Holy doodle, what an episode. I laughed, I cried, I felt empowered, my misandry increased, I definitely got gayer, I cried some more, I was stressed like 60% of the time. So I’m going to warn you now: my soul is cracked open and though the pain is temporary, this will leave a scar…but I loved this episode. I’ll explain why in detail, but I wanted you to know that going in; you’re going to find heartbreak and sorrow, humor and hope. I’m sorry if that’s not what you need right now, but it’s what I have to offer. All I can do is be honest with you, and hope you’ll come along for the ride.
That said, without further ado, we open with Supergirl and Agent Danvers teaming up and saving the day from a baddie. Alex’s head is in the game while they’re fighting, but as soon as it’s over she looks so, so sad. She’s honest with her sister, she’s not doing okay; because tomorrow is “the day” and we all know that can’t be good news.
“The day” it turns out, is the day they start packing up, and when Alex comes home, Maggie is sitting there, sad, reading the card Alex gave her at their wedding shower. It’s clear before they even start talking that they’ve already had The Talk. But they have it again, just in case it’s different this time.
They love each other, they want each other, Alex even throws in an, “I know, babe,” to toy with my WayHaught feelings, but they’re at an impasse. They’ve been having this conversation for days and they’re just going around in circles. Alex wants kids, Maggie doesn’t. Maggie makes Alex say it out loud, even though she knows when she does, everything will change.
Alex says it, even though you can tell it hurts her to do so. “We can’t be together.”
Okay that was a lot right out of the gate so let’s get away from those feelings for now; there’s plenty more where that came from.
So the main villainy plot this episode is that kids are getting sick, and Morgan Edge (aka Maxwell Lord 2.0) is trying to convince National City that Lena Luthor gave the kids lead poisoning when she SAVED US ALL from the Daxamite Dilemma.
Lena is FURIOUS by the very implication and goes marching to the hospital—HER hospital, mind you—and demands to know why Edge is doing this, Kara close on her heels. Edge tells a story about snakes multiplying and Lena calls him a toxic bottom feeder pile of trash, but he’s unflinching. He says maybe he’s bad, but she poisoned children, so isn’t that worse? And for a second, Lena worries he might be right.
Lena and Kara go to CatCo to talk about it, having pick up Sam at the hospital. Lena admits she’s starting to worry that her calculations were off and she is the reason these kids are sick.
James comes in and says that Lena should step down from CatCo so they can report honestly and Kara and I are ready to shout GO AWAY JAMES but Lena stops us and says he’s right. She wants the people to be able to trust the company to be unbiased, so she agrees to step down. They’re interrupted by Teschmacher sleeping on the job and letting the sick kid’s angry dad storm min and yell at Lena. Lena tries to say she’s sorry, but he’s too angry to hear her apology.
Outside, the crowd is chanting “lock her up” which frankly feels a little unnecessary/too soon, but I suppose the situations are similar; literal criminals accusing a woman of being a criminal and somehow getting an angry mob to back them.
Kara gives Lena the cutest little thumbs up of encouragement, and Lena braves the boos of the crowd to tell them that she understands why they’re mad, and that she’s doing everything she can to figure out what happened.
Then, the sick kid’s MOM decides she’s even ANGRIER than the dad, and shoots at Lena. Kara swipes a bullet from the air, saving Lena, but a few do get past her, and one of those bullets hits James in the shoulder. (He’s fine, don’t worry.)
James weirdly defends the shooter and the angry mob and sort of implies Lena had it coming? I genuinely do not understand what they’re doing to James this season. I’m hoping my emotions were just too upside down and I misunderstood this whole spiel he gave because oof. I get having empathy, but c’mon.
Things aren’t looking good for Lena all around though, because Winn re-did some science, and it looks like there’s a bigger chance than they originally thought of the lead dust making humans sick…a 10.21% chance, but still a chance.
And then, as if the wardrobe department knew we’d be sad during this episode, they sent us the greatest gift: Lena Luthor in a National City University sweatshirt.
Lena is crashing at Sam’s for now, learning what it means to accept help from a friend, being introduced to loungewear. It’s truly wonderful and gives us the strength to go forward in this episode.
Back at Alex’s apartment, Maggie and Alex are packing all of Maggie’s things, when Maggie switches up the tone of their playlist to Cyndi Lauper’s All Through the Night, sips and passes some alcohol, and the two of them end up drinking, laughing, dancing.
Because breakups are rarely one-and-done, you know? Ending a relationship doesn’t mean the feelings or the attraction goes away. So they did what many couples do in those last hazy hours of a relationship and make their way to bed together.
Will it makes things easier? It sure as hell will not. But will it feel good for the moment? You betcha. And the last time they had sex, they probably didn’t know it was going to be the last time. This time though, despite some lingering denial, they can be pretty sure it’s the last time, and savor it.
Across town, Kara goes to see Lena, who is drunk and feeling sorry for herself, giving us more clues she knows that Kara is Supergirl, etc. She tried so hard to be good; she’s always tried so hard to be good. And yet here she stands (well, here she slumps), still the villain in the story.
Kara doesn’t understand why she’s not fighting, but Lena is feeling guilty and defeated. She loves that Kara is always seeing the good and the kind in people, but Lena doesn’t think she’s worth it, not anymore. She thinks she was born wicked, or maybe she had wickedness thrust upon her, but either way she made a bunch of kids sick.
When Sam comes home later, Kara is sitting up watching over the now-passed-out Lena. Sam says she’s known Lena a long time (HOW LONG, SAM?! FROM BACK WHEN SHE WAS DATING ROULETTE? I WANT FLASHBACKS!) and has never seen Lena so down on herself.
The two of them set to work, comparing notes on their investigation on proving what they know is true: that Lena didn’t poison those children.
Maggie and Alex wake up in bed, breakup sex has been had, and Maggie wants to know if Alex is really sure that this is what she wants. That she wants to give up this real, tangible, current relationship for a future hypothetical child.
But Alex is sure. It’s not hypothetical to her. Come hell or high water, she will have this kid. And both wanting kids and not wanting kids is so emotional and natural and visceral and when you have lived your life firmly on one side or the other of it, understanding the other side can be hard. But this is one thing Alex has always wanted.
And maybe this is why I’m more okay with this storyline than others have been, maybe it’s personal. Because I relate to this in my bones. When I was little and my friends were pretending to be wives, or marrying off their Barbie dolls to their Ken dolls, I was playing the mother, I was having Barbie tuck her younger sister Kelly in at night. I always had a hard time picturing a future for myself at all, but when I did, I didn’t picture a husband, because I didn’t want a husband. I didn’t picture a wife either, because I didn’t know I was allowed to want a wife. But I always pictured a kid. If not a kid of my own, I wanted to be like Jo March in Little Men/Jo’s Boys and have a house full of kids to care for. I’ve never heard anyone real or fictional put it into words in a way that rang so true to me until Alex did: Even when everything else was blurry and confusing, wanting to have kids someday was the only thing I was sure of.
And so now finally Maggie understands the depth of this. She wishes she could change the way she feels (important to clarify here: Maggie wishes she could change the way Maggie feels, not the way Alex feels) and Alex wishes she could change her own feelings, too. It breaks their hearts but there’s nothing they can do but hold each other until it’s time to say goodbye.
Sam and Kara go sleuthing together and with Winn’s science help they figure out what actually caused the kids to get sick; it wasn’t the lead bomb, it was a chemical in the city pool. Kara calls Lena immediately to tell her that she’s officially off the hook, that this one company is to blame. Lena pretends she doesn’t know the company but as soon as she hangs up, she puts on her best vigilante outfit and goes to find the person who is really behind these poisonings: Edge.
Edge owns the company, or did, and Lena knows he did this on purpose to frame her. He slithers around like the slimy snake he is, but Lena isn’t fucking around.
She might still be drunk, or maybe she’s just angry—if he thinks she’s wicked, she’ll show him how wicked she can be. But before we find out if she’d really pull the trigger, Edge’s right hand man bonks her over the head. When she wakes up, she’s alone in a cargo plane with no visible pilot.
As it turns out, Edge and his man are flying the plane remotely; it’s full of the toxic chemical and it’s headed right toward the town’s water supply. Lena tries to call for help on the radio, and Edge cuts her off, but Kara doesn’t need more than a breath to recognize Lena’s voice and she’s off to save her girl. Lena is trying her best to keep the buckets of toxins from falling out of the plane when Supergirl shows up to give her a hand.
Edge, in his desperation to end Lena Luthor, has his buddy crash the plane, and even while the plane is going down, Lena is worried about the chemicals. The plane splits in half and Supergirl is doing her best to save the chemicals and Lena but she’s going to lose her grip; Lena insists Supergirl let her go, but Kara would never. So she tells Lena to climb, to take back control of her life, to not let Edge win. And Lena’s eyes spark back to life.
So Lena climbs. And Lena jumps. And Supergirl quick-switches from holding the plane to holding Lena and it’s pretty badass, I’m not gonna lie. Supergirl flies them to safety, the chemicals safely away from the water.
Edge shoots his partner in crime, intending on blaming him for the whole thing, and planning on walking away unscathed. But Supergirl flies in to confront him; she knows what he did. But he’s not afraid of Supergirl. The last time she foiled his plan, all she did was drop him on a cargo ship. He doesn’t think she’s capable of hatred, which she says he shouldn’t test. Just because she doesn’t go around trying to actively ruin the lives of everyone she hates at the expense of innocents doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel the fiery burning rage that comes with hatred. If you can love, you can hate; some of us just choose not to hold onto that hate like it’s a weapon of mass destruction.
Maybe a few weeks ago Supergirl might have punched him in the face. Maybe a few years ago Kara would have cried. But instead she stands there, strong, glowering. He was pushing her buttons, just like he pushed Lena’s, but she was going to stay strong. She wasn’t going to let him win. Love conquers hate.
Lena goes to see James and they actually have a conversation that doesn’t involve them undercutting each other and Lena tells him to stop calling her Ms. Luthor and James says she can stop calling him Mr. Olsen and maybe these two can learn how to work together after all.
At Alex’s apartment everything is all packed up. Alex makes sure Maggie is really truly okay as far as a place to stay, and Maggie assures her she has a friend to crash with. Alex smiles a sad smile at her, knowing this is it.
Alex tells Maggie that before they met, she didn’t know happiness was a thing she could ever have. She didn’t know it was in the cards for her, just like she didn’t know she would ever truly be able to be herself, and to be loved BECAUSE of it, not in spite of it. So she thanks Maggie for getting her here, to helping her find herself. Maggie says Alex helped her, too. She helped her confront things she hadn’t been dealing with, made her stronger, braver.
They’re both better for having loved each other.
Maggie fights back tears as she starts to leave, saying, “See you around, Danvers.”
And that’s when I lost it. I had been doing so well up until now, but hearing those words rocketed me back in time, like watching a movie zip backwards as you rewind it, every kiss, every fight, every moment, right back to that very first scene. Their first and last scenes together ended almost exactly the same, but there were two major differences. This time, “See you around, Danvers,” was full of so much love and it felt like a goodbye. And this time, before she disappears into the hallway, Maggie pauses and turns back and adds one more thing: “You’re gonna be a great mom.”
Alex leans against the door and cries. I cry. You cry. Everyone is crying. The camera pans to their two engagement rings on the counter and I cry some more.
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.
Sam, Lena and Kara go back to Sam’s to celebrate Lena’s name being cleared and the kids getting better. Lena thanks her girls for not giving up on her, not letting her give up on herself, for working together to help her out. They cheers and remind her again that this is what it’s like to be loved.
Kara’s cuddlefest is interrupted by a phone call; it’s Alex and she needs her sister. Kara finds Alex drinking at the bar, sad and a little broken, so Kara kisses her sweet head and says they’re going on a trip together. They’re going home.
Also that night, Sam finds a bullet hole in her shirt, and a bullet in her jacket, but, suspiciously enough, no bullet hole in her body.
Phew. What an episode. I loved it. I did. Despite the pain and heartbreak and stress, I thought it was a great episode that put its strengths (aka the women) at the center and I loved it.
Here are my final thoughts on Sanvers (for now): Alex and Maggie’s relationship was complicated, it was emotional, it was loving, and it was real. Alex is a main character on this show, and she is an out lesbian and that is not about to change. Maggie helped her come out, Maggie helped her love herself, Maggie was a good cop who helped Kara and Supergirl on her own without Alex. They were special, separate and together. And that will never change. There are a million reasons two people might separate. You’ve seen hundreds of them played out on your screen, you’ve lived through some in your real life. This was one way that didn’t require any fighting, any betrayal, any screaming or blaming or jealousy. The Supergirl writers love Sanvers. Chyler and Floriana love Sanvers. We love Sanvers. But Floriana had to go. So we had one more night of love, but now we have to say goodbye.
Sometimes when you’re hurt, it’s easy to feel like someone hurt you. You have all this pain and you want someone to blame. It’s easy to look to the writers of a show and blame them for your heartache; it seems like the most direct path to the cause. And believe me, I know writers make mistakes. And maybe some mistakes were made to get us to this point at all—there’s really no way for us to know for sure when and how decisions were made—but the fact was, they had five episodes to write Maggie Sawyer out as gracefully as possible. And yes, it hurts, and yes, we’ll miss her, but I think it was handled with care and respect, and pulled from the writers’ own lives to help ground it in reality. (Also, quick side note, even if you don’t believe me when I say the writers care about us, know at least Chyler Leigh does. I have seen it in her eyes with my very own eyes, and she is setting such a beautiful example for other actors who represent us on screen.)
This relationship changed things. It was a canon and open and obvious relationship between two women on a superhero show. And not just any superhero show, a superhero show that aimed at younger people, at families, and that draws in folks who have been fans of Superman—one of the if not the most iconic superheroes—for generations. They came to us wearing bulletproof vests in a time when we were losing queer characters at an alarming rate. Sanvers made their mark. They were and will always be positive queer representation. It does suck to be losing them when we still have so few to look to, but because of them, countless minds and hearts and lives have been changed for good.
So yes, I’m sad. My heart is sad, my bones are sad. I’ll miss Maggie Sawyer so much. But at the risk of sounding like that “don’t cry because it’s over” cliche, I hope you won’t rob yourself of the joy this couple gave us, just because it’s over now. They’ll be with us, like a handprint on our hearts. I hope you won’t see this as an unhappy ending, because it might be the end of Sanvers, but for both Alex and Maggie, it’s just the end of a chapter. Even though it won’t be with each other, Maggie and Alex can still have their happy endings. And so you can you.