‘Supergirl’ Season Finale Review: ‘Better Angels’ (aka A Hero’s Sacrifice)

In a world where there are many people that seek good above evil and justice above vengeance, what defines a hero?

In Supergirl’s first season finale, Kara found herself amidst a reality where the citizens of National City were under the control of a mind-control program known as Myriad as Non and Indigo plotted the takeover of Earth. There was an overwhelming sense of fear that came with this takeover, but Kara – with the help from Cat Grant – learned the best way to combat fear is with hope. Hope is stronger than fear. And that’s exactly what Supergirl proved.

There were several cases where these characters we know and love (or tolerate in some cases) were under the control of Myriad and had to fight through the program that extinguished their hope and rediscover that hope once again. We saw it with Alex and how the mere mention of her father helped bring her back; we saw it with Winn and James as Supergirl spoke and they got flashes of what Kara means to them; and we saw it with the citizens of National City as the symbol of hope – that “S” on her chest – shone like a beacon throughout the city and lifted these people out of madness proving, as we know, that hope is stronger than fear.

But as quickly as the threat of mind control was off the table, it was soon replaced by a new threat as Non and Indigo decided to leave Earth and conquer another planet – but not before leaving Kara with an Earth of dead humans. So the Myriad would be used not to mind control the humans but to kill them as a sick little parting gift on behalf of Non and Indigo.

Which brings us back to the question: what defines a hero? What makes somebody – especially in a world of capes – a hero? Sacrifice. Heroes sacrifice, whether that’s personal aspects of their lives or their life itself. And that’s a decision that Kara didn’t even have to think twice about. Kara remained firmed in her promise to protect Earth, and she was going to do it – whatever the cost. And Maxwell Lord himself warned Kara that this was basically a “suicide mission.”

This was the moment when things really began to amp up as the threat of the destruction of the human race and Kara’s sacrifice began to drive the emotional aspect of the show. The most emotional part of the episode came as Kara went to each of the people in her life – Winn, James, Cat, and finally J’Onn. She couldn’t say goodbye to Alex because then “I’d never leave,” she says.

Watching Kara deliver emotional goodbyes wrought with love and gratitude as she fought back tears was the best thing about this episode. Melissa Benoist continues to execute Kara’s demeanor with such flawless ease and eloquence that you feel everything that she’s feeling. So while Kara fought those tears back, the audience cried for her (*raises my hand* I cried. Several times over.) It really felt like she was saying goodbye so that when the moment came when she walked out of the DEO with J’Onn J’Onzz by her side, I wasn’t sure that we’d see her reunited with her loved ones by season’s end. Certainly not death – because this show is getting a second season. It’s just a matter of when the announcement is coming – but I expected a cliffhanger of sorts that left her separated from her loved ones during this hiatus.

But while “Better Angels” excelled early on with ramping up the emotion and building to a place where a significant payoff was coming, it fell short in the end. This was an episode that ended like any typical episode of Supergirl. But this wasn’t a typical episode; this was a season finale. Only it didn’t feel like it.

The first three-fourths of the season finale was executed beautifully as it was building towards this emotional end to the first season. Coming off the coattails of last week’s divine penultimate hour, the tables were seemingly set for this epic payoff that would surely end with heartbreak, right? Wrong.

Now, it’s not that I wanted someone to die (though I had someone in mind that would hurt but wouldn’t kill me), but I wanted to feel pain. I wanted “Better Angels” to end on a note where it had me physically aching for season two (that we know will be renewed) instead of just feeling like, “Meh.”

The three most important episodes of a television season are the season premiere, midseason finale, and season finale. All three of those episodes need to contain something of epic proportions that serves to propel the story forward or bring one to a close while jumpstarting the next.

Supergirl has been one of my favorite new shows on television this year. While the season finale’s end felt like a bit of a letdown, that doesn’t take away from everything that the show has accomplished this season. Supergirl has become a beacon of hope for the audience as it brings us our first female lead superhero, where we handle issues of morality and sexism head on, and where we’re reminded about the most popular bond in life: family. Not to mention we’ve been blessed by Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl, who reminds us every day that a hero lives within.

What’s On Our Minds…

Kara’s Goodbyes Were the Death of Us

There is no doubt the most emotional aspect of this season finale was when Kara was saying her goodbyes to her loved ones. Whether it was delivering an utmost heartfelt goodbye to Cat Grant and J’Onn J’Onzz or a downright emotional goodbye to Alex as Kara and Alex both believed at the time that Kara wouldn’t make it out of this, there was a real high stakes that came with that had me believing that perhaps things wouldn’t end happily. But it was good pain. Emotional pain like that – when experienced by the audience – shows a real connection, which is the most important thing.

What’s in That Spaceship?

Of course the main question stemming from the season finale is: what’s in that spaceship? My initial reaction was: I don’t know. I don’t care. I care more about where the hell Jeremiah Danvers is. But whatever is in that spaceship it’s no doubt something that will be a significant part of season two.

I’m Still Not Sold on Kara and James

It’s funny that in the first couple of episodes of this show that I shipped Kara and James and now we’re at this point at the end of season one, and I could not care less. Whatever spark was there in the beginning has seemingly dissipated for me. So while they currently have a “happy ending” for this hiatus, I still am not feeling it with these two. But all one can do is pray that the show finds a way to make these two’s relationship impactful.

Kara Gets a Well-Deserved Promotion

Kara’s moving on up – to her new, window-less office and a job of her choice. That’s right, Kara is no longer Cat Grant’s assistant. She’s worked her ass off for the better part of two years to make Cat’s life a breeze, and Cat has rewarded her as such. Don’t even get me started on the fact that Cat finally pronounced Kara’s name right. FEELS. This relationship continues to remain one of my favorites on this show, and I continue to count the episodes until Kara finally comes clean to Cat that she’s Supergirl.

We Still Don’t Know Why Superman Was Affected by Myriad

No, but seriously why was Superman affected by Myriad? I need an answer here. And the whole chalking it up to Kara being stronger than him is bull. But I think he had to be affected because Supergirl had to be the one to save the day. This isn’t called “Supergirl and Superman;” it’s “Supergirl.” Also…those were Superman’s boots that we saw in the DEO medical ward as he lay unconscious from Myriad. So who the hell is playing Superman? (Is it too much to hope for Henry Cavill. Because in my mind it’s Henry Cavill lying on that table).

What were your thoughts on the Supergirl season finale?

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