When it comes to television superhero shows are my kryptonite. Even when I feel angry and utterly distraught (Arrow, not Supergirl), I still end up coming back for more expecting some semblance of redemption.
I guess that mindset stems from the fact that these modern superhero shows have established themselves as more character-minded than plot-driven. There’s a genuineness to a genre that can feel too farfetched at times. But when a television show about an alien that can fly, has superpowers, and sustains perfect hair throughout manages to exude an honesty and realness, that’s something really special.
That is Supergirl.
Supergirl always manages to embrace themes of humanity in a world where humans aren’t alone. Where differences are embraced and discriminated. Where the issues that we’re facing now in our world are brought to the forefront in the most genuine way possible while still managing to deliver impressive action sequences and emotional character moments.
While Supergirl can wow us with its special effects and action sequences, as well as its well-known comic villains, it’s really at its finest when it’s thriving in the emotional nature of these characters. When it takes a break from the action to really focus on these characters. And it still manages to drive the plot forward.
Even before “Homecoming” aired, I anticipated that this was going to be one of those episodes that I’d think about long after it aired; how it’d be one of those episodes that I re-watched immediately; how it’d be one of those episodes I’d write too much about in my review.
Those are the moments I live for.
Supergirl hasn’t had very many misses this season, so it’s felt a bit repetitive as I’ve raved about this show’s ability to consistently drive home important themes, captivate us with these characters’ journeys, as well as leave us gasping in awe at these stunning effects and plot that leave us on the edge of our seats.
But “Homecoming” was something special. It certainly had to deal with the immense emotional circumstances of the episode. From a tearful family reunion to the beginning of a beautiful relationship to the continuation of a blossoming romance to the gut-wrenching truth about this homecoming, this episode was everything that is great about Supergirl.
Let’s break this down:
Communication is Key
Now that nothing was standing in the way of Kara and Mon-El being together, the happy newly-couple took their first steps into the world as boyfriend and girlfriend. And like most relationships, it was far from perfect. But it was the imperfections – and how both Kara and Mon-El grew from those – that made this episode all the more satisfying.
No one is saying that Kara and Mon-El’s relationship is perfect. Just like no one is saying that Kara and Mon-El are perfect as individuals. But welcome to the real world where the people are flawed, where they make mistakes, and where they have to work to make a relationship work. This is only the start of Kara and Mon-El’s relationship. This is when they are learning about each other and how they work together as a couple.
It was evident pretty early with Jeremiah’s homecoming and how both failed to look at each others stance that there was a lack of communication. That’s something that they have to actively work towards cultivating. It’s not something that’s just handed to you. Sure, they had a nice relationship as friends/coworkers, but things change when you take that step into romance. The implications are amplified.
Both Kara and Mon-El were in the wrong, and both were in the right. Kara was right when she said that Mon-El needed to learn to take her words into account, meaning that when she asks for him to listen to her that he actively listens. Mon-El had been trying too hard and wound up getting lost in his own reactions. He was trying to be someone that he didn’t need to be with Kara. And he didn’t know who to be because he hadn’t talked to her about it. Basically, there was a lack of communication that was setting their relationship on edge.
While Mon-El has always been talk first ask later, that wasn’t something that was going to work with Kara. Being in a relationship means being a team; being in a relationship means working together; being in a relationship means facing life head-on as a stronger unit. Kara has been trying to get the point across to Mon-El that he hasn’t always been good at listening to what she has to say and accepting it. But in this episode Mon-El finally learned to listen.
Following an emotional hour where Kara had regained her adoptive father and then lost him again, Kara needed someone to just be there for her. She didn’t need someone to talk to. She didn’t need someone to distract her from her emotions. She didn’t need someone to save her. She just needed Mon-El to be there with her. Just knowing that he’s beside her – no words spoken – feeling his heartbeat, holding onto him was enough to make the rapid waves of emotion calm.
Kara and Mon-El are still in the beginning stages of their relationship. They have so much more to learn about each other, and what it takes to be in a relationship together. But if they don’t experience these conflicts, they’re never going to be able to be in a relationship. Let’s get this straight, conflict is good. Contrived drama is not.
What we’re watching Kara and Mon-El experience thus far are things that every couple goes through. If you don’t have to work at a relationship then that relationship isn’t going to work. Kara and Mon-El are working at their relationship. And I can’t wait to see where their journey takes them.
Know Thy Enemy’s Weakness
There’s nothing more powerful in this world than emotion. More specifically, love. It’s the most powerful emotion in the world. It’s also the most dangerous emotion in the world because it’s unpredictable. Love can be used in the name of good. Love can be used in the name of bad. Love can be used to inspire people. Love came be used to manipulate people. Love can be strength. Love can be weakness.
While it may have been easy for us to sit on our couch and wonder how Kara and Alex could’ve been so blind and so careless to not question the ease of Jeremiah Danvers’ homecoming, it’s something else entirely when you’re living it. For if that were me in Kara or Alex’s place, I can say with utmost certainty that I would’ve embraced the luck and glory of the situation. I wouldn’t think to question the good that has finally come. That’s what makes emotions so dangerous. How love can make you throw away reason and ignore doubt because this is someone who you love; someone who has loved you. Screw the convenience of the situation. Just celebrate the positive.
But you have to give it to Cadmus. They knew exactly what they were doing. You have to wonder if this – Supergirl and the DEO connection – is why they’ve kept Jeremiah Danvers alive for as long as they have. And then you come to the most obvious conclusion of: OF COURSE THEY DID.
Cadmus isn’t an organization to cares about feelings. They’re a ruthless organization insistent upon one goal: eliminate all of the aliens from Earth. They know what they’re doing. They establish relationships. They find the weakness in their opponents. They’re patient. They’re calculated, which makes them even more dangerous.
Unlike last season’s big bad – Astra, wait no, it was Non, as in nonexistent threat – Cadmus has slowly begun to position itself as an organization worth fearing. It’s not just one person. Sure, it’s led by Lillian Luthor, but Cadmus is a belief; it’s a way of living; it’s a way of believing. That’s another reason why emotions are dangerous. Love or hate – both are strong emotions – but only one possesses the ability to outlast the other: love. We’re not yet to that part of our story (we’re only in episode 14), but Supergirl is setting up that epic good vs. evil, love vs. hate battle that is sure to be an emotional one as the risks are greater than ever.
But Cadmus is a smart organization. Not only did things work out for Cadmus exactly the way they’d hoped (Jeremiah played them all – except Mon-El – like a drum), but they got the information they needed to move ahead with their alien-elimination project: a registry of all of the aliens in National City. Just when you thought things were finally looking on the bright side – even despite the emotional trauma of Jeremiah Danvers’ homecoming and subsequent exit – an even bigger threat looms.
Now that Cadmus possesses a weapon that can theoretically eliminate aliens and a registry of all of the aliens in the world, they have everything they need to execute an all-out attack on aliens. Things aren’t looking good. But if there’s one hero that can find the needle of optimism in the haystack of pessimism, it’s Supergirl.
When it comes to family there is almost always this sense of blind trust. Especially when this family, like a father, has always been someone who has been a representation of good; who has always protected you; who has always had your best interest at heart. It’s that allegiance to family which makes it such a sacred bond. But it’s also that allegiance that can make you susceptible to betrayal.
Even before “Homecoming” aired, I knew that Jeremiah Danvers’ homecoming wasn’t something that was going to end well. History shows us it never does. It felt too convenient. It raised a ton of red flags. There was no way Kara, Alex, and J’Onn were going to accept this without a second thought. But that allegiance was exactly what Cadmus was counting on.
I didn’t expect anything less of Kara, Alex, and J’Onn. This was someone that had always shown kindness to them; had always had their best interests at heart; someone who you’d never associate as someone who betrays those he cares about. So it was expected in the beginning that these three would welcome Jeremiah back without hesitation. I would’ve done the same thing in their shoes. Love is a powerful emotion that you sometimes can’t control.
But when the seeds were being planted – or sprouting, in this case – that Jeremiah wasn’t miraculously saved after being virtually untouchable for 15 years, we saw that allegiance begin to betray Kara, Alex, and J’Onn. Mon-El was the only one who saw it because he didn’t have that connection that the others did to Jeremiah. He was able to look at things from a logical and calculated mindset as he pieced everything together and arrived at the conclusion that he had been planted there by Cadmus. And when Mon-El told Kara – and announced to the entire dinner party – his suspicions, he was thrown out and not even considered to have a logical concern.
When you have this blind trust you have to see the truth to believe. As they say, seeing is believing. When you can’t be reasoned with because of your loyalty, you have to come to the realization on your own. And that was really hard for Kara and Alex, especially Alex. After Kara learned that Jeremiah’s intentions might not be true, she told Alex and Alex attacked her and told her that she’s part of the family or she isn’t. That led Alex to a really emotional showdown with her father where she stood face-to-face with him destined to bring him into the DEO. Except the only way he was going there, he said, was dead. So Alex had a choice: shoot her father or let him go. She was so overcome with emotion that you could feel her sorrow as she lowered her gun and sank into this sense of hopelessness.
Betrayal really hurts. But when that betrayal is by someone you love – your family – it’s like a knife being twisted in your gut. It’s something that you can’t easily move past. Sometimes you just have to let yourself grieve; let yourself be angry. And you have to hope that – the next time – you can be strong enough to not give into your emotions.
The Path to Redemption?
Given Jeremiah’s deception and betrayal in “Homecoming” – and most importantly given that he’s alive and out there – I couldn’t help but immediately suspect that Supergirl is setting him up for redemption and subsequent death.
In “Homecoming,” we watched as Jeremiah chose Cadmus over his family. We watched him hurt his family. We watched as he actively helped an organization that wants his daughter Kara dead steal information to hurt the hundreds of thousands aliens that roam our Earth. Jeremiah has chosen his side. Or has he?
But when the moment comes – when Lillian Luthor and Cadmus are ready to unload this device – perhaps that’s the moment when Jeremiah will realize that he cannot let Lillian do this to all of these innocents; that he can’t let her do this to his daughters. Or perhaps all along Jeremiah has been playing a triple agent as he looks to get close enough to this weapon and dismantle it.
Supergirl went out of its way to show us that there is still some humanity left inside of Jeremiah. How he reacts when his daughters are in danger – calling out for them; how he showed remorse for beating up his old friend J’Onn; how he would rather die at the hands of his daughter than be persecuted into front of her. There is still humanity deep down inside of Jeremiah. Whatever Cadmus did to him, they couldn’t take that from him. And there’s a reason. He’s going to sacrifice himself when the moment calls for it. He’s going to give his life to save the lives of his family and countless others. And it’s going to hurt like hell.
Seriously my mind is racing with possibilities. Supergirl has me so hyped for this storyline moving forward. I can’t help but wonder how long it’ll take before this device is activated given we’re just 14 episodes in. Regardless, it’s going to be emotional. And it’s going to leave these characters – and us – wrecked.
- It’s just so easy and effortless with Kara and Mon-El. This is the romance I’ve been waiting for with Kara. We’ve seen her crash and burn with others, but her relationship with Mon-El just feels so natural. There’s a lightness between the two in how they just exist next to each other. That, my friends, is chemistry.
- I knew it from the moment Jeremiah Danvers showed up that he was working for Cadmus. And yet it didn’t stop me from feeling all the feels as he reunited with his daughters. I found myself praying that I was wrong. Despite everything pointing to Jeremiah’s betrayal I just wanted something good to come out of something that has already been an emotionally traumatizing situation.
- Maggie telling Alex to lean on her, and Alex leaning on Maggie was everything. While we know about Kara’s emotional and tragic family struggles, it’s easy to forget that Alex has gone through her share of tough times, as well, especially when it concerns Jeremiah. We saw how she handled things when she found out he was alive last season. We saw how easy it was for her to fall into his arms with a blind trust. We saw how much it broke her when she realized that her father had been lying to her. We saw how much that emotion was building until she finally broke. And I’m so thankful she has someone there for her in those moments.
- I’m going to need more Mon-El and Winn scenes. This was an unlikely pairing I never thought I’d enjoy or crave more of. But there’s a nice dynamic there between the two cuties, who we see have bonded because of Kara but are also looking to form a nice friendship outside of that. They play off of each other very nicely.
- Is Supergirl setting up Jeremiah’s redemption and sacrifice? Supergirl made it a point to show that Jeremiah still has some humanity inside of him. They could’ve made him a monster. He could’ve been soulless like Cyborg Superman. But there was a genuine hurt when Jeremiah had to betray those that he cares about. It doesn’t excuse his actions in the slightest, but it certainly makes you wonder what they’re holding over him? It really feels like Supergirl is setting Jeremiah up for his redemption, sacrifice, and eventual death.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.