Morning in National City. Yesterday's clothes scattered on the floor of Kara Danvers' (Melissa Benoist) apartment. A half-nude blandsome Daxamite asleep in the bed. Clutch my pearls! Did someone on Supergirl other than Winn actually have sex? And was it Supergirl herself?!
The particulars are more or less elided here, as expected with the children watching (if they want that kind of salacious detail, they catch the Two and a Half Men reruns that, in all probability, air right before Supergirl starts), but it's not un-momentous that Kara and Mon-El (Chris Wood) are together and were together. That Kara broke a bunch of dudes' noses kissing before means that going all the way is no small feat for her. Not a lot of impervious sex vessels who are also not blood relatives in her part of the multiverse.
But while Kara and Mon-El's relationship goes warp-speed from chaste kiss to blurred V-Day humping to superhero emotional support (what must be a whirlwind for the Daxamite bro), the stakes for their relationship have felt relatively low. There's this secret that Mon-El is harboring that eventually is going to "change everything" but the show has made it pretty inevitable once it moved on from the James and Kara relationship that Mon-El and Kara bedroom games were coming (so to speak). It's unfortunate for James (where has Mehcad Brooks been lately?), but I have about zero investment in the Karamel (an interesting name for a ship so pale). They did a better job of leading into the thing but there was also so much posturing for so long. I know, I know, Supergirl producers who definitely take time out of their busy schedules to read this space every week with bated breath. I'm very hard to please.
The main issue, as I see it, is the lack of emotional journey for Kara. There have been moments for her vulnerability and for Kara zor-El to really get in touch with Kara Danvers, but they've been brief and recent. This might've been enough if it weren't juxtaposed with someone on a real emotional journey this season: her sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh).
I submit for your approval the roller coaster ride that Alex Danvers, star government operative, chosen family protector (until Kara got to fly), and almost-Max-Lord-lover, has been on since the firing shot of Season 2.
First, and let's just get this out there: The DEO is a disaster. The only thing holding this organization together is Alex's talent and pluck and her invincible alien back-up. Their security breaches is basically an episode formula now (as is the threat of a nuclear attack, four in a row now — what's up with that, Supergirl?) and the soldiers running through the halls to capture threats or escapees should basically just be wearing red shirts. Every time something terrible happens there, you can almost feel her exasperation. "Again? How is this happening again?"
Which is what makes her dad returning, security-breaching, then escaping that much more poignant. Alex Danvers might be the only bright spot in the non-alien division of the DEO but a lot of the allowance for that to happen was based on a manipulation of her. And it's all justified. This is the father that Alex lost during her formative years. This is the father whose absence molded her future. Would Alex be in the DEO if it weren't for Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain)? I venture no for a lot of reasons.
Since learning that her father is actually alive and under the hateful gaze of Project Cadmus, Alex has had a renewed sense of purpose to eliminate the criminally xenophobic organization that stands between her and the only person that could help fill that hole in her life. With every search, with every glimpse of him, she lives and dies. It's been established that Jeremiah Danvers is a missing piece to her happiness, that, since learning about him being alive, having him safe and part of her family again is important to her overall well-being.
So when Alex introduces her girlfriend Maggie (Floriana Lima) to her father , it's a huge moment that I'm not sure got the weight it deserved. This is the culmination of Alex's other emotional journey this season. A woman coming to terms with the fact that she loves women is no small thing and has given dimension to a character that, sometimes, was just about work and being Kara's support. Everything else that Alex has gone through this season has been opened up by the fact that Alex can vulnerable and that vulnerability is demonstrated through this emotional journey.
To that end, Sanvers is one of the sweetest relationships on television. They have bumps because they both have enough baggage to warrant their own supplementary cargo ship but, in the end, these two really seem to care about each other and give Alex an opportunity to let that stiff upper lip quiver. She's gone through the arduous process of breaking through convention to discover who she is, of coming out to one of the judgiest people she knows (her Kryptonian sister), and now, finally, she gets to bring these two missing pieces together: her romantic bliss and her reunited family.
So inviting her girlfriend to dinner to meet her father is a swell of emotional fireworks, vented only as the sisters have a brief aside on Kara's way to answer the door. And, of course, all of that was crushed under the weight of Jeremiah's betrayal.
Obviously there's a "plan" that Jeremiah is working under that we can only assume is to benefit the Danvers family in some way (Kara will be spared during the alien cull, perhaps?) as he rides the line between good guy and evil scientist henchman, but Alex basically had to watch her dad die in front of her. There she was, super awesome alien gun trained on Jeremiah as he was the slowest gazelle in the scampering herd, weighing the options of country and family. The man in front of her wasn't the father that disappeared during her teenage years. But he sure did look like him, sound like him, say the things that he might say. And, with that, she lowered her gun and let this stranger escape.
Maybe it's debatable whether Alex as the character we know would let any criminal get away like that, family or not, but I would say her father might be the exception. Her father isn't the mother who swings by National City for holidays or a sister that sometimes gets infected by Red-K and says mean things to her. Her father is an idea with tentacles. She's been drawn in, tangled in this dream of a father. And she'd rather let that idea live in the potential of goodness than to capture him (execute him even since he said he wouldn't go in alive) as the treasonous lackey he kind of is.
The scene with Maggie comforting Alex at the end is so telling for how far her character has come. That kind of outpouring of emotion last season might have felt a little forced given the Danvers trademark stoicism. But Season 2 has really given Alex the kind of dimension we needed for her to be a realized character.
Kara said at the beginning of the season that she needed to find herself, really look at who Kara Danvers is. And she is, more or less. But not like Alex has. Not to be ripped open and as often like Alex has.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.
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