Christmas brings presents and holiday cheer. But sadly, it also brings a hiatus for some of my favorite shows. The CW has its Mid-Season Finales out this week which begin a break for their shows. This Monday, the SUPERGIRL Season 3 Mid-Season Finale “Reign” aired.
It marks a defining moment in what has been a splendid season for SUPERGIRL. I have loved every episode of SUPERGIRL Season 3. In fact, SUPERGIRL has become my favorite CW show this year. However, I did not always have this fondness for SUPERGIRL.
How I Grew To Love SUPERGIRL
I am ashamed to say I was a SUPERGIRL detractor when it first aired in 2015. I was already at this point a ARROW and FLASH fanboy, but when I watched the series premiere of SUPERGIRL, I was sorely disappointed. It wasn’t until a year later that I decided, after much nagging from my friends, to give the series another chance.
While I found Season 1 of SUPERGIRL very enjoyable, I thought some of the show’s writing was thinner than the other CW Arrowverse shows. Then Season 2 came along. Season 2 of SUPERGIRL really found its footing as it discussed alien immigrants as a metaphor for our own human refugees.
The relationships between the characters whether it was the love story of Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Maggie ((Floriana Lima) or the friendship of Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Lena (Katie McGrath), became aspirational ones for me.
The first nine episodes of SUPERGIRL Season 3 have blown everything the terrific season 2 had to offer out of the water. The show which I previously found to be the weakest of the Arrowverse shows has become its crowning jewel. This season’s willingness to go darker and discuss issues which have no clear answer make it not just must-watch comic book TV but fantastic television in general.
The Girl of Tomorrow Falters
DC is known for its larger-than-life characters like Superman and Batman. These characters always seem to know the right thing to do; they are always morally justified. It is great to have these idealistic characters as inspirations. It is even more powerful to see that even characters as strong as Superman or smart as Batman can fail, feel weak, and struggle.
This year has not been a fun time emotionally for Kara Danvers. First, she believed that she consigned her love, Mon-El (Chris Wood), to death by sending him out into space. Then she learned that Mon-El was sent into the future where he lived for seven years and found new love in the form of Imra (Amy Jackson).
Now in “Reign,” Kara is beaten nearly to death by someone she believes is her friend. For a show that promotes positivity and hope, SUPERGIRL Season 3 has given its titular character a rather gloomy time this season. The darker tone of this season does not feel forced, however. In fact, it feels like a natural progression for the character. For someone like Kara who tries to carry the world on her shoulders, it is only natural that she would sometimes find the weight too much to bear.
Seeing Kara experience severe depression and anxiety are upsetting for any SUPERGIRL fan to witness. For people like me who have had histories with anxiety and other mental issues, it is an inspiring signal that our heroes feel the same pain that we do. Melissa Benoist has been open about her own issues with mental health and her example, as well as Kara’s, tell others who suffer from mental issues that “they are not alone.”
SUPERGIRL also shows that the way we can get through our struggles is by depending on the people who love us. Sometimes the relationships in CW shows feel forced or fake. SUPERGIRL is one of the exceptions to this rule.
The relationships in SUPERGIRL are very heartfelt, touching, and relatable. This is because, despite the sci-fi setting, all of the characters are dealing with very human issues. Jon (David Harewood) reuniting with his father who had not seen for decades in 3×03 was both surprising and moving.
Kara and Sam (Odette Annable) going out of their way to save their Lena’s reputation in 3×05 was a powerful example of true friendship. Then Maggie reuniting with her homophobic father and coming to terms with the fact that he may never accept her sexuality was a valuable lesson for people to see.
While my favorite thing the writers of SUPERGIRL have done this season is addressing Kara’s emotional state, a close second would be how they have handled Alex and Maggie’s relationship. Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer or (Sanvers as the internet calls them) gained a lot of popularity due to them being positive representations of a same-sex couple on TV. Because the couple was so popular, I did not think that the writers would dare create issues between Alex and Maggie. I was wrong.
Alex realized that her desire to have children superseded her desire to be with Maggie. Their breakup was heartbreaking since the pair loved each other still, but they both knew they could not be together. I don’t know if SUPERGIRL will reunite Maggie and Alex again, but they created a realistic and meaningful way for them to break up in this instance.
The Danvers Sisters
There are several episodes of this season of SUPERGIRL which were awesome. The strongest episodes include “Far from the Tree” (3×03), “The Faithful” (3×04), and “Wake Up” (3×07). My favorite episode, however, is “Midvale” (3×06). “Midvale” saw Kara and Alex return to their childhood home for some recuperation. During this time the two girls remember why they love each other so fiercely.
Most of the episode revolves around the teenage years of Kara and Alex. The sisters, who up to this point have not gotten along with each other, team up to investigate the death of Kara’s friend. The two learn to depend on one another and to trust in family.
This episode is fantastic firstly because they absolutely nailed the casting of young Kara and Alex. The young actors who played the two girls were amazing. Then, the change of setting and time was an interesting turn for the series to take. This episode directly took certain ideas from one of my favorite recent comic book limited series SUPERGIRL: BEING SUPER. Taking inspiration from this new comic shows the writer’s dedication to telling the best Kara Zor-El stories.
Finally, I loved how we got an episode just about love between sisters. I think that Kara and Alex are both such great role models in different ways. Alex is tough and competent but also someone who can be very unsure of herself. Meanwhile, Kara appears confident and extroverted but also deals with depression. The sisters provide excellent support systems and help the other become the best person they can be.
I found the villains of Season 1 and Season 2 capable foes but nothing too memorable. Non (Chris Vance) and Astra (Laura Benanti) in Season 1 seemed like General Zod knock-offs. Rhea (Teri Hatcher) in Season 2 was fearsome but in the end not very complicated. The best villain the show had was Max Lord (Peter Facinelli), but sadly the character did not return in Season 2 or 3.
It looks like SUPERGIRL is finally fixing its villain problem with Reign. I must admit that I did not know who Reign was until the Season 2 revealed her as the main villain of SUPERGIRL Season 3.
Whereas in previous seasons the main villain would remain in the background until their eventual reveal later in the season, Samantha Arias AKA Reign is a significant character throughout this season. Reign serves as an amazing villainous parallel to Supergirl. Samantha Arias is not evil, but she is, in fact, a friend of Supergirl.
However, whereas Kara’s parents sent their child to Earth to bring hope and justice, the priestesses that raised Reign sent her to Earth to bring the planet to its knees. Reign is the Worldkiller, a weapon born to destroy and slaughter. Seeing two daughters of Krypton fight over their vision for Earth is what makes this duel so interesting.
SUPERGIRL Season 3 Mid-Season Finale
That brings us to the Mid-Season Finale of SUPERGIRL Season 3 “Reign.” This was another stellar episode surrounded by a darker tone and ending in a cliffhanger.
The Christmas themed episode sees Kara come face to face with Reign. The battle between the two Kryptonians is perhaps the best fight sequence on the show. Alex tells Kara to remove her human side when fighting Reign and that can be seen. Both Reign and Supergirl are not holding back but showing the full extent of their powers.
To the great irony, Reign defeats Supergirl when she brings Kara down to street-level. Kara’s desire to protect people and be a hero stops her from destroying Reign who quickly gets the upper hand. Reign then throws the bloody Supergirl off a skyscraper.
The site of Kara lying still in a pile of broken concrete feels very reminiscent of THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN. The show ends with Kara barely hanging on to her life. I do not think that the show will kill off Kara. However, seeing her physically broken and beaten while she is suffering from all this emotional pain was a powerful way to end the year of SUPERGIRL.
The episode isn’t all dark, however. We do see James and Lena finally get together in an adorable scene. The show hasn’t known what to do with James since the writers realized he had no romantic chemistry with Kara. A Lena/James romance could work if they don’t force the love story.
Furthermore, the more serious, battle-hardened Mon-El is a much stronger character than the one that they introduced in Season 2. Overall, “Reign” was a necessary gloomy Christmas episode with instance levity but a continuation of the serious direction this show has been going.
What to Expect Next
Since this is The CW, I think that Kara will only stay incapacitated for an episode at the most. Perhaps while she is in her coma, we will get more flashbacks to Krypton which could help her in her fight against Reign. Supergirl is going to struggle for the rest of this season, but she is going to eventually conclude that her human side is what makes her stronger, not weaker. It will be the loving, emotionally, vulnerable side of her that can defeat Reign.
Before she does that though, she is going to have to assist Mon-El’s Legion of Super-Heroes with their own adventures. We will get to meet many more of Mon-El’s team from the 31st Century throughout this season. Perhaps we’ll even get the chance to see what National City looks like in the future. Supergirl’s mission with Mon-El will be a significant part of her coming to terms with her unrequited love for him. Meanwhile, seeing how Kara managed to inspire people 1,000 years after she even lived will serve as fuel for her to continue her fight against Reign.
As for other things to expect in the upcoming episodes, let’s hope for some more Mars action surrounding J’onn J’onzz. Martian Manhunter is one of the best characters on the Arrowverse, and so Jon needs to have some more stuff to do this season. I’d also hope to see a return of Superman this season. Kara could use Kal’s support to remind her why she fights for Earth. In fact, I think 3×10 would be the perfect time to bring Kal-El back to the show. Only Kal could inspire Kara to put the cape back on after she suffered such a grievous defeat.
SUPERGIRL Season 3
SUPERGIRL Season 3 is a stellar example of how amazing these CW Shows can be. The season has been the perfect combination of emotion, action, darkness, and fun. Melissa Benoist’s turn as Kara Danvers is by far the most nuanced and captivating it has ever been. We no longer see Supergirl as merely the cheery Girl of Steel but as a woman who tries her hardest to overcome trauma.
SUPERGIRL Season 3 is a reminder of what we need from our heroes right now. It addresses social issues in a bright, classy way and has a positive message about helping other people. It isn’t afraid to show its heroes in pain, to show them struggle, and to simply fail. That is why SUPERGIRL Season 3 is its best season so far.