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Supergirl, Season 2, and Sacrificing "Having It All"

Kara reacquaints herself with a familiar friend

Nick Campbell

Ah, hello, darkness. Her old friend.

As she flew through a dusk sky multicolored by setting sunlight striking the low level of lead in the atmosphere (in what must be a rare balance between just corrosive enough to reduce a Daxamite to a Pompeiian-style pile of ash, but somehow not poisonous enough to harm our human children), you could see the sadness that sometimes haunts the decidedly more melancholic side of Kara ( Melissa Benoist). While Kara Danvers fancies herself almost oppressively positive and heartwarmingly chipper, Kara zor-El tends to battle a lot of demons. Usually with her expert punching but also in her emotional baggage.

"Nevertheless, She Persisted," despite the title, was less political allegory (they seemed to get that shaken out during the previous week's "Resist") and more about Kara's original theme for the season, one that seemed to get muddied in the middle. Kara wanted to be Supergirl, but also wanted to have a simple kind of life. So Kara didn't uplink herself to the world's media satellites to call for the impeachment of Queen Rhea ( Teri Hatcher) and the release of her tax returns. Instead there was an early poignant moment where Kara sits down with her cousin Clark (Tyler Hoechlin) after a nice round of Kryptonian Beat-Em-Up, and admits that she wanted to have it all.

She has a job that she loves (two, in fact), a family that helps her feel at home, and a Mon-El ( Chris Wood) that makes her happy. All of those have been in different states of threat over the course of Season 2 ever since she decided to break a boy's heart and find herself but, right there, in that moment with Clark, she was almost scared that she could have it all and keep it. Clark has wise words for her, coming from a man that has often found himself in positions where the things he cherished have been threatened by lawless no-goodniks. The people you love are your strength, even when they're the very way that baddies find a way to get on your nerves. He never really assures her that she can have it all (and the show is very careful not to use those words and risk sounding cliché) because he knows better. And it's the absence of that reassurance that puts a pretty bow on Season 2.

Kara (Melissa Benoist) fighting her cousin.

If this season of Supergirl was about Kara finding who Kara Danvers is, that goal was accomplished. But Kara zor-El is less of a human trying to make it and, at least by the end of the Daxamite invasion, more of a superhero on the SNL stage, playing piano, and singing "Hallelujah." The self-sacrifice of a superhero for the common good is always going to bring heartache. So if we've just explored Kara trying to be more Danvers than zor-El, Season 3 looks prime for Kara to strike a balance and to really come to terms with the idea that the distant invention of "having it all" may not entirely possible for aliens that punch bad guys for the safety of humanity. Well, let me rephrase: she can certainly have it all. Just maybe not all at the same time before some fifth-dimensional trickster or (I guess) a Kryptonian monster blood baby decides to come shake things up on Earth-38.

And just as Kara had so often found herself on the Veranda of Pensive Thought over at CatCo, when her boss, coworkers, or, sometimes, The Flash ( Grant Gustin) would come out to reassure her, she found a new Balcony of Loneliness at the DEO, where both her cousin Clark and her sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) tried to make her feel better about rendering their planet too toxic for her first love to live in and then rocketing him into outer space to save him. It's tough sledding to help mend Kara's broken heart. It's a deep sadness powered by Earth's yellow sun, after all.

It's a bittersweet ending for Kara's hero's journey of self-discovery. But not everything in this season was tied into her isolation and mourning. Season 2 offered a lot of growth for just about everyone on the show, despite seeming like stories were compressed or that development was hampered when looking at it episode-by-episode. So let's run through all the people in Kara's life that she spared with her sacrifice and found themselves in happier places. Hooray!

Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Alex (Chyler Leigh) in the Fortress of Solitude.

Alex Danvers: No one has had a more breakout season on this show than Alex. Alex was a character defined either by being alien law enforcement or by being Kara's sister. But Season 2 marked Alex having a vulnerable side, featuring not only a sensitivity to growing up with a father that was lost in a criminal xenophobic terrorist cell but also growing up denying who she was. Her struggle with the stoic facade hiding a melange of emotions, romantic urges that caused her shame, and abandonment fears has done wonders for her dimension. And her relationship with Maggie (Floriana Lima) is both heartwarming and honest. Alex has been in a lot of danger this season, has bounded through a bunch of sick stunts, and now has a dope alien gun but, despite all her adventuring, the perfect way for Alex to end her season is to propose to Maggie. It might be a little soon, sure, and maybe a little convoluted given the circumstances. But I'm going to allow it. These two planning a wedding is going to be comedy gold. And also very touching.

J'onn J'onzz (David Harewood): Though it only happened in very short snippets throughout the season, and he could've had multiple episodes centered on him to cover the breadth of the issues at play, J'onn did get a happy ending. He's begun to work through his issues and the deep-seated survivor's guilt that he's carried with him from Mars. M'gann (Sharon Leal) has shown him that even White Martians, as terrifying and instrumental to his sadness as they have been collectively, can't be painted in broad strokes. It's a little weird that he needed a little bit of White Martian in him (via M'gann's blood) before he started to really come to terms with that. But it was good to see Miss Martian again at the end of the season after she left J'onn so quickly and, honestly, it was cool to see J'onn happy. I mean, it was just another example of a happy couple that made Kara feel miserable but it's fine.

James Olson (Mehcad Brooks): Who?

Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan): Winn, interestingly, hasn't changed very much over the course of the season, despite the large changes in his life. He has changed a lot from Season 1, where he was a young man with a lot of latent anger that once accused Kara of being a lesbian because she wasn't interested in him and complained about being in the friend zone (so very glad that's a phrase we can all agree now is awful to women and their agency). Though he's more of a secondary or even tertiary character, it's where Winn does his best work. Sure, he's the guy in the van, but he also has a wild ride of a relationship with alien force of nature Lyra (Tamzin Merchant) and is essentially the Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) of Supergirl but without the melancholy Flashpoint stuff. Oh, man. Can you imagine Winn in a truly Darkest Timeline? He'd be unwatchable. Ugh. Just think about him sliding across the floor to hug J'onn while calling him "Papa Bear." Ah, that's better.

James (Mehcad Brooks) and Cat (Calista Flockhart) staring at destruction.

James Olson: Okay, seriously this time. James has had a weird year on Supergirl. First he had his entire romantic storyline erased in a single episode, only to be given the mantle of vigilante human hero. It was a move that completely made sense for his character, not only because he's been hanging around self-sacrificing and self-righteous Kryptonians long enough to catch the fever, but also because he feels the high in providing the immediate help to humanity that punching bad guys accomplishes and that the incremental change of photojournalism rarely seemed to achieve for him. Also, he has that silky smooth voice that could convince even the most hardened n'er-do-well to do the right thing. So he becomes Guardian, they pour enough gravel into his voice to create Arrow-esque over-the-topness (and ruin Mehcad Brooks' best superpower), and then he disappears for most of the season. The fact that James only appears once in the finale and doesn't utter much more than reactionary grunts is an unfortunately fitting way to cap off a season. I'm still holding out hope that Guardian is going to get his own spin-off with Lyra and Winn. What's the point of having CW Seed if it isn't an incubator for all these brilliant ideas?

Mon-El (Chris Wood): What a roller coaster ride for Mon-El. Started off bro-y and absolutely abrasive to everything that Kara is, which turned into what I guess was kind of a Sam and Diane thing in the beginning. But, after Kara broke up with James, the idea of her eventually caving to Mon-El was abhorrent for a few reasons. The show, however, fixed its Season 1 romantic glitches that doomed James and Kara by giving Mon-El time to redeem himself with prime episode real estate and making the Daxamite more vulnerable. Did he redeem himself throughout the season? Jury's still out. There are times he could be looked at as a man-child trying to reform. At worst, he was borderline emotionally manipulative. But, as he was placed in a rocket ship toward the Phantom Zone (oops), the season had done enough to establish that Kara would be sad to see him go and we would be sad for all the lost zingers. There's no telling what we'll have lost in jokes about his ignorance of pop culture and things like Pop-Tarts. He will be missed.

Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath): I don't know where Lena's going to be for Season 3. She keeps zagging on me but with the same zigs. There's a formula to her where she appears to be working for the bad guys or for nefarious purposes but then she changes the game at the last minute, insisting that she was always good and is just really skilled at appearing bad enough to foil her mother and the Luthor villainous legacy. I figure she's going to live on that razor's edge for a while, teetering between good and the beckoning void of evil. Whatever the case, I'll just be happy to see more of her in the coming season.

Kara (Melissa Benoist) saying goodbye to Mon-El (Chris Wood).


Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart): She was only in four episodes and the year didn't change her much. That she knows Kara is Supergirl is a weight off my shoulders, though, because, honestly, how could she not have put those pieces together by now? Lena is next to find out when she turns her superpowered brain toward Sherlockian deduction rather than hoping for a mother's love, but Cat knowing is good enough for me for now. Will Kara's secret soon be revealed? Will there no longer be a Kara Danvers? Will Cat Grant even be in the next season? She'd better. I need more brazen flirtation with Clark Kent. Oh, and meaningful mentorship of Kara.

Snapper Carr (Ian Gomez): We watched the News Grinch's heart grow one-and-a-half sizes. What is it with superhero movies and shows that want to back a dump truck full of gravel into the throats of its characters? That's got to hurt the old instrument. I hope Ian Gomez drinks a lot of honey and soothing tea to help that out. Is there some kind of balm? I don't know.

The CatCo WorldWide Media Building: How is that thing still standing? Is that were Snapper Carr was the whole time? Was he out there with all the other reporters just leaned against the building holding the thing together?

Brian (Josh Hallem): Is Brian okay? Of course he's okay. A nuclear bomb could go off in National City (and almost has several times) and Brian would still be on the street, hustling. The dude's got spirit. Never change, Brian. Never change.