’s only the beginning, but it’s the first time that I truly believe this show is headed in that direction. The end of this season could be setting up a Supergirl/Lena Luthor showdown in season 4.
And God knows what’s going to happen when Lena finds out that Kara and Supergirl. And she will find out. Whenever that happens, that’s going to be the final straw. That will be when Lena truly embraces being a Luthor. And God knows what that will bring.
Is There Any Chance of Saving Sam?
I’m conditioned to expect the good people to survive. For the good people to overcome. And I’ve held onto that this season as Sam has morphed into Reign and become something she doesn’t recognize. But this might be the first time that I actually believe she’s not going to survive this.
Yes, Kara was able to get through to her — to stop her from killing Ruby. But it was because of a code of honor and not the humanity within her. Is that humanity still in there? Is Sam still in there? Can she muster up the strength to overpower her? I want to say yes, to all of those questions. I want to believe it, because that’s what this show has taught me — that good is stronger than evil; that hope is stronger than fear.
But what if it’s not?
What if Sam can’t be saved? Worse, what if she can be saved but isn’t saved in time before Supergirl is forced to kill Reign?
It’s funny because the thing that actually made me start questioning all of this was a scene between Alex and Ruby. Where Ruby was terrified for her mother. Where Alex was fiercely protective and vowed to protect her with her life. And it almost felt to me as foreshadowing. Like what if Reign is killed, and Sam with her? Alex would no doubt raise Ruby and protect her, fulfilling her motherhood desires. Now, I don’t want Sam to die for Alex to get to be a mom. But it was a feeling in my gut that believes it’s a possibility. I could see that.
But I want to believe that Sam can be saved. I want to believe that she’s stronger than Reign. I want to believe that this will all end happily. But this is television. And on television and in reality, nothing ends happily.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.