You don’t choose the ship; the ship chooses you. That’s the motto I live and die by. It’s also the motto that describes my love for Supergirl’s Kara and Mon-El – who have the sweetest ship name in the existence of ship names, Karamel.
From Mon-El’s debut earlier this season, I recognized that there was an immediate connection between him and Kara. I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t really know what to expect from it. But fast forward a couple of months later and what has transpired as a result is something truly beautiful.
You never really go into “shipping” knowing the extent of which you’re going to feel. You never tell yourself you “have to” like a ship. Well, if you do you end up abandoning the ship because there’s nothing there.
So in a way, Karamel took me entirely by surprise. Maybe it was because they attempted Kara and James as a couple, which went up in flames, and it appeared as if Kara was going to be alone for a little bit.
I didn’t really expect this grand romance that we’re getting with Kara and Mon-El. All I knew was that I wanted to see more of them. In some capacity. In any capacity. Not necessarily romance. I didn’t care if they were arguing. I didn’t care if they were disagreeing. I didn’t care if they were watching paint dry. I just wanted to see more of them together.
And that’s exactly what we got.
Progressively we got to see more interaction between the pair which started off as prejudice and evolved into indifference and then into acceptance and eventually into this deep caring connection. The fact that these two were “star-crossed” or “enemies” from the start was something that I immediately connected to.
The hallmark of any great relationship is how each person challenges the other and ultimately makes the other person better. That’s what we got from the beginning. We had these two warring alien races who hated each other (the Capulets and Montagues of the alien world.) We had two of the last remaining aliens of their kind brought together by fate, almost.
We got to see them fueled by their initial prejudice. But then we got to see the two look past their prejudices and eventually accept each other as individuals rather than a whole race. We saw them bond over their shared circumstance of losing their home and their family. We saw how they both inspired each other to be better – Mon-El, to be a better version of himself, and Kara, to be better in inspiring others to do good.
Perhaps the best thing about Karamel is the fact that they’re two flawed people that are exploring a relationship for the right reasons. That’s one of the amazing things about Supergirl in general – that it’s a show that not only shows but promotes these very flawed, realistic characters that make it so easy to relate to and care for. Perfect is boring. Perfect is unrealistic.
There’s no ignoring the unwarranted hatred that Mon-El faces on a weekly basis – even in an episode like 2×15 where he clocked in about 2 minutes of air time. Perhaps it’s because of shipping preferences (I’m convinced.) But people like to claim that he’s a “terrible person.” Okay, let’s not get over dramatic.
Sure, Mon-El did some bad things in his past. Does that mean that he can’t redeem himself? Of course not. That goes against the superhero theme in general. Not to mention he’s far from the “worst” character we’ve seen on these superhero shows.
I love that Mon-El is flawed. I love that he messes up. I love that he continues to try and fail but never gives up. I love that he’s inspired by Kara to be a better person. I love that he detests that former version of himself. I love that he takes responsibility for the person he used to be. I love that he’s refusing to let his past define him.
That’s another reason why Karamel is my favorite couple on television right now. We’re seeing this couple inspire each other as individuals that has progressed to romantic implications. I’m continually impressed with how the Supergirl writers are writing these characters and their relationship. It’s the good kind of angst that we all yearn for. It’s not the cheap angst that consists of drama for the sake of drama. It’s angst that’s going to make these two characters stronger as individuals and as a couple.
As if the story weren’t enough to melt my heart, then you have the sizzling chemistry between our two leads, Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood. There’s a genuineness that comes across on screen between these two characters. And when these two were finally able to be happy, you could feel it.
I knew Karamel had me when I was smiling instinctively at the little moments – the stolen glances, the spoken words – and at the big moments – confessions of feelings and the kisses. That’s the kind of emotion that you can’t force.
While Karamel might have broken up following Supergirl’s latest hour, “Star-Crossed,” it was one of those breakups that reeked of angst to strengthen their relationship. Mon-El’s reaction, most importantly Kara’s reaction. There’s genuine care and love there. But it was time to play up the angst. That relationship was far from over.
And as we saw in The Flash musical crossover, that brief breakup served to strengthen their relationship. There was a newfound perspective that both characters took from the situation. Mon-El fought for Kara even when there was no promise of a future with her. He did it because he loves her. Kara forgave Mon-El because she was able to accept that he had a good reason for keeping his past secret.
These two are still in the beginning of their young relationship, which only serves to make it more exciting. They’ve already experienced so much and have so much more to explore. They continue to bring out the best in each other, and they continue to learn from each other.
Things are never going to be perfect (how boring), but they’re always going to fight for each other.
“Love is about letting yourself be saved, not just about saving other people.”
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.