Supergirl returned with a midseason premiere that forever changed the course of the season. One decision — an unnecessary one, if you ask me — set an unexpected course for the backhalf of season four where once again Kara’s emotional strength will be tested.
In “Suspicious Minds,” Colonel Haley set her sights on determining Supergirl’s identity and went to extreme measures to determine it. Elsewhere, Lena and James came to a ends-justify-the-means understanding, and Nia Nal got a peek at her supersuit possibilities.
Let’s discuss “Suspicious Minds” and how that game-changing decision will affect things down the line:
Who is Supergirl?
While some haven’t enjoyed Supergirl’s political approach this season, I’ve loved that we can see our world reflected in fiction and see proposed solutions. Well, minus the whole Supergirl and alien of it all. And while Agent Liberty took a backseat for this episode, the ramifications continued on in the form of Colonel Haley and her vitriol towards Supergirl.
When Supergirl refused to give up her secret identity to the president and Haley, they fired her from the DEO. But that of course could never stop Supergirl. Supergirl was a hero before the DEO and she’ll continue to be one after. And that gets on Haley’s nerves more than she’d care to admit.
With Supergirl’s noncompliance when it comes to admitting her secret identity and refusing to just save stray cats, Haley makes it her life’s mission to figure out her identity. With Supergirl being a part of the DEO for so long, clearly someone on the inside must have some hint of who she really is.
Haley goes to every means necessary to figure out who Supergirl is. And eventually she does. So when Supergirl saves her life, you’d think Haley would be grateful. But she’s not. Instead she chooses to blackmail Supergirl into complying with orders or that she’ll out her identity to the world, including her enemies. And if everyone knows who Supergirl is, they’ll come for those she cares for.
When it seems like a quick mind-wipe by J’Onn will be enough to fix everything, we soon see that things are only going to get worse. Haley brought in some kind of truth alien thing that will be able to get anything out of anyone. So Alex says that everyone that works at the DEO must have their memory wiped — that they won’t know that Kara is Supergirl. Including Alex.
“Who am I without you?” Kara says. “The whole reason I became Supergirl was to save you.”
“Let me save you this time,” Alex tells her.
Cue my emotional meltdown, which I get into below.
Let’s Talk About THAT Decision
Supergirl must run off the tears of its viewers because why else would these writers and producers be putting us — and Kara — through this much pain and suffering?
First off, let’s make it perfectly clear that this didn’t have to happen. Alex didn’t have to have her memory wiped. She could’ve quit. They could’ve had Haley removed (by forceful means). But it was pretty clear that this was the intended decision and the intended outcome by how easily Alex gave in.
While Alex is still going to remember Kara — her sister — she won’t have any memory that she’s Supergirl. But the thing I’m more concerned with — apart from the emotional turmoil this show will put me through with Kara and Alex — is the outcome of this decision.
Ultimately, how will this affect things in a grander scheme? Aside from the strain in the relationship between Kara and Alex — with that super secret looming large — if Alex’s memory has been wiped clean, does she still remember Kara has super abilities? Has her compassion for aliens been wiped clean as well? Will Alex give Kara up even without knowing she’s Supergirl? Might we see a more compliant Alex Danvers when it comes to working under Colonel Haley. Or worse, might we see an Alex Danvers that follows Agent Liberty and his beliefs?
Sorry, but every single horrific scenario went through my mind after that game-changing decision. I’m an eternal pessimist always expecting the worst. But usually I like to look for the bright side in these types of shows. Except where is it? I don’t a see a bright side here. Just a lot of darkness.
The Ends Justify The Means
Supergirl has created an intriguing dynamic between Lena and James that transcends their personal relationship. There’s also this parallel between them to continues to add depth and understanding to each other and to their relationship.
Their moral codes are similar, if not their personal experiences. While James found himself wondering why Lena would blackmail someone just to save him, his latest experience shed light on her decision. And it comes down to one simple motive: To protect someone.
James understands Lena’s ends-justify-the-means approach to life when he found himself willing to blow up that Shelley Island monument to protect someone else. That understanding leads to reconciliation, which actually leads to something pretty major.
Lena opens up to James about how when she was trying to rewrite DNA to cure diseases that she discovered she can use her findings to enhance human abilities. She asks James to be the angel on her shoulder and help her determine the right course of action. James supports her. But it’s clear by the end of the episode that he’s clearly troubled by Lena’s findings and/or pursuit to enhance human abilities.
The thing that I’ve really enjoyed about how Supergirl has treated Lena this season is that it’s illustrating how her actions are driven by her pursuit to do good. Even if things end up not going so good, her motives are not of malintent. While other characters might disagree with what she’s doing, right now we can rest easy that her desire to do good keeps her moral code intact.
Brainy and Nia
I’m not gonna lie, I was about as disappointed as Nia was when she sat down on her “date” to find out that she wasn’t actually on a date with Brainy. These two are just so dang adorable and, in a weird way, super compatible.
But it wasn’t a date. And it was disappointing. But it was exciting because it felt like the beginning of Nia Nal’s life as a superhero. We’ve already seen the promotional photo of Dreamer (nice job, Brainy), and it’ll be beyond exciting to see Nia’s origin story to becoming a hero.
Also, if you think this cute little thing with Brainy and Nia is over (“I didn’t think someone as beautiful as you would go for someone like me”), there’s more to come. Keep planting those seeds, Supergirl. I’m ready.
Supergirl airs Sundays at 8/7c on The CW.
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Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment | Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes | Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters | Co-executive Editor for Fangirlish | Managing Editor for Bears Wire at USA Today SMG | Producer/Co-Host of Buffone 55 for Bears Barroom Radio Network | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.