This week’s Supergirl opens with some misogynistic bullshit in the form of Byron Montgomery going on a tirade about how awful all women are and how garbage all relationships are because his one relationship with one woman went south. In the middle of his speech, the plane starts to go down, but it’s the plane Kara saved in the pilot; the plane Alex was on.
Byron sees Kara on the wing of the plane, sees Supergirl being born with his own eyes, and he is changed.
In present day National City, Sam is doing double duty as a soccer mom and a CEO. She even has her own chair, so I’d say she’s killing the game. A woman sidles up to her and creepily tells her that Ruby is special, that she was chosen, and gives Sam a pamphlet, inviting her to a meeting. Sam is a little freaked but says “thank you” politely and moves on.
Back in Sam’s new office, Lena and Kara come in to do some “business” and Lena congratulates Sam on the merger she signed. To celebrate, Lena invites Sam to their “Girls’ Night” that APPARENTLY was basically going to be a double date but you know what, the more the merrier.
Kara sees the pamphlet the woman gave Sam on Sam’s desk and asks if she can take it, because the symbol is worrisome to her. She takes it back to the DEO, where Winn also recognizes it as the symbol for Rao. The pamphlet doesn’t have much information, just a time and an address, so Kara decides to check it out, her boys in tow.
When they get to the address on the pamphlet, it appears to be the start of a meeting. A sweet-looking young girl welcomes them, but it doesn’t take long for the layer of sugar to melt away and reveal the child-eating witch. Okay that was a bad analogy; what I mean is, Byron Montgomery gets up in front of the room and within a few sentences it becomes clear that this meeting is a cult and this cult worships Supergirl.
They worship Supergirl because they were all saved by Supergirl; Byron somehow knows Rao’s prayers, and says Supergirl not only saved him in the kept-him-from-dying-a-fiery-death way, but also in a spiritual way, because his life was off course before she stopped that plane from crashing. The girl from earlier, whose name is Olive, echoes a similar sentiment; she was in a bad place after a bad breakup, she got too drunk and fell off a building, and Supergirl saved her. Not only from falling, but from thinking she deserved to die. Supergirl made Olive feel like she deserved to be loved. And you know what? Supergirl made me feel that way, too. She made me feel like I could be strong, while staying optimistic. That I could be hopeful, while still being ready to fight. Supergirl saved me, too, so sign me the fuck up for this cult.
Well, at least for now. They go a little whackadoo later but we’ll get to that. For now, Kara is just in awe. Winn and James ask if she remembers saving Olive and of course she does. She remembers saving everyone in this room. Supergirl isn’t a hobby for Kara, it’s part of who she is. And therefore, so are these people.
The issue is, it’s a little weird to be in a room full of people who are praying to you.
Back at the DEO, Kara says that the only person in the room she didn’t remember saving was Byron himself. Winn finds out it’s because he was on the plane she saved, which explains it. Kara is a little miffed, because they’re taking the teachings of Rao and twisting it, and says there has to be a reason he’s actively recruiting new members to this weird little cult.
Anyway, forget about Byron for now, because it’s time for GIRLS’ NIGHT. Kara, Alex, Maggie, Lena and Sam. Hanging out. Chit-chatting. Talking. Laughing. Loving. Breathing.
Listen, okay, I would watch an ENTIRE SHOW about these five women. And I barely know Sam. But this is what my real life looks like; I have some guy coworker/friends, but that’s not who I’m sitting around drinking and sharing personal stories with. (I know that’s not everyone’s reality, I’m just saying, it’s mine, and it was fun to see it on TV.) And you know what, we’re even usually talking about bad dates, exes, and babies.
Sam being a mother brings up the mom question for Alex and Maggie, and Maggie happily boasts about being ready to be the Cool Aunt, and Alex looks slightly less amped for that particular future. Sam (rightly) apologizes for assuming they would want to have kids (and this goes for all couples, not just queer couples) but they all laugh about being Sam’s daughter’s cool (and nerdy) aunts.
So here’s where my spinoff comes in. It’s called Cool Aunt Crew. Can you still hear the cheesy sitcom opening credits music cueing up? Good. Here we go.
And then one day all these ladies got together.
They were so happy and they all knew what to do.
They planned a Girls’ Night, and then another.
They were the Cool Aunt Crew!
Distant sirens interrupt their laughter and ours, and Kara disappears to “get some ice” and rips her glasses off before she even leaves the apartment and fine Sam is new here so she might not think much of it but LENA HAS TO KNOW, SHE HAS TO.
Anyway, Kara goes to the scene, which is a burning building with a boy standing arrogantly on the roof. I say arrogantly because he doesn’t look scared or like he’s trying to do anything about his situation; he looks like he’s waiting. Supergirl saves him, and when Olive appears from the shadows to hug the boy and say he’s one of them now, Supergirl realizes that he put himself in danger specifically so he could be part of this cult and it suddenly went from Really Enthusiastic Fans to a Serious Problem.
Maggie comes on the scene and Supergirl tries to explain the situation and get her to shut it down, but the thing is, Byron hasn’t actually broken any laws yet. And until he does, and/or they can prove he specifically told this kid to set the building on fire and stand on the roof, there’s nothing Maggie can do. Except look real cute.
At L Corp, Ruby is doing her homework on Sam’s office floor. When she finishes, she asks her mother if they can practice the song Ruby has to sing for a recital. Sam pushes it off, and Ruby acts like Sam is being SO NEGLECTFUL, and I’m sorry, I love kids, but I have so little patience for that. Sam is the CEO of a huge corporation; Ruby could be home with a sitter. (A totally respectable solution for working moms.) Or even alone at home. But Sam is lucky enough to work for a company that doesn’t mind her daughter being around, and Ruby is lucky enough to have a mom who wants her around. I have a lot of feelings on this particular matter, but there are plenty of feelings to be had in this episode, so I’ll save my mommy issues for another time.
Kara goes to see Byron, and he knows she’s Supergirl, because a) he saw her without her suit on, before her suit existed even, b) anyone who has been face-to-face with both of them can tell they’re the same person *cough* Lena *cough*. He thinks he’s being tested by his goddess, and she leverages that to ensure her secret is safe.
Instead of taking her orders to shut all this down, he goes to his secret back room and tells his secret pod that he’s going to save his goddess.
Lena comes into Sam’s office, and Sam explains that she almost lost the merger but saved it last minute…and then she starts to cry. She starts to scold herself, saying it’s unprofessional, but Lena just sits down, ready to listen. Sam says she feels like a bad mom, because she’s been working and hasn’t had time to listen to her daughter practice her song. She cries, and Lena laughs.
Confused, Sam says she feels like the worst mother and asks why Lena finds this amusing. Lena says it’s because she actually HAD the worst mother. Her mother wouldn’t have even known if she knew what music was, let alone had a specific recital to rehearse for. Sam was trying, and letting Ruby see her kick ass and take names, and that’s invaluable.
Across town, James tells Kara about how he kind of gets the cult because Superman saved him once too, and he gets how she’s special, she’s something to believe in. While they’re talking, James accidentally activates the little Rao statue thingie Kara took from Byron, so Kara has Winn track it. Winn sends her to a sports arena where sports are happening, because Byron wants to put hundreds of unwilling people’s lives at risk just to have them be potentially saved by Supergirl because he’s delusional.
Supergirl confronts Byron, but the thingie is energizing too fast, and Alex can’t evacuate that many people in enough time.
When Kara gets too close to the pod, she realizes the hard way that there’s Kryptonite inside, so she cuts herself to prove she’s no god. Bryon’s followers flee, but he’s sure he can still save her. But the thing is? The only person Supergirl needs to save her is her sister. So Alex comes down, guns blazing, ready to help her baby sister.
Supergirl is too weak to fly the pod to a safe space but she musters up enough energy to burn a hole in the ground for Alex and Byron to push the pod into.
Later, once everyone is safe, Kara goes to see Byron in jail, but he’s still sure he is being called to help her. Kara is wary but to be honest, she hasn’t been feeling like herself lately, so maybe a little perspective couldn’t hurt.
That night, the Cool Aunt Crew rolls up into Sam’s daughter’s school, and Kara gets a glimpse of what healthy admiration (vs cultish worship) is like.
After the tiny Supergirls are done, Sam’s Ruby comes on stage to sing Imagination from Willy Wonka. Watching this little girl sing, watching Sam and all the other parents in the room beam with pride…well, it’s all a little overwhelming for our dear, sweet Alex.
She runs out into the hall as soon as the song is over, and Kara follows soon after. Alex finally admits what she’s been pushing down these last few episodes: She wants kids! Being here at this school solidifies that feeling for her. She thought her real, true, deep, intense, bone-crushing, all-consuming love for Maggie would be enough to overcome it; she wasn’t lying when she told Maggie she was enough, not really. But the truth is, she wants to be a mother. She wants a kid she can teach to read, to punch, she wants a kid she can love and inspire. She realizes now that this means her and Maggie are at an impasse; she can’t change for Maggie, and Maggie can’t change for her…but neither of them would want that for the other anyway. Alex realizes now that it’s not something she can just move past or get over…and she doesn’t know what she’s going to do.
And here’s the thing; there a lot of behind-the-scenes things I can’t know for sure, so I can’t comment on. What I know is, the writers knew Floriana was going to leave the show, and they had to break up Sanvers. In my personal opinion, however unpopular as it may be, I think this is one of the most graceful ways they could have done it. There were other ways, surely, but this was one of the handful of those options that would not do anything to diminish their love for each other. Alex loves Maggie, Maggie loves Alex; but they don’t share this one, huge, fundamental value. Because the truth of it is, love is not enough. Relationships take work. It’s not “oh hey we’re in love” and then that’s the end. No matter how much you love someone right here, right now, if you have different life goals and/or dreams, it could be difficult, or in some cases, impossible to change that.
This isn’t a great comparison, but somewhat similarly, when I was 22/23, I was in love with a girl. I’ll spare you the details but the timing wasn’t right for over a year, until we were both finally in the right place to be with each other, emotionally. The only thing was, she was living in Seattle and I was living in New York City. She was just starting grad school in Seattle, and I was almost done with grad school in NYC. I couldn’t imagine leaving New York, she couldn’t dream of leaving Seattle. Our hearts were ready for each other, but our lives simply didn’t align in a way that made us possible. It didn’t mean we didn’t love each other “enough” (though maybe we didn’t, we didn’t really get a chance to find out) it just meant we weren’t going to veer from our best paths just to be with each other. I think, in relationships, there’s a fine line between compromise and sacrifice, and one can strengthen a bond and one can poison it.
So while I wish they weren’t breaking up at all, I think this is a graceful way to end things. It doesn’t retcon or negate the love Alex and Maggie have for each other. It doesn’t have them break up over a stupid fight. It will be, ultimately, Alex’s decision, however impossible it feels. Their hearts were ready for each other, their lives simply didn’t align in a way that made them possible.
And, for the record, she didn’t lie to Maggie. She said Maggie sans kids was enough because she truly believed it could be. It’s just that she’s realizing this is something she can’t let go of. And frankly, it is breaking her open. She doesn’t know what to do. How can she love the immovable object and the unstoppable force at the same time? The real truth is, neither can live while the other survives, so she has to choose: Maggie or children.
Kara goes to her momogram and prays, for the first time in a long time. Byron is praying too, which means probably/unfortunately we haven’t seen the last of him. Alex climbs into bed with Maggie, who instinctively rolls over to hold her, and Alex cries, knowing the end is nigh, knowing literally all of our hearts will be broken before long.
Sam draws a bath and goes to look at herself in the mirror, but instead of her normal reflection, she sees herself covered in Kryptonian symbols. A creepy-ass figure appears speaking in riddles (I swear the figure said Sam was borne of Rao’s thigh but surely I misheard through all the hissing) and saying someday soon, Sam will (be) Reign.
Also something in a glowing tube somewhere is awake now so that will surely affect our lives somehow. But we’ll worry about that next week.
Oh, it was Byron, this explains why I immediately didn’t like the guy.
I don’t particularly like the wanting to have kids storyline, also because of personal reasons, but I do agree with you that it is at least a way that doesn’t negate their love for each other. And although I’m not a fan of the storyline, I have to say that Chyler Leigh’s acting was amazing in that last scene. It made me feel for Alex.
+1 for the Missy Higgins lyrics <3
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respectively disagree with yours concerning the Sanvers breakup!
Fans have been told for months now how we would love this modern storyline and that it would honour them!
It personally makes me feel quite queezy viewing the scenes from Alex’s POV!
It will fundamentally come down to her view that Maggie is not enough for her!
The character of Maggie means so much to so many people who have been rejected in life.
In Alex we all felt she would never reject Maggie!
I think that is why, for me, it hurts so much and why I personally found your review upsetting.
I agree with you. They messed up the storyline with the children issue, especially because in the comics Maggie does have a kid.
And I agree with your point that Maggie’s character means a lot more to people than Alex. The majority of LGBT have faced and faces rejection, her story reflects most our stories unfortunately. It is very upsetting and I do not take lightly that there is rumoured hook up with Sara.
In all fairness the writers did have great plans for Sanvers and thought they might still be able to carry it out despite Floriana bowing out as a regular. Then FL decided to quit the show and the writers had to scrap those plans and cobble something else together. I’m tired of the baby tug of war storyline as well but I’m with Valerie…these two women love each other so much and apart from one of them dying, which the writers have steadfastly said won’t happen, this is likely the only thing that would separate them and wouldn’t do either character a disservice.
Floriana and Chyler have such great chemistry and I for one would choose this route over death or infidelity.
I am seriously conflicted. This whole ship is getting straightwashed. :(
Straightwashed? How? They’re two out lesbians, two women sharing the same bed, what can ever be straight about that? A lesbian wanting to have kids isn’t straightwashing anything, nor is them breaking up – as sad as I am about that. I don’t really understand this type of criticism.
How do you know that the writers had great plans for Sanvers?
Nervous does not even begin to describe how I’ve felt about this story line, with that said, I don’t know if there was really a better way to handle this. I am totally on board with your recap. Chyler Leigh is ruling this show! I’m not someone who gets overly emotional, but just seeing her face contort in any way has me blubbering. I’m still waiting for some of the intense feelings that season 1 gave me, but I’m not disappointed so far.
I know everyone loved the “cool Aunt Crew” but all Sam was doing this episode was complaining she’s not there for Ruby and so her 1 free night instead of spending it with her daughter she goes to hang out with the lady gang instead.
Everything Valerie said was spot on for the purposes of TV and Floriana leaving, but my issue is more on the realistic side of things, I know why am I bringing reality into this fantasy world (hey they started it with the build a wall crap last week). Anyway, I understand Alex’s WANT to have a baby but what if she can’t and Maggie can’t (assuming Maggie got on board) her NEED to be a mom wouldn’t go away but she would live with it and she wouldn’t lose Maggie in the process. My sister and her husband have been trying for the past few years; doctors, injections, tests, over and over and nothing has worked, they WANT to be parents too but the universe isn’t making it happen. So what then for Alex, she breaks it off with Maggie and she can’t have a kid so she has no Maggie and no kid. I know I know it’s for TV and as Valerie said this is the best reason to let Maggie leave but it’s still kind of annoying that they aren’t thinking logically (again I know keep logic out of fantasy) and it also bugs me that they did almost the exact same story line with Calzona over at Greys when Chyler was on Greys.
I said last wee that this season has been really disjointed to me and this episode wasn’t any different, and I get that they want to do a slow burn with the Reign thing but if it freaks her out so much she can choose to NOT be Reign just like Kara chose to be Supergirl. Unless and this is my theory the only way Sam goes evil is if something happens to Ruby.
If both Alex and hypothetical-Maggie-who-wanted-kids couldn’t have children, they would adopt (which is generally much faster and easier on TV than in reality). Granted, on this show the child would probably be from space.
Came here to say this ^^! Alex would adopt in a heartbeat.
I had thought about that, yes because it is TV she could pick up a kid in a day from filling out the paperwork but my whole scenario is based in reality and adopting isn’t so easy either. My point is that what we have planned and what life throws at us are 2 different things and Alex is of the mindset that everything will go smoothly and she will just have a kid (by birth or adoption). And really would it be so easy for Alex to adopt given the nature of her dangerous job?
Even if she couldn’t have kids and adopting was as difficult in TV world as it is in reality, going through this with someone who feels the same way (as in : also wants to have kids) would probably be more bareable than being with someone who doesn’t share your dream. If she stayed with Maggie just because there’s a possibility she might not be able to have kids anyway, I think she’d end up resenting her (and so losing her anyway).
As Valerie Anne said, no matter how much you love each other, sometimes it just isn’t enough, and that’s true in real life as well.
This show is so distressing. I appreciated the My Favorite Murder reference! “stay sexy, and don’t get murdered” lol
I’m mostly just gonna be so sad when Alex and Maggie break up. Their love really helped me get through a shitty breakup last year and now it’s gonna be all over. I also don’t have heaps of relationship experience so I haven’t really had to deal with this issue but I don’t want kids and I’m not sure how I would feel if I loved someone who really did want kids. I’m glad that they are still respecting Alex and Maggie’s love for each other and that they won’t break up over a fight or someone cheats on the other or anything like that. But it’s still gonna be rough. But I also hope we see Alex go on more cute dates!
It does rankle me that the catalyst for Alex realising she wants kids, and thus will have to break up with Maggie, is Ruby, one of the worst tv kids of all time
I kind of like that she’s the worst. Because kids are. I mean, I’m the cool aunt to a brood, but kids don’t have any perspective in the world. Everything revolves around them. They’re little walking psychopaths. So I’ve enjoyed that Ruby is so flawed. It amuses me to accept that she’s the worst, but also kind of cute and also loved.
I’m not really fond of children but I have to admit that, from Ruby’s perspective, she has all the right to be the worst kid ever cause she’s a single child, from a single parent (we don’t know what happened to her dad, so maybe there’s some tragic history in there) and just moved to a different city, where she doesn’t know anyone. I think those are reasons enough to be this childish and needy of her mom.
I love how even Byron Montgomery was like: “it’s weird, in season one you were this incredible force to be reckoned with who just loved life and seemed so free. But now thanks to mon el it’s like you’ve been beaten down and stripped away and now you just seem totally disillusioned with life. What a bastard.”
I thought this episode had really great promise but kind of fell apart towards the end. Which, fine. The writing on this show is…. uneven (at the best of times). The alternate title for this show could basically be ‘Do These Characters Even Know How Their Job Is Supposed To Work????’ or maybe even ‘Plot Is Why Anything But The Hair Is Amazing’
1. I AGREE WITH YOU VALERIE ANNE this whole working mom thing is SO TIRED and dumb and why do tv people still do this? How old is Ruby anyway, who are these children who don’t understand that parents have jobs and also want to spend every second with their moms? 1955 can have this bullshit back, thank you.
2. The cult was handled well-ish until that dumb bomb plot which was really poorly executed. What a left turn, abandoning any and all semblance of plot or character or logic for an action sequence that wasn’t that interesting (Kara has saved everyone in National City multiple times by saving the city and why would a secret underground explosion turn anyone into a believer?). Disappointing. I’m glad Byron Montgomery will stick around though, he was interesting. And I hope this signals a new attempt to inject some nuance in the writing of’Supergirl’ again, turning away from the punch-heavy season 2.
3. I think it was a bad idea to get Sanvers engaged last season, and that’s really what’s making this complicated. Their relationship has not had any real story to it so there’s not a lot of options for us to become particularly engaged in any conflict. What do they have to fight about? Nothing that we know of since we don’t know much about them other than that they LOVE LOVE LOVE each other and are gays who work a lot. And their personalities don’t really come out in their scenes together, there’s not much character work to build on how they may or may not mesh. So what can the writers do at this point, really.
5. ALSO YES VALERIE ANNE about the love thing. Pop culture so frequently insists that love is the end-all be-all, but obviously love is the bare minimum. If you don’t love someone what’s the point even? It’s why you’re there trying, not the reason it works or doesn’t. That said I do think the Sanvers breakup is a little clunky and Alex seems to have mulled this over for like a full week max but whatever, they’ve written themselves into a corner and are out of time due to contracts so here we are.
I know my thoughts on Sanvers aren’t the most popular but I am glad we all nevertheless have this space to peacefully discuss both this and the actual reason I am joining the cult which is Kara’s ponytails.
I’d join a cult that worships Kara’s ponytails.
YOU’RE IN A CULT CALL YOUR DAD
(Unless he’s Byron Montgomery, then call someone else’s dad. Like Spencer’s, maybe.)
I started watching this show after googling for shows with women heroes and deciding that it is unfair not to look into Supergirl just because it is a comic book show. I stayed (despite the rather cheesy and terrible opening episodes) for Melissa Benoist and Kara and Chyler Leigh and Alex. And.. to a lesser extent, J’onn and Winn and even in some moments, James. I still stay with the show for them.
From early Season 2, Alex’ being gay, and Alex herself (from S1) had checked all the boxes for me. However, I had disliked Maggie Sawyer from the start and hence, have also never been a fan of Sanvers. Still am not. She kind of unchecked all the boxes I should say.
Yet, there are so many others for whom Sanvers and Maggie ticked all the boxes.
I suppose it speaks to the limited availability of lesbian storylines that our expectations, so many and varied, are all pinned on just this couple of characters and this one storyline. With so many expectations, many are bound to be disappointed.
The writers cannot take all into account; the best they can do is do what feels right to them and toe the network mandate (because they need money). And may be grow with reviews if it feels right to them. That would hardly please everyone.
I hope that:
May there be as many diverse and varied characters and stories as there are us; written and created not just by us, but by people of all ilk, orientations, gender and backgrounds.. So, that each of us may find at least one (may be more) among the many that we can enjoy.
Also, as always: Thank you for taking the time out to review Valerie Anne. :)
“How can she love the immovable object and the unstoppable force at the same time? The real truth is, neither can live while the other survives, so she has to choose: Maggie or children.”
As a person-who-emphatically-doesn’t-want-kids, this plotline is implausible and confusing to me. Like, saying, “I don’t want kids,” was something I did really early in every relationship I’ve had. If you do want kids, I guess I can sort of see assuming your partner does too and not mentioning it, but if you don’t, you get used to having to say it. It would make more sense to me if Alex had changed her mind about wanting kids, but the idea they never talked about it is super weird.
So I have only just watched this episode (UK viewer) and I loved it. I think it is one of my favourite episodes of Supergirl. I loved the stand alone storyline (I find cults really fascinating) and think it was told well though quickly. I am also not one of the people who watched Supergirl especially for Sanvers- I absolutely LOVE Alex but have always felt a bit icky about Floriana playing a Latina, especially after last week. And I think the break up is being told well – it doesn’t make anyone the bad guy and it’s much better then having Alex in an off screen relationship. I am also really ready for Sara to Alex’s rebound in the next crossover. I agree with the girls night looking like me and my friends and it warmed my heart. Also we had some pretty awesome James(more like he was in S1). So yes, very happy though I see from other comments I am in the minority.
“How can she love the immovable object and the unstoppable force at the same time?”
Making me literally cry at this recap with the Imagine Me and You reference…