Previously on Supergirl, Kara had to thrust her boyfriend into space to save us all from his insufferability, and Alex had to say an emotional goodbye to her first love. They were both sad and broken and lost, and Kara decided they needed to hit ‘restart.’ So she told J’onn they needed a few days off (and his car) and took her sister away from her too-empty apartment, took her back home.
They don’t really seem to talk much on the way to Midvale, they just listen to sad songs and look forlornly out the window. Eliza is waiting for them when they get there, with a hug and a sympathetic smile for her girls.
Alex gives her mother a hug but doesn’t linger. She brushes past without even making eye contact and takes a shower, but it doesn’t wash away the pain.
Eliza and Kara talk outside. Eliza worried about both of them, and hoping Alex will take this time to dive into her sadness, start to work through it. Unlike Kara is doing. Eliza says that Kara is here, taking care of Alex, hoping she’ll work through her sadness, open up, talk about it…but Kara never did that. Not really. Eliza says that Kara has the most wide open heart when it comes to other people, but she’s so hard on her own self.
If someone else wants to talk about their pain, Kara will listen until her ears fall off, but she’d rather cut her own tongue out than burden someone else with HER pain. She’s the strongest person on this planet, she can shoulder her own baggage. But Eliza says that just because she CAN carry the weight of her sadness on her own, doesn’t mean she should have to. Kara says that she’s trying to accept the fact that she’s not human, that she’s a Kryptonian, and that she can’t succumb to human weaknesses…but I think she’s just hiding beneath her bulletproof skin. Surely Kryptonians felt sadness, mourned, were weak sometimes. And her and Clark are the only Kryptonians raised on Earth, so there’s really no precedent here. But I suppose all this comes with the territory of trying to figure out who you are.
Kara goes inside to find Alex alone in the bedroom they shared, drunk, angry and so, so sad.
Alex lashes out at Kara, saying she doesn’t understand how this is supposed to help; they could stay there for an hour, a night, a week, and Maggie would still be gone when she got back. Kara tries to coax her to talk to her, but Alex calls her out on being a hypocrite. Kara shut down for six months, she wouldn’t talk about it, and even after she did start to talk about it a little, Kara didn’t seem like she was doing much better than she was six months ago.
Frustrated with her sister, Kara says she was just trying to help but clearly she shouldn’t have. They snipe at each other back and forth a few times then go to bed in a huff. It’s the kind of snapping that is an open-hand slap to the face, not a stab in the gut. It’s meant to sting, it’s meant to rile the other person up, it’s meant to relieve the pent up anger inside, but only for a minute, and hopefully resulting in no lasting damage. It’s the fight of siblings.
Kara and Alex going to sleep fighting transports us into a flashback from ten years ago, where Kara and Alex wake up fighting. It starts with a fight to the bathroom but it devolves quickly into shouts of “I don’t have a sister” because sure Kara might have been there for two years, but when you’re 13 or 15, those years are long but they are HARD. My brother and I fought like mad when we were teenagers, and I’m so sure would shout things like “he’s not my brother” or “I swear I was adopted” and as far as I know no one in my family literally fell from the sky so all of this teenage angst rang so true to me.
Downstairs, Alex double-checks her calculus homework like the adorkable nerd we all know and love, while Kara scoffs at such simple maths. She does have a time with history class, but frankly so did I. She doesn’t really see the point in going to school; on this planet, she has powers, what does she need to know the dates of the French Revolution for anyway? But Eliza informs her this is not up for debate. Also not up for debate, Alex has to babysit Kara tonight, much to the girls’ chagrin.
Alex and Kara are in all the same classes, so I guess they’re closer in age than I thought they were. (I just went to the Arrowverse Wiki, and had to do some math because of the whole in-stasis-for-24-years thing, but yes it does seem like they’re only about a year apart.) Anyway, Alex is better at history, Kara is better at gym, and they are in a day-long standoff, until Kara is bullied because she wants to gush about Superman and Alex steps in to stand up for her. Alex then goes to sit with her friends at the cool kids’ table, while Kara sits alone and waits for her buddy Kenny. Kenny says hi to Alex, who brushes him off as Kara’s friend when prodded by her friend Josie, and then Kenny gets pushed around by a football player.
A kind human on Twitter pointed out to me that during this scene, a girl calls the football player off, and Kenny thanks her, calling her Vicki. Could this girl also be the one Vicki Donahue of Alex-s-coming-out-speech fame? She happens to be the one who renders Alex a little speechless, so I’m thinking perhaps.
Anyway, Kara sees this all unfold and gets so upset she accidentally crushes part of the table in her hands.
Kenny isn’t too upset; he has so much dirt on that football player and takes a quiet pleasure in knowing he’s the one with the power, even if he’s not using it. People say things around him all the time because they think he’s invisible. Kara wishes she could be invisible too because Alex is being so mean, but Kenny says she’s just upset because her dad left. Kara says she’s sad too but isn’t yelling about it, but everyone handles their pain differently, sweet one.
Later that night, Kenny takes Kara out stargazing and it’s very cute and sweet but Kara gets nervous when he tries to kiss her and changes the subject and he just smiles and looks up at the stars some more with her. It’s so, so lovely.
Kara sneaks back home through her bedroom window and Alex sits up and hisses out, “Where are you?” Angry, sure, but I detected a hint of worry in there, too.
Alex says she’s upset because Kara could have gotten her in trouble, but we know the truth. Alex says it’s Kara’s fault her dad is gone, that her mom is always stressed, that people at school think she’s weird because she has a weird new sister, that she feels something twisted up insider her that her friends don’t seem to have and she hates it because she doesn’t understand it and maybe it’s always been there but Kara’s here now so why not just take it out on her?
It’s so hard to watch, Alex yelling at Kara. But I totally understand it. At school, my friends made up a whole new personality type to call me, saying I was a “happypeppyperson” (always said very fast and cheerfully). At home, I was usually screaming, crying or sulking at any given moment. I was going through a lot of shit for a lot of reasons, but I surely took out more of it on my brother than he deserved. No, he shouldn’t have been coming into my room without knocking, but also probably there was a better way to deal with it than screaming and throwing Spice-Girls-inspired platform sneakers at him.
ANYWAY the next morning Kara can hear trouble in the distance and run-jump-flies to the scene of an accident, where she sees Kenny dead in the woods.
At school, Kara can overhear everyone talking about Kenny like they knew him, and it hurts her. Alex tries to say she understands, but Kara snaps that Alex didn’t know Kenny and accuses her of not actually caring. Kara overhears the football player making Southpark jokes about Kenny dying and pins him to the lockers until he confesses his alibi.
Determined now to figure out what happened to her friend, Kara goes to Kenny’s parents house. They tell her that they can’t find his telescope, and she promises to find it for them, and fully intends to do so, even after she promises the sheriff she won’t.
While she’s looking for the telescope in the woods where they had been stargazing, she runs into her sister.
Alex confesses now that Kenny was tutoring Alex in calculus here in these very woods and she was just going for a walk to mourn him. Kara tells her sister that it’s weird Kenny’s laptop and telescope were gone so Alex tells her to use her powers and they work together to find the laptop. They take it home and start checking out what’s on the computer (they’re going to send the files to Clark’s friend Chloe and her Wall of Weird, which I’m told is a Smallville reference), hoping it will give them clues as to who killed Kenny. The first thing they find is a big ol’ red flag: Alex’s friend Josie kissing Mr. Bernard, their history teacher.
The next day at school, Alex confronts Josie in the bathroom and tells her they need to go to the cops. She’s being Aria Montgomeried and her Ezra might have killed someone. Wait, I guess that’s redundant. She’s being Aria Montgomeried! Alex calls it disgusting and illegal, and even says the words “statutory rape” because this might be a CW show but we ain’t in Riverdale anymore.
Josie says that Mr. Bernard may have been angry when he found out Kenny knew about him being a predatory, but yells Alex to stay out of it.
As soon as the girl she’s been best friends with for half her life is out of sight, Josie calls Mr. Bernard and says simply, “Alex Danvers knows.”
Kara and Alex walk home from school together, something that doesn’t usually happen. They have a common goal, and common ideals, and maybe Kara was invisible and maybe Alex is also seeing her for the first time.
What Kara sees, however, is a car zooming toward them, so she saves her sister and hover-flies over the ridge until the car is gone.
They assume it was Mr. Bernard and tell the police just this, and before long Eliza is there to wrap her perfect mom arms around them both. Back home though the hug phase is over and it’s punishment time; Alex is sent to do her homework and Kara is scolded and handed off to a special agent who is here to tell her not to use her powers. The thing is, this special agent looks like Kara’s mom. Well, Kara thinks it looks like her mom. It’s still not Laura Benanti.
Young Kara is so frustrated that she has all these powers and this burning desire to help people but no one will let her. She hates it here, she hates school, she just wants to go be Super with her cousin.
But the agent says she’s too young and it’s too dangerous, so she makes her pinky swear she’ll never use her powers, which Kara agrees to very reluctantly. We see the Agent go back to their car, and lo and behold, it’s actually J’onn Jones. Already doing some Space Dad prep.
The next visitor at the Danvers’ is Josie, who is PISSED at Alex for getting Mr. Bernard arrested. But all this was dramatically going down right after work, so it wasn’t them who tried to kill Alex with their car. Alex excitedly tells Kara, but Kara is dejected; she’s been scolded one too many times for trying to be a superhero, she’s going to finally listen. But Alex doesn’t want to stop. Kara remembers how Alex almost died earlier and tells her sister that she’s going to be human now. Alex enjoyed doing something important with her little sister but no matter, she’ll do it herself.
Alex finds the Sheriff at the high school football game and tells him that she and Kara were wrong about who tried to run them over.
The Sheriff wants to talk inside, and Alex is immediately a little sketched out. As soon as Alex is alone in the empty hallway of the stadium with the sheriff and she realizes she’s in danger, Kara calls to warn her that the other images on Kenny’s computer were of the Sheriff doing something illegal.
Alex plays the phone call off like a champ, not responding to Kara’s statement directly. But by the time she hangs up, the jig is up, and the Sheriff has a gun pointed at our dear, sweet girl.
I’ll admit, despite knowing full well Alex survived this scene, I was stressed. Alex isn’t though, and remains cool and collected, even continuing her investigation, trying to get the Sheriff to confess and tell her his motives.
He’s impressed she’s not screaming or begging for her life, but Alex isn’t afraid for her life. You know why? Because she knows her sister is coming. And for the first time of many, Alex’s pointed speech is perfectly punctuated by Kara appearing just in time to save the day.
They hug and they smile; Alex knew she would come. They might fight each other day in and day out, but when it comes down to it, despite what Alex has said in anger, they’re sisters. They’ll always be fighting WITH each other when it counts.
The next day at school, Josie tells Alex she can’t sit with them, so Alex joins her sister instead. Alex doesn’t mind much; they saved the day three times over, and at least they have each other. Alex even asks if they can hang out later that night, maybe even go flying. Kara is SO down to hang out, but not so much with the flying; she wants to keep her sister safe. Speaking of which, Alex realizes now that she could be trying harder to be a good sister, and vows to do just that from now on.
That night before sending the girls to bed, Eliza brings in Kenny’s telescope; his parents wanted the girls who solved his murder (and presumably his only friends) to have it. They go to bed without fighting and it’s very cute and sweet.
When morning comes it’s 2017 again, and Alex drags her mildly physically and emotionally hungover self to the porch, where Kara is using Kenny’s telescope to look at the morning sky.
Alex remembers Kenny, remembers the first case they worked on together. She also remembers that it was the first time she realized that maybe having a new sister wasn’t the worst thing that ever happened to her. That maybe it could be the best. Because now Alex knows that they can get through anything together.
Kara says it was the first time she truly started trying to be human, to fit in, to be Kara Danvers instead of Kara Zor-El. Their closeness after that case is how they survived the last ten years. Earth still doesn’t entirely feel like home to Kara, but Alex does.
Alex answers, “Always,” and jeepers my heart almost burst full out of my chest.
Alex admits that this weekend was a good idea, that waking up alone in her childhood bed was a lot less traumatizing than waking up without Maggie would have been. She apologizes for lashing out, reminds Kara that she never means to hurt her, not really. Kara understands, she’s done the same thing, they both have, and they both will, over and over forever.
Kara also says she’s doing better, feeling better, now that she’s gluten-free, even though she really misses sandwiches. She feels herself healing, which Alex couldn’t know, because Kara doesn’t talk about her feelings enough. Alex understands now. Kara asks what Alex needs, but all she needs right now is for her to be there, so she’s doing a great job.
Then Kara pulls Alex close to her and kisses her head and this shot here, with the family photo in the foreground, the sisters holding each other…this is what Supergirl means to me. This whole episode is. It’s about navigating heartbreak, what it means to be a family, what it means to be human. It’s about fighting with and for and against, it’s about strength in all its forms, it’s about love. In all its forms.
And speaking of love in all forms, Eliza Danvers is the human manifestation of all things loving and good in this world. She gives her girls a picnic to take back with them, and tells Alex she’s strong and brave, even if she’s not ready to be just yet.
Kara tells Alex that they’re due back at the DEO STAT, with the car in pristine condition, so Alex decided this means she gets to drive. You see yesterday, an accident didn’t seem so bad. Today, she’d rather make it back in one piece. Baby steps.
They’re in a better mood on the way back, turning up the music and enjoying the wind in their hair, singing Gwen Stefani’s “Sweet Escape,” which I thought was a solid choice lyrically but an odd one to have them jamming to, until I realized THAT SONG CAME OUT TEN YEARS AGO and then I felt old and sad so let’s go back to the road trip and the whole wind-in-our-hair thing.
I loved this episode so very, very much. I would watch an entire spinoff of the Superteens solving crimes and getting into mischief. Even if the show all goes down in flames from here, at least this was the perfect episode to use as a series finale in any future rewatches.
Every show has its missteps, but we know this show can be so great, which is why we’re so disappointed when it isn’t. I hope we get more entire episodes focused on Alex and Kara’s relationship and teamwork skills. I hope that this beautiful episode means that the writers realized that Kara and Alex are the heart of this show, even more so than Supergirl, and that the potential return of any characters won’t ruin that. I hope that Kara figures out how to be both Kryptonian and human and use the strengths of both aspects of herself to keep imbuing positivity and strength into the world. I hope this continues to be the show we know it can be. I hope and I hope and I hope.