Supergirl got surprisingly real in its latest episode, “Fallout,” where the parallel between this fictional reality and our very real reality is getting eerily too close to home.
And you know what, that’s exactly what we need right now. What we need are entertainment mediums – all mediums, really – to shine a light on the cruel injustices that are happening in this world. Because for some, it’s not really happening unless it’s happening to them.
In “Fallout,” we see the, yes, “fallout” after the President of the United States was revealed to be an alien. The country went berserk. Well, a good portion of them. There was a clear divide where fear infiltrated the minds and actions of some and where others established themselves as open-minded and accepting of aliens.
Sound familiar? Welcome to our world.
Fear is the weapon. Ignorance is the enemy. And their only hope – our only hope – is love and acceptance.
Watching this episode I couldn’t help but feel as if I were watching the news. Watching this horror play out. Watching as some people actually attacked these aliens because they were different than them. As if being a precious human made them any more important than every being living on this planet.
On Supergirl, we’re just getting a glimpse of the injustices being done to aliens. We’re just getting a glimpse of the fear that Agent Liberty and his followers are inciting. We’re just getting a glimpse of how ugly this fictional world will be. We’re just getting a glimpse of how very similar this fictional world involving aliens will be to our reality where some of us are no better than the scum that inhabit this planet.
This world needs a Supergirl. Scratch that. We need to be the Supergirls and Supermen of this world. We need to stand up to the injustices of the world. We need to keep exposing the wrongs in this world. We need to fight back.
Let’s break down the episode’s big themes and storylines:
Fear Creates Monsters
Fear is the root of all evil. Fear is the root of all conflict. Fear elicits such strong emotional responses in a way that can bring out the very worse in people. And that’s what we’re seeing in Supergirl. We’re seeing how fear can be used as a weapon to destroy others whose only crime is being different.
People fear what they don’t understand. That’s how the saying goes, right? Well, when a certain group of alien-hating humans decides to pray on that fear and use that fear as a weapon to destroy the alien race, it stops becoming about what they don’t understand and what they’re refusing to see.
Agent Liberty and his followers are inciting a riot. No, they’re inciting a war. A war pitting humans (well, not all humans) against aliens. And why? Because they don’t understand them? No. Because they’re afraid of them? Probably. Because they want the power and control? You got it.
This entire hatred towards aliens thing practically happened overnight. While humans had been co-existing with aliens up to this point, there was never this kind of animosity towards these aliens until Agent Liberty and his followers decided to turn the volume up. When the President of the United States was revealed to be an alien, humans felt betrayed. Whether that was because the president was an alien or whether it was because the highest job in the land had lied to them. But Agent Liberty and his followers not only incited this entire thing.
They encouraged and welcomed it with open arms.
One of the final scenes of the episode where Agent Liberty held a rally for humans and was fueling their hatred for these aliens by blaming these humans failures on aliens. Humans, we get angry. But usually we search for a source of that anger; for someone or something to place that blame. Agent Liberty has given these angry humans a place for their anger. Aliens. And Agent Liberty is counting on the fire.
“They Go Low, We Go High”
The great thing about how Supergirl is handling this storyline – humans vs. aliens, hatred vs. loved – is that it’s giving a voice to the aliens. It’d be easy in this instance to side with one side.
Make no mistake about it, Supergirl is very much taking the side of aliens and humans accepting of aliens. Basically, Supergirl is taking the side of hope and love and acceptance. But that doesn’t mean that Supergirl is going to ignore the other side. No matter how ugly and vomit-inducing it may be. If you don’t give a voice of both sides, you lose impact.
There’s a reason that Agent Liberty’s followers believe what they believe and feel what they feel and fight why they fight. Even if their motivation is bred by closed mindedness and fueled by anger and hate, you can’t ignore that there is a reason behind what they’re doing.
Doesn’t make it right. It’s far from right. But this show would be doing a disservice if it chose to brush over this side without consideration.
Because maybe if we understand why these people hate so much – and if we can find a way to take them on with success – then maybe it’ll give us a clue on how to combat the hatred in our own reality.
“They go low, we go high.”
It was a line that we know all too well in our world. When those full of hate take shot after shot, and some have to take those shots even though they’d love nothing more than to fight back.
A big aspect of this storyline is going to be how the aliens handle this. How aliens that we know like Kara and J’Onn and Brainy handle the attacks and the hatred and find a way to fight back while remaining true to who they are.
This isn’t about who’s human and who’s not. It’s about who has a soul and who does not.
It’s Not Choosing A Side If It’s The Right Thing To Do
When you work for a publication that’s supposed to be unbiased and representative of all, how do you pick a side? That’s a question that James had to ask himself after the fallout from the president’s alien reveal.
James prides himself – and this publication – on being unbiased and reporting the facts. Which is all fine and dandy, but there come a time when you need to speak your truth. Not because you have to. But because it’s the right thing to do.
It took some words of wisdom on Nia Nal’s part to show James the light. To show him that he’s in a position of power to do some real good. That he’s in a position to give a voice to those that can’t. That he’s in a position of power to fight back in a way that’s different than Guardian.
James was so focused on picking a “side” that he didn’t realize that it’s not so black and white. It’s not choosing a side if it’s the right thing to do.
Nia Nal is an Inspiration
There are not enough words to describe my love for Nia Nal in such a short amount of screen time. But Nia is easily my favorite character, and I’m already so incredibly proud of her for her strength and bravery in the face of adversity and what’s right.
Never mind that Nia is set to become another superhero on this show. As a character alone, she’s made an incredible impact in just two episodes. She’s the kind of person we can all relate to. She’s the kind of person that gives you hope for this world. She’s the kind of person that has so much to teach us.
We got to unpeel another layer of Nia’s character as she was confronted with a situation that fueled the fire within her. While trying to get an Espresso, Nia witnessed a business owner harass and assault Brainy because his true form was on display after some tech failed. Nia stood tall in the face of hatred and defended Brainy while also calling out the asshole that insinuated that Brainy was the “traitor.”
We later learned why this garnered such an emotional response from Nia, as she opened up to James about being a transgender woman and the hate and attacks she’s received because of it. She knows what that felt like for Brainy. She knows what it feels like for these aliens. To be attacked because of who you are. Because people don’t like who you are.
It took a lot of courage and strength for Nia to not only stand up for Brainy as she did but to come clean to James. But she recognized the significance of this moment and the position that she’s been put in to stand up for those that cannot defend themselves.
Also, is Supergirl setting up a possible Nia/Brainy romance? Or, at the very least, friendship? I can’t be the only one still wondering why Nia looks familiar to Brainy. Could it be because she’s a future superhero?
It seems as if the world is out to get Lena Luthor. Rather the evil people that have been a part of her life and want Lena to “come to the dark side.” And while I admit that one of my worries on this show is that it takes the easy and predictable rout of making Lena evil, this episode showed me that maybe that’s not where this is headed.
Enter Mercy Graves, who we learn was an ex-girlfriend of Lex’s and was like a big sister to Lena growing up. There we established a personal connection, but even that personal ties wasn’t enough to lure Lena to any so-called “dark side.” Lena is just laughing at people now when they think they can lure her to their evil side.
But here’s Lena who continues to be driven by her desire to be good; to do good. That’s not to say that she doesn’t make some questionable decisions or mistakes, but when it comes down to it Lena hasn’t been motivated by ill intentions. She’s wanted to make the world a better place. She’s wanted to protect those she cares about. But like us, she’s not immune from mistakes or from emotions getting the best of her.
Love Is Greater Than Fears
While this world – Supergirl’s and our own – is filled with so much hate and anger, that’s not the overwhelming majority. There are plenty of people that are on the side of hope and love and acceptance, and it’s important to remember that.
I’m beginning to see why Brainy’s presence makes sense. Bring in an alien that has no idea what this world is like during a time when it’s at its worst, and watch what happens. This must be terrifying and shocking to someone who comes from a time where there’s much more open mindedness than ignorance.
While Brainy encountered a human that was filled with hate, he has also met some humans that have nothing but love and acceptance to give. Alex. Nia. A reminder that there are good people in this world. A reminder that we have to make love louder than fear. Because the only thing stronger than fear and hate, is love.
Supergirl airs Sundays at 8/7c on The CW.