Previously on Supergirl, we had 100 episodes of Kara Zor El saving the world. 100 episodes of laughter and hope and tears and frustrations and more hope. 100 whole episodes, and still plenty more to come. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Last we left Kara Danvers, she had wished she had done something different so that Lena didn’t hate her, and her and Alex had opened the door to find Mr. Mxyzptlk standing there.
Mr. Mxyzptlk explains that he’s here on an apology tour of sorts; he got in a bit of trouble after the last time he stirred things up in National City, and can only use his powers to help those he’s wronged now. Alex feels no sympathy for him.
Kara asks how he intends to help her, and so to remind her of the part of her that hurts the most, he uses his magic to put a clip of Lena yelling at her in the Fortress of Solitude on the TV. He says he can give Kara a do-over, to go back in time and tell Lena she’s Supergirl in a better way, at a better time. To see what the world would look like if she could choose what happened.
As a show of good faith, he gives her a tape recorder with his name said backwards on it so she could always send him back to the Fifth Dimension. Which Kara, hilariously, immediately takes advantage of. All that’s left when Mr. Mxyzptlk blinks away is Lena on the TV saying the line that stabbed us all deep in our heart places, “I’m not a villain. You shouldn’t have treated me like one.”
Then J’onn comes in, confused as to why his girls look so… shook.
After they explain the Mr. Mxyzptlk situation to J’onn, Kara reveals that she is tempted by this offer. Alex is like, “You’re still trying to call this a friendship? Even though you literally want to change the course of history for it? Sure, Jan.” But Kara doesn’t want to be on the opposite side of the line from Lena. Because she doesn’t know if she has it in her to do what it would take to stop her. Just as Alex and Kara decide maybe they could consider Mxy’s offer, Mr. Mxyzptlk crawls out of the fridge. He sends Alex and J’onn into a magical paintball game, and he and Kara start their journey.
Mr. Mxyzptlk says that the deal is, they’ll go back to an important moment, Kara will change it, they’ll pop back to present day to see what changed, then Kara can decide whether or not she wants to keep the new reality.
So they start to scan Kara’s life to see where in their three years of friendship, Kara got it wrong with Lena.
Mr. Mxyzptlk shows Kara the scene on the airplane, where Lena bravely said she’d land the plane and Kara faked being knocked out and Kara is horrified. “This is awful,” she says. “I’m awful.” And while “awful” isn’t the word I’d use, I think this is good for Kara to think about. How many specific times Lena is probably going back through, having to reframe their entire relationship, every single interaction they ever had.
Kara asks Mr. Mxyzptlk to take her back to right before Mercy attacks.
So Kara is zipped into Lena’s office, right before they’re about to share some Big Belly Burger. And Kara comes out to Lena as Supergirl. It’s gentle, kind, and quiet. She frames it with understanding and apology, and Lena is just… stunned.
Kara hears Mercy attack the building so she zips out to take care of it, but when she gets back, Lena is gone.
Kara goes back to Mr. Mxyzptlk to figure out what happened, and Mxy shows her that Lena went to find Sam to tell her Kara was Supergirl. Something tells me that Lena wouldn’t go telling Kara’s biggest secret to the first person she could, but also I wasn’t mad about seeing Sam again. Lena tells Sam that she’s thinking back to when she used kryptonite to split Reign and Sam, and remembers how mad Supergirl was. Knowing now that it was actually her best friend with that much rage has her in her feelings. She says if Kara, the kindest, most forgiving, most hopeful person she knows saw her as a villain… maybe she is one? Sam stops her right there. Lena did what she had to to save Sam. She’s a hero.
At first Kara thinks maybe this is a reality she can work with, but then it starts raining Kryptonite. Kara is sure that, even hurt, Lena will still save her like she did in the real timeline. Mxy says she would, if she could, it’s true… but she’s too far away. And Kara Zor-El dies. And I guess that’s not 100% enough to convince Kara to undo this scenario, but what is MORE than enough for all of us is Alex crying at Kara’s grave, saying she’s so lost without her. No. thank. you.
So Kara decides to go back even further. Lena mentioned the fight that she and Supergirl had about Kryptonite, so Kara decides maybe going back to that point might be the right spot. But first they take a pit stop in the scene where Kara asks James to see if Lena has any more kryptonite, and Kara winces; she sees now that she shouldn’t have done that.
Kara gets plopped back into the moment when Supergirl confronts Lena about kryptonite. She takes the moment to tell Lena that she is Kara, that Supergirl is Kara, Kara is Supergirl. This is why she’s so upset about Lena having kryptonite. But this doesn’t turn out to be the right time either, because all Lena can think about is how she could have used Supergirl’s help saving Sam. And Kara butts up against the same problem as before; Lena feels like she can’t trust someone who has lied to her so many times over the course of their friendship.
Kara is frustrated but she still thinks this timeline is salvageable; she asks to go to the time she went to Sam’s mom’s house since in this timeline, Mon-El is there, to try to get his perspective. Mxy hilariously says he doesn’t know what Kara saw in him, which is the kind of meta self-burn I’m here for.
And I don’t know if distance makes the heart grow fonder, or my love for Chris Wood has eclipsed my hatred for the Daxamite, or if they wrote him to be the best version of Mon-El, but I didn’t hate this scene. Mon-El points out to Kara that everyone else in Lena’s life who lied to her was doing it to manipulate or use her, but she was doing it to protect her; he’s sure, in time, Lena will see the difference.
He then says something I think we all could stand to hear: “You deserve the same compassion you show others.”
Reign shows up to fight and Lena shows up just in time. Kara is so happy to see her, and Lena blasts Reign with something, bringing Sam out, and proudly telling Kara she did it without using kryptonite.
And just when we think we’re going to get the perfect timeline we deserve, Reign takes back over and kills Lena; by the time Mon-El and Sam die, Kara is in a full panic, begging for Mxy to take her out of this nightmare.
And one thing this episode is teaching us, beyond the importance of Kara and Lena’s friendship, is just how many times Lena saved the whole goddamned day.
Anyway, Kara decides to go all the way back, to the moment they took that first step down the path to friendship, which also happens to be the moment Lena said she wasn’t interested in any kind of friendship.
Kara takes this moment to fly out of Lena’s office and back, and tell her that she’s Supergirl. Lena is taken aback to say the least.
She says, “Kara Danvers is Supergirl,” with an almost awestruck wonder, and Kara realizes she’s not mad. Lena says of course she’s not mad. She calls Kara incredible and asks why she’s trusting her with such a big secret. Kara says what she’s been trying to tell Lena in every timeline: Lena is good, and Kara trusts in that. Kara says that her cousin and Lena’s brother had it all wrong, and that they have the chance to redefine what a Super and Luthor can do together. Says they shouldn’t be enemies, but partners.
We flash through three years of headlines, of Lena and Supergirl being an unstoppable duo. Lena is even testifying at Lillian’s trial, and pleads the fifth under oath when asked about Supergirl’s true identity.
Kara fucking loves this timeline. It’s a world where she does no harm to Lena, and where everyone sees Lena as the hero Kara has always seen.
But of course, this is all too good to be true, and toxic masculinity ruins the party again. Ben Lockwood approaches Lena on the street; in this universe, Byron Montgomery’s Kryptonian Cult, the Church of Rao, has gotten out of hand, and Ben’s family jumped off the roof to their deaths, thinking Supergirl would save them. Ben demands to know who Supergirl is, thinking if they knew she was just a person like everyone else, they would stop worshiping her, but Lena refuses. As thanks for her loyalty, she is kidnapped.
Ben records his manifesto, telling Supergirl to reveal her identity or he’ll kill Lena and Chad Lowe. Even though she’s tied to a death trap, Lena shouts, “Supergirl, don’t do it,” brave til the end.
And Kara reveals a devastating truth that seems so obvious now that she’s said it out loud but that I never really thought about; Kara wakes up every single morning afraid that this will be the day her being Supergirl will get someone she loves killed. And now she’s faced with her biggest fear coming true; the person she loves third on this planet (only coming after her Earth Mother and sister) is in danger just for knowing her.
Winn reassures her that she taught them how to take care of themselves, that they all stand by her side knowing the risks, so she goes to a press conference and comes out as Supergirl to save her gal pal.
Supergirl flies to Ben’s lair and saves Lena and they hug and it still seems like maybe this is the best timeline, until Mxy shows her another news headline. After coming out, everyone Kara has ever cared about, from Alex and Winn all the way to Cat fucking Grant was murdered.
And so Kara is resigned to one truth: There was no good time to tell Lena she is Supergirl. The fact that the timeline where Lena is working with Lex on a mystery project is the best timeline so far feels very disheartening.
But Kara has one last idea. You can tell she hates it before she even finishes saying it, but she’s so desperate for there to be a time when Lena doesn’t feel the pain she’s feeling right now. So Kara wonders…what if she and Lena were never friends in the first place?
But as soon as Mxy snaps his fingers, the place where Kara’s loft once stood is a pile of rubble and Kara is like, “You know what? I hated this plan anyway, this is all the proof I need, let’s go back.” But the thing is, Mxy can’t snap them back this time. In fact, he can’t feel the Fifth Dimension at all.
A robot storms toward them, telling them they’re breaking the curfew enacted by Luthor Law, and the AI has the word HOPE printed across its chest. Before they can react, Dreamer is there to save the day.
Nia takes them to The Tower, where they watch an announcement by a darker-than-usual Lena calling Supergirl a terrorist and promising her people she’ll keep them safe.
They explain to Kara that Lex tried to assassinate Lena and she got seriously injured, and she disappeared for two years. When she came back, she killed Lex, and the trauma and loneliness had turned her into a shell of who she used to be. Now she’s a ruthless leader, protected by the Hope robots and defended by Reign and Brainy. Lena uses the Fifth Dimension to power the robots, which is probably why no one else has access to it, but Winn knows of a hat they could use.
The boys head off just as Reign and Brainy storm the tower. Dreamer protects them and tries to pull her mask off and talk to Brainy, but he’s unreachable.
Kelly has Guardian’s shield and is fighting right by Alex’s side, and I know this simulation sucks, but I do hope we get more of this in the real world someday.
Kara, suited up, flies to Lena. She says it’s her Supergirl, it’s Kara. Lena says, “Who’s Kara?” and frankly that hurt me more than it had any right to.
Supergirl tries to reason with Lena, saying they want the same things, to do no harm, but Lena’s not so sure. She tells Supergirl about how her brother blew her helicopter out of the sky, how her mother experimented on her instead of fixing her. She looks her in the eyes and asks, “Where were you?”
Kara’s heart cracks open and breaks all over the floor, and before she can even begin to try to think of an answer to that question, Lena opens her jacket and blasts kryptonian at the alien in her office.
While the boys run off to get the hat, Alex and Kelly work together to fight Brainy, and J’onn fights Reign. J’onn ends up obliterating Reign which is how I know this timeline isn’t salvagable by any stretch of the imagination.
Meanwhile at CatCo, Lena leans down over the weakened Supergirl, and says she doesn’t know anything about pain, as she continues to shoot her with her kryptonite beam.
Kara grits her teeth against it and says she won’t fight Lena. She won’t hurt her. Lena says that just means Supergirl will die screaming and shoots her more.
But before Kara can die again, Mxy gets the hat and undoes this whole situation. Kara is exhausted, physically and emotionally, and even though Mr. Mxyzptlk is ready to give it another go, Kara is quite done with all that. Kara says that what she’s learned from all this is that there was no perfect answer, that actions always have consequences, and frankly the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. She has to live with her mistakes, and make them right herself instead of trying to snap them away with magic. She thanks Mxy, and he apologizes for last time he was there. She sets him free, and he thanks HER for making him feel like he had friends.
He then drops a gem, because apparently this episode is full of them: “The magic of friendship can’t be forced. It has to be found.”
He leaves, and Kara flies herself to Lena’s apartment. When she lands, Lena expects either an apology or a lecture, like always. But Kara isn’t there to try the same things she’s been trying. Because the thing is, nothing has worked. She’s tried apologizing, she’s tried giving Lena space, she’s tried changing the whole goddamned timeline, and nothing has gotten Lena to change her stance. So she puts the ball in Lena’s court. She says that she can’t carry around this regret anymore, because it’s not helping anyone; they can’t change what happened. And just because you hurt someone doesn’t mean you can hold yourself accountable for what they do in their pain. Kara regrets not telling Lena sooner, but it was Lena’s choice to work with Lex, that’s not Kara’s fault and she can’t take on all of that guilt.
So Lena can accept Kara’s apology, in which case Kara will be there for Lena, right by her side, just like she always has been. But if Lena chooses to work with Lex, Kara will stop her. She says, “Just like I would any other villain.”
And I liked the way Kara phrased this. Because she knows Lena doesn’t want to be a villain. Kara right now, despite knowing Lena is working with Lex, doesn’t see her as one. But Kara needs to draw a line in the sand. If Lena crosses it, she is going to have to treat her like a villain, she’s going to have to stop her, she’s going to have to assume ill intention. But the choice is Lena’s.
Kara goes back to her loft and says that she has to learn to own her mistakes but also move on from them. And then she gets this goofy smile on her face that makes Alex ask her what on Earth is happening in that alien brain of hers.
And Kara looks at her sister and her Space Dad and says that they’ve been with her since the second she became Supergirl. For her best and worst moments, for her ups and her downs, for her losses and her wins. For 100 episodes. They crossed networks for her, crossed timelines and universes, crossed-over and got cross, and everything in between.
Together we’ve had 100 episodes of SuperFriends, of lesbian hero Director Alex Danvers who came to us right when we needed her most. All 100 episodes weren’t perfect, but what show with 100 episodes has been perfect all the way through? If the show ended after this episode (which thankfully it isn’t; we still have another season at least) I would be able to confidently say there were far more good episodes than bad. More laughter and hope than frustration. More excitement than not. And just like Kara herself, much more light than darkness.
The truth is, this show never fully lost its hold on me, and I look forward to seeing where they go from here. And while I was expecting a few more guest appearances this week, I will say that I overall enjoyed this episode. It was nice to revisit some classic Supergirl scenes, and it was a nice reminder that regret isn’t a useful emotion to hold onto for too long.
And so, just as Kara did with Alex and J’onn, I will raise a french fry to you and thank you for all the support you’ve given me over the years of me recapping this show, all the discussions and debates and inside jokes and laughter we’ve shared. Because family is what you make it, and we’re stronger together. El mayarah.