Supergirl Roundtable: Why We Love Mon-El (& Karamel)

Supergirl has introduced several new, integral characters in its sophomore season all of which have their own unique personality and contribution to this season and Kara’s story. But perhaps the most controversial of the new characters is Chris Wood’s Mon-El, a Daxom alien who crash-landed to Earth much like Kara did many years ago.

One of the great things about fandom is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And while there’s a good portion of the Supergirl fandom that might not like Mon-El, there’s also a good portion of the fandom that does. Including us. Which is why we’re here.

Fangirlish writers Alyssa, Lizzie, Lyra, and Sarah all count themselves as Mon-El fans, as well as Karamel (Kara and Mon-El) shippers. So this special round-table is a celebration of all things Mon-El, why we like him, Chris Wood’s chemistry with Melissa Benoist, our Karamel feelings, and what we’d like to see moving forward with Mon-El this season.

Okay, Mon-El. If you’re here, you like the character. Explain why.

ALYSSA: He’s someone who’s very new to this world, who’s very naive and yet has this bubbling optimism about him that makes him a refreshing and perfect character for this show. He’s someone who can make others laugh as easily as he can infuriate them, but it’s what makes him endearing. I’m not going to lie, he’s also very nice to look at. I’ve loved the mystery surrounding his character, as well as this sort of reluctant hero element. I want to know more about his story.

LIZZIE: I like him because…well, because. I mean, liking a character is mostly a matter of feel and/or acting, there’s hardly ever a real explanation as to why you like a character over another. If the vibe the actor/writers are going for is something you can relate, then that’s a check, and then if the writing accompanies it, that’s another check. Liking Mon-El hasn’t been a chore, because I like absolutely everyone on this show. No kidding – everyone. The writing has been phenomenal on Season 2, and I’m buying all they’re selling.

I also think he’s both very naive, and very self-assured. The contradiction works, because it makes you feel like you’re on this journey with him. Is he a perfect character? No. But perfect characters are boring. He’s charming, though, and messy, and the sort of puppy dog that you just want to scold for not getting things right and then, hug because he’s just too dang adorable. He’s basically like a male version of Kara – except without the heroism and all that. But hey, he’s trying. He’ll hopefully get there. I don’t need him to be everything right away – I just need him to keep growing.

LYRA: I like Mon-El because despite all the crazy stuff he’s been through and the new life he’s acclimating to, there’s an innocence about him. Something pure that you can’t help but want to protect and watch grow. Like Kara he’s discovered that he wants to do something more with his life on Earth. He wants to be a hero like her to change people’s lives and change his own. He sees opportunity in being a hero and is so damn scared to take it, but he still does it. He’s complex, insatiable when it comes to knowing more, and a breath of fresh air that brings something new to Team Supergirl.

SARAH: I like that he’s a character who you plainly speaking don’t see very often. He’s an alien who landed in a world he doesn’t recognize and to see him slowly acclimate and look at Earth through fresh eyes had me appreciating the things I take for granted. Plus he’s got an interesting sense of humor, a complicated backstory that I know will be coming to the forefront eventually and has slowly come to not only accept being on Earth but trying to thrive in the things he’s learned from being there especially from Kara.

What are your feelings on Chris Wood, and his chemistry with Melissa Benoist? Do you see why the writers are possibly setting up Karamel as a ship? Do you see the sparks?

ALYSSA: One of the things that, in my opinion, doomed Kara and James was that they lacked that spark that sets a couple apart from typical couples. You know, the kind of couples that make you feel all the feels. But from the moment Melissa and Chris shared a scene together there was this spark that I wasn’t expecting that all of a sudden told me, hey, what is this? I want more of this. They have this very easy nature to their dynamic. It comes natural. It’s not forced. It’s very easy to believe that there could be a romantic relationship between these two.

Then you have the execution of their relationship, which makes it very easy for Melissa and Chris to just act off of each other. There are certain story elements that drive their relationship, but a lot of time it feels like Melissa and Chris are given free reign as their characters in this dynamic.

LIZZIE: I’m convinced Melissa Benoist has chemistry with everyone. I never bought her with Mehcad Brooks, but that was more a problem with the writing than anything else. That being said, though, there’s something about her chemistry with Chris Wood that reminds me of her chemistry with Grant Gustin. I see the sparks. They’re everywhere. They almost blind me from what’s going on, sometimes. And though that’s not the only reason why I think they’re going with Karamel – I do think it’s one of the most important ones. We learned that lesson with Olicity on Arrow. When the chemistry’s there, the rest is easy. (Until you decide to mess it up, but that’s a story for another roundtable).

I also think the writing has done their relationship right, at least so far. They’re taking their time and they’re allowing both characters to grow as individuals before bringing them together, and hopefully, allowing them to grow as partners. And that’s exactly what I want to see.

LYRA: The chemistry between Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood is through the roof! It’s like everytime I see them together on screen they’re so cute and sweet that I know in some alternate universe I’d get cavities from this sort of interaction alone. The writers are definitely setting these two up for a future romance. But unlike what happened with James and Winn, they’re letting this grow naturally. What started as a spark is steadily growing into a flame with every moment they share or situation they’re thrown in. They’re giving these two a choice and at the end I think they’ll choose each other.

SARAH: Chris Wood & Melissa Benoist are actors that on their own could have chemistry with a plank, and when you put them together the sparks are undeniable onscreen as Kara & Mon El. I can’t begin to guess where the writers are going with it, but I’ve loved the way they’ve written how far they’ve come since Mon El crash landed. Whether they are bickering, trying to figure out how to get out of the dangerous situations they end up in or sitting on the couch sharing a blanket I’ve felt how their relationship has naturally changed from would be enemies from different planets to real friends who’ve found an adopted home on Earth. However their story goes I’m excited to see what happens next for Karamel, though how someone came up with that ship name will never fail to make me smile.

Of all of Kara’s possible romantic partners (Lena, James, Mon-El, Winn), why are you on Mon-El’s side?

ALYSSA: I’m a firm believer in the fact that people change people. Certain people bring out the worst in you while others bring out the best in you. Kara is someone who brings out the best in Mon-El, and there’s something so endearing about that. Like those that hate on him, I don’t understand why other than the fact that he’s a legit threat to their ships. And ship wars are stupid, so let’s put that aside. I want to focus on why I believe that Mon-El is the best possible romantic partner for Kara.

One of the things that Supergirl did right with Kara and Mon-El that it didn’t for Kara and James was establish a friendship between the pair. Sure, it’s something they did with Winn, too, but it never felt like that was going anywhere other than friendship. While Kara and Lena have a nice rapport, I haven’t seen any indications that they’re interested in each other like that. But with Kara and Mon-El it was evident nearly right from the start that their paths would intersect even if they didn’t know it.

Mon-El and Kara are two people that are so different yet so similar. It’s what makes their relationship so honest because the romantic partners we meet for the most part are the same. We gravitate towards that that feels comfortable but also towards that that feels fresh and exciting. Kara and Mon-El are both able to bond over the fact that they are outsiders who are the last of their kind. They can bond over that loss. They can bond over how they overcome that loss. Most of the time it’s the unexpected that pleasantly surprises us. And I think that’s what Supergirl has with Kara and Mon-El.

LIZZIE: Again, I must stress the fact that Melissa Benoist has chemistry with everyone – so on that regard, they could probably sell me on any/all of them. But I’m gonna go one by one:

I’m not a big James/Kara fan, because I didn’t like the writing for James in Season 1 at all, and although I’ve warmed up to him, I sorta relate warning up to him with him breaking up with Kara, so now I’m not sure if I would want to go there again. The whole James/Lucy thing and what I perceived as his emotional immaturity just soured me on their pairing for good.

I might have bought Winn, if he hadn’t acted like an entitled brat when he didn’t get like he wanted. Seriously, the whole thing with not talking to Kara and not really articulating that what he needed was a bit of time to get his bearings, without, you know, acting like a little brat, put me off this possibility for good. Again, this is all on the writing, but at the end of Season 1, I was like, Kara, I love you, but stay single.

Season 2 changed things – not just on the chemistry front (the chemistry with Katie McGrath is just as good as with Chris Wood), but on the writing side. If Supergirl had wanted to go the Supercorp route, I would have bought it and shipped it, hard. They chose another way. And I’m a canon shipper, I am. If the story the writers are trying to tell makes sense to me, 95% of the time, I’ll support it.

That being said, it’s more than that. It’s about how Mon-El brings out the silly, fun side of Kara. How she’s a role model for him, and how she, in him, has found a way to be better than what she was raised to be. Through knowing Mon-El, and caring about him, she’s learned to see beyond her prejudices, and to see people for who they are, not where they’re from. And they’re not even a couple yet. That’s just the beginning. Think about all the could do – all they could be.

I can’t wait!

LYRA: Of all possible romantic partners, I’m on Mon-El’s side because I feel like the writers are giving this romance a chance to blossom naturally. The writers aren’t pushing down my throat unrequited love that turns requited and then the ex comes back. Looking at you Season 1 James. And it isn’t throwing my jealous best friend who thinks he’s owed something because he’s waited and gets mad at rejection to the side. Looking at you Season 1 Winn.

Mon-El is different in that he’s acclimating himself to life on Earth and Kara is his guide. She’s not there all the time so he fumbles, he makes mistakes, and he grows on his own and has become his own person. His independence and the fact that he values Kara’s opinion and that he’s willing to put himself out there to learn more about her, makes him more than a companion on screen. He’s a partner and not just a romantic interest meant to supplement her storyline. They’re two different people who happen to compliment each other like two pieces of a puzzle. That’s why I’m on Mon-El’s side when it comes to any romantic interests for Kara.

On a side note, I’ve got a soft spot for Lena because I think Melissa has chemistry with absolutely everyone. I can dig that too.

SARAH: When it comes to ships I’ve never really had a rhyme or reason for liking who I do initially, since literally every story is different. Sitting down to think about it though, between all of her potential romantic choices, I was drawn in by not only their chemistry, but the story being told between Mon El and Kara. Look I’ll be honest I’m a sucker for the aliens from enemy planet end up finding a common ground on Earth and slowly falling for each other story alright? It’s been at a natural pace, but in a way that each moment I’ve found more exciting than the one before it. From the time they joked about being from planets of snobs and partiers to their first kiss.

To set the record straight, I like James, Winn and Lena as characters and their respective relationships with Kara a lot, don’t get me wrong but as much as I did like James and Kara in season one, it never caught me in the way Mon El and Kara have. Winn and Lena I never actually shipped her with but I will say to each their own. For me though it’s Mon El and Kara all the way.

What are you excited to see from Mon-El as a character, and his relationship with Kara, going forward?

ALYSSA: I’m most excited for this most recent revelation that Mon-El appears to be the Prince of Daxom and how this innate desire to want to be a better person will shape his journey. He’s definitely been a reluctant hero to this point. And given his most recent admission about himself — although he was talking about the Prince, which is himself — was that he wasn’t someone worth being admired in the past.  He wants to change that.

And Kara is definitely a major factor in that. I feel like she’s not only opening his eyes to what it takes to be a hero, but also what it means to care so deeply about someone else that it changes you. From what I gather Mon-El wasn’t the best guy back on Daxom, but people change people. So I’m really looking forward to Kara and Mon-El’s blossoming romance. I loved how we got a tease of what to expect with their romance moving forward. It’s not something that’s going to be immediate. It’s something that’s going to progress as time and experiences play out. But I’m just really looking forward to their journey and when they finally come to the moment where they can acknowledge that the kiss they shared in the midseason finale was something special.

LIZZIE: I’ve been sure Mon-El was the Prince of Daxom from the beginning, because Supergirl is many things, but subtle has never been one of them. It just made sense. Especially because the guy he is just doesn’t not jibe with the idea of him being someone who’s ever had to work to earn a living. But, the idea that the Prince can come to Earth, fall in love with a Kryptonian, find the hero within and become something more than he was is very appealing. It sort of sends the message that no matter what you are, and where you’re from, you can find a way to be better.

So, I’m looking forward to more of that journey. To more of his friendship with Winn, to more light moments with Alex, to more Karamel. I want them to take it slow and give me the little moments that make me really invest. I want Kara and Mon-El to go from this fun flirtation to realizing what they mean to each other, to taking the plunge, and then, to being partners.

Basically, I want it all.

LYRA: I’m excited to see Mon-El discover what kind of hero he wants to be and what things he values in the long run. Kara is providing him the beginning lessons on how to become a superhero, the bare bones. But it’s Mon-El who will choose what he stands for, what kind of suit he wants, and what he wants people to remember him by. Whatever he chooses, will be a combination of what he knows about his people, the humans and aliens on Earth, and Kara.

Going forward, his relationship with Kara will be tested and become more intertwined with the Kryptonian as their lessons progress. Kara will be discovering what if feels like to be a teacher and Mon-El what it feels like to be unearthing the hero inside. Both will learn so much about themselves and each other during it all. And my hope is that this partnership allows them to lean on each other and find some happiness and joy in all the craziness of their lives.

SARAH: I’m excited to see how Mon El handles being a superhero alongside Supergirl. He’s come a ways since he crash landed and just from being on Earth, being exposed to how different it is from Daxom especially with Kara has been a vast learning experience for him. His choice to embrace help the world keep spinning won’t be easy (as Kara assured him) but I think he’ll rise to the challenge and I’m excited to see how it affects him.

Truthfully though I’m also waiting for the other shoe to drop when his past comes in the form of those aliens searching for him, since I think we all have realized now he was, is the Prince of Daxom. While it may have been made more obvious as it goes on, it paints a picture of how much Earth has taught him as a juxtaposition to how he must have grown up as royalty on a “planet of partiers.” He’s not interested in just helping himself anymore, he’s looking towards others with new eyes, and the person he has learned from the most, is also the lady he’s clearly taken with. Kara has brought a whole other worldview with her (pardon the phrase) into his life, and he in turn has brought eye opening experiences to her. From training and showing him how to live in this world, to simply letting him into her life. I hope to see more of anything and everything headed their way. So Supergirl, bring it on!

What are your thoughts on Mon-El? Why do you love him as much as we do? Why do you not love him? Sound off in the comments below!
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.

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