You could say that this day has been an emotional and eventful one. From Timeless season finale screeners to almost driving my car off the road twice to this emotional episode of Supergirl, I find it surprising that I can even find the words to write. I’m still having trouble breathing right now. But the only time when that’s actually a good thing is when it comes to television and similar forms of media.
Supergirl’s latest hour was layered with multiple emotional arcs that each hit home in its own unique way. From Sam’s courageous internal battle and clinging to her daughter Ruby as her source of strength to Kara’s issues of trust with Lena to Julia managing to overpower Purity (and save our Supergirl team in the process) to Lena’s plea to Sam to Lena’s surprisingly endearing bond with James to Mon-El’s conflict of the heart, which has him being pulled in two directions, this hour had the emotional power of six cocktails.
While this third season started off with the emotional intensity of a semi-truck, somewhere in the middle it lost sight of its strength, which is the heart of these beautiful characters that take us on this journey. Over these past couple of episodes, I’ve felt that noticeable shift. I’ve felt the focus on these characters and their responses to the events around them instead of the events happening and these characters just interacting with it.
The reason I tune into a show — and I know it’s the same for others — is because I care about these characters. These fictional, multi-layered, flawed, and inspiring characters that can just as easily leave me screaming as they can leave me a puddle of emotion on the floor. I feel like “Trinity” managed to not only capture the emotion of these situations with these characters but also manage to capture the intensity of this Apocalypse they’re facing. This is how you handle character and plot. Let the characters drive the plot, not the other way around.
All I know is that these final episodes of season 3 have the potential to capitalize on amazing character developing, sensational acting, and deliver on an insane plot in a way that’ll leave fans talking about it long after the finale airs.
Let’s take a look at the power of inner strength, the toll of secrets and lies, the importance of trust & faith, and the conflicted journey of true love.
The thing that I’ve found really interesting as of late has been how Supergirl is using this Sam/Reign dynamic as a metaphor for the battle of good vs. evil within all of us. Obviously circumstances are a little different here, what with the whole World Killer of it all. But it’s the perfect metaphor to describe the internal battle that we all face at some point in our lives. When we have to deal with the not-so-good that accompanies the good.
But I was pleasantly surprised to see this metaphor translate to all three of our World Killers and their “hosts,” so to speak. Each of them were different, each of them more susceptible than others, each of them either had something worth fighting for or nothing at all.
With Sam/Reign, it’s clear as day by this point. And if you don’t see it then I don’t know what to do with you. Sam is fighting for her daughter. Ruby is the one that has kept her going to this point. She’s the one that allowed Sam to overpower Reign — during a moment of immense power — as Kara, Alex, and Lena all reminded Sam of the many things she is. But the one thing that broke down that stone cold wall set forth by Reign: Ruby. It’s why Reign will come for Ruby next week. It’s why Reign will ultimately be defeated. The only thing stronger than hate is love.
With Julia/Purity, we saw less confidence in what she was fighting for and more fear for what she was losing: herself. Julia was so quick to believe that she was responsible for the deaths of all of those people. She believed that it wasn’t Purity that had taken over but that she was Purity. That it was her decision to kill those people. But it was her reaction to the knowledge of all of those deaths at Purity’s hands that goes to show you that the good far outweighs the bad within Julia. Which is why — when Team Supergirl needed it most — Julia rose to the occasion to help kill Pestilence and save the team from a world of darkness and the wrath of the Trinity. But in the process, Julia lost her life. Julia sacrificed her life to protect others. She died a hero. She died in order to keep the fight against Reign going. She died in order to give our team another chance to defeat this evil. Now if that isn’t the antithesis of Purity, then I don’t know what is.
Now, Grace/Pestilence was the exact opposite of both Sam and Julia. And that needed to be seen. Here we had a woman that, long ago, had given into the darkness within her. That made her more susceptible to Pestilence’s takeover than the others. We saw an immediate concession when it came to Grace giving into Pestilence. It wasn’t much of a fight because Grace was already in such a dark place. She’d accepted the darkness inside of her and was actually open to accepting it. It goes to show you the power of belief within yourself. The belief that no matter what you do — no matter how bad — if you believe that there is goodness inside of you, if you believe you’re worthy of forgiveness, that it is possible. Good triumphs evil. As long as there’s good to be triumphed.
SECRETS AND LIES
Supergirl has raised an interesting question when it comes to keeping secrets and lying in order to protect. And that issue was raised in “Trinity,” where Supergirl felt betrayed by Lena’s keeping secrets and subsequently lying to her. After Supergirl learned that Lena had not only been keeping Reign locked up but also that she was stashing Kryptonite, Kara was furious that Lena would do such a thing. And why shouldn’t she be? Lena has lied on several occasions — some even unbeknownst to Kara.
But let’s back up here. Yes, Lena kept the secret about Sam being Reign and keeping her hidden away from Supergirl. Yes, Lena lied about the Kryptonite. But Kara has been lying to Lena about being Supergirl. Kara has lied on multiple occasions as Supergirl in a way to “protect” Lena.
Kara and Lena both have secrets. Both are in the wrong. Both are also justified in their own way. But in no way is it okay for Kara to feel as though she’s the only one wronged in this matter. Sure, she can feel betrayed. But she also has to realize the reason behind Lena’s actions: Lena was trying to help a friend. She had someone else’s interests at heart here.
Kara immediately jumped to this selfish place where she was thinking about Lena’s actions in response to her instead of in response to Sam. And I actually liked that Kara went to that point because it shows us that Kara isn’t this perfect person. She has her flaws and insecurities, and that doesn’t demean her as an individual or a hero in any way. Flawed characters are the ones that I gravitate towards because they’re always growing, always evolving.
When it comes to superhero shows, secrets are the name of the game. Just when you think one secret has been resolved another one appears in its place. It’s the perfect center of conflict in these types of shows because of what it means for the hero underneath the costume. It tests them. It teaches them. And it also helps evolve them.
PS: Can we stop acting like every character on this show, not named Mon-El, is a freaking saint even when they’re lying consistently? Come on, now.
TRUST & FAITH
Piggybacking off that last section about secrets and lies, that spawned this lack of trust between Kara and Lena. While it appeared that by episode’s end they each got to an acceptable place, that was only on the surface. Let’s look at their actions for further clarification, shall we?
After Kara learned that Lena had been hiding Reign from her, there was this immediate sense that this trust had been broken. But when she learned about the Kryptonite, the trust had been broken. It took Kara using James to determine if Lena had any more Kryptonite remaining in order for Kara to know if she could trust Lena again — or if she posed a threat. It wasn’t until she got that confirmation that Lena didn’t have anymore Kryptonite that Kara believed she could trust her again. But the thing is, Kara did this behind Lena’s back. Without the intention of telling her. Probably still without the intention of telling her. The only reason Lena knows is because of James.
Lena has been keeping a massive secret: She knows how to and has been creating Kryptonite. When it comes to Lena’s relationship with Supergirl, this is a huge secret to be keeping. And you can’t help but question the faith here. Is Lena so convinced that Supergirl might eventually become too much? That she might have to use it against her someday? Or is it merely just related to Reign and the World Killers? Even so, could it create this sense of doubt in her head about having a little “just in case” something were to happen in the future?
There’s no denying that there’s been this sort of rift between Supergirl and Lena recently when it comes to this Reign situation. This might be setting them up for something bigger and more intense — like, perhaps an identity reveal.
But just as there was a lack of trust with Kara in regards to Lena, we saw complete trust and faith with James when it came to Lena. I have no idea when it happened, but I’m actually starting to enjoy Lena and James’ relationship. Because it doesn’t feel like the plot I believed it to be at first. There’s a sense of genuineness that gives it the potential to be something great. If executed properly, of course.
But I loved how James showed his trust in Lena when it came to believing her word. She promised there was no more Kryptonite. So when James went to her facility to check that out, he didn’t need to open the vault to see. He knew. He knew there wouldn’t be any inside. That’s how much he believed in Lena. Now, that remains to be seen if there was any Kryptonite (now knowing Lena can create it, who knows).
Just as important as James believing Lena’s word was James coming clean about him being Guardian — and what he did as Guardian. That’s an insane amount of trust for James to have to open up about being Guardian. But then you have it from a personal standpoint. Here was James being honest with Lena about the mistake that he made — agreeing to go behind her back to check to see if she had Kryptonite, to help Supergirl out. Imagine that, a character not only being honest about his screw-ups but also recognizing why it was wrong. That’s the part we don’t get enough on television: The acknowledgement and understanding of why this thing was wrong. I loved getting to see that from James.
But, no, it didn’t stop with James coming clean and putting his faith in Lena. No, Lena did the same. It would’ve been enough for Lena to accept James at his words and continued to drive home this one-sided relationship. But Lena stepped up — in a huge way — when she opened up to James about knowing how to make Kryptonite. This was something that she obviously hadn’t told anybody. But also, keep in mind, Lena confided in James about this just after he confessed to being Guardian — and being friends with Supergirl. If that’s not trust, I don’t know what is.
TRUE LOVE CAN BE A CONFLICTED JOURNEY
If I had a nickel for every time I shipped a couple that was delivered the drama-for-the-sake-of-drama “look, I have a wife now” trope, I’d be a rich woman. The last time I wrote about Karamel and my belief that they’re endgame (they still are), there was this upheaval of disbelief. “How could you ship them, he’s married?” or “You support adultery” or “You’re an adulterer because you ship Karamel.”
I’m sorry, give me a moment…
Sydney & Vaughn. Lucy & Wyatt. Luke & Lorelai. Meredith & Derek. Fitz & Olivia. I could go on, and on. Fact of the matter is, television uses marriage as an obstacle more often than it probably should. As in, it uses it for matters of conflict between another couple instead of focusing on the marriage between the couple. But it’s been done before Supergirl, and it’ll be done again after Supergirl.
So, no, there’s nothing wrong with shipping two characters even when the unnecessary obstacle of a drama-for-the-sake-of-drama marriage is thrown in there. The haters will grasp for even the shortest of straws.
I’m sorry, but when a television show makes it damn obvious what its endgame couple is, there is literally no obstacle that can or will get in the way of them inevitably and eventually reuniting. That’s just how this thing works. It’s all about the drama. The kind of conflict that you feel there’s no way out of. The kind of conflict that generates feelings of hopelessness.
But the writers use that sense of hopelessness to deliver you the unexpected and, ultimately, satisfying payoff.
This season has made it no secret that Kara and Mon-El are the romantic focus this season. Even when they’re apart, they’re the focus. Even when he’s married, they’re the focus. All of these things happening around them are for the development of their relationship moving forward. And while, yes, it’s hard to imagine how making Mon-El married and conflicted between two women can somehow be beneficial, it’s the writers’ jobs to make sure that’s the outcome.
In “Trinity,” we saw Mon-El verbalize the conflict raging inside of him. When Kara went to that parallel universe where Sam was stuck, Mon-El could only watch helplessly as Kara struggled and knowing he couldn’t do a damn thing about it. And even if he could do something about it, he really couldn’t because, you know, he’s married.
“All I want to do is pull her out,” Mon-El tells J’Onn about Kara. “I can’t help her. I can’t hold her. I can’t hurt my wife.”
Mon-El has conflicted feelings. He wants to stay loyal to Imra, who he loves. But he also wants to be with Kara, who he’s in love with. He never got resolution when it came to Kara. They never actually broke up. His feelings, even though it’s been seven years, are still just as raw and real as they were the day that he was forced to leave her. Holding that necklace is proof of that. He’s managed to carry a part of her everywhere with him because he’s never wanted to and never has let go of her.
Now, I have no idea how this love triangle will be solved. I’m trying to get a sense as to how the writers want to handle this. There’s no way Supergirl allows Mon-El to choose Kara and break Imra’s heart. Because there’s no way he comes out of that not being the villain. There are two ways I could see this playing out, one more appealing than the other. The less appealing option? Imra turns out to be evil and Mon-El gets to be with Kara. But where the hell is the benefit in that?
The more appealing option? Imra allows him to make the choice. Imra understands the origin of their marriage and how it started as a means to unite their people. She also understands Mon-El’s feelings towards Kara. And these past couple of weeks have made it apparent that she’s seeing it more and more with each passing day. She’s not getting angry about it, she’s just acknowledging it. Just as she’s had to acknowledge it her entire marriage with Mon-El. She knows how he feels about her. Even when she was gone, everything Mon-El has done has been to honor Kara. How do you compete with that?
The best option of the two would be for Imra to tell Mon-El that she knows how he feels about Kara. The best option would be for Imra to put herself first. If she feels like Mon-El isn’t in it, why subject him to that? Better yet, why subject herself to that? Imra seems like an understanding person. She’s someone I could see making a decision like that. Where Mon-El gets to follow his heart while knowing that he isn’t completely shattering hers in the process. Regardless of how this goes, it’s going to be an emotional journey from now until the finale.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.