‘Supergirl’: The Importance of Mon-El’s Ongoing Evolution

As a viewer, I yearn for characters that are flawed. I yearn for characters that have made mistakes yet have made the decision to not let those mistakes define them. I yearn to watch these characters evolve into the people I know they can be even if they don’t know it themselves.

Since his arrival on Supergirl, Mon-El was touted as someone less than perfect that soon developed aspirations of becoming the hero he knows he can be. And you could say that his character caused some controversy in the fandom, as there are a segment that dislike his character and a segment that saw the potential and have invested in Mon-El and his journey. If you’ve been coming here often, you know I’m the latter.

Recently, Chris Wood, who portrays the former Prince of Daxam, addressed a fan’s remark regarding Mon-El’s characterization. Wood responded in an eloquent way stating what Mon-El’s supporters, like myself, have been saying all along: He’s not perfect. He’s not the man he’s meant to be. Not yet.

“My goal for this season is to push for the writers and producers to turn this into an opportunity to show that people who are misguided in their morals can change. They can grow, learn, and even become champions for what is right and good.”

By itself, the statement is amazing. But in context, it’s even more impressive when an actor knows his character so well and has so much faith in his character moving forward. Like Wood, I believe in the ongoing process of character evolution.

Though I happen to disagree with Wood’s assessment about Mon-El, when he was that misogynistic pig back on Daxam. As a fan, I go by what the show tells me. They told us that Mon-El’s parents were slave owners, not him. So I accepted that his parents were, but Mon-El realized the injustice of that choice in time. More of his continued evolution.




Mon-El’s past isn’t pretty. He was a terrible person back on Daxam. He was selfish, a womanizer, and not the kind of person that I would like. But when we met him, we didn’t know all of the specifics. He was a mystery whose layers slowly were peeled back over the course of season 2. The more we got to know the present Mon-El, the more we got to see of his past, and the more we got to see just how much he’d changed already.

And right there is the problem. Fans are holding Mon-El’s past against him. Yes, he used to be a piece of trash back on Daxam. But that’s not the character that he grew into throughout season 2. Mon-El was ignorant when he first arrived to Supergirl. But, as all characters do, he didn’t stay the same. Through observation, regret, guilt, and inner desire, Mon-El realized that he wanted to be better than the selfish prince he once was.

The thing that I love about Mon-El is that he’s not perfect. I’ve said that in pretty much every piece that I’ve written about him. Never have I said he was perfect. Never have I wanted him to be perfect. I want to witness that character growth. As a viewer, that’s my favorite thing about television. Meeting these characters at moments in their lives and watching their progress throughout a season or few. There’s also growth to be made.

But let’s make one thing abundantly clear: Mon-El’s evolution is not over. It’s only just begun.

That’s the thing with character growth, it’s ongoing. It’s always evolving. Through experiences, miscues, and revelations. Mon-El took some big steps in his growth last season. That’s not to say he didn’t make mistakes. Because he sure did. But he learned from them just as anyone learns from their own mishaps.

And of course there are those segment of fans that hate on Mon-El for the sake of hating on him. Or because of their ship. They usually tend to focus on a couple consistent reasons, that aren’t even relevant to Mon-El’s current state. It’s usually the slave owner thing (which, the show told us, his parents were. They never told us Mon-El was, so it’s not canon) or that he — wait for it — is emotionally abusive to Kara. And in case you’re laughing so hard that you can’t see through your eyes, here’s a piece I did illustrating all of the times Mon-El has been supportive as hell.

These haters are focusing on the person Mon-El used to be. That’s where their complaints stem from. He’s never been emotionally abusive to Kara. If you want to say that jealousy or having an argument with your significant other is “emotional abuse,” then everyone in the entire world — including you — have been emotionally abusive. So stop trying to make it seem like Mon-El is the first person in the world to do it. But that’s besides the point, because that’s not the definition of emotional abuse.

After six long episodes without Mon-El, our hero-in-training is gearing up for his return. Sorry haters. But Mon-El’s story was only the beginning in season 2. As Chris Wood has said, the point of last season was to start Mon-El on the opposite spectrum of hero. When we meet the characters that become our favorite heroes, they don’t start off as heroes. They have to work towards it. Sometimes, the journey is easier than most, like a Kara Danvers or Barry Allen. And sometimes, the journey is more time consuming, like a Mon-El or Oliver Queen or Sara Lance. And that’s okay. There’s no rule that says, “If someone isn’t a hero after _ episodes that they aren’t a hero.”

As a fan of Mon-El’s character and continued growth, I’m looking forward to his ongoing evolution in season 3. When we find him, he’s obviously going to have some new experiences under his belt that are going to have shaped him. There’s going to need to be some re-acclimation to the world, as well as setting him up on his hero’s path. And that’s okay. I want to see the flaws; I want to see the struggles; I want to see the rise above adversity that results from that.

Who the hell wants perfect anyway?



Alyssa Barbieri

Senior Managing Editor

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. TV Editor and Sports Editor. I write about DCTV, This Is Us and so much more. Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.

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