I won’t lie to you, I went into this episode wholly expecting to not have Maggie mentioned at all. I thought it was going to be so crossover-focused that there would be no room for secondary characters, let alone relatively new recurring ones. What I didn’t account for was that Supergirl is brand new on the CW, so probably they didn’t want to alienate (get it? alienate?) any viewers who weren’t familiar with their other CW DC shows, so last night’s episode was actually just the most Supergirl episode of Supergirl to ever Supergirl — plus Barry Allen pops in at the end.
And thus, this will be a Supergirl recap, and the rest of the shows in the crossover will be rounded up in a mega-recap that goes up on Friday and will hopefully mostly be about Sara flirting with all the girls on all the shows. Or something.
We begin this week at Thanksgiving dinner with the Danvers girls (all three!) and the boys who follow them around (all three…), where James and Winn are arguing about who will tell Kara that they are Guardian. Alex solves their dilemma for them by being like, “Neither, I have a more important announcement.”
And Kara must know that Alex is working up the courage to come out to their mother because she steals a beer from her big sister’s hand and shoves it in the freezer, but then gets distracted thinking Mon-El is flirting with Mama Danvers to see Alex sneak right back in.
At dinner, Kara tells everyone to say what they’re thankful for, and Alex interrupts James coming out speech to start one of her own.
But before she can slur her way through it, a portal opens up over the table. Though those of us who follow The Flash might realize it looks an awful lot like one of Cisco’s breeches.
Back at the DEO, they decide there are more important things to worry about right now, like what Cadmus is up to, and if Lena knows Lillian is behind all this. Alex starts giving Winn hacking instructions, but Kara says she’ll just go in as a reporter and get the info. Alex and Winn are doubtful she’d be any good as an undercover agent, and Kara is highly offended.
But they let her put on her glasses and get her notepad and ask Lena about her relationship with her mother. For a “puff piece” of her own invention. Lena tells Kara a bit about how her and her mother never really got along before getting a little uncomfortable and politely excusing herself.
(Side note: I’m going to do a Supergirl rewatch and drink every time a scene passes the Bechdel test and get drunker than Alex Danvers at Thanksgiving Dinner.)
(Editor’s note: I know I told you not to play up the subtext between Kara and Lena, but are you also drinking every time you can’t tell whether or not Lena is trying to get into Kara’s pants? Because it’s very confusing!)
As soon as Kara is gone, Lena calls her mother and says they need to talk.
Meanwhile, Mon-El fights Cyborg Superman, who has invaded the Gaylien Bar and released a biological weapon that kills all of the aliens in there. Mon-El reports back to the DEO and gets quarantined, just in case, and the team calls on Mama Danvers to help. But until they figure out what’s going on, Kara and J’onn are to stay indoors.
Lillian Luthor goes to visit her daughter at L Corp and she’s cold and calculated when talking to Lena. She casually admits she loves Lex more than Lena and doesn’t see why this should bother Lena so much. But Lena didn’t call Lillian to discuss their family dynamic; she wants to know what she has up her sleeve. The smartest reporter she knows is suspicious her, and Lena trusts her more than she trusts her mother, the lying liar who lies.
In his cell at the DEO, Mon-El’s sickness gets worse and Eliza says the virus is Kryptonian. And suddenly Kara knows where they got the virus, and why Cadmus needed her blood.
Kara zips off to the Fortress of Solitude and after fighting off the little robot, she unlocks the control pad and sees a hologram of her father. Dadogram tells her that he created the Medusa virus to destroy non-Kryptonians in the event of an invasion, and Kara is horrified. She thought what her parents did was good, but their idea of “good” is a lot different than hers. Anyway, at least now they know why Mon-El didn’t die instantly; his Daxxon blood is similar enough to Kryptonian to keep him hanging on.
The ladies get back to work, and when Eliza gets Alex alone, she asks her daughter what she’s been hiding. She can tell Alex has had something on the tip of her tongue since dinner and she wants to know what. When Alex can’t even look at her mother while she tries to figure out if now is when she wants to come out, Eliza asks if it has anything to do with Maggie. “You mention her a lot,” she says. When Alex falters, Eliza softens with realization. She calls her, “My beautiful Alexandra,” and is a little hurt Alex is so hesitant to tell her. Alex says she worries she’d be letting her mother down, since she’s not going to be able to live a “regular” life. But Eliza doesn’t care if her oldest daughter is gay any more than she cares that her youngest is an alien. She always knew Alex was special, and this is just one more special thing about her. She loves Alex, all of her, just the way she is.
I think this scene was quite a (tragically) beautiful juxtaposition to the scene between Lena and Lillian. Where Lillian shrugged and was like, “I love you as much as I can,” Eliza is like, “I love you for everything you are and will be, more than should even be possible.”
And gosh that scene was refreshing.
Speaking of refreshing, Kara and J’onn have a nice heart to heart, because Kara is feeling disappointed by her parents; she keeps learning new things about them that are tarnishing the memories she held dear, making her feel like their legacy is just destruction. But J’onn tells her that SHE is their legacy, and that they would be proud of her.
But their moment is interrupted by J’onn doubling over in pain as the White Martian cells take over a little more. He’s honest with her again, which I really love, and she’s worried about him.
After researching the chip Kara brought back from the Fortress of Solitude, Eliza realizes that the one missing piece Cadmus needs to spread the Medusa virus is only made at L Corp, so Alex calls in Maggie and Supergirl flies on over.
Cyborg Superman is there, so Supergirl fights him, saving Lena and scaring him off without what he came for, but not before he zaps Maggie in the shoulder with his laser eye. But don’t worry, Maggie is wearing a bulletproof (and laser proof, probably) vest and it only knicked her shoulder.
While regrouping, the team thinks maybe Lena is in on this Cadmus thing, but Kara has stared into the depths of her ocean-like eyes and knows the truth of her. No one else buys it, so Kara pays Lena another visit, this time as Supergirl.
Lena thanks Supergirl for saving her life, and Supergirl asks for a favor in return; she needs help finding her mother, because Lillian is the head of Cadmus. Lena is offended by the accusation, and assumes it comes from a place of Luthor discrimination. Supergirl doesn’t back down though, and channels her inner Cat Grant, telling Lena that she is not like her mother, and that she is kind, she is smart, she is important. And she can be her own hero.
But Lena asks her to leave, so leave she does. Lena calls her mother into her office again, but this time it’s to offer her the isotope she seeks. Lillian is surprised that her daughter would want to be part of this, but Lena says that’s what she gets for assuming things about her.
Back at the DEO, Alex tends to Maggie’s wounds like she’s some kind of Nicole Haught over here.
They exchange some playful banter before Alex takes things to a slightly more serious place by thanking Maggie. After a few more sleepless nights processing everything, she realizes now the progression she’s made. At first she denied being gay, then she thought maybe she was just gay for Maggie, but now she realizes it — and can even say the word — she’s gay. Super gay. This is her life now, and she’s discovering she’s more than just okay with it, she’s happy about it. And she has Maggie to thank for helping her find her way to this place, otherwise she might still be somewhere in the middle.
And man oh man can I relate to that fear that there’s no turning back. That feeling that once you say you’re gay, everything is gay, and you’re going to have to put on your gay shoes in the morning and walk your gay self around this not-usually-as-gay-as-we’d-like world. But then once you realize that you like your rainbow chucks better than those boring flats that hurt your feet, or that combat boots give you the swagger you’ve been wishing you had, or that your high heels make for a great gay catwalk strut, you find that you wouldn’t want to turn back, even if you could.
So Alex is happy. She’s gay and she’s ecstatic. And damn, so am I.
In what I hope was just a cheap ploy to distract anyone who might be riled up (in a bad way, not riled up like we were riled up) by Alex using the word “gay”, in the very next scene, Mon-El kisses Kara.
Anyway, an alarm goes off back in the control room and they can tell that the isotope is being moved to the port. One of those push-broadcasts comes through, the anonymous face of Cadmus declaring that they’re going to make Earth great again and give it back to the humans. Supergirl is ready to fight but tells J’onn he can’t go outside. J’onn says too bad, he’s turning into a White Martian anyway so he might as well die fighting.
So off they go. When they get to the port, Supergirl is horrified to see Lena with the key to the rocket launcher, but Lena just arches a perfect eyebrow and says, “If they’re going to call me wicked I might as well be wicked, through and through.” And turns the key.
Supergirl flies after the rocket but as soon as she gets her hands on it, Lillian turns another key and the rocket explodes, dispersing the Medusa virus.
Kara gets back to the port in time to save J’onn from Hank Henshaw, where she informs him that his name is dumb and only half accurate.
Aliens around the city watch as red flakes fall from the sky, but none of them cough, none of them fall. Lillian is confused until she sees the mischievous grin on her daughter’s face. Lena switched the isotope. And also called the police.
I’ll admit, I had no idea what to make of Lena Luthor until this very moment. I went back and forth between wanting to trust her because Kara trusted her and not wanting to trust her because I’ve been fooled by a pretty face before. But I breathed a sigh of relief as Lena revealed whose side she’s really on. Truly the Luthor sidekick all good Zor-Els need.
Oh PS some creepy space nuns are hunting Mon-El and I dunno they look nice let’s just hand him over.
Speak of the devil, once they got their hands on the virus, Eliza used it to create a cure for Mon-El, and for J’onn. So he’s full Green Martian again. And I’m officially confused as to what that White Martian storyline was all about. I was kind of hoping there’d be more of a lesson there? A realization that it wasn’t White Martian blood that made White Martians bad? I don’t know.
Good news, when he wakes up, Mon-el pretends he doesn’t remember the kiss, maybe to give Kara an out, maybe to force her to say it; either way, she decides to play along and also forget about the kiss, which is fine by me.
Okay I’m saving the best scene for last so I need to do the last scene first: Barry and Cisco appear in Kara’s apartment and she’s all excited to see them.
Barry reminds her that once she offered to return a favor and she makes her cutest little determined face and is definitely ready to travel across space and time to help.
But before that, across town, Alex is unwinding after a busy day of saving the world when someone knocks on her door. She grabs her gun before checking who it is since she doesn’t have x-ray vision, but puts it down and opens the door when she sees that it’s Maggie…and a pizza.
She apologizes for being in her PJs, but Maggie thinks they’re cute. Alex adorably asks if there’s a murder to talk about all excited, but Maggie has something EVEN MORE exciting to talk about: Feelings.
See, Maggie almost died earlier, and the lives of hundreds of queer fictional characters flashed before her eyes and when she woke up, alive thanks to her Bulletproof Vest, she realized that she couldn’t waste this blessing the TV gods have bestowed upon us. Maggie tells Alex that the idea that Alex was coming out just for her scared her, but now that Alex was past that stage, and now that she realizes how short life is, especially in their line of work, she has a new motto: We should kiss the girls that we want to kiss.
And guess who she wants to kiss. Okay, I’ll tell you. It’s Alex.
A lot of things happen in the breath of time between when Maggie says this and when she goes in for the kiss. Maggie pauses a beat, to make sure Alex isn’t going to recoil and be like YOU’RE TOO LATE. In fact, her face loses that classic dimpled smile for a second and her eyes search Alex’s, almost like she’s afraid she IS too late. But Alex’s face does the opposite thing. Her whole body relaxes like a wave of relief washed over her, washing away the leftover feelings she was still bound up in. And right after Maggie kisses her, Alex’s eyebrows shoot up, like she can’t believe this is really happening.
But Maggie keeps kissing her and Alex kisses her back and because she somehow went from zero to smooth af in record time, Alex pulls away for a minute and confirms that THIS means Maggie likes her. I think this speaks to the friendship Alex and Maggie have built off-screen — it was hinted at by the way she wasn’t particularly embarrassed about being in her pajamas, the way she casually popped open the beers Maggie brought, the way she didn’t seem all that surprised or flustered when she appeared with a pizza. And now, even while all her dreams are coming true, even she probably feels like she could fly as high as her sister right now, she feels comfortable enough with Maggie to make a joke.
And Maggie feels comfortable to make one back, asking if she’s going to go crazy on her and Alex says she probably will (all the while crossing her arms over her chest like she can feel it beating so hard it might break out). Alex tucks Maggie’s away from her eyes, drinks in Maggie’s face like it’s a glass of cold water after a hike across the Sahara, and kisses her with everything she’s got, while the song in the background sings, “I’m coming home.”
And it does feel like coming home, doesn’t it? And I don’t mean going home, like visiting your family for Thanksgiving. This is coming home to a place where you’re more comfortable than you’ve ever been, this is a new home, one you didn’t even know you were looking for until you find it. Kara and Eliza (and Jeremiah!) will always be one kind of home for Alex, and nothing will ever change that. But this is the kind of home her soul has been searching for, and you can tell in the way she practically glows as she goes in for that kiss.
I watch a lot of TV. Like, a disgusting amount. One time I counted how many current shows I watch in a year and even I don’t know how there’s time for such a thing. But I do. And this Alex and Maggie thing is unexpected. It is being handled with a complexity and seriousness (and soundtrack!) that queer female relationships are rarely given on TV shows. It’s similar to Wynonna Earp‘s Waverly and Nicole in the way the camera is extra dramatic when it sees them together and the music gets extra special — and actually similar in that the relationship is the main romantic relationship since the main character, who happens to be the sister of one of the women in said relationship, is too busy having the world (though she has a few boys at her heels). It’s similar to Cosima and Delphine or Callie and Arizona in that they’re adults living their adult lives having adult feelings and not shoving over trash cans when things get complicated (which is a totally legitimate reaction for a teenager to have btw, and a story I think is also important to be on our TVs), though Grey’s is a lot more high-intensity in the life drama aspect, and Orphan Black’s stakes are a little higher. Really there’s nothing that is a perfect comparison, which in itself is perfect.
I was genuinely ready for a slow burn. I was ready for flirting and tension and waiting. But I’m not mad about this. The Sanvers scenes in this episode were perfect. They were sweet, they were thoughtful, they were honest.
Obviously I’m cautious with my optimism on this one. What happens when two women get together and one doesn’t immediately die? I don’t know, it’s been a while since we’ve seen it happen. I’m hoping we get a few episodes that were like that period of Orphan Black when Cosima and Delphine were working together in the lab and also dating. Openly flirting, stealing kisses. But without the underlying can-I-trust-her fear.
But those are worries for another day. For now, we get to end the first half of the season with Gay Alex Danvers and Gay Maggie Sawyer kissing the girl they want to kiss. I said this on Twitter but I feel it bears repeating: This season of Supergirl — these scenes and storylines coming to us now, this year, after everything that has happened on TV and off — is kind of like finding booze in a post-apocalyptic world. It can’t fix everything, but it is lifting our spirits and cleaning our wounds. And strong wills and scar tissue are going to be vital to our survival.