Previously on Supergirl, everything was gay and nothing hurt. Okay fine, Kara and Lena were only queering it up in our dreams, but Alex and Maggie had honest-to-goodness sweet lady kisses complete with a “please don’t break my heart” clause. It was perfection. And it was the emotional crux of the whole midseason finale! What a world. Speaking of what a world, unrelated to anything except what Supergirl was up to in the hiatus, Melissa Benoist is a real life hero and I love her.
OKAY. And we’re back!
We open mid-heist, with robbers on the run and Supergirl hot on their heels. She’s just going through the motions like Buffy at the beginning of “Once More with Feeling,” and as she lazily jogs after two runaway thieves, Guardian swoops in to get them. Winn jumps out of his van to help and quickly gets clocked, and he finds himself on the ground with a gun pointed at his head. Suddenly this vigilante sidekick thing isn’t all fun and games. But Guardian saves him just in time and the bad guys are apprehended.
Back the DEO, Kara is ranting about Guardian again, but Alex can tell (from the crinkle on her forehead!) that something else is bothering her little sister. Kara admits that she’s bored with the easy takedowns even stripper cops could handle. She wants to save people, not stolen goods.
Kara thinks some sister time might lift her mood, so she invites Alex over to catch up on The Night Of (I’m pretty sure Kara and I would make great TV buddies, just saying) but Alex turns a little pink and squirms around a little and says she has…plans. That she’d totally cancel if Kara really needs her! But Kara catches on quick and says all she needs is for Alex to go be with her girlfriend. And y’all. The face Alex makes when Kara says, “girlfriend”. And when she repeats it back. It’s a baby bird who has learned how to fly. She’s so damn GLEEFUL it’s CONTAGIOUS. But hold onto your hats because we’ve only just begun.
Cut to THE NEXT MORNING and Maggie is wearing Alex’s shirt and is in Alex’s kitchen and blowing Alex’s entire damn mind.
Alex is so happy she can’t stop talking about how happy she is and she KNOWS it’s super cheesy and dorky and uncool to be saying all these things out loud but she just had SEX with her GIRLFRIEND and no date she has ever had has ended in her being both “intimate” and happy and she CANNOT. CONTAIN. HER. FEELINGS. And the light is shining and the music is tinkling so she kisses Maggie just to make sure it’s real.
(all gifs courtesy of my friend Nic, gifmaster extraordinaire)
And it super is. You can tell by the way they both smile right into it.
Afraid to interrupt the magic, Alex suggests perhaps they call out sick and hang out together all day, or maybe forever, but Maggie only agrees to the morning, and they head back to bed. It’s all so pure and so grown-up but youthful and playful and sweet and it’s basically the embodiment of #goals. Just a cute, sweet morning with a cute, sweet girl in a cute, sweet apartment. Before heading off to save the world. Yaknow? I could cry thinking of the teenage girls watching this who might feel like the things they’d been secretly trying to imagine aren’t so weird after all.
Anyway, NOT taking the morning off is Kara Danvers, who is at CatCo, promising a crying woman that she’ll help her find her missing daughter, much to Snapper’s chagrin. He tells her that they are a newspaper not a runaway hotline, but Kara doesn’t give a hoot, she’s going to save that girl.
Kara heads to the gaylien bar to meet Maggie Sawyer, who maybe in other circumstances wouldn’t give a reporter missing person files, but does exactly that for her girlfriend’s little sister.
And while they are discussing the seemingly unrelated but highly suspicious missing person cases, a gentleman gets shoved into a mysterious machine by a doctor, under the order of our old pal Roulette.
Kara goes to the DEO to enlist Winn, his black eye, and his sourpuss to help with the missing persons when Alex floats in on Cloud Nine. Kara teases her about her dopey grin, and Alex admits Maggie slept over last night. And the two of them giggle like the love-crazy sisters they are. Oh gosh it’s like someone opened a window in a stuffy room. The world is full of horrible things and the mayor is a giant snake-monster and the hellmouth is open but Maggie slept over!
Though clearly these two need to put more shows with queer women on their “to binge” list because they both act like two scenes in a row with sweet kisses isn’t something to be worried about.
Later, Kara is about to do some undercover investigative journalism when she realizes there’s a barnacle stuck to her that looks a little like that Daxamite kid — oh right yes it’s Mon-El, here to follow her around and get in her way. They visit the bad doctor and ask about Izzy, the missing girl, but find themselves in front of a portal with some big bads trying to shove them through. They fight back, but Kara knows she has to go through the portal to save the missing people, so she tells Mon-El to go get Alex and some backup while she heads through.
Through she goes, to an unknown red-sun planet.
Some lizard people attack, and she instinctively gets all punchy with them, but it hurts her and she bleeds. Just then Mon-El pops through the portal…alone…without backup…and the portal closes behind him.
Kara is rightfully PISSED — she wanted her sister fighting by her side, not this mound of cauliflower rice, so when he says he doesn’t want to go to the “Murder Castle” (which fine that was funny) she makes it clear that she doesn’t give a flying Kryptonian what he wants and marches right toward it. Mon-El marches after her, but doesn’t follow in her footsteps, because that would be the smart thing to do, but instead steps into a metal trap (a not-hidden, large, metal trap that stands out quite a bit on the dusty terrain, but WHATEVER), and gets them kidnapped.
Kara asks their alien kidnapper about the missing girl, and he admits they were going the right way, but that probably they shouldn’t follow, because the Red Fortress (aka Murder Castle) is where human trafficking happens. The alien mentions the name of the planet, and Mon-El recognizes it as the proper name for Slavers Moon, where people on his planet used to purchase their slaves.
Kara is not deterred by this though and storms right through the front door to surrender, ready to fight her way out. Kara finds Izzy as soon as they’re thrown into the cell and the missing girl is honored that Supergirl knows her name.
Everyone is excited Supergirl is here to save the day until she explains about the red sun situation. She is assuring them that she’ll still help however she can when in struts the one and only Roulette.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, it’s been a full hour since Alex has seen or heard from her sister, so she’s starting to freak out. She realizes Kara is on another planet and is furious she didn’t go with her on her investigation and is ready to punch a hole in the fabric of the universe to get to her sister faster. J’onn can’t go with her because he can’t breathe the air on Slavers Moon, but Alex could will an army into existence right now with the power of her fury.
Unfortunately, that’s when Maggie decides to pop by the DEO, because it’s been an hour since she’s seen or heard from Alex, and guys there are evil aliens afoot, it’s important to be in contact with your loved ones at all times.
Alex apologizes for the radio silence but Supergirl is missing. And as she looks at Maggie and a rogue ray of happiness shoots out and feels like blasphemy amidst the storm of fear and worry she has for her sister, and lacking an enemy to punch, Alex turns on Maggie, turns on herself. She took the morning off, she was distracted by her feelings, she let herself be happy, and her sister got kidnapped. These are all facts that are true at the same time and therefore they must be connected. The only one she has control over right now is the whole “let herself be happy” thing, so she shuts it down.
She tells Maggie to leave, tells Maggie she can’t, and Maggie is just as confused as when her ex-girlfriend called her a sociopath and broke up with her out of the blue, so she just gives a surprised but resigned, “See ya, Danvers.” And leaves.
Meanwhile on Slavers Moon, Roulette sells all of her prisoners to what looks like a Dominator from the Legends of SuperFlarrow crossover. Things are looking bleak for our hero. And that dude she’s standing near.
But little did they know, Alex is already at the portal, with a portable sunlamp in hand, and Winn with the portal codes cued up. Well, until Alex tells him he needs to come to the other side of the portal with them. Winn, still (understandably!) shaken from his near-death experience, tries to get out of it, admitting to Alex that he’s scared. And it’s actually a really great moment for Winn. He’s usually all bravado, treating this superhero thing like a video game he’s winning. But it got real for him, and he tells Alex, his best friend’s sister, HIS friend, that he’s not sure he wants to play anymore. But Alex says being scared is okay — but running away won’t make things better.
So, inspired by Alex’s pep talk, Winn follows her to Slavers Moon.
In the Murder Castle, Mon-El has resigned himself to his fate, while Kara, exhausted, tells him that Goonies never say die. She takes a Supergirl stance and puts her small but strong body between the kidnapped and the kidnappers and earns herself a big old zap to the chest.
Despite feeling the full brunt of this pain like she hasn’t in quite some time, despite having no powers, no plan, no foreseeable way out of this, she stands strong and takes another zap, and another, until Mon-El finally realizes he’s being a loser and jumps in.
The prisoners are also inspired by Supergirl and they all shove the bad doctor and Roulette in the cell and run away. On the way out, Mon-El is ready to take a shot to protect Supergirl while she’s ushering the others to safety, but he doesn’t get the chance because the Dominator has the guard stand down, then he bows to Mon-El.
And…I just…I don’t know. At the end of the episode some bounty hunters who knew his name were after him, too. Is this going to be literally the same backstory as M’gann? “Okay so I know I told this story about a prince and his right hand man and I made it seem like I’m the right hand man but surprise I’m actually the prince”? Because if this chunk of raw tofu is going to stick around, I need his story to be a little more interesting than that.
Anyway, the sisters reunite, and some more fighting ensues. Winn gets punched again, and again finds himself on his back with a gun to his face, but this time he jumps up and fights back and is rather adorably proud of himself. Things get a little dicey overall but Alex gives her sister a boost of sunshine and Kara Supergirls them out of danger.
Everyone is home and safe and happy. Well, almost. But we’ll get there.
Kara marches herself to CatCo and plops a story about Slavers Moon on Snapper’s desk, and proudly tells him that she’s going to follow her heart. She holds her head high and storms out, and as soon as she’s out of sight, he smiles and says, “Atta girl, Danvers.” Which…I THINK SHE WOULD HAVE APPRECIATED HEARING? But tough love I guess?
Across the office, Winn struts into James’ office, back to his old self, and actually kind of adorable. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I found myself slowly getting on board with a Guardian/Winn(g)man subplot. “Sub” being key. But I liked seeing them happy! They weren’t whining or pining, they were just feeling useful! So they just need to come out to Kara and play a very clear second-in-command role and I think we could make this work!
The only problem is we also have Mon-El. Who, according to what he tells Kara when he goes to visit her at her apartment, wants to be a superhero, too. The conversation is actually very sweet (and feels a little improvised, in a good way) and I do think these two have very good annoying-little-cousin-I-have-to-train-to-be-a-superhero chemistry. He seems to finally understand why Kara does what she does, and he does seem to want to be a better alien. So he agrees to listen to her, and she gives him a Highlights magazine, and says maybe she can turn him from a Goofus to a Gallant after all.
Cut to the other Danvers sister, who has invited Maggie over to apologize.
Alex tries to explain; she often feels like she’s being punished for being happy. She has always felt this insane amount of responsibility for her sister, and being in the DEO means being selfish could cost…Supergirl…her life…and those things are only…metaphorically…related. But Maggie doesn’t flinch. “Because Supergirl’s your sister.” Point-blank.
Alex starts to get flustered, but Maggie says that she knows the difference between Alex’s work-stressed and sister-stressed already. Plus, she’s a DETECTIVE. She’s not about to be fooled by a pair of glasses!
Side-note about this. I believe the only people who have had face-to-face interactions with both Supergirl and Kara Danvers and don’t know that they are the same person are the people who don’t see Kara Danvers. (Max Lord needed cameras to figure it out, for example.) I believe Cat Grant and Lena Luthor know full well who Supergirl is. And it’s a nice little moment and a break in the serious conversation.
Anyway, Alex is relieved Maggie knows because now they don’t have to have any secrets.
Maggie asks how she knows Alex won’t run next time it gets hard, but Alex can’t make any promises, so she just apologizes. Something more rare than it should be in real life. “I’m sorry.” No excuses, no backtracking, no lies. Just, “I’m sorry.”
She wants to be happy, and now she’s going to let herself be happy. Maggie warns her very seriously that she’s not a three strikes kinda gal, and this was her one chance. Alex doesn’t hear “no more chances” she hears that she’s forgiven, so she wraps Maggie in her arms and thanks her with all her heart.
My friend texted me after this episode and asked, “Wasn’t it weird? That Alex just pushed Maggie away all of a sudden? When things were going so well? Was that bad writing?” And I laughed and I laughed and I laughed and once I was done laughing I said, “That was not bad writing. That is literally me.”
There’s a quote that once hit me like a pile of bricks. “Sometimes pain becomes such a huge part of your life that you expect it to always be there, because you can’t remember a time in your life when it wasn’t. But then one day you feel something else, something that feels wrong, only because it’s so unfamiliar. And in that moment you realize you’re happy.”
When you’ve spent most of your life depressed, or feeling out of place, or just generally being unable to be really and truly happy, when you finally find it, it can almost be uncomfortable at first. Like how maybe you got a headache the first few times you wore glasses, even though they helped you see more clearly. It can be especially overwhelming when you realize you can feel a full heart of happiness about one thing, while also feeling angry about another, and sad about another. Sometimes the happiness doesn’t replace all the sadness as much as it finds room beside it. And, I dunno, that can be a lot! And sometimes it feels like your brain is spinning around inside your head and maybe you’re having a literal heart attack so probably you should run away and hide under your blankets and pretend you’re a robot with no feelings for a little while! And maybe sometimes in between “oh shit this is a lot of feelings” and “yay, a blanket burrito!” you accidentally shove a person you care about out of the way because you haven’t quite figured out how to say, “Hey, this is kind of a lot! I think I need to be alone for a little while to sort out all of these feelings I’m having!” yet.
So Alex is still figuring things out — and still figuring out how to talk about how she’s still figuring things out — but she’s getting there, and it looks like Maggie is along for the ride, albeit with her guard up a little, at least for now.
And just like that, an entire episode goes by, with more kisses and even some implied sexytimes, and both queer women are still standing. I’d have to look up the stats on this, but they might be well on their way to breaking a record of some kind. And all joking aside, we may have cautiously set the bar low because we’ve been burned before, but so far, this Sanvers storyline is soaring over it like a bird, like a plane…like Supergirl!