“Supergirl” Episode 321 Recap: Dear Kara

This week’s Supergirl made me so sad. And not in the ways it was trying to make me feel sad. In the, “I’m not mad I’m just disappointed” way. So instead of a recap proper, I’m going to write a letter to Kara, if you don’t mind. It will technically recap the events of the episode, but I’m holding out for a hero, and she’s nowhere to be found. So I thought I’d reach out…

Dear Kara,

I’m worried about you. You don’t seem like yourself lately. If I’m being honest, you haven’t seemed like yourself in a while. I can’t put my finger on exactly when you started to change… I think because it happened in peaks and valleys. Every time I thought you were getting back to your old self, something would happen and you’d be right back to that girl I don’t recognize.

Take yesterday, for example. When you got back from discovering your mother was alive, that all of Argo was preserved, you found Reign free and in fighting condition. You tossed the black rock you got from the Kryptonians to Lena and kept Reign at bay until your girl could make a black-rock-taser of sorts for Reign. When it seemed Reign left Sam, outfit and all, and only your friend remained, I saw a flash of the old Kara in your eyes, hopeful, protective.

Kara looks up, hopeful

There’s our girl.

You heard Sam call out Lena’s name, you saw your friend lucid for the first time in a long time. You saw her reunite with her daughter, you saw the bittersweet tears in your sister’s eyes when Sam thanked her for watching Ruby.

Alex tries to smile through her tears

Alex, THEY’RE not moving to a meteorite. You can still be Auntie Alex.

You, as Supergirl, asked Lena for more help. She agreed.

My first question for you, Kara, is why you started making your plans to leave right then and there. You asked your sister to come over because you had news. Why didn’t you instead change into your Kara clothes and come pretend to be surprised and elated that your friend Sam was okay? Why weren’t you planning a relaxing movie night for the gals to finally be reunited with wine and sweatshirts?

Instead, you were in a hurry to leave. After telling Alex what you found when you went to look for the black rock, you looked your sister in the face and said that Argo felt like home. You spent years showing us that home is more than a house, that family is more than blood, and then there you sat, across from the one person who has been the most dedicated to you since the day you landed on this planet, and you told her she wasn’t enough. You didn’t even invite her to go with you.

Alex understood what you were saying as you told her this, that you wanted to leave.

Alex tries not to look surprised by the news of Kara wanting to leave

Right sure of course what would you possibly have to stay for? :sobs:

You told Alex she’d always be in your heart, you were making it sound like you were being forced to go. And maybe she would have fought you on it, tried to convince you to stay, but then you mentioned feeling guilty and selfish, and Alex isn’t the type to pile on. She has a lot of her own stuff going on, between her Ruby feelings and J’onn’s dad… not that you would know anything about any of that. So Alex told you that you have been Supergirl long enough to earn a vacation. Alex says she doesn’t know what she would do without her sister, and frankly, after watching what she’s been doing while you two have been separated week after week, I’m a little worried about it, too.

Don’t you miss this? These conversations with just the two of you? Just Kara and Alex, Alex and Kara, two sisters at the center of it all? Because I do. I miss it so much.

Kara and Alex snuggle on the couch

These are the moments we were here for. THIS is home.

When you went back to the DEO to tell the organization that their strongest member was leaving them to the wolves, you gave a lovely speech and shared a toast with them. I guess you said goodbye to CatCo too, though I don’t think they’ve seen much of you these days.

Kara and Lena toast to Kara's mysterious disappearance

“So funny how you and Supergirl are both leaving at the same time! What is it Blonde Vacation Season! Haha!”

Goodbyes are hard, so I won’t hold it against you that you repeated some of the same things you said to your sister to this room of coworkers, or that you didn’t give any special goodbye to your Space Dad or your best friend from long before you came out as Supergirl. Like you said, you figured it was just “kaoshuh.” To be continued.

Kara raises a champagne glass

So many people in National City today are day-drunk.

So off you went, to Argo. Your childhood friend Thara was there, I guess just to show you what your life would have been like if Krypton never fell. She’s very excited to see you — arguably more excited than your mother was — but ultimately very boring. Her biggest complaint about her life is that some sculpture in her garden is backwards, while you’ve held your sister’s dying body in your arms, saved children from monsters, held the weight of the world on your shoulders. Maybe Thara represents the life you could have had, but the thing is, it’s not the one you did have. You can’t take all the life experience you’ve had that built you up, that shaped you, and try to fit it into the small hole you left when you were sent away on that pod all those years ago. No matter how much you’re trying to leave behind, no matter how many times you call yourself Kara Zor-El, Kara Danvers is part of you. Supergirl is part of you.

It must be such a relief to be able to turn it off, to put down the responsibility for a while. To not be able to hear every cry for help. To not see every person in danger. I get it. I close Twitter sometimes, too. But the thing is, it doesn’t matter if you’re paying attention now, you’ve already paid attention once. What’s that phrase? You can’t unring a bell? You’re not going to be able to forget it. You’re a good person, albeit a little lost right now. You’re not going to be able to just walk away from this.

I mean look what happened when that crane fell. Everyone else wanted to write it off and move on with their day. But you noticed more than they did, saw the person in the cloak, sensed something off. Your instincts were to help.

Kara looks a little worried and a lot cute

I will say, Argo looks good on you, kid.

And the people you left behind, maybe they would be okay without you. They were hanging in there before you put on that cape. For example, J’onn and James spent the day fighting gun violence by trying to get a semi-automatic weapon out of the hands of a lawyer who wanted revenge on the partners who fired him. They had debates and stopped the man who did it, and even declared that the DEO will be using only non-fatal weapons from now on. It resulted in some agents leaving, but it’s the kind of justice-or-bustice attitude you taught them. You would have been proud, if you had been there.

I will say, though, the heavy-handed lesson-of-the-week shtick doesn’t look as good on other folks as it does on you. Maybe it’s your sweet face or your angelic hair, but something tells me your conversation with Lena about her having a gun for self-defense would have felt a little less shoehorned in.

Lena and a low-cut, off-the-shoulder shirt crosses her arms

Lena you literally barged into your nemesis’s office and pointed a gun at his unarmed face, I don’t think you should be the poster child for the right to bear arms. The right to bear cleavage, on the other hand…

I wish you had been there, Kara, when James and Lena settled in to work for the night. There was so much pizza! You and your never-ending appetite would have been so pleased. And you would have been impressed with Eve Teschmacher; did you know she studied nuclear physics??

Anyway, back to the issue of feeling just a bit different than your fellow Kryptonians on Argo. When your mother tried to give you advice about switching from warrior mode into vacation mode, it made you think of Alex. Don’t you think that’s important? Don’t you think it’s relevant that you’re getting what you’ve always wanted, advice from your mother — your MOTHER — and all you can think of is the sister who helped raise you? I think it is.

You looked lovely in your white dress, by the way. I recognized it from your dream… you probably didn’t have to say it out loud.

Kara is in a garden in a lovely white dress

Just like I wish you hadn’t seen the little kid Codpiece helped. I wish that moment had just been for us.

But you keep saying you feel off, that something feels out of place. That YOU feel out of place. Your literal dream was coming true and it still felt wrong. I think deep down you know why. I also want to think that while your ex was trying to confess his feelings for you — feelings, mind you, that he told J’onn he would keep to himself, that he admitted would be selfish to share, yet is sharing them anyway—maybe you, too, were a little relieved when you were interrupted by a robot. I’ve named the robot Cat, because I miss her. Don’t you miss her?

I imagine you were also relieved when you realized your instincts were correct in thinking trouble was afoot. When the hooded figure just flat-out confessed with little to no prodding that she was a daughter of the night, an evil priestess lead by Selena.

Though I imagine you were stressed when you realized the ship that brought you here was gone, the Worldkiller symbol in its place. I wonder if you looked back on your decisions and asked yourself the same questions I have. Why were you so quick to plan to stay here for good? What were you running to? Or, as is more likely the case, what are you running from? Why is your ex the only person you considered taking with you? Why did you never consider bringing the citizens of Argo away from their floating city with a dwindling life force to Earth with you? Granted, our life force isn’t exactly infinite, and there would have had to be talk of power-dampening implants, lest you bring a new regime of all-powerful aliens to Earth. Not to mention ruining your whole last-daughter-of-Krypton thing. But you didn’t even ask your mother if she wanted to meet Alex, or Eliza Danvers, the best mother on any Earth. You didn’t ask Alura if she wanted to feel what it’s like to fly, if only for a moment.

Anyway, all that’s moot now. You’re stuck in the hometown you’ve outgrown. And I understand, I do. You thought your mother was dead, and then she wasn’t. I can’t imagine the joy you must feel at knowing she’s okay, the mourning you must have to do for all the years you could have had together if you had known. You spent the first half of your life with her, she helped shape you. But the thing is, you spent even longer on Earth. And I guess I’m just confused as to why you were so quick to abandon it, why you didn’t even try to merge the two worlds, why you didn’t give Alex a set time you’d be gone. You didn’t even promise you’d visit.

Do you know what your sister is doing right now, while you’re listening to your childhood friend complain about her landscaper? She’s foregoing whiskey in favor of looking at adoption sites.

Alex puts down her whiskey and looks wistfully at her phone

I WOULD STILL BELIEVE ALEX WANTS TO BE A MOTHER BADLY ENOUGH TO BREAK UP WITH MAGGIE WITHOUT HER ACTIVELY ADOPTING A CHILD RIGHT NOW

She’s not even 30 years old yet, fresh off a devastating breakup; she should be going on bad first dates then dishing about them with her sister. Not researching how to get a baby. There’s so much time for that. But there’s no one there to tell her she doesn’t have to rush this. There’s no one there to tell her that giving a young, single lesbian a baby feels a lot like giving up on her lesbian storyline. There’s no one to tell her that a firefighter named Leslie Shay could tell her that an obsession with becoming a mother is how lesbians get killed on TV if she hadn’t become obsessed with becoming a mother and then killed on TV. There’s no one there.

Lena’s done some adoption of her own; you see, when her reporter buddy AND Supergirl disappeared, Lena didn’t know what to do. She doesn’t have a caged Reign anymore, and she gets lonely in her lab by herself. So she recruited secret-scientist Eve to help her out.

Lena looks through a microscope

Ah ha! It took the highest-powered microscope I could find but the heart of this show is still in there somewhere!

Kara, it’s not the same without you. And I don’t just mean since you physically left. It hasn’t been the same in a while. YOU haven’t been the same. I miss the Kara who stopped a plane with her bare hands to save her sister, even though she had never really even flown before. I miss the Kara who was funny and passionate and kind. I hope someone tells you about the speech J’onn gave the man with the gun, Kara. It’s the kind of speech you would have given a few years ago. It was all compassion and understanding; it was full to the brim with empathy. You keep saying you haven’t felt like you can be your real self, and yet on Argo you still feel off. Could it be the real thing in your way is the person who has been next to you this whole time? Could it be that your real self is tangled up in cape tricks? Could it be that it was when you started looking into his eyes to find yourself that you lost yourself in the first place?

I didn’t want to be the one to tell you this—I was hoping it would be Alex or Lena, if I’m being honest — but he’s been holding you back for quite a while. It’s like he’s been carrying a little hunk of Kryptonite in his pocket this whole time, and it’s making you think you’re weaker than you are. Making you think you can’t do this without him. When the truth is, you can. You’ve always been able to do this without him. Without his love, without his help. You had plenty of that before he arrived, and you had plenty of it when he was rocketed into space. When he’s around you can’t see things clearly, like your super-vision is blurred, like you think you can’t fly as high as you used to. You think you’re weak without him by your side, but if you let him go (really and truly let him go), I think you’ll find you’re stronger without him. You’re already the hero of this story. I just wish you could see it.

All this to say: I miss you, Kara Danvers Zor-El. I miss your goofy one-liners when you’re trying to seem cool fighting a bad guy, I miss your propensity for teamwork. I miss Alex trying to tell you something is too dangerous but you dashing off anyway like a Corgi puppy after a Great Dane. I miss the nights you and Alex would commiserate on the couch, not to say goodbye, but to just be together. I miss your speeches about hope, I miss your dedication to friendship, I miss the JOY being Supergirl AND Kara used to bring you. Hell I even miss how bad you were at being an objective journalist. It was sweet and genuine and full of heart. I miss you, Kara. The real you, the you I sometimes feel we were just getting to know. I know you have it in you, I know you can be that feminist, fierce, funny, friendly Kara who marched into Cat Grant’s office to demand to know why it was Supergirl not Superwoman. I know you’re out there somewhere. I know you’re in there somewhere.

Come home soon.

Love,

Valerie Anne

PS. Sam isn’t looking so hot and the Evil Priestesses rebuilt the Fortress of Doom, so… hope you’re reading this letter on the first flight back.


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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 94 articles for us.

46 Comments

  1. One thing that I think that you landed near, but not really on, is that all of this seems to be an allegory for the people returning from war.
    – Kara goes home from where she’s been for a long time.
    – She’s eager to leave, despite the fact that she’s leaving all of her friends and the life that she’s built there.
    – When she gets to home it feels sort of off.
    – She doesn’t fit in like she used to.
    – Everyone else’s life seems kind of plain, boring, and trivial.
    – The only person that can really relate is someone that has also been at that other place.
    – Her mother talks to her about warrior mode and being someplace where she was always on guard.
    – Kara is hyper-vigilant and constantly feels threatened.
    – Things that happen, and that other people just dismiss, activates Kara’s danger sense.

    • See, that’s the kind of allegory I really like, as opposed to the gun control stuff. I actually agreed with James and J’onn, but I hated that storyline because it felt preachy, overly simplistic, and condescending. It felt too much like the real world intruding on my fiction, you know? It was almost as if the show stopped and one of the actors delivered a gun control speech. Shoehorning Lena in as the token opposing voice was bad, too.

    • Not just people returning from war. After I’d lived in St. Louis for a while, whenever I went back to my little home town of less than 15,000 it felt tiny. I could never live there now. It’s too provincial, too conservative, too cramped.

  2. Beautifully written, Valerie. I wish the writers and show runners would read it and make sure that in season four they let Supergirl be Supergirl.

    ——–

    This episode felt too obviously like the writers were scrambling to get everyone in place for the finale. Let’s call it a Chess Episode – moving pieces around the board. They could have spent the whole hour on the aftermath of Sam’s return and how that affects everyone, with a B story of J’onn and his father. And Selena could have found a different way to get to Earth.

    ——-

    Being charitable, let’s assume that this season has been tossed around a bit by circumstances beyond the control of the showrunners, and that they are doing the best the can with what they have.

    May season four be the show the fandom deserves, and the one they need next fall.

    ——–

    P.S. promo photos for the finale show Alura on Earth in her own supersuit. Maybe Lena can rebuild the LexoSuit, maybe give it a fresh coat of paint (white, perhaps?) and join in the fight.

    • The only promo photo I’ve seen of Erica Durance shows her from the waist up wearing a red outfit with the signature gold belt that forms a V. Do you remember the site where you saw the photos of her on Earth? Thanks.

  3. Wow, Valerie! That was… everything! One of the truest love letter I’d read and I don’t think anyone would’ve said it better.

    I really wish that this letter could get in the hands of the writers and producers of the show so they could see the impact of their decisions.

    I felt very validated now! Thank you so much for this.

  4. Heartbreaking, indeed. When Kara started talking about things being off, I hoped this would go either way, certainly not in the direction she went, but more towards as things should be–. Thank you, Valerie Anne, for spelling out the good place to be for this show (Kara get the hell out of this bad place!)

    Alex! What happened to the ‘new normal’? She must feel some kind of hollowness herself since Maggie left or even before (and damn, does it feel like ages ago), which can only be filled by– a child (better choice than booze, I guess)? Up until now, Ruby was claiming that empty space. Not sure which way this story could go, but a) she’ll either meet someone new (Batwoman?!), b) adopt a child and live happily ever after as single mom (I know another single mom…), or c) ???

    Maybe it’s time for a shake-up at the DEO, CATCO et al– While J’onn has been getting a bit more to do since his dad came on board (which sadly seems to come to an end soon), most of the characters seem to be in a bit of stasis story-wise.

    Could L Corp play a bigger role in S4 (the gun-wielding, scienc-y adventures of one Lena Luthor)? Will the cult of the daughters of the night survive this season? Could the planet Argo travel to our solar system with unforeseen consequences (Queen Millennia anyone)?

    Anyhow, I truly hope SG can find its/her way back on track.

  5. I haven’t watched the last 5 episodes. I gauge the twitter reactions and read these recaps and it tells me if I should waste an hour this week or not. Was this the finale? No, right? Well hopefully things will resolve in the final episodes to put the show back on track for season 4.

  6. Excuse me, when did Kara say she planned to stay on/in Argo for good? I apparently missed that.

    We never saw “the joy [she] must feel at knowing she’s okay, the mourning [she] must have to do for all the years [they] could have had together if [she] had known.” There was very little reaction to discovering Mom was alive on any level.

    Kara had in fact flown before she saved Alex’s plane but it had been ten years or so (see the “Midvale” episode).

    Finally, I know it’s convenient to be able to blame “the person who has been next to you this whole time” instead of bad writing but Kara being in a relationship with someone doesn’t have to ruin the show. I wonder if you’d feel the same way if she were in a relationship with a woman?

    • If literally nothing was different about Kara except that Codpiece was a woman, I would feel exactly this same way.

      Do you get ANY joy from these recaps? I’m trying to figure out why you keep coming back if you always think I’m so wrong.

      • Of course I do. We’re all united by our shared love of the Supergirl show. That’s why I’m here even though I don’t exactly fit the demographic. You think the show has lost its way, so do I. That doesn’t mean we necessarily always agree on the details. I’m here for a discussion rather than an echo chamber.

        • All due respect, @davep-inst-louis, but I’m not sure you can claim to be here for legitimate discussion and say, “I wonder if you’d feel the same way if she were in a relationship with a woman?” The latter feels, to me, inherently dismissive and doesn’t really encourage engagement.

          • We all have inherent biases regardless of orientation. I simply wondered if part of your objection to Mon-El was that he’s not Lena. If you’d rather, I won’t come back again but believe it or not I enjoy the discussions.

          • I can agree, @davep-inst-louis, we all have our inherent biases but only one person here is ascribing a disagreement to those biases, and that’s you. It’s always troubling to have someone do that, but it’s particularly bothersome here when Valerie’s written probably a book’s worth of commentary on this show and you reduce it that.”I wonder if you’d feel the same way if she were in a relationship with a woman?” is a way of saying that LGBT critics and fans aren’t capable of commenting on straight relationships and that’s just offensive. It isn’t a way to initiate discussion, it’s a way of minimizing it.

            I’m not asking you to agree — my whole existence on this site stems back to a disagreement I had with Heather, after all — and I’m certainly not telling you to leave, but I am asking you to be a bit more thoughtful in how you present your critique and to appreciate how offensive what you said sounded.

          • If I said J’onn was from Venus, or that Lena was Lex’s niece, I hope you’d point out the error and not simply ignore it. I wouldn’t ask why you bothered to read what I wrote if all you were going to do was find fault because I’d give you the benefit of the doubt that your comments were intended for everyone’s edification. If I’d said last season that Maggie was bad for Alex you’d have a right to ask if I’d have the same opinion about, say, Winn. I wouldn’t accuse you of not being “here for legitimate discussion” if you did because I want to be better than that. There’s been a lot of Mon-El bashing, some of it undeserved IMHO, and a lot of Kara+Lena shipping. It makes sense to ask “Why?” It seems reasonable that some of the objection to him might stem from the fact that he’s simply not Lena. Let’s also point out that Mon-El didn’t spoil her friendship with Lena so he’s not the sole source of her problems. That said, again, I don’t normally blame characters for bad writing.

            I understand that this is a sanctuary, a safe space of sorts, where nobody questions your assumptions or challenges the party line. If you’ve chosen to read all my posts as negative that’s your privilege. Incidentally, I don’t comment on grammar or spelling because that’s simply petty and, again, I want to be better than that. I haven’t commented on the dismissive term “codpiece,” which I personally find highly negative but those are my objections not yours.

            I’ll try I Am Ginger’s approach and from now on I’ll try to only post positive content no matter how dreadful the next episode is (and based on this one it probably will be). We’ll see how it goes.

        • David, it feels like you post more than anyone other regular, and most of your comments feel highly contrary. I just re-read every comment you have made and almost all of them have a negative or angry tone, either toward the show, the review, or the opinions of the person to whom you are replying. This space is a circle of peers and as such, it is inconsiderate to make comments that, to me, read like, “No, you’re wrong. Just be wrong. Just stand there in your wrongness and be wrong and get used to it.”

          Try something – for the rest of the season, only post about what you liked about an episode. If you disagree about someone’s opinion, fine. No need to tell them. If someone made a factual or grammatical error, fine. We can’t edit out posts so there’s no point in pointing it out.

  7. Oh my heaaaart. I really should have read this first before watching the episode because I was hoping it would cheer me up after a long week, but it just made me more melancholy. Thanks for the letter to Kara–I miss her lots.
    Also, every time I see the CatCo set I think come baaack Calista Flockheart, please help sort some of this nonsense out!

  8. “…but you dashing off anyway like a Corgi puppy after a Great Dane.”

    Every once in a while, it’s possible to do better with one sentence than the other writer did with a whole script. Valerie just did that. Over-excited puppy who wants everyone to be happy: that’s Kara at her best. Someone figure out where Jessica Queller walks her dogs and take a hyperactive puppy (or five) for visual aids. See if that reminds her what the show she runs is supposed to do.

    David Phelps: if, like me, you’re here because the humans here on AS are the best recappers…remember we are both guests in a place that doesn’t belong to us. Always. Be. Nice.

  9. Couldn’t have said it better myself! I think the major thing that is missing is Kara being Kara. It just doesn’t add up. Why have a couple episodes with Kara trying to figure out how to balance both sides of her life? Then have most of the episodes after be mainly just Supergirl. Especially when she realized she needed both to be her best self. *Shakes head* Do the writers even read what they write?

  10. Okay, I’ve been challenged to only post positive things so here goes: This is the first time I can recall a gazebo as a metaphor. Kara has fought supervillains and worldkillers, she’s literally risked her life more than once, and her friend the sheriff’s biggest problem is a gazebo that faces the wrong way. Since the people of Argo have gravity control, it shouldn’t be that difficult to just move the damn gazebo. It lets Kara–and us–realize how much she’s grown apart from her old life.

  11. All of this is so true. I couldn’t figure out what has been a bit off with the last few episodes, then you listed it all! I know this was the previous episode, but Kara finding out her mother was alive was the most underwhelming ‘major’ plot twist I have seen in this series. Her reaction was so disappointing it would’ve been funny if it wasn’t so sad. She was just like “oh, that’s cool you’re alive, wassup?”. I hope they get this show back on track soon.

    (Side note, how did they have time to burn the Worldkiller symbol into the ground? Weren’t they in a rush?)

  12. This was so very beautifully written… I was keeping away from recaps because I didn’t like the past few episodes and didn’t want to see that written over again… But.. I thought I would like to read this letter; and it was..well. wow!

    I am sad along with you that the show I had liked so much has devolved into something else. SO much so that the past few episodes, I have been feeling decidedly disinterested in it.

    But, I do still hope that the past few episodes at least were a result of whatever the hell with staffing and scheduling they had to contend with and that it might end well.

    When Kara and Mon El were talking, I thought Kara was going to say that she has moved on (despite the hand touching cheek thing). She seemed just about to say that “but that was all in the past” before the robot interrupted.

    But.. may be I am hoping too much.

    I am glad I could read this. (Even if a week late).

    PS: I think Alex was too young to ever have raised Kara; but she has been what sisters are after they got over their disagreements. Parents do typically ask elder siblings to watch out for their younger kids and that doesn’t make them co-parent. I have seen many people say this, so just putting it out there. And, this is definitely not a criticism of you and I hope I didn’t make you feel bad. I can also see why people would feel this based on what we saw in Season 1.

    PS2: I wish along with you that they had never had that scene with the kid in this episode. It was very disappointing.

    PS3 (the last I promise): Like you said: it is weird, but when I saw the couch scene, it felt like Kara was being forced to go and she is going to Argo because that is what she is supposed to do rather than what she wants to do. Out of a sense of duty even.

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