While Supergirl has quietly been having a solid freshman season depicting the first female superhero with her own television show, it’s been far from perfect. But there have been times when this show has truly shined above the rest. And Monday’s episode (“Falling”) was the perfect example of just that.
Supergirl is a show that uses the superhero of it all to relay inspiring messages to its audience, including this episode that saw a bubbly superhero like Supergirl go from hailed superhero to feared hero-turned-villain in what was an honest portrayal of what happens when you fall.
When you look at all of the different superhero shows out there, Supergirl is perhaps the bubbliest and lightest of those heroes, but we saw her taken to a dark place in “Falling” that was as intriguing as it was terrifying. But it was also a reminder that even the best people can succumb to anger and darkness.
But the ending was also a reminder that you have to fight for what you want and what you believe in. While Supergirl might not be viewed as a hero anymore by her city, Cat Grant helped her realize that she’s going to have to fight to regain her city’s trust. While it won’t be easy, it’s not impossible. Thus Kara begins another significant portion of her hero’s journey in what has been a difficult year for the young hero, to say the least.
This was probably my favorite episode of the season because of the issues it addressed and how it portrayed them. This wasn’t Kara falling and then immediately getting back up. This was Kara realizing what had happened – even though it wasn’t her fault – and understanding that this isn’t something that can be fixed with a quick video message from Cat Grant. Kara’s greatest struggle begins now as she has to fight to regain the trust of the city that once hailed her but now seemingly fears and is ashamed of her.
The Red Kryptonite Brings Us a Dangerous Supergirl
When it comes to shaping a hero’s journey it’s important that you touch upon significant things like the fact that a hero isn’t perfect. It’s something Supergirl has done pretty well this season, but it really shined when it tackled this topic in what was its most important episode yet. While Kara might be a bright hero who saves snakes named Fluffy from trees or defends and befriends little girls who wear her costume and get teased for it, she isn’t someone who is perfect. And that’s what this episode addressed when it threw the curveball of Red Kryptonite at Kara and seemingly broke all of our hearts in this episode.
How ironic was it that Kara was dosed with the Red Kryptonite after she helped save a fireman’s life on top of a burning building? But the effect was almost immediate as we saw the Red Kryptonite act as a sort of truth serum that just brought out the worst in who Kara was – ala Rainbow Raider on The Flash, which exposed The Flash as a hero that wasn’t entirely perfect as he dealt with anger issues that almost hurt those that he cared about.
But the effect of the Red Kryptonite brought out a “I don’t give a damn” side to Kara that had her carrying herself in a whole new way, addressing people in a new way, but most importantly letting a bad alien get away because she didn’t feel like dealing with him. While it took the gang a little longer than expected to realize something was wrong with Kara, they eventually did. And they eventually found a way to reverse the effects of Red Kryptonite – with the help of Maxwell Lord, who actually created the damn thing and planned to use it on Non as a means to weaken him. While Lord wanted to recreate Kryptonite, he actually created something different that proved to be lethal to Kara as she became someone she’s not.
But the most important lesson that Kara learned in this episode was that while it wasn’t entirely her fault about all the dangerous things she did – like throw Cat Grant off a building and catch her seconds before she would’ve hit the ground – that these feelings that rose to the surface didn’t just appear. They have always been there – not dealt with. But she’s managed to keep them locked up inside, but sometimes it’s not the healthiest thing to keep your emotions bottled up. Because when they are released you’re going to get something along the lines of what happened to Kara – just maybe minus the whole superpowers of it all.
J’Onn J’Onzz Reveals His Identity
The thing with Kara’s being affected by the Red Kryptonite was that it put J’Onn J’Onzz in a tough situation when it came to who he really is. He’s always known that he can’t protect them as head of the DEO if they knew who or what he really was, which is a Green Martian. We’ve seen Hank battle with this for weeks, but especially in this episode when you weren’t sure if Kara was going to out Hank in this episode.
But while Hank was outted as an alien in this episode, the way the show went about once again proved that one of the show’s core strengths is the relationship between Hank, Alex, and Kara.
We’ve seen Alex encourage Hank to be who he is in order to use his abilities to help them defeat these bad guys, but he’s always hid behind the skin of Hank Henshaw afraid of what might happen to him if they learned of his true identity. But the thing that he – and we – didn’t plan on was growing to love these two girls like they’re his own daughters. So when Alex’s life was in jeopardy – as was Kara’s as she nearly killed her sister – J’Onn assumed his identity and helped disarm Kara long enough for Alex to hit her with the antidote for Red Kryptonite, which returned her to her true self.
But the DEO soon began to surround him – guns drawn – and Alex begged him to fly the hell out of there. Only he wouldn’t. Instead he turned back into Hank Henshaw and knelt, hands behind his head, and let the DEO take him into custody. Later when Alex went to him she asked him why he didn’t fly away. He told her that it came down to the fact that he’d spend a thousand years in the cell they were holding him in if it meant keeping Alex and Kara safe.
And that’s when the tears started. I never expected for this relationship between J’Onn, Alex, and Kara to become as important as it has to me. But then I also couldn’t imagine this show without it. This show is stronger because of this bond, and it’s because of that bond that all three of them will be okay in the end. Once again this show continues to show that the greatest thing about Greg Berlanti’s superhero shows are the relationships between these characters.
Supergirl and Cat Come Together
One of my favorite things about Supergirl has been the relationship between Supergirl and Cat Grant, which has brought out a different side to Cat’s character than we could’ve imagined back during a time when she seemed all but bitter and cold. But the last few episodes had sort of gotten away from that, which was a unfortunate considering it was always one of the show’s best dynamics.
But this episode was huge for reuniting Supergirl and Cat. Well, after Supergirl threw Cat off her building in a fit of Red Kryptonite rage only to force Cat to claim Supergirl someone to be feared to National City. It was something I couldn’t believe was happening. This show went so far as to paint Supergirl – bright, bubbly Supergirl – as a villain to the entire city. But this could’ve been the best decision the show has made in a while as it sets up Supergirl’s redemption arc. And guess who’s going to be right beside her helping her? Cat Grant.
Following the events of the episode – including said throwing off the building stunt – Supergirl came to Cat Grant to apologize and explain herself. She also revealed how the people of this city have helped shaped the hero she’s become. Only now she’s back at the bottom; maybe even worse.
But Cat assured her that while it’s not going to be easy to regain the trust of the people of this city that it’s not entirely impossible. And if there’s anyone who can win their trust back it’s Supergirl.
I don’t know about you, but I took that to mean that Cat Grant is going to help and encourage Supergirl in her journey to win back the people of this city and regain that heroic light that was taken from her in this episode. And sign me up for more Supergirl and Cat Grant working together!
Kara and James: Romance Halted?
Following the last episode where James and Lucy called it quits we all knew that Kara and James’ love story was about to begin. While I haven’t been feeling this romantic relationship between Kara and James since about the third episode, I’m hoping that the show will get me back to a place where I really give a damn. Because right now I care more about Kara’s relationships with Alex and Hank than I do about her relationship with James. But let’s be real, I’ll always care more about her relationships with Alex and Hank than any romance because the show has showed us that those are the most important.
But for anyone that assumed that with Lucy out of the way that this would be an easy journey for Kara and James you couldn’t have been more wrong. While Kara continued to struggle with whether or not to tell James her true feelings, James was struggling with Lucy calling it quits as he realized after it was too late what he had with Lucy. But he’s also feeling guilty about his feelings for Kara and how those hurt Lucy in the process. So it’s almost like he’s punishing himself.
We saw Kara come on strong to James when she was infused with the Red Kryptonite, but we also saw her after the fact when she approached James to apologize about what she said about Lucy – that she didn’t mean it. But James pointed out that on some level she’d meant some of it. So she admits that she was jealous of Lucy – why wouldn’t she be jealous of someone that he loved, she tells James. Just as she’s about to tell James her feelings for him, he cuts her short. Maybe it’s because of the guilt or maybe it’s because he’s not ready yet, but Kara left his office feeling worse than she came in. So this Kara/James relationship isn’t going to come easy. But then again, love doesn’t come easy. Especially on television. Especially on television with superheroes. Especially on television with superheroes from Greg Berlanti.
What Happens to Siobhan?
While this was certainly a storyline that got lost in the shuffle of what was a sensational, emotion-packed episode, Siobhan Smythe – while Cat Grant’s former assistant – also has an evil destiny of her own when it comes to becoming Silver Banshee. And I believe we just witnessed the beginning of her origin story.
Siobhan was someone who arrived to Supergirl with a lot of confidence and swagger, but ultimately her “better than everyone” attitude proved to be her downfall. Well, that and Kara helping out her little secret that she was writing to Perry White behind Cat Grant’s back with that Supergirl-Turned-Evil scoop that Cat refused to pounce on. It should come as no surprise that Cat Grant is someone who values loyalty and integrity above everything else, so Siobhan’s little stunt was obviously going to pave her exit from CatCo and forge the beginning of what will be her super villain origin story.
There have been a couple of photos of Italia Ricci suited up as Silver Banshee so it’s something that’s happening soon – in fact, it looks to be happening during The Flash crossover when Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen pays a visit to National City on March 28. And Siobhan won’t be alone. Turns out she’ll be joined by another one of Cat’s disgruntled former employees when she teams up with Livewire to wreak havoc. While Livewire has always blamed Cat for what she has become, now is the time to ask who does Silver Banshee blame? Of course the most obvious answer is Kara, who outed her to Cat Grant and reveled in her suffering. You just know that Silver Banshee has a bone to pick with Kara and possibly Cat when she returns.
NEXT TIME ON SUPERGIRL
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.