‘Supergirl’ 3×13 Review: ‘Both Sides Now’

It feels like we were living in winter hiatus just yesterday. And yet here we are again headed into another Supergirl hiatus which is more a network blunder than anything. Luckily, this episode didn’t do too much to make the wait unbearable.

Supergirl has always been the superhero show that I’ve felt has exhibited the most emotion on a grand scale. Mostly because it’s not only chosen to show these character’s stories, but it’s embraced the elements that have defined it as more than just a superhero show. It’s a story about people. And it’s a story about fictional people that we care a lot about.

With that said, Supergirl hasn’t been at its best for the majority of this season. Early on in season 3 — when there was a focus on Kara and even Alex’s emotional journeys — there was an honesty to the show that made even a filler episode (petition for more young Kara and Alex!) feel like a thrilling action-packed hour.

Emotions might not get the credit that action sequences do, but they’re certainly more explosive than the latter. I’ve learned to pick and choose certain moments this season and focus on those small moments of emotion rather than on a grand scale. And it’s in those moments where I’m reminded why I fell in love with Supergirl. It’s those moments that I cling to as I count the days til April 16. It’s those moments I’m praying we get more of in the next part of the season.

Let’s break this down (for the last time in our mini hiatus), which includes an important step in Karamel’s eventual reunion and perhaps the real key to defeating the World Killers.

It’s Only a Matter of Time

The CW

Feelings can be complicated. I don’t need to tell you that. We’ve all experienced feelings that have felt overpowering or have left us feeling confused. While feelings might be complicated, there’s nothing confusing about them. The confusion lies in the deciphering. Feelings themselves are bound in truth. It’s just a question of if we choose to accept them or push them down until they break free with a greater intensity.

Feelings don’t go away. You can repress them all you want, but eventually they will win out. No one is able to withhold the truth for too long. And when you keep in what you’re feeling inside, you’re only hurting yourself. You’re refusing your true self. You’re missing out on the “could be’s” and promises of a hopeful future.

Mon-El is at a crossroads in his personal journey. While he’s grown to be the leader of the Legion of Superheroes in the future, his personal life is very much unsettled. Certainly returning to Earth-3 didn’t help. And seeing Kara again — and being flooded with a tidal wave of emotions — most definitely didn’t help.

But a journey isn’t supposed to be easy. Otherwise, why would it be worth it? If we weren’t forced to find an inner strength that we didn’t believe is possible, then we wouldn’t grow as individuals in a way that makes us the best version of ourselves. We learn from our mistakes. We learn from our pain. We learn that it’s the moments where we feel we’re at our weakest that eventually we become our strongest. We learn that we’re forged from steel.

That’s one of the things that I’ve really enjoyed about Supergirl. I love watching these personal journeys of all of the characters we’ve been lucky to explore it with. We can find a piece of ourselves in those characters that struggle; in those characters that feel beat down; in those characters that rise from the ashes to become better versions of themselves.

And, yes, love is a huge part of that personal journey. Love is what drives us as a human race. Love for the ones we care about. Love for the things we believe in. Love for the promise of a hopeful future. So, yes, Mon-El’s personal journey this season has been and will continue to be driven by his love for Kara. Not that he needs Kara to have a purpose. But the thing that has defined Mon-El as an individual — as the hero he is now — has been Kara’s influence. She has been the one that inspired him to want to be a better man; inspired him to want to be a hero; inspired him to look within himself to become that man that she knew he could be.

Mon-El is married to Imra, yes. But, as this episode proved, the initial marriage wasn’t born out of love — it was born out of allegiance. Mon-El married Imra to unite the planets in a time of need — in his time of need, as he was still mourning Kara. Eventually, Mon-El developed real feelings for Imra. But that doesn’t take anything away from his feelings for Kara. We know it took Mon-El years to be able to move on.

And now that he’s back on Earth, Mon-El is dealing with the flood of feelings that have returned with seeing Kara; with being near Kara; with sharing those moments that were a huge part of their connection. He admitted, as we all knew, that he’d been avoiding Kara because of the feelings that came with being back. It’s like Mon-El has been staying away from Kara because his feelings for her scares him. He knows how Kara makes him feel. He’s afraid of feeling that again. But you can’t ignore or hide from feelings.

“Are you still in love with her?”

“I don’t know:”

That’s about as close to a “yes” in love-triangle, TV-speak as you’re going to get this early on in the season.

What this is going to come down to is which feelings are stronger. Those are the feelings that’ll win out every time. And from everything Supergirl has shown us last season and this season, Mon-El’s feelings for Kara will eventually win-out. But because this is a 22-episode season, it’s going to take him a little time to realize that and for us to watch it come to fruition.

When people say that Mon-El’s being married to Imra will somehow damage his and Kara’s relationship — when they eventually reunite — it’s baffling because they don’t seem to understand the old adage that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

Not only has it been okay that Mon-El has moved on (although I could’ve done without this pointless love triangle — but it’s happening, and there’s nothing we can do but deal with it), but Mon-El being with someone else will only serve to reinforce his love for Kara in the end. He’s already realized — and admitted aloud — that he still has feelings for Kara. He’s unsure if he still loves her (which is translation for yes.)

But when Mon-El finally accepts that he still loves Kara — and that his love for her is greater than anything — there will be this transcendent moment when he realizes that his love for her was never in question; that there was no woman that he could possibly love more than her.

Salvation is the Answer

The CW

As we head into yet another hiatus, the question of the season continues to rest with how to defeat the World Killers that seem to grow in number with each passing episode. Okay, maybe I’m being a tad dramatic. But we now have two World Killers — and the one was a huge problem in the first place.

The World Killers have presented a unique situation for Supergirl — they’re almost indestructible. How does one defeat physically superior beings?

What’s the thing that’s greater than fear? Oh, yeah. Hope. And leave it to the Girl of Steel to nail the theme of this season in terms of overcoming the World Killers:

“Maybe we’re not supposed to beat them. Maybe we’re supposed to save them.”

Kara Danvers is someone that believes that there is good inside everyone. It’s something that can sometimes get her in trouble, but she sticks by her conviction every time. Kara isn’t someone that’s going to believe that violence is ever the answer. Her first instinct is to try to reach the good within, as evidenced with Purity/Julia in this episode. And that’s what makes Kara a different kind of hero. It’s what defines Supergirl. The symbol of hope.

Supergirl has fought against two World Killers and has seemingly been defeated by both. She may be the Girl of Steel, but how is she supposed to defeat one yet alone two superior beings? Physically, it’ll be a short fight. So how does Kara stand a chance in saving the world?

The thing that makes these World Killers different from other villains is that the host’s bodies are human — in that these World Killers are actually good, decent human beings that have been taken over by something alien. It’s an almost Jekyll and Hyde thing. You have the human side and you have the alien side. And it’s not easy to control or withstand either.

The key, as I’ve believed for some time, in defeating Reign and these other World Killers is appealing to the human soul within. Humanity is the key to overcoming the darkness that inhabits these beings. And that starts with the people that have given Sam and Julia a purpose. For Sam, it’s Ruby. For Julia, it’s her friend she saved. In this life, we’re all fighting for something; we’re all fighting for someone. And so are they. Now it’s just a matter of unlocking the humanity within and using it to overpower the darkness.

10 Things About ‘Both Sides Now’

The CW
  1. I love what Supergirl’s preaching right now in terms of defeating the World Killers: The answer is death, it’s salvation.
  2. Mon-El finally admitting that he still has feelings for Kara and ultimately saying without saying that he still loves Kara was everything.
  3. I really thought this episode would be more painful given this new hiatus. But I guess thank you?
  5. Is Purity a cousin of the Black Canary? Because that was a serious Canary Cry right there.
  6. I swear if Lena figures out Sam is Reign but can’t figure out Kara is Supergirl…
  7. Seeing Alex hurt this much has hurt my heart. I want so very much for her to be happy, and I look forward to when she finds someone that’ll help heal her heart.
  8. My heart breaks for Ruby. She knows something’s seriously wrong with her mother, and there’s nothing she can do to stop it.
  9. Two World Killers down, one to go. Where is Pestilence?

Supergirl returns April 16 with new episodes.

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