For a show that prides itself on depicting strong and empowering messages for its audience, Supergirl has a misguided idea of friendship. At least when it comes to Kara and Lena.
You can make yourself believe anything if you try hard enough. After watching Supergirl‘s season 5 premiere, I can’t for the life of me, understand why some fans are feeling content, hell, even excited after an episode that highlighted the cracking foundation that is their dynamic.
I understand there are a contingent of fans that ship Kara and Lena despite the fact that I feel Supergirl has done everything in its power to reiterate the fact that they’re friends. But there-in lies the problem. I’m not here to dispute a Kara/Lena romance (even though I don’t believe their dynamic is romantic), because that’s for everyone’s interpretation. Instead, I’m here to discuss the problematic nature of Kara and Lena’s friendship as it was depicted in the season 5 premiere.
Look, I’ll be the first to tell you that I loved Kara and Lena’s friendship and what it’s done for not only Supergirl but for the entire DCTV universe. We need more female friendships, and Supergirl gave us that with Kara and Lena. For a show about a superhero, it’s important to ground the hero and the show, and showing real-life experiences is the best way to do that.
That means showing two best friends just hanging out, confiding in each other, having a game night with other friends. For all the glory that romance gets — which trust me, big shipper here — sometimes friendships get tossed to the side in terms of significance.
While Kara and Lena’s friendship has remained an important part of Supergirl for me, I can’t help but be concerned — very concerned — about how Supergirl is handling the very massive cliffhanger that dropped in the season finale.
Lex, in an attempt to further hurt his sister and destroy Supergirl, revealed to Lena that her best friend Kara is Supergirl. And he made it a point to put emphasis on the fact that Kara didn’t tell her and probably never intended to.
Naturally, Lena was crushed, heartbroken, betrayed and angry. I have no problem with that. That’s the natural reaction to when you learn someone you love betrays your trust.
But let’s take a step back and focus on the why part. Why did Kara keep that secret from Lena for so long?
It wasn’t because Kara intentionally wanted to keep Lena out of the loop or hurt her. She did it, ironically, to protect her. Let’s not act like this was the first or last time we’re going to see someone withhold a secret from someone they care about because they want to protect them, be it physically or emotionally. It’s quite literally a rite of passage for superheroes.
Kara had seen firsthand how Lena had been emotionally abused by her family — how her trust had been broken and the pain that came with that betrayal. Kara didn’t want to inflict that pain, be it intentional or not, on Lena, so she continued to keep Supergirl’s identity a secret.
We saw the internal battle within Kara, especially in the season premiere, which despite the fact that Kara continued to lie to Lena, showed that she truly cares, because it’s been hurting her, as well.
Eventually, the guilt had become so much that Kara finally fessed up. And I love that it was her that got to fess up, rather than Lena confront her. Kara took responsibility for her actions — she didn’t make excuses, rather offered an honest assessment of why she kept the truth from Lena. Her intention was never to hurt Lena, and we saw the whirlwind of emotions that Kara went through as she was terrified of losing her best friend to a silly lie.
The sad thing is, it’s now Lena’s intention to hurt Kara.
The thing that infuriated me the most was the fact that, at least for a second, it looked like Lena recognized that, despite the lie, Kara was a true friend. That friendship isn’t perfect. That friends sometimes keep things from each other. That those flaws don’t define them, rather they strengthen them.
Only, none of that seemed to register with Lena. She remains focused on ruining Kara’s life — to make her feel the same pain she felt when she learned the truth that she was Supergirl.
But that’s not friendship. Friendship isn’t some competition. If a friend hurts you, it shouldn’t be your goal to destroy them. It should be to find an understanding — to find a way to work things out — because your friendship is worth more than just one mistake.
Unfortunately, none of this should come as a surprise. The moment they introduced Lena Luthor on Supergirl, there was an intention to replicate or parallel the relationship between Clark and Lex on Smallville between Kara and Lena. Even though I hoped they wouldn’t become this predictable, inevitably they always do.
Friendship isn’t something that’s one-sided. At least, real friendship isn’t. And if we’re to believe that Kara and Lena are the best of friends, Supergirl is doing everything in its power to prove that it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Kara is trying, Lena is not. At least, that’s what the season premiere showed us.
I can only hope that Lena’s planned betrayal of Kara — to exact revenge — is somehow halted because, if not, the one true female friendship that this Arrowverse has developed will be ruined for nothing other than plot or shock value. Which, in the DCTV universe, wouldn’t be out-of-character in the slightest.
Supergirl airs Sundays at 9/8c on the CW