‘Supergirl’ 3×22 Review: Make It Reign Emotion

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Nothing’s perfect. No television show is perfect. To expect perfection would just be wrong, even if a show that delivered several amazing episodes in a row manages to deliver back-to-back lackluster episodes that just lacked the pacing of the others.

Not that “Make It Reign” was bad. It’s just, quite frankly, it was boring in the beginning, which had a lot to do with pacing more than anything. They were just taking too long to get to where they wanted to go.

A penultimate episode should set the tone for the final two hours of the season. What “Make It Reign” managed to do was tiptoe to the point without any sense of urgency in the first half of the episode. It felt like the show realized about halfway through that it had to set up next week’s season finale before it turned the volume up on this episode. Though it did manage to shine the spotlight on some important relationships.

Supergirl continued to tease us with Karamel’s “Moment” that has been planned and saved for next week’s finale, as well as tugged on our heartstrings with J’Onn and M’yrnn’s impending heartbreak and left us praying that Sam and Ruby make it out of this thing alive and go off on a permanent vacation where they’re safe forever. Then there was “The Split,” which ignited literal destruction in the form of earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and God knows what else. Ah, must be May. Err, June. Sorry, forgot about the delay.

There are not enough words in the English dictionary to describe my love for Alex Danvers. Getting to see this wonderfully complex and brave and passionate woman continuously grow in this world has been nothing short of amazing. The first season just teased us with her brilliance. The second season, we got to see her find herself. This third season, we’re seeing Alex’s continued exploration of the person she is and getting a taste of what next season will hold. There’s no choice to make when it comes to leaving someone in charge in J’Onn’s absence. Just saying.

“Make It Reign” set the stage for what we can expect in next week’s finale. Destruction? Check. Loss? Check. Pain? Check. Supergirl kicking Reign’s ass? Check.

As we prepare what’s sure to be an emotional and tragic season finale, let’s discuss who I think will prevail in this “Sam vs. Reign” faceoff, the badassery that is Alex Danvers, and the relationships that give this show an emotional edge, including Kara & Mon-El, Sam & Ruby, and J’Onn & Mry’nn.

The Split

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Talk about Supergirl really hitting the proverbial metaphor on the head with the “split” between Sam and Reign as both sides occupied opposite or “split” personalities. That’s been the thing we’ve witnessed within Sam this season: Good vs. evil. We all have that inner struggle. Only for Sam, it was more literal than we’ll ever get.

For awhile, I thought it’d be more about the inner battle within Sam. That Reign was an actual part of her darkness. But what if Reign was only representative of her darkness? They were one. But now they’ve been separated into two bodies. Sam, the person, is something else entirely different than Reign, the World Killer. They only happened to occupy the same body. So now that they’ve been divided, what happens now?

Well, only one of them will survive, which in my mind makes me feel a little bit better about Sam’s survival chances. It’s no secret that my gut has been screaming to me that Sam won’t survive the season. The way Supergirl has introduced this Alex and Ruby dynamic in a foreshadowing way has not been lost on me, particularly because I’ve loved it so much. But if it’s one or the other, it’s not going to be Reign, right? The villain usually doesn’t survive. Hell, with a World Killer like Reign, she’d have to be killed or vanished into the bowels of hell.

Since Sam and Reign are still symbiotically joined, one is stronger than the other, the other weaker. Right now, Reign is stronger and Sam is weak. So now the key becomes making Sam the stronger one, thus giving Supergirl the chance to end her. But how do they make Sam stronger? Surely Reign is stronger because of her rebirth and the magic that came with it. So how does Sam become stronger? This could go back to the emotional connection with her and Ruby. Perhaps it’s more internal than anything? Now that Sam has gone back to that dark place, she’ll search for the answer. The key to defeating Reign is to weakening her. The key to weakening Reign is to make Sam stronger. And it’s going to take everyone to do that.

No More Keeping You In The Dark

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What Supergirl has managed to do with Sam and Ruby this season — introduce new characters, mother and daughter, and manage to make me feel incredibly protective and invested in them — is nothing short of impressive. It’s been incredible to get to see the Big Bad narrative flipped on its head by introducing our villain before she was the villain and giving the audience a reason to care.

That’s right, I care about the villain. Well, the woman, not the World Killer. But in watching Sam’s evolution into Reign was terrifying, frustrating, and seeing how it affected this beautiful mother-daughter relationship was painful. Basically, good storytelling when it makes you feel so deeply.

At the heart of Supergirl’s success with Reign this year is that human element that the show led with from the beginning. This idea that our villain didn’t come with a preexisting agenda and was someone who believed she was just a normal human being like everyone else, it was refreshing in a world where villains tend to be pre-existing baddies when they are introduced on screen. Villains like Slade Wilson are the exception, as well.

Sam and Ruby have been placed through the emotional ringer this season. Sam realizing she’s not the person she thought she was, in her DNA. Sam becoming the darkness inside of her. Ruby having to watch the villain with her mother’s face almost kill her. Sam almost losing Ruby, and Ruby almost losing Sam. And we still have a season finale, folks.

From the beginning, Sam kept quiet about her ordeal. She was afraid. But she had so many people in her life that would’ve been there for her before the moment she truly became Reign. Well, if she did we really wouldn’t have a season, would we? That’s just how this works. But Sam has now realized that there’s strength in letting your walls down, in confiding in others, in asking for help. And hell, if there’s a chance that she might survive, it’ll be because of that.

Honestly, there’s still a part of me that fears for Sam’s survival. I want to believe that she’ll survive. I want to believe Sam and Ruby get their happy ending. But my gut continues to tell me that Sam is going to die — most likely sacrificing herself for her daughter, because that is the only thing Sam is living for. She would die for her daughter. And I’m scared we’re going to see that happen.

I’ll Carry You With Me When I’m Gone

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There’s nothing more painful than saying goodbye to a loved one. Especially when you know it’s coming. Having time to think about everything and carrying that heavy weight with you. Knowing that you have all of these beautiful memories and being happy for that but also realizing that with each passing minute you get closer to losing the person that was in those memories.

That’s the challenge that J’Onn faced this week as his father M’yrnn decided it was time to do The Reach, a process where M’yrnn will transfer all of his memories to J’Onn effectively letting go of his own life. J’Onn has been living in agony waiting for this moment, praying it would never come but knowing that it ultimately would.

“Doing the Reach allows me to live on forever through my son,” M’yrnn says.

For M’yrnn, this process isn’t as painful as it is to J’Onn. They’ve now lived in two completely different times. M’yrnn thought his entire family was dead, so just getting to spend time — however fleeting — was enough for him. He’s been incredibly thankful for getting to know his son again and seeing all of the people that love him. He’s been incredibly thankful that his son found a home again and that he had a chance to see him happy.

The Reach is something that the Green Martian culture adopted as a way to keep them living after their deaths. If you hold the memories of that Green Martian, a part of that Green Martian lives on forever in you. So while this entire process was bittersweet and painful, there was a sense of peace that came for M’yrnn. Knowing that even though he’ll soon pass, his soul will live on in his memories within J’Onn.

Just like we lose loved ones and believe that they’re still with us when they’re gone. It’s bittersweet. It’s still painful. But we don’t weep for the memories. We weep for the physicality that comes with being able to hug them and tell them you love them.

Ultimately the process was cut short for father and son, due to Reign coming and beginning to destroy the world, but again, that’s the stuff of season finales. People are lost in season finales. People are found in season finales. Plenty of tears are shed in season finales. And this is one that’s going to be so much more painful the next go-around.

He Can’t Lose Her Again

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There’s a nice subtly that’s not-so-subtle when it comes to how the Supergirl writers are building up to “The Moment” between Kara and Mon-El in next week’s season finale. Last week’s episode, along with this week’s, served the set the stage for a moment that’s now been a season in the making.

Now, I’m not a writer for this show, but I am an observant viewer that has seen countless television over the years. So I’ve seen this storyline before. Lovers separated. Lovers remain separated throughout the season but eventually unite in the finale because circumstances force them to “live in the moment” and confess their true feelings. Been there, done that.

So going off of everything these writers have given us this season — Kara and Mon-El separated once, then twice; the moment of realization that they can’t lose each other again; something interrupting the reunion because, shocker, it’s not the season finale and those moments are saved for season finales.

There were moments where “Make It Reign” felt like it lost itself in the pacing of the plot. Where the first half lacked a sense of urgency only for it to realize, “Hell, we have to set the stage for the season finale next episode.” So I wasn’t expecting any real development with Karamel this week because the penultimate episode had to set everything up. But this episode did remind us that “The Moment” is coming next week.

“I lost her once,” Mon-El tells Winn. “I’m not sure I can do it again.”

Remember when Mon-El was fully aware of his feelings for Kara and tried vehemently to deny them at every turn? Remember when Mon-El was afraid of hurting Imra and even Kara with his admission? Remember how Mon-El chose to confide to important people in both his and Kara’s lives?

As Winn helped Mon-El and Kara from Earth, Winn asked him why he was still there, as if the answer wasn’t obvious. Instead of denying anything or changing the subject, Mon-El basically told Winn that there was no way that he was going to lose Kara again. He couldn’t bear it.

Last week, Mon-El finally admitted his feelings to Kara, and she returned those feelings. Before they could have that epic “Moment,” reality interrupted inevitably forcing “The Moment” for the season finale.

But one thing is for certain now: Mon-El isn’t hiding anymore. He’s done keeping his feelings inside. He’s done trying to convince himself that he could be truly happy without Kara. He’s not denying that losing her was perhaps the most painful thing to happen to him, and he’ll be damned if he lets it happen again. People that keep emotions locked inside end up 1) Feeling regret or; 2) Never getting to admit those feelings. Mon-El wasn’t going to let those happen.

Just in case you had any doubt — or are trying so hard to deny it — that Supergirl is telling Kara and Mon-El’s love story right now, this show did everything in its power to remind you. Winn knew it. Alura knew it.

“The connection between you two is obvious,” Alura says. “He makes you happy.”

While Kara and Mon-El might’ve been too distracted to realize their own or the other’s feelings for them, everyone around them has. The connection between these two has been obvious from the beginning, even when Mon-El was a smartass that had so much to learn.

No matter the distance between them — literally or figuratively — the simple fact of the matter is that you can’t shut emotions off. Not entirely. Try as you might to force those feelings away, all you can do is suppress them to the point where they eventually come bubbling up to the surface.

Mon-El’s denied his feelings since his return because he was doing the honorable thing in being faithful to Imra. Kara’s denied her feelings since his return because she understood the circumstances had changed and that she had to move on. Only the connection between them is so strong that in trying to move away from each other, to do what they thought was right, they were pulled back together like magnets.

Last week, we saw Mon-El’s admission of feelings for Kara, followed by her confirmation, until it was obviously interrupted because the ending to that conversation is the stuff of season finales.

“Do you love him?” Alura asks.

While Kara convincingly evaded answering the question citing that things are “complicated,” which isn’t a lie, her answer was written all over her face. Of course she still loves him. But a part of her is afraid to say it out loud because there’s a part of her that fears losing him again. Which was a nice parallel to Mon-El’s confession to Winn just before.

But Kara never denied it. She never denied she is still in love with Mon-El. Sometimes it’s more about what you don’t say. Your eyes can give you away. Your body language can give you away. Your heart can give you away. And Kara never denied it.

Given the pain that came with last year’s finale, where Kara and Mon-El were separated, I’d like to believe that these writers directly parallel that and go with the opposite this year: A reunion.

Like it or not, this is the love story Supergirl has been telling this season. That’s what happens when it’s the main character’s show — hell, her name is the title. The main hero’s storylines will — and should — take precedence before others. Thus the person she’s romantically linked to should, as well. That’s why Mon-El was heavily featured last season, and why he’s featured heavily again this season. He’s a part of Kara’s story. And this show is her story.

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


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