'Supergirl' 2×19 Review: 'Alex'

What would you sacrifice for love?

That was the core question at the heart of Supergirl’s thriller of an hour titled “Alex,” which as the name implies centered around the search for the kidnapped Alex Danvers and the two women that love her the most.

One of the beautiful things that Supergirl always manages to do is capitalize on the relationships that are the beating heart of this show. All kinds of relationships, whether it’s romantic or friendship or family. It doesn’t matter because Supergirl will pack an emotional punch that’s sure to leave you crippled in a sobbing heap on the floor.

“Love can make people do things they don’t normally do.”

Love is the strongest emotion. Even though our villain of the week – a human, no less – was terrifying and I wanted to rip his eyes out, even he understood the power of love. In fact, it was the foundation for his plan – both as an outsider looking in and as a means to blackmail to get what he wanted.

We got an up-close look at how love can make people do things they wouldn’t normally do, starting with our villain X, who was actually someone who was nice to Kara and Alex when they were younger. But a rough childhood neglected him, and the one person that had saved him from said childhood – his father – had been taken away from him. So, what was he to do? Get him back, of course.

Look, I don’t condone what these villains do, but I like when I can understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. Where it’s some shallow excuse to ruin the world. When it’s personal. When it has meaning that we, as an audience, can actually relate to. And honestly, I could relate to it.

Not that I’d put someone else’s life in danger to do it. But I would go to extremes to save someone that I love. And that’s what this entire episode was about. That’s what Kara and Maggie were confronted with, as well.

On top of our villain being driven by the power of love, Kara and Maggie’s love for Alex drove them to do some uncharacteristic things. This is the angriest that I’ve seen Kara in some time as her sister’s life was in jeopardy, and she was trying to punch her way out of the problem. But more than the anger, it was the desperation. It was knowing that she couldn’t do anything to save her sister. It was paralyzing. Alex had built her entire life around protecting Kara, and now here was Kara unable to do anything to save her sister. It was heartbreaking.

Then you had Maggie, who was so very brave and strong in trying to keep her emotions at bay. And she managed to do so for a while. But when time was running out and she saw her future slipping away, Maggie gave in to the desperation and was willing to break a murderer out of prison to save Alex.

“We both love her.”

And that’s the point. Not one love story is bigger than another. Love is powerful in all aspects. Just because Kara loved Alex first doesn’t mean that Maggie’s love is diminished in any way. The important thing here is that they both love Alex. They are both willing to fight for her. They are both willing to compromise their morality for her. They are both so incredibly important to her.

Love isn’t measured in time. Love is measured in expression. It’s what those that you love – and those that love you – do to show you that they care, that you matter, that you are important to them. And both Kara and Maggie have that kind of love with Alex. Yes, they’re both different kinds of love, but they’re love nonetheless. And love always wins out.

Honestly, if Supergirl was reimagined as a thriller this is exactly what you would see. This was an hour packed with terror, adrenaline, and emotion spewing out of your eyes. It was a change of pace for Supergirl’s typical jovial tone. But let’s be honest, nothing’s always sunshine and rainbows. Even for Supergirl. This was Supergirl’s “Arrow” hour, if you will.

Overall, “Alex” wasn’t anything special. But it was the emotional impact that made this episode so powerful. It just goes to show you what this show is really about. It isn’t all about the big fight scenes and out-of-this-world villains. Sometimes all you need is a good ol’ fashioned kidnapping that forces characters to confront their emotions head-on. All you really need for a good television show are characters that are allowed to show their emotions. Characters that remind us that while, yes, this is a television show, that life itself is founded in love.

I don’t know about you, but I’d take that over some big stunt show every time.

Let’s break down tonight’s episode:

A Life of Firsts

No doubt the biggest feels of the night came at the hands of Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer and those beautiful, beautiful words that inspire you to want a love that they share. One of this season’s greatest successes has been the cultivation of this beautiful relationship and how it relates to self-discovery, confidence, and most importantly, love. Just when you think that these writers can’t top themselves, they manage to in “Alex.”

This entire episode was centered around the premise of love. The villain acted upon it. Kara and Maggie acted upon it. And it was love that ultimately saved Alex’s life and the lives of those she loves. I don’t give a damn how cheesy you may think it is, but it was damn beautiful.

For most of this episode, there was almost this eerie calm to Maggie as Alex was missing and time ticking away. She was trying to be calm, do her job, and get Alex back that way. But when time was running low and the desperation sank in, Maggie broke.

As Alex prepared to say goodbye to Maggie – no doubt with an “I love you” in there – Maggie stopped her short. There was no way that she was going to lose Alex. Not when their journey had only just begun. Already they had experienced so many firsts together. But there were so many firsts, as Maggie told her, that they still had left to experience. So this was not the end. It is only the beginning.

As if Maggie’s heartfelt speech wasn’t enough to leave us weeping, we got the follow-up as Alex was in recovery in a moment that would serve as the next step in their relationship.

“Those firsts that you talked about. I want to have them all with you. I never want to stop having them with you. I love you, Maggie Sawyer.”

Seriously, I felt like this show was trying to kill me. Not only did Maggie imagine all of the firsts that they would share as a couple, but Alex expressed her desire to have all of those firsts with her. And the love confession, sorry – confessions.

Sometimes it takes adverse situations to heighten your emotions and force an unadmitted truth to the surface. This is what that episode was for Sanvers. This was the episode that they realized that not only do they envision a future – a long, happy future – but that there’s no way that their future doesn’t include the other. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get this branch out of my eye.

An Understanding

While Sanvers was busy giving us all of the feels, there was also another storyline that was front in center as Alex was missing that proved to be some really good scenes between Kara and Maggie. While Kara and Maggie are both good people that believe in doing good, they have different methods when it comes to saving people.

Almost immediately, we see Kara and Maggie clash over what it takes to save the city. Maggie thinks Supergirl oversteps while Kara’s concern is merely saving people and taking down the bad guy, alien or human. They have the same goal in mind, but they both have different ways to get there.

Once Alex is kidnapped, things only get worse. Here we have Maggie trying to find Alex the way that she knows how – through carefully, crafted interrogation and investigation. Then there’s Kara, who is punching her way through things in order to find her sister. But none of those things work to find Alex.

Ultimately, what ends up saving Alex is Kara and Maggie teaming up in a surprising way. Basically, they switched roles at episode’s end. Maggie was pushed to the brink and dove head-first while it was Kara who talked her way to Alex. It was a nice parallel between where Kara and Maggie started – a complete misunderstanding – and where they ended up – understanding it from both perspectives.

Maggie is the law. Kara is the justice. They’re stronger together than apart. And I think they each learned an important lesson tonight in a way that helped them come to a mutual understanding.

A Suspicious Proposal

Every time Lena gets involved with something I now find myself second guessing: Is this what’s going to do it? Is this going to drive her to the dark side? Following last week’s episode, it was all but a foregone conclusion that Lena Luthor is destined to follow in her brother’s footsteps over on Smallville – a Luthor who strived to do good but found themselves drawn into the Luthor darkness; a Luthor that befriends an alien destined to become enemies. Not that I think this is happening anytime soon, but everything that happens is leading to that.

So, when Queen Rhea, the woman who murdered her husband because she couldn’t have her son, came knocking on Lena’s door, you could say I was shocked. You could say that I expected nothing good to come out of it. You could say that I was beyond intrigued.

While Rhea had Lena fooled for a good portion of this, you’ve got to give it up to Lena for being so incredibly smart. God, she’s amazing. But so is Rhea, who ends up using the Luthors’ hatred of aliens as a means to persuade Lena into backing her play. As for if it works? Well, given that Rhea is far from a foregone conclusion, it seems as if this Lena/Rhea storyline still has some shocks up its sleeve.

Five Things

  1. Can we talk about Sanvers and all of the beautiful “firsts” that they’re going to experience together? Because I’m a mess after this episode. That scene where Alex thought she was going to die and Maggie told her it’s not going to happen because there are a “lifetime of firsts” they’re going to do together. Then their reunion at the end where Alex told Maggie she wanted to have all of those “firsts” with her. And the “I love yous.” Good God. Go easy on a girl!
  2. If I’m stuck on a desert island, I want Alex Danvers with me. Girl made a flotation device simultaneously as an oxygen storage as she was drowning in a case of water. Are you f***ing kidding me with this?! Alex Danvers is the greatest thing on this planet.
  3. That scene with Kara and J’Onn reminded me how much I miss the original trio. I need more scenes with Kara, Alex, and J’Onn. Those were always my favorite moments last season. They found a second family with each other. And it’s always nice to be reminded of that.
  4. How cute was that Karamel and Sanvers double date? I know things turned south as Kara and Maggie got into it, but it was so beyond adorable and satisfying seeing the Danvers sisters happy with their significant others. More please!
  5. What the hell is Rhea’s plan here? Obviously, it’s something terrible since she went to a Luthor for help. But I just don’t know what it is. Other than destroying Kara Danvers and this planet. Or maybe that’s the plan?

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

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