“Supergirl” Episode 411 Recap: Paradise Lost

Previously on Supergirl, we learned that Nia was from the planet Naltor and inherited the prophetic dreams passed down matrilineally in her family, Lena was researching how to give humans superhuman abilities and was close to a breakthrough, and Alex volunteered to get the memory that Kara is Supergirl erased from her mind so Col. Haley and her Truthseeker didn’t get it out of her and put everyone Kara loves in danger.

Also, there’s a Kasnian Kara out there being trained as a weapon. The soldiers are impressed with her most recent time, but as she finishes the task, she gets a bloody nose and passes out, something that doesn’t happen to a Kryptonian lightly. They try to revive her with defibrillators, but doing so causes what we later learn are gamma rays to shoot out of her like ley lines across the world. Some of these gamma rays hit some pills in a trailer and turn a glowy purple.

The dealers of said pills give them to some bros, who proceed to hulk out. Which I’m sure is totally chill and won’t cause any problems.

Cut to game night at Kara’s apartment, where Alex is kicking her butt and gloating about it in that big-sisterly way, and things post mind wipe seem to be going fine.

alex kara

Perfect nerds

The gang’s all here, J’onn and Brainy, Lena and James, and even Nia, who says she had game nights all the time where she grew up. Alex asks about it and she says she’s from a town called Parthus (which Lena knows means “paradise” in Irish because that’s where she went to medical school, as you can tell from the way she pronounces science words), and it was a town that prided itself on aliens and humans living together in harmony.

The game picks up again and the Super Friends try to keep Alex and Kara from being on a team together again because they’re unstoppable but they insist anyway. The thing is though…all of a sudden, Alex can’t remember Kara’s favorite movie. (Side note, Alex’s favorite movie is Terminator 2. Which I’ve never seen but many queers I know point to Sarah Conner as one of their roots so this tracks.)

Before they can dominate once again, Alex gets a call from the DEO. Kara instinctively gets up to join her, but Alex thinks she’s getting up because she’s stressed about her sister getting called in. Alex tells her not to worry, that it’s just an alien brawl, and Kara does her best impression of a human sister and stays put.

Sad kara

Fine. This is fine.

The hulk bros are causing mayhem at the rave, but Alex takes one down easily enough. Supergirl shows up to help her with the other, and when it’s over Alex thanks her, rather formally, and even asks her to call her Director Danvers. It cuts deep.

sad supergirl

GIVE ALEX HER MEMORIES BACK 2K19

Kara knew this would be hard, but she still hates it, so she goes to James’ office to vent, all whilst double-fisting some donuts. She explains that some unintended side effects include but are not limited to Alex forgetting other fundamental things about her sister; for example, the reason she forgot Kara’s favorite movie is because Eliza showed it to her because she thought she would relate to it as a girl stranded on another world. (Not sure this was the best plan since Dorothy ends up going home and Kara literally could not but I guess if it gave her comfort…) So Alex’s memory of that was also removed. Kara is having second thoughts about the mind wipe, but James tries to assure her this was for the best before she heads back off to work.

Mackenzie takes Kara’s place in James’ office and pitches a story on L Corp and some potentially shady dealings in the form of a black budget. James wants to look into it before sending Mackenzie off on an investigation, so he heads off to find his gal pal.

Kara runs into Nia, who tells her boss that she was supposed to go home this weekend but her flight was cancelled and she can’t exactly drive, what with the supernatural narcolepsy. It’s Harvest Fest, and Nia goes every year. Kara offers to drive her, saying she’ll just tell James she’s writing a story about Parthus; he’ll of course let her do it, since she only writes one article a month.

Nia smirks

“Oh sure you’re going to ‘write’ an ‘article’, good one, Kara!”

On their road trip, Nia tells Kara about how her mother had a prophetic dream about meeting the love of her life on Earth, so she came down when she was 18 and met Nia’s father. She says she was lucky to grow up in Parthus, and Kara thinks it’s because she’s half alien, but Nia explains that it’s because she’s trans. Her parents and sister, Maeve, were all amazing, and she was able to transition and be open about who she was from a young age. Of course there always have been and always will be assholes, but Parthus’s ethos of inclusivity helped a lot.

Kara looks over at Nia and thanks her for sharing this part of her life with her.

Nia smiles at Kara

I too have come out to many people in moving vehicles.

Nia does have one request of Kara when she meets her family. She doesn’t want anyone to know about the dreams, not yet. Kara is surprised to hear this after how much Nia just upsold her family and her town, but she agrees to keep Nia’s secret.

Back at the DEO, Alex is nursing her Truthseeker wounds and feeling weird about the whole ordeal. She interrogates the frat bros but neither of them break and she feels like she’s off her game.

Alex looking stressed and sexy

Hair game though? Still on point.

Meanwhile, the drug dealers are taking advantage of everyone finding out that their drugs make people hulk out and are going to roll their RV into the richest part of town to make bank.

In the car, Nia dreams about her mother in a field brushing her hair and drinking an inky liquid from a chalice. As soon as she does, Mama crumbles into dust and flies away as a raven. Nia snaps awake but tells Kara she didn’t dream as they pull up to Nia’s childhood home.

Nia’s family welcome her home with open arms and no one questions why she brought her boss home with her.

Nia introduces Kara

“It’s fine, HER boss is sleeping with HIS boss, this is just how we do things at CatCo.”

While Maeve goes on about radishes, Nia sees a glass like the one in her dream and in a panic she shatters it to the ground. It turns out it was full of ink, not poison, but Nia is still shook. Kara distracts everyone by suggesting they start dinner.

Over dinner, they have normal family banter, but one thing that Kara notices is that all Maeve can talk about since she stopped talking about the radishes is how someday she’s going to inherit the prophetic dreams. Maeve is a little nervous that she’s “future blind” because they haven’t kicked in yet, but when Mama was pregnant with Maeve, she dreamed her daughter would have the sight. So Maeve has been studying dreams her whole life.

Seeing the wild, almost unhinged, intensity in Maeve’s eyes when she talks about inheriting the dreams, Kara now understands why Nia is so hesitant to tell her family she already inherited them.

Nia laughs

It’s like when you’re not out to your family and they make all these homophobic jokes and you’re like, “Love this, this is great.”

Brainy tells Alex that more rage attacks have broken out and Alex is upset with herself because she should have seen this coming, preempted another attack. She feels discombobulated and wonders if it’s because of the Truth Seeker. Either way, she wants answers, so she calls J’onn in to reassure her that nothing is wrong.

alex

Is this a new jumpsuit? I don’t remember this jumpsuit. But I will never forget this jumpsuit.

When Kara is brought upstairs to stay in Maeve’s old room, it’s filled with books about dreams. Nia feels so guilty, but Kara says that keeping this from Maeve won’t help anything. Nia promises she will eventually, but first she wants to talk to her mom and find out if there’s a way to transfer her powers to Maeve.

Nia begs Kara

“Five more minutes pleeeaaaase?”

So Kara agrees to interview Maeve and distract her, giving Nia time to talk to her mom.

J’onn shows up at the DEO to help Alex, and he tells Brainy that usually people don’t notice that their mind has been wiped, but Alex and Kara’s connection might be too strong and it’s affecting Alex. He’s hoping a placebo will at least calm her down a little so he scans her and promises she’s fine, suggesting maybe she’s just stressed from work.

Relieved there’s nothing too scary afoot, she gets back to work, having Brainy go undercover as a frat bro.

Alex

Alex’s “I have a clever idea” face almost broke me.

She throws him into a cell, and he gets the name of their drug dealer from them in a matter of minutes.

In Parthus, Maeve is more than happy to talk to Kara about her grandmother being a hero on Naltor, just like Supergirl, and that’s what Maeve wants to be like when she finally gets her powers. Kara is doing her best acting and trying not to do that “oh honey” wince.

kara scrunches

Me when I’m listening to Wicked and Elphaba’s like, “Someday there’ll be a celebration throughout Oz that’s all to do with me!”

Kara notices some Children of Liberty nearby, and Maeve says that the xenophobes show up every year, but not to worry; the people of Parthus can take care of themselves.

Nia’s mom can’t believe she left the small town life to be in the big city, but Nia loves it. She loves the energy and the flow of it; the way she talked about National City reminded me a lot of why I love New York.

Nia and her mom

Something tells me Nia’s mother prefers Seattle.

Nia changes the subject briefly to the dream powers and plays it off like Kara had the question of whether the powers could be transferred. Unfortunately for Nia (but fortunately for us), “The Dreamer is destined” and as her mother is explaining this, she gets BIT BY A SPIDER AND DIES.

DIES, Y’ALL.

Fuck nature entirely. I’ll take my big city life where the spiders mostly keep to themselves and even the giant cockroaches can’t LITERALLY KILL YOU.

Eh hem.

Anyway, as soon as Mama goes out, so does Nia, and her mother talks to her in her dreams. Mama realizes Nia is the one who inherited the dreams and is suddenly mad at herself for not realizing it sooner. She tells Nia that her element is fire, and that it was Nia’s destiny to be her daughter, to be The Dreamer. She then says something that I will quote in full because it gave me chills:

“Life put you through many trials just to be who you are. It made you strong. That strength will serve you well.”

Nia says goodbye

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

She tells Nia she’s ready, and just like that Mama is gone.

But Nia is instantly pulled into another dream, this time her and Maeve are having dinner together in the same field of dreams, and then all of a sudden there are more spiders and ravens. Nia wakes to find her mother is really dead; Harvest Fest is going to be a memorial service now.

Maeve is blaming herself, saying if her dream powers had been activated by now, she would have been able to save her. Nia says that even if she had a dream, maybe she still couldn’t have saved her, but Maeve considers herself fluent in the symbolism of dreams and is sure she could have, sending Nia into a guilt spiral of her own.

In National City, James goes to ask Lena about the black fund Mackenzie found, but when he gets to her apartment, Lena is sitting on the floor with a bunch of board games out because she wants to train for game night.

Lena practices game night

Lena wanting to win game night this badly is peak Lena and I love her for it. (Even though you shouldn’t have to work this hard to prove you’re a good couple…)

Realizing this is the cutest thing that anyone has ever done, James tosses his original plan out the window, and settles in to help Lena become unapologetic Sorry champions.

When the drug dealers start rolling their RV out of the city, the teenage girl who also happens to be living in said RV is none too pleased. But they got offered $10k so they’ll go wherever they need to go. When they find their buyers though, instead of $10k, they get the business end of some Children of Liberty’s fists in exchange for the gamma pills. Little sister takes the RV to chase the people who beat up her brother and his buddy, clutching a loose gamma pill in her hand.

While this is happening, Alex and Brainy figure out that the dealers are with Roberta Miller, the little sister, and that it’s technically her RV. Since Col. Haley is MIA, Alex invites J’onn to join them and use his peacefulness to balance out the rage, and they all head to Parthus.

When Kara finds Nia buried under a heap of shame, she tries to tell her it’s not her fault her mother died, but Nia confesses about the dream and if she had studied like her sister did, she would have been able to save her mother.

Nia sad

Nia’s sad face hurts my feelings.

Kara says she understands, but that Nia didn’t choose to be the sister with powers. Nia agrees with Kara that the time has come to confess she has the powers, and resolves to do it as soon as the memorial is over.

So Nia’s family dresses all in white and gets ready to head to the memorial. Before they leave, Nia’s dad gives her box that he found after being visited in his own dream by her mother. Nia presumably puts the box in the car, then they all head to a barn for the service.

The town wears white to celebrate the light in all of us, alien and human alike, and all is going well until Nia gets a dream-flash and uses it to save her sister just in time. And just like that, Maeve knows.

nia saves maeve

My brother used to pretend he was going to push me down the stairs then pull me out of the way and say, “Saved your life!” but I think this is a little different.

Maeve runs away angry, but Nia runs back inside the burning barn to save some children. Kara Supergirls out and Roberta shows up and uses her rage against the ragers, though also ends up in a tussle with the local aliens, who can’t tell she’s not one of the Children of Liberty, since she has the same rage face. When Alex and the DEO show up, Kara is breaking up a fight between a Parthus alien and Raging Roberta. Alex, seeing Roberta as an innocent little sister, aims her weapon at the alien, who Supergirl knows is a peaceful Parthian protecting himself.

Instinctively, Supergirl uses her heat vision to knock Alex’s weapon from her hand, surprising even herself. Alex is pissed she interfered, and explains that Roberta isn’t one of the Children of Liberty, she’s just a girl who took the pill to go after them. Alex says that the world is full of people who are bigger and stronger than her, and you do what you can to survive.

alex is stern

EVERYONE BE NICER TO YOUR SISTERS JEEPERS

Supergirl says she understands, but Alex snaps back that she couldn’t possibly know what it’s like to feel vulnerable. She is literally called the Girl of Steel. And Director Danvers has heard that Supergirl is as steely inside as she is out.

And friends I can confidently say that I hate this SO MUCH and I cannot wait for J’onn to give Alex back her memories because this whole situation is making me SO SAD.

Kara is also so sad, which makes me even sadder.

Supergirl is so sad

How can you look at this clearly crestfallen face and call her cold-hearted????

Nia goes to talk to Maeve one last time before her and Kara head back to National City, and promises that she tried to transfer the dream powers to her sister, that she wishes it could be the other way around. Maeve is so mad, because her entire life has just crumpled around her. She just learned her lifelong dreams (no pun intended) would never come true. And so maybe that’s why she said what she did, though there’s no excuse for such cruelty. She says she doesn’t even understand how Nia got the powers anyway. She looks her little sister in the face and says, “You’re not even a real woman.”

Nia is, understandably, crushed. Maeve has a flash of what looks like regret but she storms away instead of apologizing. Kara gently leads Nia out to the car so they can head home. Nia is so shaken; Maeve was one of her biggest supporters, how could she say something so horrible and untrue? And though Kara acknowledges that the scale of it is very different, she does understand what it’s like to have your sister be cold to you in a way you never anticipated. Nia says that Kara can try to empathize all she wants, but Nia has alien powers and her sister doesn’t, and that’s not something Kara will ever understand.

Nia

I wanted to hug Nia for all eternity after this episode.

Seeing Nia is hurting, and knowing she’s hurting too, Kara makes a decision. She pulls over the car and flies up in the air and says actually? She understands all too well. Kara says she’s telling Nia because Nia is a hero now too, and because she could tell Nia needed to know she wasn’t alone. Kara believes sisterhood will come out stronger in the end, and that either way, Nia has Kara by her side.

Kara supports Nia

The way Melissa Benoist delivered this made me believe *I* was not alone.

And while I love this plan, and I’m glad Nia will be on Team Super now, especially since I think Kara needs a friend as much as Nia does right now, a little voice in the back of my head went, “Oh suuuure she comes out to Nia after like ten minutes but Lena’s still out here not knowing.”

Anyway, speaking of Lena, Mackenzie goes to see James to see if she can write her L Corp piece, but James says he looked into it, and everything checks out, there’s no need to look into it further. Surely that lie won’t come back to bite him in the ass at all.

Once back at her apartment, Nia opens the box her father gave her from her mother, and inside is a supersuit of her very own.

Kara calls J’onn for a chat, saying she’s worried that Alex is TOO different without her memories of Kara being an alien, that she almost seems to resent aliens for being stronger than humans, almost like she’d be the first in line for Lena’s super serum now where before she was worried it was playing god. J’onn agrees that Alex is going to be fundamentally different without those foundational memories, but that Kara is still her little sister, and she still loves her more than anyone in the world.

Alex comes in and Kara sees her wounded hand, but J’onn stops her from going on an anti-Supergirl rant by saying they should just have a lovely evening with no shop talk.

Sisters on the couch

“The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same.”

But you know this whole situation is weighing heavily on Kara’s heart.

We end the episode where we began it, in Kasnia, and with one of the now-unconscious Kasnian Kara’s trainers making a call and saying he needs to talk to someone in America. So maybe, just maybe, this storyline that has been simmering on the back burner is finally about to come to the table.


I know Maeve’s cruel words may have been extra upsetting for some folks out there so I wanted to remind you all that you’re real, and you deserve to have a real, full, happy life. And you are not alone. You have the Autostraddle family, you have me. If you ever need someone to remind you of that, here are some resources:

Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Just a nerdy, TV-loving, Twitter-addicted Hufflepuff who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 162 articles for us.

15 Comments

  1. Thanks for the last bit of your article. I was at work last night and I didn’t even watch the episode but I seen the gif set of Nia and Maeve which made me cry. I’ve been struggling a lot lately and it hit me hard.

  2. I see a strong parallel between the two sisters’ stories. Alex voluntarily gave up a defining part of herself to protect her sister, and as a consequence, is lashing out at Supergirl from a place of fear and mistrust. Maeve learned that she never had, and never will have, what she thought was a defining part of herself when her sister acted to protect her, and now is lashing out at Nia out of pain and/or anger. I hope we haven’t seen the last of the Nals, if for no other reason than to give Maeve a chance to seek forgiveness for what she said.

    ——

    No, Lena, _this_ is what a deep connection with James looks like.

    ——

    As adorable as Lena’s fervor to win game night is, the choice of games the set dresser put out threw me off. Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, and Cribbage? Sure, they’re all classics, but they’re not game night stables in my experience. Where’s Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and so on?

    Although it would be fun to see whatever wild house rules Alex and Kara have.

    ——

    Wait… so is that Nia’s grandmother’s super suit?

  3. So my New Year’s resolution was to scale back my cursing from an SUV driving soccer mom (those women would curse out Jesus to his face) to Girl Scout troop leader after a half bottle wine status. The last 2 eps of this show have completely destroyed that resolution. I didn’t think I could curse more after what Haley did last ep but Maeve sent my pressure through the roof as my grandmother would say.

    The fracture in Alex and Kara’s relationship is palpable and so personal to me and I hate it. I always wished I was closer to my sister who I worshipped but she was so much older than me that we never got a chance. The me being gay thing shattered any hope I had of us ever being close in adulthood so I live vicariously through these two and my normally steely heart quivered watching Alex belittle and dismiss Supergirl because she’s “other”. That was art imitating life for me.

  4. this cut fucking deep and i’m not okay

    obv like maeve’s* line is fucking me up, but i’m also having more trouble than i realized i would with the alex and supergirl split. it’s almost like they think sister time is a zero sum game, when we all know that we can just have more and more and we’ll all be richer for it

    *i’ll take maeve wiley over maeve nal any day

  5. When Maeve said that to her sister, I gasped. I wasn’t expecting that and I’m so sorry to all those who were triggered by it.

    I think it was easier for me to watch heartbroken Alex than it is to watch this version of her that doesn’t recognize her sister. I want it over right now…fix it, J’Onn!

    What James did is, almost certainly, going to bite him in the butt — I hope the writer takes the story elsewhere and doesn’t just buy James’ timid justification. My lone regret about this storyline is that if James doesn’t have a day job, he’s definitely going to try to make Guardian into full-time gig…maybe by volunteering for Lena’s experimentation.

  6. Hey, just wanted to let you know that the episode number is wrong for this recap.

    It was nice to see some of Nia’s backstory in this ep, and Nia and Kara getting closer over the things they have in common.

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