Television, like the various arts, is a form of expression. It’s a way to express our feelings, our views, and our beliefs. And no DC Comics show – or most shows for that matter – have managed to use their platform to address real-world issues the way Supergirl has been able to do this season.
One of the cool things about Supergirl is that it operates in a fictional world that, while aliens co-inhabit it, feels genuine and real. In a way, it makes it seem like we live in a world with aliens. And in a way we do. Or that’s how society
There have been other shows that have tried and failed when it comes to addressing real-world issues that we face today. Just a few weeks ago, Arrow attempted to tackle the issue of gun violence unsuccessfully. Instead of coming off as this inspiring episode that shone light on an important issue, it came off as condescending and hypocritical. That’s because Arrow has been a show that has condoned and glorified violence for the five seasons it’s been on.
The reason Supergirl was able to succeed with this deportation and immigration issue in “Exodus” was because it’s never attempted to glorify it in the past. It’s found a genuine way to portray an issue that is, at the moment, one of the most pressing concerns. It manages to do it in a way that is obvious but not too obvious. The fact that aliens are at the center of this show – and this issue – definitely helps. It uses a fictional element to bring this issue to light. But when we watch it we realize that this is the world that we’re living in now.
Supergirl has it all. The action, the comic elements, the romance, the visuals, the characters. It also manages to bring those to life week after week while also addressing serious issues throughout the season about the world that we live in. We see our world reflected in Supergirl’s. The only difference is that we don’t have Supergirl fighting to protect us. We have to be our own heroes. We have to unite to fight the evils that plague our world.
But Supergirl is so special because it inspires us to fight for what we believe in. It gives us the courage to stand up to the opposing forces in the world because we don’t have one hero that’s looking out for us. We have to be that person in our lives.
Let’s break this down:
Cadmus Goes After Aliens
I have to admit that I underestimated Cadmus and its ability to be a season-long big bad. Back around the midseason finale when Lillian Luthor was captured, it appeared as if Cadmus was dead in the water. But low and behold that Cadmus wasn’t dead, it was just sleeping until Lillian Luthor rejoined its ranks.
Following last week’s episode where Jeremiah retrieved the Alien Registry for Cadmus, the evil organization wasted no time in acting on its plans when it came to the registry. A group of Cadmus agents were retrieving the aliens on the registry for what we knew was nothing good – whether it was execution or deportation.
Jeremiah actually told Alex that Lillian intended to have them all slaughtered like in the Holocaust. But Jeremiah was able to negotiate deportation instead. Let’s be honest, both are terrible options.
In fact, deportation could be just as bad considering where these aliens came from. They were coming from places of starvation, war, hatred, disease, and more. It’s reminiscent of what immigrants have to face. They come to America seeking a new beginning, a safe haven. And that’s why these aliens came.
Just as Cadmus was about to send these aliens away from Earth, Alex and Supergirl helped save them from an uncertain and brutal future and won a very important battle against Cadmus.
Team Supergirl won this battle. But the war rages on. Cadmus will continue to drive home the mission; they’ll continue their fight against the aliens. But you have to take the victories. And hope that there are more on the way.
Alex’s Personal Struggle
Following the traumatic events of last week’s episode, Alex has certainly been the person that has been most affected and in such a major way. It’s evident from the start of this episode. There’s this level of guilt that she feels about what’s happening to these aliens. But there’s also this guilt and responsibility she feels towards protecting her father from both Cadmus and the DEO.
When it comes to emotions, we are a liability because it affects our rational judgment. It affected Alex the previous week, as well, along with Kara and J’Onn. And that’s something that never really left Alex. She confronted her father after learning the truth and was faced with two possibilities: kill him or let him go. So she let him go. It’s what most of us would’ve done.
But when someone you love is in danger – from two agencies, by the way – you feel a sense of duty to ensure their safety. Even though Alex’s allegiance should’ve been to the DEO, everything in her was screaming to protect her father. So much to the point where she was unhinged.
Emotions affect your judgment. Alex was compromised. Luckily, things worked out without too much of a consequence. But this is a lesson that we can learn. Sometimes emotions can compromise your judgment.
What Happens to Jeremiah?
While I was convinced that Jeremiah would continue his evil ways until a moment of redemption, I have to say that I wasn’t surprised that when given a choice between siding with his daughter, Alex, and Cadmus that he chose Alex. Obviously Jeremiah sacrificed a great deal and siding with Alex – in front of Lillian – and now we’re left to wonder: what happens to Jeremiah now?
We saw Alex and J’Onn talk about getting Jeremiah back. But now that Jeremiah has actively defied Cadmus, I just know that that’s something that won’t happen easily. I feel like Jeremiah set himself up to be – not only a prisoner – but possibly be mind controlled by Cadmus in order to follow orders. I feel like the next time we come across Jeremiah that he won’t be himself. And that’s worse than if he had died.
Kara’s Journalistic Struggles
This season has been about Kara expanding beyond her role as just Supergirl. We’ve seen a greater focus on her career, specifically her new job as a reporter at CatCo. Since Cat Grant’s departure (I’m still not okay guys!), Kara has had to deal with the strict and unimpressed Snapper Carr, who is as tough as he is fair. He’s a journalist who’s damn good at his job.
We’ve seen Kara rise and fall when it comes to succeeding at this new career. Her struggles have ultimately turned into redemption. But this week was different as Kara was tested with choosing what was right and what was right for CatCo. She ultimately chose what was right – publishing a post about Cadmus and warning the aliens that they were being hunted, a post that Carr refused to publish – and ended up getting burned.
While my initial reaction was anger towards Snapper for firing Kara, I eventually realized that Snapper was merely upholding the same standards he would for ay employee that works for him. We kind of choose to look past this sort of thing in terms of Kara because she’s Supergirl and is trying to save National City.
But the fact of the matter is, she went against her contract and CatCo when she chose to publish her story on a blog instead of dropping it like she was told. Now, Kara is left without a job at CatCo – a job that she’s grown to really love.
Kara has found a voice in being a reporter that she doesn’t necessarily have as Supergirl. While she’s certainly herself when she’s Supergirl, she can’t always be herself around others when she’s Supergirl. But when Kara is writing, she feels like she’s the best version of herself. And I can relate.
Karamel Continues to Grow
While Karamel wasn’t a central focus in “Exodus” (it doesn’t always have to be), that didn’t stop me from feeling some serious feels in the small moments that we got between the blossoming couple. There’s just no containing my Karamel feels.
Karamel was a relationship that snuck up on me. Sure, I thought they were cute together. But it’s how Supergirl has handled their relationship that has really resonated with me. How these two individuals aren’t portrayed as being perfect; how they’re learning as they go; how they’re reminiscent of experiences in our own lives. There’s something truly special about them.
I love how natural Kara and Mon-El’s relationship feels at this point. They’ve been dating for now two episodes and have learned a lot (and continue to learn a lot) about each other that their interactions are natural and move the narrative forward. Case in point with “Exodus.” Mon-El did what Kara asked him to do in the previous episode – to just be there for her. And that’s what he did. He was there to comfort her, to inspire her, and to remind her of the good in her life.
This episode wasn’t an episode that focused on their relationship. And I’m perfectly okay with that. It doesn’t always have to be. But in the beginning (like we’ve seen) it has to be that way. When you’re introducing a new relationship, there needs to be that focus. But once the ball gets rolling, things kind of fall into line and it becomes more about Kara and Mon-El’s relationship as it relates to their current situations.
I’m continually impressed at how Supergirl continues to grow Karamel’s relationship even in an episode that’s in no way about them. It’s nice to see that even the writers have gotten used to this couple. They’re so easy with each other; they have such a nice chemistry; they make quite the team. And I can’t wait to see more.
- Let’s applaud Supergirl for addressing the issue of deportation. Supergirl is the only DC show right now that can address these big issues in a genuine way and have the kind of impact that it does. Supergirl manages to deliver kickass action every week but also drive how the important issues of the world. Bravo!
- Look at Mon-El being incredibly supportive of Kara! For the people saying this show had become all about Mon-El, this episode wasn’t about Mon-El! But the moments we did get to see him, he definitely was a source of support for Kara. He took a step last week in learning to listen to Kara and learned to just be there for Kara when she needed it. And he put that to good use this week!
- One of my favorite scenes in this episode was J’Onn testing Alex disguised as Jeremiah. It was so well done, and it really served as an emotional driving force for the episode as we got to see Alex’s guilt, as well as how she was unhinged in this episode. I also loved the moment at the end of the episode when Alex and J’Onn embraced. God, I love them.
- Oh, hey, look. James made a 0.3 second cameo in this episode. James has been MIA for the past couple of episodes, and I was starting to worry about him. So it was nice to see him make an appearance – until I realized his appearance was just for the sake of showing us that, yes, he’s still alive; he’s still on this show; just not all the time.
- Can we marvel in the fact that Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher (the original Clark and Lois) are Karamel’s parents?! If that’s not a holy sign from the comic gods then I don’t know what is!
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.