‘Supergirl’: In Defense of Mon-El

When it comes to the past, the present, and the future, the simple fact of the matter is that those three things are separate. While they might be related in context, they are not the same. So, when it comes to a person’s journey in life or a character’s journey on television, they’re not bogged down by their past. They’re free in their present. They’re inspired by the possibility of their future.

So why is there an outcry of outrage towards Supergirl’s Mon-El, whom people claim is presently the person he was in his past instead of the better person he’s fought to become in the present?

I’ll be the first to admit that had Supergirl not approached Mon-El’s character the way they did – by setting him on a path of redemption and discovery – that I probably wouldn’t have been a huge fan of his character. Spoiled, rich prince from Daxam used to getting whatever he desired. Coming to Earth and maintaining that same stance throughout? Who would enjoy that one-dimensional character?

While I count myself not a fan of that Mon-El, the thing is he was never that character on Supergirl. That was his backstory – his past – that we learned over time as we grew to learn more and more about his character. But that wasn’t the character that we saw. And right away, there were people judging Mon-El based on his past and using that as an excuse to look past what he’s doing in the present.




Perhaps the thing that drew me to Mon-El the most was the fact that he was a flawed character in search of redemption – and the writers, nor the character, made any attempt to hide that. Mon-El himself openly admitted that he was not a good person when he was Prince of Daxam. In fact, he hated that version of himself.

That, right there, is everything you need to see that Mon-El has not accepted his past as his present and future. In fact, it was Mon-El acknowledging that he was so much more than that person. That he wanted to be the best version of himself possible.

 

And that’s when I fell in love. Because like Mon-El, there are parts of myself that I’m not proud of. There are parts of myself that I seek to better. And it’s not always easy to admit to people – yet alone yourself – that you have flaws that you sit up at night thinking about and yearn to remedy. He is us. Humans that make mistakes, sometimes act out, but always try to redeem themselves. It’s one of the things that makes him such a realistic character on television, minus the whole alien and aspiring superhero thing.

When it comes to a segment of fans disliking Mon-El, I’ve spent many a Monday night writing my Supergirl reviews trying to understand why people dislike Mon-El. Mostly, as I’ve come to discover, it has to do with ship preference. Which, look, everyone has a ship that they love, and I’d never fault them for that. We love what we love, and we can’t control that. But there’s been a genuine hatred for this fictional character that has resulted in people going after the actor, as well as fans of Mon-El and Karamel, which is ludicrous.

So, the fact that I have to write an article entitled “In Defense of Mon-El” is ridiculous in itself. But also, you know I care for a character if I’m taking the time out to write one of these articles, which isn’t something I do often. That’s how much this unwarranted hatred has me up in arms.

Look, you can think whatever you want about a character. Free will, free speech and all of that. Having an opinion is okay. Having an opinion isn’t attacking yours. Having an opinion is valid. Having an opinion is what it is – an opinion. So, as I take my stance – Pro Mon-El – I’m trying to understand where the hate comes from. But when some start crafting lies about a character to justify their ship-fueled hatred – and attacking others, including the actor, for liking said character – then that’s a problem.

Here are a few excuses I’ve heard as to why people dislike Mon-El (reasons they call valid) – and my responses:

He’s not a hero like he thinks he is. – He never claimed to be. He claimed to want to be.
He’s selfish. – I’m going to need some context here. But first: Who isn’t selfish to some degree? Also, what makes Mon-El’s selfishness more outrageous than other characters’?
He used to be a slave owner on Daxam. – Um, what? You mean, his parents were? When he was a child and had no say? You’re stretching. Also, when he acknowledged that he didn’t agree with how things were run on Daxam?
The show is all about him. – Oh, that’s right. Supergirl changed its name to The Mon-El Show. No, really. He’s a major character that is a major part of Kara’s story. Of course, he’s going to be featured on the show. Just like the others.
He has no chemistry with Kara. – First of all, how is that a valid reason to hate a character? Second off, are we watching the same show? If we are, I suggest you actually pay attention during Kara and Mon-El’s scenes.
He constantly puts Kara down. – Are we talking about the same guy who inspires Kara to do what she believes in? Sure, he has his hesitations because he cares, but he’s never insinuated that she’s stupid for wanting to do something, contrary to what you believe.

And my favorite…

He’s abusive to Kara. – What the hell are you actually talking about? Come out of la la land and back to reality. I’m not even going to entertain the idea because it’s straight up a LIE.

As a fan and a reviewer, I take what Supergirl actually shows me and craft my views from that. Initially, Mon-El was a character that I wasn’t really sure of. I certainly didn’t hate him just because he was new and took an interest in Kara. I actually gave the writers time to develop the character to the degree where I could actually form a valid opinion about him.

It wasn’t until around episode 6, “Changing” where I actually started responding to Mon-El’s character. Where I finally felt like I was seeing who this guy was and what he aspires to be. After a few episodes of this lost boy wanting to be better but not doing everything he could to achieve that, this was the episode where we finally saw that spark ignite within Mon-El. Where he saw what Kara was doing. Where he realized he wanted to do the same; to help people. Where he actually showed us that he wanted to do that in spite of his past and his flaws. From then on, I was all-in with Mon-El.


So, here are a few reasons why I, and I’m sure others, like Mon-El:

He’s a complex, flawed character that messes up but doesn’t let that define him.
He’s someone that acknowledges the terrible person he used to be and has decided to do something about that.
While he is known to get lost in these new human emotions, especially concern and jealousy, he has always supported Kara.
When it comes to Mon-El, there’s so much more than what’s on the surface.
He fights for what he believes in, even if others disagree with his stance.
He wants to find a valid purpose in his life.
He’s an adorable cinnamon roll that reminds me of how I can get overexcited sometimes. Basically, he has a unique and lovable personality.
Despite his rough childhood growing up, Mon-El has managed to come out stronger.
Despite growing up devoid of human emotion, Mon-El has developed and accepted those emotions as a part of himself.
He genuinely wants to help people.
Kara sees the good within him that tells her he’s worth fighting for.
He learned what sacrifice means.
He’s a character that I root for.

So, while I accept that there are people that genuinely like Mon-El and those that dislike Mon-El, this piece is in defense of Mon-El as a character. This is my opinion. How I believe that Mon-El is a character that has always been worth fighting for; a character that has added a great deal to Supergirl as a show.

Mon-El is a character that I genuinely root for, which is the most important thing for me. I don’t care about perfection. I don’t want perfection. I want a character that makes mistakes. I want a character that learns from those mistakes. I want a character that’s constantly evolving.

If I don’t care or actively root for a character, then what’s the point? With that comes the good, the bad, and the controversial. But with that also comes a sense of allegiance and fandom family.

This flawed, former Prince of Daxam swept in and stole our hearts with his desire to do better with his life, and also managed to bring fans together in the way only a fandom could. We’ve put our faith, allegiance, and love in this character, and we’ve been rewarded. As long as Supergirl exists, there will always be those that support him. And the hatred of others will never be enough to extinguish that shining light.



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