‘Supergirl’ 3×07 Review: ‘Wake Up’

Supergirl has proven time and time again that the strength of its show lies not in the super powered abilities of its hero, but in the super powered abilities of the heart, which delivers emotional hours that bring us some good, ol’ fashioned heartache and angst.

There’s nothing better.

I love angst, weird as it may sound. But this is the good kind of pain. The kind of pain that hurts like hell at present but ultimately gives way to a feeling of satisfaction and happiness in the future. It’s the kind of pain that you look back on and think, ‘That was worth it.’

I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for Mon-El’s return to Supergirl. Actually, I can — since May 22, 2017, at 9:01 EST. Man, it’s been a long seven months. But I was rewarded generously with Supergirl’s latest hour, “Wake Up,” that brought Mon-El back to the fold, as well as unleashed Reign on the world. “Wake Up,” indeed. I am shooketh.

As a fan of Supergirl — or any show for that matter — we all have our reasons to watch, some that we don’t always agree on. And that’s okay. That’s the beauty of television. It provides something for everyone to love; for everyone to invest in. And that should be celebrated, not attacked.

If you’ve been coming here often you know that I’m a fan of Kara’s happiness, Kara and Alex Danvers, strong female characters, a little ship named Karamel, and a little space puppy named Mon-El. You also know that I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks about the reason I watch Supergirl or any other show, for that matter.

Karamel has been a huge factor in my dedicated love for Supergirl. Not that I didn’t watch Supergirl before on the weekly or love the powerful messages, badass female characters, and a female hero. But, for me, it’s always the ship that pushes me over the edge. In a good way.

That was the one thing missing for me in season 1. I wanted to like Kara and James, because the show told me to. But it felt forced. It didn’t feel like, for example, Olicity on Arrow had. The kind of ship that just takes you by complete surprise and then becomes everything.

Then Karamel happened. And suddenly, I cared a little more because I was even more emotionally invested in what was already a great show. But a ship usually drives a viewer’s love or hatred towards a show. That’s the power of emotion, right there.

Yes, I watch television shows for ships. But that’s not the only reason I watch nor does it make me blind to things such as plot and character development. It just so happens that the thing that makes me give a little more damn is the romantic connections between two characters. That’s life. That’s what makes everything worthwhile.

So, for me, this episode was everything I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been waiting for Mon-El’s return, I character I have defended on the regular for just being a normal being: Someone that’s flawed but wants to be better and fights to be better. I’ve also been waiting for that sweet Karamel reunion, that I knew would be one of the lone bright spots for the foreseeable future as we deal with the beautiful angst headed our way.

And regardless of what happens, no one can bring me down. I’m more than prepared to handle the ups and downs of Karamel this season. I know how this works. I’ve done this a few times. And in doing so, I’ve learned that the payoff is most always worth it.

Angst is a good thing, folks. It’s means this is a journey. It means that it’s worthwhile. It means we’re on the path to endgame.

Welcome back, Mon-El. We’ve missed you.

Strap In, It’s Going to Be a Season-Long Journey for Karamel

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Who wants a boring love story anyway? Love stories — the kind of epic proportions — are wrought with pain and heartbreak and struggle on the path to joy and laughter and substance. They’re the journeys that you remember.

If you think back on things in your life, I’m sure you’ll remember the things that you fought the hardest for. The things that hurt the most. The things that posed the biggest struggles. Those will be the first memories to pop into your head. You’ll remember the roller coaster of emotions that it took you through. You’ll remember the times of happiness where you felt invincible. You’ll remember when you felt like you were drowning in your heartbreak. You’ll remember the moment you decided to fight back. You’ll remember the moment you rose above the lowest you’ve felt to a place of satisfaction and happiness in your victory.

Everything that’s worthwhile must be fought for. Otherwise, what’s the purpose?

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from many a television show and many a book it’s that angst is meaningful. Not only is it meaningful for the journey itself, but it’s meaningful for the story’s direction. And as Kara and Mon-El have finally been reunited, we were reminded that this isn’t an easy, boring love story. This is the making of an epic, endgame love story.

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I’m here to remind you that you shouldn’t expect any of the Karamel highs just yet. This is all about the journey. This is something that, thankfully, isn’t going to come easy. We’re going to see just how much these two love each other as we move throughout the season as they fight for their love. Through all the ups and downs. If you thought last season was hard, then strap in. Angsty pain forthcoming.

Don’t expect perfection. Expect lows. Many lows, especially in the beginning. This is setting the scene for the long journey that Kara and Mon-El have ahead. There are obstacles; obstacles that seem insurmountable. But not impossible. Remember, it’s the writers’ jobs to make their viewers as invested as possible; it’s their job to add layers to these characters and their story; it’s their job to make this seem impossible; it’s their job, honestly, to make this as painful as hell. Trust me, I know.

Heading into “Wake Up,” I knew what I would be getting. I knew that, yes, we’d get that glorious, emotionally-charged reunion. But I also knew that, yes, a thunderstorm was coming, complete with tears for effect. But that’s okay because that’s what I expected. I expected these writers to set the stage for the upcoming season, and I’m more than okay with it. That means that this is going to be a focal storyline this season (sorry not sorry, haters.)

As for that bombshell…

Yes, Mon-El is married to Saturn Girl, aka Imra. Am I heartbroken? I’d be lying if I said no. Of course I am. But am I mad? No.

Taking everything into context, the situation — while not ideal — is understandable. For the significant amount of time that Mon-El has been away, he had to move on from the idea that he clung to — that he’d be reunited with Kara. I’m sure it’s a thought that he locked onto for months and months, much like Kara did. But eventually, he had to keep on living, which is not an easy decision to make. It’s incredibly painful and incredibly brave.

 

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Let’s add some context to the situation regarding Mon-El’s absence:

For Kara, it’s been 7 months. For Mon-El, it’s been 7 years. That’s 84 months. For those that are terrible at math, that’s 12 times as many months than 7.

I can already hear the haters coming from afar (because they seemed obsessed with us, which is both flattering and creepy) and they’ll be quick to chastise Mon-El for kissing another woman in front of his ex-girlfriend, the woman he loves. But Mon-El had to keep on living no matter how painful. Kara wouldn’t have wanted him to stop living his life. I don’t care what her face shows right now – because you’re damn right she’s heartbroken and confused and pissed off that she got her true love back only to realize he’s been lost to her for 7 years. But don’t pretend for a second that Kara wouldn’t have wanted what’s best for Mon-El — even if that meant it wasn’t her.

Don’t pretend that you wouldn’t consider the events for any of your favorite characters. Don’t act as if you’d be mad at Kara for holding out for 7 years, especially as you clamor for her to get over her grief even when she wasn’t ready. Your hatred is showing. And it’s transparent as hell.

Kara wouldn’t have stopped living. Yes, she was held emotionally captive by her grief for a good 6 months. But there’s a huge difference between 6 months and 7 years. Eventually, we know Kara would’ve attempted to move on. To keep on living. Because she knows, just like with Mon-El, he wouldn’t have wanted her to stop living because of him. He’d want her to live her life to the fullest; to find someone that makes her happy; even if that person couldn’t be him; even if it isn’t the same. Because when you find true love, it’s not easy to forget it. It’s hard not to measure a new love against an epic love.

Let’s get one thing straight: Mon-El moving on does not make him a bad person. If you’re condemning him for that, then you’re condemning anyone in this entire world that has ever had to make the decision to move on even though it feels like a dagger to the heart. There is no weakness in moving on.

Plus, who wants an easy reunion? I want the stuff of epicness. I want to feel all the feelings; I want Kara and Mon-El to feel those feelings; I want them to yearn for each other; I want them to realize that a love like theirs is rare; I want them to come to that moment of clarity when they realize that life is too short to continue to fool yourself; I want that epic reunion that’s coming our way down the line; I want an epic love story. And no epic love story was boring. They’re full of ups, downs, tears of laughter, tears of sadness, hearts fluttering and hearts breaking.

 

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If there’s anything that was made clear by this episode, it’s that Mon-El loves Kara. He never stopped loving her. He has carried her with him — by his heart — for the past seven years. He never forgot about her. There’s no way he ever could. Even though he never thought he’d see her again, just knowing that he was lucky enough to have known her, to have loved her was a cherished gift. He vowed to be a better man to honor her. And he’ll continue to honor her.

So while Karamel won’t get an immediate reunion, their journey continues. It’ll be interesting to see how their dynamic develops and unfolds as we learn more about where Mon-El was and what happened over those 7 years. It’ll shed light on things; it’ll bring Kara and Mon-El closer; it’ll lead to that epic kiss you know is coming — the kiss that changes everything.

Karamel will rise.

Trust the journey.

Mon-El’s Hero’s Journey Continues

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While my heart is a flutter with Karamel feels, Mon-El’s return also marks the continuation of a hero’s journey going on two seasons. The thing that I’ve always loved about Mon-El are his imperfections. I love that he’s someone that screws up. I love that he does things that he later knows he shouldn’t and how he uses those as teachable moments. To quote my quarterback Mitch Trubisky, “Adversity is a great teacher.”

Mon-El is not perfect. He never claimed to be — aside from humorous teases. He’s always known, since his arrival to Earth, that there was progress needed to be made. He wasn’t happy with the man he was back on Daxam. Being on Earth presented a new opportunity to become a better man; to become a man that he could be proud of.

Mon-El’s journey and growth is continuous. If it weren’t, honestly, I’d be worried. I don’t want to see a character take the easy way out. I’d rather you throw an abundance of hardships his/her way and watch him/her fight their way above that adversity to uncover a strength they didn’t know they had. I live for those character moments where they uncover a new aspect of their character that they didn’t know existed. I live for those moments that test characters. I live for those moments that prove the strength of characters.

With Mon-El’s return to Earth, his hero’s journey only continues. In last season’s finale, we saw Mon-El make the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that Kara’s world — which means the world to her, hehe — wouldn’t perish. He encouraged Kara to use the lead bomb that he knew would mean he could never return; that he knew would mean they wouldn’t get to be together; that he knew would separate him from the woman that inspired him to be a better man; that he knew would separate him from his true love.

But the Mon-El that we met in “Wake Up” is clearly a man that has been affected by an abundance of unseen and unknown circumstances. With his 7 year absence, there is so much that we don’t yet know about the things that have molded Mon-El into this man that stands before us.

“I don’t understand,” Kara painfully tells Mon-El at one point in the episode.

And that’s just the thing. We don’t understand. There is so much that has happened to Mon-El over the course of 7 years that have affected him; that have broken him; that have molded him into the man he is today. And that’s part of the mystery is learning who this new Mon-El is.

But as we saw in his conversation with Kara at the end of the episode, the old Mon-El still lives inside of him. You have to wonder what events have transpired to create this distant, hardened version of himself. You don’t see him smile — except when he was reliving a happy memory with Kara. You don’t see that immaturity that brought a sense of youth to him. You don’t see happiness. And you can’t help but ache for the man that has loved and lost and kept on living in spite of the heartbreak, the pain, and the new struggles he’s had to face.

James told Kara to give Mon-El some time. And I’d suggest the same for fans. But I’d also say that the Mon-El you knew in Season 2 won’t be that Mon-El in Season 3. Sure, those aspects of his character exist deep inside, but there are experiences that affect you in ways that you cannot understand. You can’t erase the past — no matter how hard you try.

Welcome to character growth, where a character is continually evolving through experiences and emotions that are like puzzle pieces in his story. That Mon-El we knew in Season 2 wasn’t the person he was meant to be. Even if he hadn’t had to leave Earth, he would’ve continued to grow; to evolve. Time and experience change a person. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Welcome to Mon-El’s origin story, where we’ll see him fully embrace the hero Kara always knew he could be. In case you’ve been living under a rock, you know the Legion of Superheroes is coming. Mon-El will play a significant part in that, and it’ll no doubt shape Valor, the hero, and Mon-El, the person.

One of the things I hope to see throughout this season is more of Mon-El’s struggles and how he handles the adversity. It’s something that, as a viewer, I love watching. You learn a lot about a person in how they handle adversity. Do they lay down or do they rise to the occasion?

I have no doubt that Mon-El will grow into the hero we all know he can be. And I’m more than ready to let this journey play out.

Reign Is Awoken

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I cannot say enough about how Supergirl has been handling Reign’s story. It’d be easy to introduce a villain, as a villain, and let Supergirl fight her throughout the season. But it’s something else entirely to become invested, as a fan, in Sam and her daughter Ruby and the life they have, only to watch it be snatched in gruesome fashion from out of my fingertips.

Well done, Supergirl. Well done.

The thing that has appealed to me from the beginning was that we weren’t meeting our villain in the first villain. We knew all-too-well that Sam was meant to be our villain. We knew all-too-well that Sam would become Reign. But it was Supergirl’s careful handling of Sam’s story and her journey that led to this game-changing episode that awoke Reign.

Sam is gone. Reign is here.

And the thing is, my heart is shattered. My heart hurts for Sam, who didn’t ask for this; who didn’t want to be the villain; who wanted to be the hero. My heart hurts for Ruby, who didn’t ask for this; who only wanted her mom; who wanted her mom to be the hero she knew she could be. My heart hurts for a family that is no more.

And you know what, I finally understand what Odette Annable meant when she told me at Comic-Con that the audience would feel sympathy for Reign. How, if you think about it, you’d be mad for Reign. I didn’t understand this — this sympathizing with the villain. But when the villain is created — without consent — it makes you mad. Especially when you saw the woman whose entire life was just taken from her.

But with that said, I’m intrigued to see how Supergirl handles Reign as a villain. To get to see how she was made a World Killer; to get to see how she responds to the person she feels is responsible for her being this way; to get to see if, maybe, there is redemption when all is said and done; that perhaps love can conquer hate.

I loved how this episode really shone a light on Sam’s past — learning how her adoptive mom kicked her out after she got pregnant; how it was hard for Sam to return, but she needed to know what was happening to her; to see Sam uncover the truth about her lineage; to follow Sam on a journey that wouldn’t relinquish her.

The moment where Sam realizes that she isn’t a hero — like Supergirl — and instead the villain was really heartbreaking to watch. All she wanted was to do Ruby proud. She wanted to be the hero Ruby believed she was. So in hearing that she’s a World Killer, you could see the light fade from Sam’s eyes. As if she’d failed her daughter. And in being told that she soon wouldn’t remember Ruby, the heartbreak was enough to suffocate you.

Reign isn’t a hero. She’s a World Killer. Even if Sam doesn’t want to be. But it doesn’t matter, it’s who she is. She has no choice. Reign is awoken.

Usually you can predict the journey of a villain, but I honestly can’t as far as Reign is concerned. You have to believe that this is so much more than your typical “defeat the villain and that’s it” kind of story. You want to believe that Sam can be saved when all is said and done. You want to believe that a villain, that was made a villain, can also be made a hero.

A Second Chance at Life

The CW

As J’Onn presented his father with a second chance at life, it was J’Onn that realized he was also being presented a second chance. A chance to finally start living hundreds of years after he lost everything.

Ever since J’Onn saved his father and brought him back to Earth, we’ve been waiting to see what storyline this father-son duo would ignite. While J’Onn worried about his father feeling like a prisoner — after hundreds of years being held captive — it was J’Onn’s father that worried about his son’s own imprisonment by the DEO.

Anyone that knows J’Onn J’Onzz knows he’s incredibly dedicated to his work with the DEO. Ever since the White Martians killed his family, destroyed his planet, and wiped out his race, he has vowed to honor them by defending those that need it; and by ensuring something like that would never happen again. But while J’Onn is incredible dedicated, he’s also incredibly dependent on the DEO.

J’Onn’s life is the DEO. He lives and works there. His friends are there. He doesn’t have a reason to exist in the real world. And his father calls him out for it, which was brilliant.

J’Onn says that his work makes him feel useful and productive. But he also acknowledges that he has lost sight of living in the moment and embracing the beauty of the world. In other words, there is more to life than just working at the DEO.

It’s a theme that we saw with Alex last season. She’s someone, like J’Onn, who has put all of herself into her work and it gives her that sense of accomplishment. But Alex learned last season that that’s not necessarily healthy. You can’t hide behind your work. You have to go out into te world and live. And we saw her do just that, and she learned who she was in the process.

I believe it’s a similar theme we’ll see with J’Onn this season. As he realizes that there’s more to life than the DEO. That he needs to stop and just take life in sometimes. And his father’s return is just the spark he needed.

We saw J’Onn take an important step in living in the world when he rented an apartment — in the city, not the DEO — for him and his father. It’s a place where “we could make this our home. If you’d like.”

J’Onn’s dad likes. And I like.

12 Things About “Wake Up”

  1. MON-EL IS BACK. MON-EL IS BACK. MON-EL IS BACK. MON-EL IS BACK.
  2. Is it wrong that I’m so energized by this Karamel angst? I love angst. It really provides some of the best and emotional moments. I also know it’s a sign of endgame. I can be patient. I’m in this journey for the long haul.
  3. I am overcome with emotion by how Mon-El has carried Kara with him for the past 7 years by wearing her necklace. Because of course he has. He’d never forget her.
  4. God, it’s so good to have Chris Wood back on my television screen again. That and his chemistry with Melissa Benoist. It was like a breath of fresh air that I’d been missing since the season finale.
  5. Melissa Benoist knocked it out of the park tonight. You could feel the emotion pouring from her soul. Not that I’m surprised in the slightest. Supergirl has an outstanding cast that puts on a clinic on a weekly basis.
  6. “I am awoken.” REIGN IS HERE. REIGN IS HERE. I CAN’T BREATHE.
  7. God, my heart goes out to poor Ruby right now. I don’t even want to think about what’s going to happen here. And that’s the thing, I knew it was coming. And it still hurts like hell. Supergirl did a fantastic job making fans care about Sam before unleashing Reign. Well done.
  8. I’ve loved the build up to Reign’s backstory and her journey in this episode. It was so wonderfully done in execution and intent. And Odette Annable just killed it. Phenomenal. I am legit terrified and have no idea what’s going to happen next.
  9. Not going to lie, I got teary eyed over J’Onn deciding to “make a home” for him and his father — away from the DEO. It’s such an important step for J’Onn, who hasn’t been living his life since he lost his world. Which is an interesting parallel between not letting go and refusing to move on and Mon-El choosing to move on because he knew Kara would want him to.
  10. I will never pronounce coffee the same again.
  11. Mon-El and Winn’s friendship — I’ve missed you! Please, Supergirl, give us more of these two. They have such an amazing rapport.
  12. With Thanksgiving this week, things I am thankful for: Supergirl, strong female characters, Karamel, angst, this amazing cast, meaningful stories and journeys, and a new episode Thanksgiving week!

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

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