‘Supergirl’ 3×21 Review: You Can’t Go Home Again

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They say that home is where the heart is. Though apparently nobody told Kara Danvers that, as she decided to head to Argo, where her mother resided, after it seemed that Reign was defeated. Ah, but lest we forget that there are two episodes remaining. It was far too easy and far too obvious on the Reign front.

“Not Kansas” was a filler episode. Only usually filler episodes happen in the middle of seasons and not in the final three episodes. While “Not Kansas” wasn’t a particularly thrilling hour of television — aside from the Karamel bits that we got that made this episode somewhat exciting — it did set up the final two episodes of the season as Supergirl prepares for her showdown against Reign.

While underwhelming is one thing, missing the mark is another, and that’s exactly what Supergirl did on the gun issue front. It was a topic that historically has been mishandled on DCTV. And while Supergirl wasn’t on par with Arrow’s failure, it didn’t handle the issue in the way it should’ve.

Overall, “Not Kansas” felt like a filler episode where a filler episode really just shouldn’t be. It was significantly less interesting than recent episodes past — aside from the Karamel progress. But with two episodes left in this third season, the endgame is in sight. And these final two hours will hopefully gift wrap this season with a bow.




Let’s talk about Kara’s return home, the beginning of Karamel’s reconciliation, and the tried-and-failed gun issue:

Home Sweet Home?

Supergirl — “Not Kansas” — Image Number: SPG321b_0026.jpg — Pictured: Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Do you know what it’s like when you’re preparing to go somewhere you’ve been waiting to go for months or even years? Where you have this vision of what it will look like and how things will transpire? But when you get there, it’s not what it seemed?

That was exactly what happened to Kara in “Not Kansas” as she returned to Argon, where her family and friends survived, and realized that the home she thought she was returning to wasn’t really a home at all.

It was a hard lesson. But it was a hard lesson that Kara had to learn. This season has been about Kara desiring to have some semblance of “normal” in her life. That stemmed from the fact that she’s divided herself into two — Kara Danvers and Supergirl. It’s been a bit of an identity crisis as Kara has had to learn how to juggle both sides of her and not sacrifice one side in the process. It’s a journey that all heroes have to go through in the beginning of their journey.

Kara’s desire to be “normal” stemmed from one central thing: Not standing out.

For as much as Kara believes that being Kara and Supergirl and having to hide a part of herself from the world, the fact that she’s “not normal” is the reason why National City is in a better place.

“It feels amazing to be normal,” she tells Mon-El.

Kara wanted so much to belong. That’s what she seeks in her life. It’s what any person desires. There’s an innate desire to be a part of something — a group, a family — and know that you have a place. To know that you’ll always be a part of something. That you won’t ever be left alone

Kara is like any of us in her desire to belong. She thought she would find that sense of belonging back on Argo with her mother and her people. She thought that going back to that place and not being able to fly or live up to her super name would be enough to satisfy her. But it wasn’t. It was clear pretty early on that Kara was not meant to blend in.

While Kara desperately craves having her mother be a part of her life, something that she’ll have to understand is that she already has a family. Alex. J’Onn. Mon-El. Winn. James. Lena.

You see, it wasn’t that Kara doesn’t consider those people family. She does. It’s that she notices how she stands apart from a lot of them. She’s different.

To quote Wonder: Why blend in when you were born to stand out?

No More Hiding

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Remember last week how I told you that this wasn’t the episode that would be the beginning of Kara and Mon-El’s reunion? Remember how I told you that moment was coming? Well, this week was that moment. And it’s only the tipping point.

There were way too many longing looks for this to not be something. Like come on. Kara inviting Mon-El home. Double date with old friends. Mon-El gave Kara his Legion ring. There was romantic subtext all over this episode.

But then the subtext went from subtext to in-your-face as Mon-El, who had been fighting with himself about his true feelings for Kara, finally told Kara what he’d been feeling and also acknowledged it with himself.

Mon-El had been trying to convince himself that friendship between him and Kara was what was best. That remaining true to Imra and denying himself what he really wanted with Kara and protecting Kara from that pain was what was best.

“But I’ve been lying to myself,” Mon-El confessed to Kara. “I just don’t want to hide things. Pretend they don’t exist.”

Despite what many haters have had to say about Mon-El, he’s grown into a honorable man that wants to do right by those he cares about. He had to leave Kara behind. He spent years alone before he joined with Imra to unite their people. He eventually developed real feelings for Imra. But always, Mon-El loved Kara. He carried her with him. In a necklace. In a memory. In a purpose.

Even when Kara was brought back to him — or him brought to her — Mon-El felt that pull to Kara. But he also felt a pull to Imra because she’s someone he genuinely cares about and knows that he has to honor her because he made that commitment. Mon-El tried to suppress his true feelings for Kara because he knew eventually that they’d win out. Also, it would be painful beyond belief.

Even when Mon-El knew that he still loved Kara. Even when Imra gave him an opening to go figure out how he really felt, Mon-El was tempted by a sense of honor to withhold those feelings. Now it was a matter of if he was being selfish — would he be telling Kara his feelings for her for her or for him? It was as if Mon-El was afraid of what might happen if he confessed his feelings. Would she reciprocate? Then there would be a sense of guilt for being happy. Would she not feel the same? Then there would be a sense of heartache for losing his chance with her.

Then it was Kara’s turn to speak. Would she still feel the same? Would she be open to being with Mon-El after everything that happened?

Kara recounted the dream that she had in the season premiere. The one where she was in a field, much like she was in the present, and Mon-El was with her and she felt this complete sense of contentment. But that was a dream.

Only now, here Kara was standing in a garden not unlike that field in her dream and again here was Mon-El standing in front of her. And again, there was this sense of peace and serenity. All she wanted was for Mon-El to be in that field with her. Now he was.

How Kara has felt this season about Mon-El is no secret. Just when she thought she’d found happiness it was snatched from her. She spent several months grieving Mon-El’s loss only for him to return…but married. It was a whirlwind of emotions for our sweet Kara that couldn’t turn her feelings off. She had to watch the man she loves be with someone else. And for awhile she suppressed those emotions, which eventually bubbled up.

Kara had to get to a place of acceptance where she realized that things had changed and that Mon-El might have to serve a different purpose in her life: friend. And she went along with it. But when Mon-El was standing in front of her, like in her dream, and telling Kara that he harbored feelings of non-friendship love for her, it was as if her dream was actually coming true.

This was the moment Kara had been waiting for. Mon-El was standing before her professing his feelings for her. She’d been waiting to hear the words. Although she didn’t waste the entirety of these past couple of months pining after Mon-El. She had realized that she had to make the decision to move on. And she did. Only in moving on, both Kara and Mon-El found their way back to each other.

But, of course, before they could share a kiss the moment was interrupted by a villain that will be going in my Burn Book for all of eternity.

But good news is that this is just the beginning. This was the episode that set up Kara and Mon-El’s reunion in these final two episodes. We’re going to get that epic reunion kiss we’ve been desperately waiting for.

The Gun Issue

Supergirl — “Not Kansas” — Image Number: SPG321a_0146.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Jeremy Jordan as Winn Schott and Mehcad Brooks as James Olsen/Guardian — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

When it comes to sensitive issues like gun violence, there is a way to handle it and a way not to handle it. Arrow is the staple for “how not to try and preach the issue of gun violence,” when it’s a show that used and continues to use violence, including guns, as a means of entertainment.

You can’t pretend you’re something you’re not or tackle an issue because you want to be edgy or want people talking about your show. That’s what Arrow did. It took an entire episode to try and force conversation about gun violence, and it missed the mark completely. It silenced people that had actual opinions about gun violence, including Felicity, and didn’t really take it seriously. It was laughable and made for easily the worst episode of that show in its history.

Supergirl was the latest DCTV show to tackle the issue of gun violence. And while it wasn’t Arrow-level bad (don’t think you can get much worse than that), it also failed to really hit the mark.

Honestly, it felt out of place. Mostly because this was an issue that was introduced halfway through the episode. Did these writers actually think they could generate good conversation and handle this issue the right way in 30 minutes?

This was completely out of left field. It wasn’t treated as seriously as it could’ve been. It was ineffective, didn’t work, and came off as a failed attempt at trying to talk about something that it really doesn’t have a reason to talk about.

There was way too much going on in this episode for this very important issue to be given attention. Not that more shows shouldn’t be raising awareness to certain injustices and concerns, gun violence being one of them. But if you choose to handle it, you need to handle it the right way. Supergirl randomly brought this issue in and rushed it when, if actually given the time and proper story, could’ve done something more impactful.

But if there was one thing that this episode did do right — however brief — was how it introduced the importance of two opposing sides have different opinions but being open to listening to the other side. Because if there’s something that we struggle with in this political climate it’s listening to the other side and being respectful of another’s opinion.

Yes, there are some people that believe people are entitled to guns. Yes, there are some people that believe that people are not entitled to guns. Lena believed in guns. James did not. But one of the first things they both acknowledged was that they each have a right to feel the way they do. They both understood that this was a conversation — that never happened, by the way — where they could both give their opinion and have the other listen. It’s basic communication.

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





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