Last night’s episode of Supergirl was a lot of things. It was the best of times, it was the most infuriating of times. To help keep us from getting feelings whiplash, I’m going to split the plotlines up so we can focus on all the Sanvers all at once (since there wasn’t nearly as much as I was expecting). While my instinct is always to not mention any of Mon-El’s storyline, unfortunately Kara is tangled up in his web of nonsense, and I need your help reconciling the words Kara said and the things Kara did, because they’re not gelling for me. If you really super don’t care, scroll down until you see “OKAY NOW ON TO THE GOOD STUFF” and it will be Sanvers-City from that point forward.
First up is Winn, because his storyline is the shortest: Winn is no longer an insufferable manbaby whining about the friendzone because he found a lady of his own. An alien woman named Lyra who saves his butt from a mean alien in the Dollywood bar and is pleased he doesn’t care she’s an alien. (The language sounded a little like they were trying to make comments on interracial relationships, but considering they dropped the Kara/James storyline before it even started, I’m gonna slap a big ol’ “no” stamp on that one.) Now, it’s possible Winn is Xander and everyone he dates is going to be a she-mantis underneath, but only time will tell. They’re definitely setting Lyra up to be…something.
Next up is Kara’s storyline. This week, Kara has toxic masculinity washing over her from all sides. On one hand, she has this new big bad to contend with, Mr. Mxyzptlk. We pick up with him where we left off, interrupting Mon-El’s kiss. Mxy snaps his fingers, and suddenly Kara’s apartment is full of candles and flowers and he says he loves her, but Mon-El gets in his face and says, “She’s with me.” Which… isn’t true. But fine. Mxy calls Mon-El “Blandsome” and snaps his fingers to send him to the DEO without his clothes on, and call me naive, but I thought Mxy was here to show Kara that she could do better by showing her how ridiculous it is when someone tells you you’re supposed to be with someone when you don’t really feel it. Alas.
Mxy is a fast-talker with a lot of pet names and plans to marry one Kara Zor-El.
She eventually regains her balance and tells him to gtfo. He says she’s playing hard to get, making everyone’s skin crawl, and she stands her ground, saying “No” again. He insists he’ll win her over in time, despite starting this wooing process by coming into her apartment uninvited.
Back at the DEO, they say that Mxy is a fifth dimensional being, meaning he can warp reality, which on Earth tends to be referred to as “magic.”
Mon-El takes this time to ask about Valentine’s Day and Kara says as much as she wants to get back to talking about their relationship, she’d much rather fight bad guys, so she’s going to do that for a bit first.
First up are some regular, run-of-the-mill bad guys, and Supergirl is about to take them down when Sir-Mxy-a-Lot appears and turns their guns on them. Supergirl then has to save the bad guys she just stopped, because killing is not her M.O. She shoos Mxy away again and heads back to the DEO to figure out how to stop this, since a restraining order surely won’t be enough.
Mon-El wants to slay him once and for all, but as she just tried to tell her stalker, and shouldn’t have to tell this lump of mozzarella, she doesn’t kill people. Mon-El says he’s just trying to protect her, but as she’s told him time and time again, she can take care of herself.
Another fight in the streets, another bad guy, and Mon-El is quick by Supergirl’s side. Someone dressed like Superman comes in to save the day, but it’s just the not-super-at-all Mxyzptlk. Mxy and Mon-El puff out their chests and try to out-macho each other, but Mon-El is just getting in Kara’s way, interrupting her and diminishing her authority/autonomy, so she sends him away.
Kara asks Mxy point-blank how to get him to leave her alone, and he says the only way is to marry him. Because if she doesn’t, he’ll destroy the city. Charming.
Back at the DEO, Mon-El is so mad, because he interpreted being sent away as Kara choosing Mxy over him. He’s yelling at her and insisting he was doing the right thing, to protect her, but she yells back saying she’s not a damsel in need of saving. She’s SUPERGIRL, fuckdammit!
And more importantly, even if she wasn’t Supergirl, she said she was handling it and she told him to stay out of it and he defied her wishes. Mon-El accuses her of not knowing what she can and can’t handle and Kara says that’s not his place to decide; and besides, he was the one withholding the fact that if Mxy says his own name backwards, he’d be (safely) banished from Earth.
As he rambles, Kara recognizes his ire as jealousy, and can’t believe he’s acting like this. It’s like a guy getting mad at his girlfriend for getting an unsolicited naughty picture on Twitter, except somehow MORE ridiculous, because Mon-El and Kara aren’t. even. dating.
Kara is furious and can’t believe she thought Mon-El was evolving from the egotistical brat she hatched out of that pod and says that whatever almost happened between them was a mistake, now that she has been reminded of his true colors.
And because he’s NOT ALREADY IN ENOUGH TROUBLE, Mon-El takes the tool J’onn found that might help stop Mxy and goes off on his own to confront the imp.
Mxy and Mon-El decide, on their own, to fight to the death for Kara’s hand, even though Kara herself has now said to both of them, very explicitly, that she is not interested. But still they fight, and Mxy appropriately dresses them up as Hamilton and Burr so they can have a proper duel. I say appropriately because both of them are so full of pride they can’t see what’s right in front of them, and see each other as obstacles to their goals when their only obstacles are their own damn selves.
They fight until Supergirl flies in, annoyed.
She tells Mxy she’ll marry him, tomorrow at noon at the Fortress of Solitude. The dude buys it (it’s been established he’s not the CLEVEREST being across five dimensions) and agrees. Mon-El swings by for one last attempt to talk Kara out of it, because he also believes it?? Like, his ego is so fragile that he is legitimately threatened by this man who appeared out of LITERALLY NOWHERE and thinks Kara has actual feelings for him? It’s honestly insulting. To Kara, to me, to women, to feelings, to humans and Kryptonians alike. But Kara says she’s doing it to stop Mxy from hurting anyone and that maybe they’ll make a good team someday, but Mon-El’s values are too far gone from her own and she can’t imagine ever aligning them.
So he leaves, tail between his legs.
Mxy shows up at the Fortress of Solitude, and Supergirl flies in, sipping a glass of OJ like Kermit sips tea. You see, Mxy can bend reality, but he can’t make people fall in love, kill themselves, prevent them from killing themselves, or, strangely enough, drink OJ. So just to regain some semblance of control in this wackadoodle episode, Kara Zor-El Danvers chugs a nice, tall glass of Tropicana, just because she fucking can. She says that forcing or blackmailing someone into marrying you isn’t love; love is putting someone else’s needs before your own. Really she brought him here to banish him from Earth, so she seals the Fortress and sets the room to self-destruct. He can’t stop it, since technically that would be preventing her from killing herself, because Kara IS the cleverest being in five dimensions. (Well, one of them.)
Mxy tries to call her bluff, but she won’t budge, and he can’t figure out the letters on the keys to type in the code, since it’s in Kryptonian. He gets on his knees and begs her not to kill herself, because the world needs Supergirl, and since he seems juuust desperate enough, she helps him type in the code.
Kltpzyxm. His name, backwards. She tricked him and now he’s banished and the day is saved. Before he vanishes, he calls her a nasty woman, but she bears the mantle proudly, as do we all. “You can’t force love,” she says.
Back at her apartment, Mon-El comes over and is impressed by her quick thinking. He apologizes for being a butt and says his feelings are new and messing him up. And then, despite everything everyone said during this episode, despite everything KARA said during this episode — like the fact he never listens to her, he doesn’t value her, they’re too different, you can’t force love — she kisses him.
And…I just genuinely don’t understand this storyline. They keep having Kara say things like, “I don’t need to be saved,” and “I can make my own decisions” but she’s going against all that by just jumping into Mon-El’s arms. ESPECIALLY after this episode, where he DIRECTLY disobeyed her and ignored her wishes and was just as showy/braggadocious/obnoxiously and invasively persistent as Mxyzptlk.
Why? WHY? Please tell me they’re going somewhere with this. Please tell me they’re going to address how bad of an idea this is. Please tell me that a few episodes down the line, when Mon-El is still putting civilians at risk to save her when she doesn’t need saving, she’s going to be like, “I thought I could fix you but that’s not how relationships work, that’s not my responsibility.”
Or something? As much as I’d rather Kara be single, I get that they’re on the CW now so they have to have her have some kind of romantic storyline. Fine. But last season, James was the love interest because he was patient and kind and gave her the inspiration she needed when she needed — and asked for — it. Mon-El is annoying at best and toxic at worst. And they seem to know it — the dialogue this episode literally screams it at some points. So while I trust this show to do the right thing, I would really like to know their long-game for this one, and stat. I don’t want another Ezria situation on my hands, aka a horrible relationship lauded as the show’s #otp and rarely if ever held accountable for the terrible example it set.
OKAY NOW ON TO THE GOOD STUFF.
Before we get into it, I do have a bone to pick with Entertainment Weekly because they called this episode “Maggie/Alex-centric” and said their storyline would “take center stage” and neither of those things were true at all. While the scenes they did have were great, I feel like my expectations were set too high, and I can overshoot expectations all by myself thank you very much.
That said, it’s hard to stay mad when the first time we see Alex and Maggie it’s at Alex’s apartment, where they’re having breakfast together on Valentine’s Day. Maggie plucks a card out of Alex’s hands and reads it aloud — and it’s from Eliza Danvers, mother of the century. Testing the waters, Alex offers up a declaration that Valentine’s Day is dumb, and Maggie enthusiastically agrees, going on a rant about it being materialistic and how it makes her want to puke. Alex agrees but sips her coffee guiltily because maybe that’s not the whole truth.
Alex takes this concern to Kara, who offers her one of Mxy’s bouquets to take to Maggie, and then gets VERY EXCITED when she realizes it’s Alex’s first Valentine’s Day with her girlfriend.
So Alex explains her dilemma. The truth is, maybe she DID always hate Valentine’s Day, but this is her first time being in a relationship for one, so she kind of wanted to start to like it, but Maggie made it clear her feelings about the holiday are the same as her bagel: dry and double toasted. Kara says that maybe Maggie only hated Valentine’s Day before because she didn’t have Alex to spend it with; she asks what Maggie likes and Alex gets all starry-eyed talking about guns and scotch and tiramisu and bonsai trees.
Kara looks at her like she’s speaking another language and says that maybe if she makes the day more like a Sanvers Celebration Day, she can get Maggie to like it again.
And as well-intentioned as that plan is, it doesn’t go so well. Alex sets out all of Maggie’s favorite things, including herself in a chemise, but Maggie isn’t having it.
She says that her pet peeve is not being heard, and she said she doesn’t like Valentine’s Day, so how dare Alex do all this romantic stuff for her. Alex is like, “You called it a dumb holiday, you didn’t say you were personally traumatized by it, what the heck is going on?”
And since Maggie told Alex she wasn’t allowed to run away from hard conversations, Alex won’t let Maggie, and Maggie lets her have it: She lied. When Maggie told Alex her parents were supportive when she came out, that was just so Alex wasn’t scared back into the closet. In reality, she left a Valentine’s Card in her best friend’s locker when they were 14, asking her to the dance, and the card made its way back to her parents, leading to her being kicked out. She lived with an aunt until she was old enough to move out.
Alex feels understandably blindsided by this confession, and watches, overwhelmed, as Maggie leaves.
At the DEO, Kara and Maggie run into each other while they’re both looking for Alex. In case it will get the message to Alex faster, Maggie confsesses that she needs to apologize to her girlfriend. Kara is pretty overwhelmed by the men making her life a living hell at the moment, so she just sounds kind of…tired, when she tells Maggie that she might hate Valentine’s Day, but Alex was really looking forward to it, so it might not kill her to try to enjoy the holiday with her girlfriend. Make a few changes, for Alex.
So when Alex comes home, she finds a box with a note that instructs her to put on the contents of the box and go to a mystery address. When she gets there, dressed in red and looking like a dream, Maggie is in a suit, in a room filled with red balloons and flowers. Maggie says it’s a belated Valentine’s prom just for Alex, corsage and all.
Maggie apologizes; before she talked to Kara, she didn’t realize what the holiday could mean to someone fresh out of the closet and falling in love for the first time. She was focusing on the pain of the past instead of focusing on the good of the present. She looks at her girlfriend’s perfect face and says that Alex deserves an amazing romance, and that if anyone could make Maggie Sawyer love a cheesy, love-drenched holiday, it’s Alex Danvers.
Maggie asks Alex to dance, and they hold each other close and make new Valentine’s Day memories for both of them.
And I know it wasn’t a lot, and I know it was as cheesy as Valentine’s Day itself, but juxtaposed with the shitshow that is whatever’s happening to poor Kara right now, it’s nice to see two people in a relationship having conversations, acknowledging each other’s feelings. I know technically Mon-El apologized for being selfish, but he’s apologized for that like twice an episode for the past five episodes and hasn’t shown any signs of improvement. And frankly I will never understand why Mon-El spent the entire episode proving he’s not good enough for Kara and he got a fall-back-on-the-couch kiss and Maggie went above and beyond to set down her baggage to be the kind of girlfriend Alex needs and she got a quick peck, but that’s another issue entirely.
Maggie and Alex are growing; they’re learning more about each other, they’re running into each other’s walls and working together to bring them down. They’re just trying to make each other happy, and hitting some ordinary road bumps along the way. It may not be revolutionary on paper, but it is, in its own way. This relationship isn’t being given enough time on screen to flesh itself out yet, but it’s getting there.
I mean think of what we learned about Maggie in this episode: Maggie was fourteen when she realized she liked girls, and before she could even realize she was in a closet, she was dragged out of it and kicked out of the house entirely. I realized I like girls when I was fourteen, too, but I locked the closet door from the inside. Maggie asked a girl to the school dance. At fourteen! Her supposed best friend! And it backfired in such a huge way. So no wonder she was so careful with Alex when she was trying to reject her and just be friends. Of course she encouraged Alex to come out on her own terms. Of course.
Right now Sanvers sort of reminds me of Imagine Me & You. It’s kind of cheesy and sometimes feels like everything’s heightened or happening at warpspeed, but it’s the kind of head-in-hands romance usually saved for straight couples. And in these dark times, don’t we deserve a little sugar-sweet softness?
We’re just past the halfway point in the second season of Supergirl — the first season on its new network, the first season without Cat Grant. We’ve tipped a little too far into the relationship zone on all fronts, and that’s not what this show is about. Well, it is about relationships, but not relationships necessarily. This episode, frankly, almost felt like filler; it didn’t involve Cadmus and the Luthors, or James/Guardian, things they’ve been dutifully setting up all season. So I’m hoping the back half of this season brings us a few things: Kara fighting Cadmus because they stand for an evil she can’t condone, and getting people like Lena on her side. Mon-El revealing who he really is and why those space nuns are coming from him and finally decide who he’s going to be: someone worth being on the SuperTeam or someone who can go back to whatever cookie cutter planet he came from, and commit to that and not have to be lectured every five minutes. Maggie and Alex to just be crime-fighting girlfriends. I want to see them working together in the field, and I want to see them debriefing over scotch and tiramisu. I want to see them coordinate a perfect take-down then dominate at Scrabble on Game Night. I want to see them fighting side by side, then I want to see them race to the bathroom for a bubble bath. I want to see them train together, then tumble into bed asking, “Where’d you learn that move?”
Okay I got a little carried away there, but you know what I mean. Though down the line I do want more deep conversations and Maggie’s backstory, and hell even fights, I want to see what they are as a couple. I want to see what their day to day is like. I get that it’s hard on sci-fi shows, especially for a relationship involving a secondary character like Maggie. But I’m not going to stop wanting it.