Supergirl 2×09 Review: 'Supergirl Lives'

Supergirl has easily been the best of the DC Comics shows on television this season, and it’s obvious why. The sophomore CBS transfer has embraced the very best that the show has to represent, while also introducing additional elements that have helped widen the scope of the show.

Supergirl thrives on exploring themes of perseverance and heroism in a way that feels hopeful and optimistic in a world where it’s easy to want to give in to the darkness that plagues it – both in this fictional world and the one we currently live in. Given the current circumstances of the United States, Supergirl represents the kind of hero we want in this world. While we might not have superpowered heroes, watching her stand up and fight for what’s right – even in the face of insurmountable odds – inspires us to do the same.

Following the midseason finale and the subsequent wrapping up of Cadmus’ leader as a Big Bad, we were brought into this winter premiere wondering what threat waited around the corner. And it appears as if we have a lead on the possibility of who it might be. Surprisingly, it has to do with Mon-El, who it was also revealed (even though not flat out said, the indication was there) to be harboring a secret relating to who he really was on Daxom.

Let’s break this down:

What a Hero Does

Supergirl represents all that we aspire to be in this world. While sometimes we not feel like we belong in this world (although she literally is an alien, and sometimes we figuratively feel like one), there’s a certain hope and optimism that is inspiring. Be proactive, not passive.

So as Supergirl was confronted with yet another rescue mission that involved putting herself in harm’s way, I didn’t find myself surprised in the slightest. We’ve seen Kara put herself in harm’s way to protect strangers. It’s not something she even questions. She just does it. That’s what heroes do. They put others’ safety before their own well-being.

Mon-El, who is on his way to becoming a superhero, didn’t understand it. And I was glad that he didn’t. Because you can’t really understand a sacrifice like that until you witness it with your own eyes. Mon-El saw how Kara stood up for those people – stood in front of those people – to protect them and took the hit instead. Again. And again. It was inspiring. Standign up for something you believe in even if it brings some pain in the process – be it physical or emotional – is something that heroes do. And not just superheroes.

But Supergirl continues to inspire us with a kickass female heroine who stands up for what’s right, what she believes in, and never backs down.

What Happy Looks Like

“I want to be happy with you.”

The fact that Alex Danvers was able to say those words – not only say them but mean them – was so incredibly important in her journey to standing separate from her sister and living her own life with happiness. Not that Kara has been a burden on Alex. But given who Alex is, we know that she’s someone who’s fiercely protective and puts other’s well-being before her own. It’s who she’s been for so long that it’s been hard to separate herself from.

When we saw Alex in the beginning of this episode there was a brevity to her demeanor that was calming and satisfying. For so long we’ve watched her be on high alert that to see her happy – more than happy, like ecstatic – with Maggie was foreign yet also something pleasing to the mind, body, and soul. It was so odd – Alex being happy – that, like her, I was waiting for something to get in the way of her happiness. Not because I don’t want her to be happy, but like Alex I’ve seen how this plays out on screen for her so far.

Alex’s happiness lasted all of the time that it took before Kara was in danger on another planet. Then that happy Alex transformed back to the fiercely protective sister who puts Kara before her own happiness, which caused some conflict between her and Maggie.

But Alex realized what she was doing. She couldn’t keep being this person that believes she doesn’t deserve happiness, which made her conversation with Maggie so important. Communication: a novel concept, I know. But Alex, after screwing up, went to Maggie to talk through the situation. While it didn’t excuse what she did, it did allow for both of them to come to a clear understanding. And that’s what you need to do as a couple. You need to be able to come up against conflict and address it head on. If you don’t, it’s going to drive a wedge between you. And I’m happy to say that the latter was not the case of Alex and Maggie.

Winn’s Moment of Weakness & Strength

For most of Supergirl’s existence, Winn has been a character that’s been present but hasn’t really had time to exist. We had an episode last season that focused on his backstory, but other than that there’s been a lack of focus. So I was pleased when Winn got a portion of the focus in this episode as we got to see him confront, struggle, and overcome the challenges that come with being an active participant in this world of superheroes and crime fighting.

Winn has been mostly downgraded to comedic support and occasional tech savior, which has probably been one of my few criticisms of Supergirl this season. When this show introduced Guardian, they said it was going to be about Winn just as much as it would be about James, who wears the suit. The team up has proven to be enjoyable but lacking depth for Winn. We’ve gotten to see James deal with the struggles of this new adventure. And we finally got to see Winn tackle conflict in a world that he’s not entirely comfortable in.

As Guardian roams the streets, Winn lends an assist when he takes one down with the door of his van. Just as he’s celebrating, the villain turns a gun on him and you see the dawning realization of the seriousness of this life come over Winn. For most of the episode, Winn struggles with this fear and doubt that plagues him. He’s not his usual, spunky self, and clearly his run-in with trouble has affected him much more than we’d thought.

But there’s a defining moment when Alex pulls him aside and tells him that he cannot let the fear win. Winn is terrified, yes, but the only way to get past that fear instead of living in it for the duration is to confront that fear head-on. Which is what he does. He goes with Alex to rescue Kara, which is where he finds his strength. He not only finds his inner strength, but he also manages to get a few good punches in to bring his opponent down. It was a proud mama moment for me. Seriously.

Mon-El’s Royal Secret

While a good portion of the fandom isn’t particularly keen to Mon-El, there’s no denying that he holds some significance this season. And if you didn’t believe that before this episode, you can believe it now as a shocking revelation revealed that Mon-El wasn’t entirely forthcoming of who he really was Daxom.

As Kara and Mon-El led a group of imprisoned humans out of this hostile planet, Mon-El put himself in between them and these hostiles. Just as they were about to shoot, one of them said, “Not him. Don’t harm that one.” As if that weren’t enough, then he bowed as if to say, Your highness. Which nearly confirms a suspicion that I’ve had for a little bit: Mon-El was the Prince on Daxom.

I went back and re-watched that scene where Mon-El attempts to “save” the Prince of Daxom, and

For a while I’d been wondering exactly what Mon-El’s arc was going to be this season. For a little bit it was almost as if he was just there without any real purpose, which was upsetting because I actually really like him. Sure, we had him constantly debating whether or not he could be a hero that Kara so desperately wanted him to be. But once Mon-El was revealed to be the Prince, I suddenly saw where his arc is going.

As Kara and Mon-El celebrated their victory, Mon-El told Kara that he was wrong about getting involved with people. He admitted that there wasn’t much on Daxom that was inspirational in the slightest, including the Prince.

“He wasn’t worth admiring,” Mon-El tells Kara. “But I want to be.”

That was Mon-El, the Prince of Daxom, finally admitting that he wants to change. We don’t know the kind of man he was on Daxom, but from his reaction to the Prince not “worth admiring” it sounds like Mon-El doesn’t want to be that kind of person. He wants to be better. And Kara has helped show him that he can do so much with his life – for other people – which has inspired him. Mon-El wants to be a superhero. And not just for the suit and the cape and the name. He wants to do something meaningful. He wants to help Kara keep the world spinning – to prove he was worth saving.

I love this storyline. The possibilities of where this story is going are endless. I’m imagining getting flashbacks to Daxom of a conceited, bratty Mon-El as he thrived in royalty and disregarded the well-being of others. But this story isn’t about his past so much as it’s about his future. I’d like to see where he started to get a better sense of where he’s heading. If done right (and Supergirl hasn’t let me down yet), this could be really good.

Five Things…

  1. I’m here for Mon-El’s true identity being the Prince of Daxom. I’ve been waiting for a definitive arc for Mon-El, and this one – coupled with his desire to want to be a better person and protect people – only adds to that excitement. It raises so many questions moving forward, including who the hell are these next Big Bads coming after him.
  2. I just want Alex to be able to be happy. So much of her life has been about protecting and watching out for Kara that it’s made it difficult for Alex to live her own life. There’s the constant worrying that takes away from her own happiness. But I’m so happy to see that she’s trying to let go of that responsibility and be happy.
  3. Winn geeking out in space was the best. Not only did we get some significant focus on Winn this week, we got to witness his reaction to being in space. And it was incredibly delightful to watch.
  4. “Supergirl’s your sister…The glasses don’t help.” FINALLY. Someone gets it. Those glasses don’t make Supergirl look any less than Supergirl. Although most people can’t figure it out. Except Maggie, cause she’s a damn detective. Like Alex, we’re glad Maggie knows about Kara as Supergirl because we don’t want any secrets between them.
  5. “Atta girl, Danvers.” Snapper Carr has been anything but welcoming or nice to any extent when it comes to interacting with Kara or her work. But we’ve accepted that that’s who he is. He’s not one to give compliments often. But when he does – even if it was when Kara wasn’t within earshot – it makes your heart happy.

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.

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