A new season of Supergirl means a new season of roundtables where Fangirlish writers Alyssa, Lizzie, and Lyra discuss the hot topics from every Supergirl episode.
In the fifth episode of Supergirl‘s second season, Kara helped Mon-El become acquainted with the mundane way of life. Also, Alex had to do some soul searching to really discover who she is. Likewise, James finally took a stand when it comes to him living his life the way he wants.
What were your overall thoughts on “Crossfire?”
Alyssa: Supergirl is so much more than a superhero show. Don’t get me wrong, Supergirl is a kickass superhero show, but it’s also a kickass drama that tugs at your heartstrings. It’s what Arrow used to be to me in that regard. I love how week in and week out Supergirl manages to tackle the emotional issues that all of us can relate to while still managing to be a superhero show. Given that it’s in its second season, Supergirl is beginning to plant the roots of a strong emotional connection within me. “Crossfire” was an episode that was as hilarious as it was inspiring. Supergirl’s tone is the perfect blend of humor and heart as it managed to bring us the awkwardness of Mon-El’s assimilation into our culture while also showing that you have to embrace who you really are. Supergirl is the prime example of how you give your core characters attention while incorporating new faces into the mix. Your core characters aren’t being overshadowed, there’s just a nice balance and the story makes sense. Supergirl continues to be my favorite superhero show, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Lizzie: I thought it was a great episode – as good as Supergirl’s ever been, but thing is, the show has been consistently good this season, no outliers of dang, really bad episode. And it’s not just that the plot they’re telling is interesting, because in these types of shows, plot must always take a backseat to characters, it’s that the show understands that and grounds the plot in character moments. It’s that, all the sudden, even without Cat Grant, who used to be my favorite, I like absolutely everyone on this show, from Mon-El, who just got here, to James, who I used to dislike, to Alex, who I always liked and didn’t know how much.
The way the female character are written, is especially important in this regard. Not only do we have strong, kickass female characters, they’re real. They can be evil, they can make mistakes, and they can save the day and that’s really inspiring.
Lyra: Crossfire feels like the chess board is being set for some grand finale down the line. The queen is guiding a new king from a world similar but oh so different from hers. The rooks are setting out on their own path and discovering new things about themselves. And the bishops and the knights are coming to understand that there is a bigger threat out there than they expected. (P.S. The pawns are definitely the criminals and citizens of National City. Why? Cuz I can!) What’s crazy though, is that while this board is being set, pieces from each side are circling each other in contemplation and not to destroy. It’s not just black against white. It’s a larger battle where they must unite or be destroyed by the pieces they least expected, one of their own.
This week’s episode really drove home the notion that you need to embrace who you are. We saw several of our characters tackle that topic in this episode. What were your thoughts on that?
Alyssa: Perhaps my favorite thing week in and week out are these real-world issues that this show with an alien as its lead addresses. They’re issues that cater to their characters and allow for moments of growth, which is something some other shows should take note of. This episode couldn’t have come at a better time given the current political situation America is facing. Even when it’s scary, even you’re terrified, don’t ever be afraid to be who you are. Don’t let anyone tell you that who you are isn’t right or worthy. It’s definitely a theme that needs to be reiterated more often than it is done on television. Shout it from the rooftops: BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE. Also, EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. I loved how seamlessly this issue translated between characters. You had Alex, of course, figuring out who she was; you had James trying to find out who he is, which is someone who wants to help people; you had Mon-El just trying to navigate this new world and find his place. Supergirl always manages to relate to its audience in a way that’s subtle but impactful.
Lizzie: The messages have been dead on this season. Dead on. And I trust the Supergirl writers to tackle them in a way that seems not just honest, but earned. I didn’t think I was going to like James’s journey to superhero, but here I am, rooting for him. I thought I was going to find Mon-El annoying, and yet he’s just an adorable puppy that I want to squish. And I love how this show, even though it’s sending a message, even if it sometimes clobbers you with it, never actually just spells it out. There’s a lot of show, don’t tell going on in Supergirl these days, and that’s made it my favorite DCTV show this year.
Lyra: I feel like this should be the first season of Supergirl. Forget number one. They were like baby giraffes trying to take their first steps and realizing, “Holy crap on a stick, I’ve got longs legs! I must run and make distance my bitch!” This season they understand that you have to learn how to get up on those wobbly, knobby legs and ease yourself into a slow walk before you can trot. Every character on Supergirl is being set on their own journey that will strengthen them and define them as individuals. When Cadmus finally shows it’s real strength, they’ll be ready to fight it together as a strong, weathered, intelligent team who have embraced who they are and what their purpose in life is: to protect the innocent, stop crime, and make their city a safe place to call home.
Kara began her mentoring of Mon-El, which while frustrating for Kara proved to be comedic gold for us. How do you think Kara did as a mentor? What should she do differently moving forward?
Alyssa: Poor Kara. Girl was certainly frustrated as she finally stepped up to be that mentor that she was sent to Earth to be many years ago. She had so much hope and expectations that it would be perfect — that she would help Mon-El assimilate like she had — but things weren’t exactly smooth sailing. And to be honest, they shouldn’t have been. But lord was it an entertaining sequence of events as Mon-El, poor sweet naive Mon-El, grew accustomed to life on Earth. (“Do you have protection?” “Like a sword?”) Supergirl is just so good at capitalizing on the humor when it presents itself. An important lesson that Kara learned by episode’s end was that not everyone’s the same. Not everyone wants the same thing.. Including an alien similar to her. Kara realized that all aliens are not the same. While it worked for her to join CatCo and assume that identity and job, she saw that this wasn’t exactly Mon-El’s scene. I think Kara’s going to make a great mentor. I believe once we see her pull back the reins, as she did in the end, that it’s going to make a huge difference. She’s there to guide Mon-El through this transition and to be a friend. This is definitely a relationship that I’m going to continue to watch grow and love more and more with each week.
Lizzie: I think a part of Kara thought of Mon-El as little baby Clark, and that she could just mold him into another her. That, of course, has a lot to do with the fact that this is what Kara knows. She wasn’t intentionally trying to keep him from being who he was, she was just showing him the only way she knew – which is why both of them have a lot to gain from this relationship. He can find who he is, and Kara can learn to let go of her control and realize that being a mentor is advising about who the other person is, not who you want them to be. She has to be more reactive is she really wants to help Mon-El. She can’t tell him what to do or who to be. And that’s probably something that Kara can apply in other facets of her life.
Lyra: Kara was frustrated with Mon-El because she was projecting. She wanted a little mini-Kara to swoon over cardigans, glasses, and bow ties with. But Mon-El is different. He’s curious, honest, and opportunistic. That makes for a tiresome combination that only does well with guidance. Mon-El needs to stumble a little and find his own bearings with Kara as a guiding hand. If she shows confidence in him, gives him the space he needs, and shows that she trusts him, he’ll return the gesture. Holy crap. Self revelation moment here. This is what I do with my siblings or what good parents do with their kids. Mon-El is Kara’s kid. Which makes me hope that they don’t get involved in a romantic relationship because this comparison would be weird. Uber weird.
Ever since Maggie’s arrival, we’ve seen Alex really question who she is. It’s something that she tackled in this episode, and we saw her come clean about her feelings. What are your thoughts on Alex’s story this season? And are you on board the Sanvers train?
Alyssa: One of my complaints about last season was how we didn’t get to really explore who Alex Danvers was. She was such an important part last season and is the most important person in Kara’s life that it was a letdown that we didn’t get to see more of her. Luckily this season is really taking the time to flesh out who Alex Danvers is. And for once I don’t mind that it’s being done with romance. To be fair, the romance hasn’t even officially started, but it’s the idea of it that really made Alex stand up and begin to question who she is. For so long she’s let work dominate her life to the extent that it was a distraction for her life. Scratch that, she didn’t have a life outside of the DEO and Kara. This storyline with Maggie is really allowing Alex to explore what life outside of work can be. More than that, this storyline is allowing Alex to discover who she is.
I loved how we got to see the spark between Alex and Maggie, the flirting, and saw how Alex immediately came out saying she’s not gay. But as soon as those words came out of her mouth there was no going back. Alex was forced to confront the idea that maybe she is. It really forced her to sit down and think about who she is, what her life has been like, and to embrace her feelings. When she did that she realized that no one has ever made her feel the way that Maggie does. It’s like Maggie woke Alex up from a deep slumber. All it takes is one person, really. And suddenly everything is different. The big breakthrough in this episode was that not only did Alex think about her feelings and embrace them, but she admitted them to Maggie. That’s a huge step for Alex, who we know is very guarded. I get more excited each and every week that we see Alex’s journey develop. Not to mention Sanvers owns my ass. Gimme more!
Lizzie: I love it. And I love how real the journey has been for Alex – because even though Maggie has been the reason she’s been forced to confront who she really is, Maggie wasn’t really the catalyst of Alex’s change. She just opened Alex’s eyes, which is different. The way Maggie made Alex feel caused her to reevaluate who she really was, and I feel like it was very real and earned, not just because of the way it’s been written, but because of the two actresses and how great a job they do at selling it.
All in all, Alex has always been one of my favorites and I’ve always wanted more from her. I didn’t expect to get something that’d make me feel so many things in the way of a storyline, but I’m so very glad we did.
Lyra: Let’s take a moment to pause and applause Chyler Leigh for her brilliant performance this episode. She gave me chills with her heartfelt reveal to Maggie that maybe she was right about Alex being gay. What makes it riveting is that this reveal isn’t about getting two girls together or checking off having a lesbian/bisexual main character on your show. It’s about understanding yourself and the kind of person you are, what you want in life, and being happy. That’s the journey that Alex is on right now. It’s defining, well paced, and exactly what Alex’s character needed to evolve into something more that just Supergirl’s sister or a DEO Agent. Simply put, I’m loving the hell out of it.
The Sanvers train is right on schedule. First stop: Confusion & revelations. Next stop: Self discovery & acceptance. And maybe somewhere down the line (when Alex is ready because this her journey ladies & gentlemen) she’ll hit the Sanvers stop aka: Exploration.
So James is tired of being on the sideline (and being left out of episodes), which inspired him to make a change. James decided that he’s tired of being the sidekick and wants to be out there in the field protecting people like his friends in the capes. What do you think of James’ aspirations? Is this going to crash and burn?
Alyssa: While initially I was like, Are you serious?, I think given James’ need to be something more that this could work if done right. While it could feel like a way to get him more involved in the show — because on superhero shows, even this one, superheroes in costumes get more attention — I’m trying to look at it from James’ emotional standpoint. James is someone who has watched people in his life embrace who they are and do what they love to do. Whether that’s been Supergirl and Superman or most recently Winn working for the DEO and saving people, James realized that he’s a walking zombie living his life. It’s nothing exciting. He knows there’s something greater out there. And apparently he believes his calling is being a superhero like his friends. It’s something that reminded me of Laurel’s decision to become the Black Canary, which is something I’m iffy about. I think the saving grace of this storyline is that Winn is going to be involved. I think that this could be good when you put these two guys together and let the story just flow. Also, I really want to like James again. I really do. I need a reason to. While I’m cautiously optimistic, I am optimistic. This is Supergirl. And it hasn’t let me down yet this season.
Lizzie: I wasn’t here for this – I said it at the beginning of the season. And then Supergirl actually did it and … it worked. At least so far. This might be the biggest surprise of the year for me, because I haven’t exactly been a big James Olsen fan in the past – what with the whole lying to Lucy thing and stringing Kara along. But, and here’s the important thing about this storyline – it’s all about him. About who he is and who he thinks he needs to be. He’s not doing it to impress Kara or to imitate his friends, he’s doing it because he thinks this is his calling. And I can accept that. I can even be on board. Maybe, at the end of this storyline, I’ll be rooting for him just as much as I root for Kara.
Lyra: Despite my general aversion to James…I’m kind of enjoying the journey that he’s going through right now. It’s none of that will-they won’t-they snooze fest from last season that overwhelmed the show. He’s trying to find his own feet as a character. Because of that I feel like I’m getting a look at the kind of person that James is for the first time on Supergirl. To me that’s an amazing turn about and I’m actually interested to see where it’ll take him.
His aspirations to be like his friends and join in the good fight, sets him on his own journey. He’ll learn as much about himself as we will during the upcoming weeks. It’s kind of nice to see those without superpowers hitting the streets and standing up for the people. Inspiring really. When one person sees how much good James can do as a mere human, it might inspire them to stand up for their home too. It’s a domino effect. And as for James crashing and burning. He’ll stumble a little. Get a little singe here and there. But that’s part of every heroes journey and James isn’t the exception.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW. Stay tuned next week for another Supergirl roundtable.