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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.