“Supergirl” Episode 613 Recap: Shards of Courage

Hello and welcome to this recap of Supergirl Season 6, Episode 13, The Gauntlet aka The One where Kara and Lena Were Reunited.

Previously on Supergirl, Kelly called the Superfriends out and in and stepped into her power as Guardian, Lena found out she was descended from a witch and possessed the gift of magic but stepped decidedly AWAY from her power, Nyxly abused her power to trap Mxy and start to go after some totems, starting with the Totem of Courage.

Kara is in the tower when Lena comes back, and Kara is so happy her friend is back. She even goes in immediately for the hug.

Supergirl episode 613 supercorp hug lena kara hug

“Can you believe they let us do this now?”

Kara asks Lena about her trip Back East, but Lena is still processing it all so while she doesn’t dare lie to Kara, she dodges the question and asks to be caught up on work stuff instead. Brainy gives her the previously on recap and Kara invites Lena to go to the Fortress with her to see what they can learn about the totems. And I’m still not over Lena being so casually and warmly folded into the Superfriends’ plans. I will love this forever.

Kara smiles at Lena

Putting aside my Supercorp feelings, I do genuinely love Lena Luthor’s integration into the team with all my heart.

Lena happily agrees and they head to the Fortress together, where they access the living memory of Vita, a Kryptonian witch who has popped up here and there across the seasons. Kara understands why they might need a witch to deal with fifth dimensional magic but Lena’s face becomes that of a person confronted with the very thing they’ve been trying to avoid. Lena asks if “magic” is even the right word for it, since it’s technically ENERGY, and surely there’s a scientific explanation.

Kara brushes off this comment and asks Vita about the totems. Vita is even more eccentric than I remember as she lists what she calls rules about the totems.

Lena and Kara listen attentively

“Let me guess, magic always comes with a price.”

Rule 1, don’t pick up the phone, there is an order to which you must collect the totems, and Courage is first. Rule 2, the totems are concealed as artifacts, hidden across time, important to the cultures raised around them. Which…is not a rule. But go off, I guess. Rule 3 is that you have to activate the totem before you wield it by saying the word “cursex” and the final rule is that to control the totem you must submit to a test of character, a gauntlet, and succeed.

Lena and Kara aka Supercorp exchange glances

“I’ve been taking a lot of online quizzes lately so I’m sure this will be fine.”

Meanwhile, in the National City Museum of Ancient Technology and Anything Else Supergirl Happens to Need Right Now, a doctor gets a letter about her funding being terminated and she is frustrated because she wants to harness lightning for a laser. What kind of laser? Who knows. She just wants it.

Up in the glam rock spaceship, Mitch tells Nyxly how to get into the museum and steal the artifact, and she’s annoyed she can’t just snap her fingers and get her way like she could in the fifth dimension.

Nyxly looks annoyed

I understand. Being a human IS quite tedious.

But, it will be worth it, because the Courage totem is the first step in her elaborate revenge plot.

Back at Alex’s apartment, Alex and Kelly are chatting over coffee. Kelly thanks Alex for giving her the space to process all that’s happened over the past few days, and of course for the coffee.

Alex and Kelly exchange cute glances over coffee

“Honestly I’m just grateful Lena and I can be in the same episode, even though we had to split it and not share scenes.”

Alex gets a call from the Tower and invites Kelly along, but Kelly has more work to do with Orlando in the Heights, and Alex just beams proudly at her before asking if she needs any help. Kelly assures her she doesn’t so Alex kisses her on the cheek as they go their separate ways.

Alex kisses Kelly on the cheek

Forever depressed they filmed this final season during a pandemic, otherwise I’d love to believe we’d get more sweet lady kisses.

In the tower, Alex and Lena do some tag-team science to narrow down potential artifacts that could be the totem in disguise.

Alex and Lena do science together

Crazy science, if you will.

There are still so many options that it would take Supergirl a month to investigate them all, but just then they get a ping from the computer telling them that Nyxly is trying to steal the slingshot David supposedly used to kill Goliath that just got delivered from Warehouse 13.

Nyxly smash-and-grabs the slingshot and starts to run out as the alarm sounds when the Superfriends stop her. Kara says, “Hand it over,” and Nyxly just laughs in her face and says, “No,” which continues to be adorable. I love her streak of joy amidst her villainy.

Nyxly beams wickedly

I would take ten thousand Nyxlys over He Who Shall Not Be Named any day.

Nyxly decides that her only way out is through so she utters the magic word to activate the totem and starts to see a blast from her past while a blast of energy fills the room, and when Supergirl makes a play for the totem, it splits in two.

The Superfriends take their half of the totem back to the tower, where Lena examines it, learning that it’s definitely radiating fifth dimensional energy.

Lena inspects the artifact

“I can contact my old friend Helena G. Wells to ask her about it…”

They turn on the crystal to ask Vita, but she’s tired of being a hologram so she jumps into Brainy’s body instead. She tells them that they need to unite the halves of the totem to gain full control of it, and to get control of her half, Kara will have to pass her gauntlet before Nyxly does. And she has to face it alone.

Kara looks concerned

“But I’m the superhero who LIKES working with her friends! Unfair.”

Lena yeets Vita out of Brainy and rushes off to make sure it never happens again while Kara heads to the training polygon to enter her gauntlet. A voice tells her she must face her past, face herself, and face the moment she lacked true courage. So she’s surprised when she finds herself in a flashback of the day she became Supergirl, when Alex’s plane was going down and she had no choice but to try to save her.

Kara is in her outfit from the pilot

Did they just part her hair on the other side or did they find the only good wig on the CW lot?

After she goes through the motions, on her way back to her loft she hears a cry for help that she remembers ignoring the night of for fear she would be exposed. Kara is clearly not overthinking the riddle the way I was; I would have thought she had to just witness what ignoring the cry for help caused; have the courage to face the consequences of her decision. But Kara can’t help herself and decides to save the man this time, thinking that it was the most courageous choice. However, she soon finds herself back in reality with the voice telling her that she has failed the gauntlet. And so, everyone who had been in the museum when the totem broke gets a little jolt of courage.

Nyxly activates her half of the totem too and enters her own gauntlet with the same rules. She finds herself back in time, on the day of the coup she planned with her brother, which was stopped by her father, who praised his son for his bravery and scolded his daughter for her betrayal. Nyxly, filled with years of rage and resentment, decides to change this moment by killing her father this time, but that causes her to fail the gauntlet, too.

Nyxly looks upset

Is Nyxly getting more attractive as she gets more evil or is this a me problem?

There’s another surge of courage, and this proves too much for the citizens of National City. The museum breaks out into mayhem and fighting and Spike the Iguana is there so he turns back into his dragon form.

The Superfriends show up and Alex’s practical tactical brilliance has been fully replaced by taurine and raw courage, and she runs off to face the dragon head-on. J’onn yells after her that he’s proud of her and Kara just looks at her team like they are all playing a practical joke on her.

Kara looks confused

Me when everyone on my Twitter timeline was talking about how much they loved Mare of Easttown.

The scientists fight over the plans for lightning harnessing, Brainy miscalculates some punches, J’onn tries to reason with the dragon, and Alex fights with gusto. Kara steps in and manages to get everyone to listen to her long enough to de-dragonify the iguana and head back to the Tower with her.

When they get there, Lena confirms that this is fifth dimensional energy at play, and Alex isn’t sure it’s such a bad thing. But Kara says that laughing in the face of danger almost got Alex killed. J’onn starts to wax poetic about his team of Earth children when he realizes the thing he was made to be courageous about is sharing his feelings, which Lena doesn’t love as a general possibility for herself.

Lena looks CONCERNED

“I’ve gotta gay. GO. Go. I’ve gotta go.”

Brainy comes in and tells them that Nia had the courage to try to access a new dreamscape, and he can’t wake her up. Alex tells Kara to be brave like her and try the gauntlet again, but Kara is worried about making this worse.

Alex grins gleefully

This has the “DO IT” energy of my chaotic D&D party.

Up on the spaceship, Nyxly can’t figure out where she went wrong in her gauntlet vision. Mitch says maybe she’s supposed to kill her brother instead, but the very thought of it upsets Nyxly too much. Mitch says that maybe because she hates the idea, it means it’s the courageous thing.

Supergirl is back in the polygon of pondering, ironically trying to muster the courage to go back into the courage gauntlet, when Lena sits next to her, also at a loss for what to do next.

Lena and Kara sit next to each other

I mean I could come up with a few ideas.

After a minute of discussing the gauntlet and the problem at hand, Kara looks to Lena and asks if she really doesn’t believe in magic. Lena decides that’s not relevant right now and says, AND I QUOTE, no I am NOT making this up or dramatizing it or paraphrasing or copy/pasting from Stay the Night again, Lena Luthor literally says to Kara Danvers, “I believe in you.”

Lena tells Kara she believes in her

And she didn’t even need to be affected by the Courage Totem to tell her.

Lena reassures her that no matter what it’s called, they’ll figure out this problem, together. And while Kara figures that out, Lena is going to talk to Vita and see if she can glean some more answers.

Kara tries the trial again, but fails again, causing another surge of courage, causing the scientist to skip the trial process and go right to causing a lightning storm in order to harness its energy.

When Lena fires Vita up again, the technopagen reveals that she knows Lena has access to magic. Says hypothetically an “Earth witch” could be strong enough to help stop Nyxly, and might explain why she wasn’t affected by the totem’s surges. She says that sometimes magic defies the laws of science, which stresses Lena out a bit, though she seems to be starting to come to terms with it.

Lena looks a little concerned

I believe in my heart that Katie McGrath is a witch. It’s the only explanation for :gestures broadly at her: all this perfection.

When Lena rejoins the Superfriends and asks about the storm, Brainy tells them about the scientists he overheard at the museum, and they set out to find them.

Nyxly restarts her gauntlet trial, too, but instead of killing her brother like Mitch suggested, she just confronts him. Admits he broke her whole heart, her baby brother, the child she helped raise, her best friend. She trusted him, and never would have hurt him, and he betrayed her.

Nyxly looks distraught in her flashback

I was perfectly happy loving Nyxly as a cartoon villain, I didn’t ask for all these big-sister/narcissistic parent feelings!

This display of courageous vulnerability was what she needed to do to pass the gauntlet, and the totem shards start charging and trying to reconnect. Kara holds tight and asks for help containing it, so Lena gives Kara a box to put her shard in, if you know what I mean.

Brainy thinks he found the scientist, but he’s wrong, which Lena points out is the fourth time today. Turns out he WAS affected by the totem, and he was granted the courage to be wrong, meaning he’s mostly been guessing lal day. Kara wants to slow down and make a plan but her team is off the rails and already out the door.

Supergirl finds the scientist (with Lena’s help instead) and breaks her machine to try to get her to see reason. She looks around and sees the chaos around her, all caused by the totem.

Kara looks around

“Besides, this lightning is doing nothing for my hair.”

So Supergirl tells Lena to release the totem. She needs her team back to fix this, she can’t risk this getting any worse than it already is. So Lena listens and everyone is restored to the normal amount of courage as the totem finishes its transformation in Nyxly’s hands.

The scientists, now with her faculties about her, realizes she made a mistake and tells them that they need a negative ionizer, which Sentinel can make with her glove. The scientist is worried about it being dangerous, but just in time, Guardian arrives to have her back.

Sentinel and Guardian stand side by side

A Sword and her Shield.

The three fliers go up to stop the storm in the sky while Guardian protects and Sentinel de-ions the air or something, teamworking the storm into submission.

When the totem is complete, Nyxly and Kara get glimpses of each other’s gauntlet, and Supergirl falls from the sky.

When Kara wakes up, Alex and Lena are by her bedside, relieved she seems okay.

Lena and Alex look over a waking Kara

My kingdom for a Dansen/Supercorp double “date” scene.

Kara tells them what happened, and Lena thinks a psychic connection makes about as much sense as anything else they’ve been confronted with today. Kara knows Nyxly can sense her too, and that they need all the power they can muster to to help stop her, causing Lena to look a little guilty.

Lena looks upset

I want to murder everything that makes Lena make a sad face, including the very concept of guilt.

Back at the lesbian lair, Kelly is tending to Alex’s wounds, telling her that chicks dig scars, almost like they heard our cry for more on-screen Dansen conversations.

Dansen share a couch as Kelly bandages Alex's wound

Genuinely love to be pandered to.

Alex apologizes for pulling Kelly away from her Heights mission, but Kelly was happy to help the love of her life. She wants to be partners in the field and at home, because she loves Alex very much. They’re part of each other’s worlds, and on the same team, and they’ll find that balance eventually.

Kelly smiles at Alex

I know it won’t happen but all I want is a Guardian/Sentinel spinoff, and I’m GONNA keep talking about it.

Meanwhile at the loft, Kara and Lena are hanging out! Alone! Together! Looking cozy af and eating…pie?? Lena looks more at ease than we’ve ever seen her, hair down, unheeled feet tucked up under her, chatting with her gal pal.

Lena looks so casual sitting on Kara's couch with pie

JUST A CASUAL GAL WITH HER PLATONIC PAL

Kara is lamenting not passing the gauntlet, and explains what she saw to Lena, but Lena doesn’t understand either. She sounded pretty brave to Kara.

Mustering her own courage, Lena decides that now is the perfect time to come out to Kara as a witch. Kara’s face is hilarious, trying very hard not to scream like when she saw Alex’s Sentinel costume for the first time, forcing her face to stay curious when it’s clear that internally she is equal parts confused and excited.

Kara tries to reign in her excitement

Me trying to act cool when someone says they started my favorite show(s).

Lena isn’t sure she’s ready to talk about it, but she wants to help, and more specifically, wants to help Kara. She wants to try to untether her from the imp. But Kara says she wants to stay tethered for now; she thinks she can use it to her advantage. She knows it could be dangerous, but she’s willing to take that risk if it could potentially help them. Lena looks in awe at the Kryptonian beside her and says again that she can’t believe the totem dared deny her. I’ll quote Lena once more so I’m not accused of exaggerating, but she says, “You are the epitome of courageous.” EPITOME.

Lena looks serious as she pays Kara this compliment

THIS SCENE BROKE ME. Time to give myself to the sea. Bye!

Kara gets another twinge and can feel Nyxly’s rage and determination. And it’s true, Nyxly is furious. They both had to face a gauntlet, why does Kara seem so…hopeful. And what’s the word? Gay? Happy. Same thing. Mitch says maybe Nyxly had to suffer more because she won and Nyxly decides to relish in that and refocus herself on finding the next totem.

The end! Next week, the totem of depravity? Love? We’ll find out! Together!

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Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd 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 373 articles for us.

14 Comments

  1. “Putting aside my Supercorp feelings”: LOL, I believe YOU can do that about as much as *I* can! Which is not at all! 😄

    Have we noticed what Lena is wearing? With the sneaks, and big watch? (Have we ever seen her quite this dyke-y before?)

    As Autostraddle’s resident Biblical scholar, let me say that at “the slingshot [was it made by Whammo?] allegedly used by David to kill Goliath”, I rolled my eyes so hard I saw my own brain.

    Whoa! Let’s not rush through the Comedy Stylings of Jesse Rath as BrainyVita though. Didn’t ya catch when *she* looked at Lena’s lovely backside, and then Lena’s lesbian spidey sense tingled so she turned around to stare at the starer, BrainyVita winked? Lesbian witches for the WIN!!!

    “Is Nyxly getting more attractive as she gets more evil or is this a me problem?” LOL, not AT ALL a you problem!

    “when Lena sits next to her” Is that some seriously good, seriously gay sitting, or what?

    “I was perfectly happy loving Nyxly as a cartoon villain, I didn’t ask for all these big-sister/narcissistic parent feelings!” And here I was just thinking about the (cropped) cleavage in that shot—but that’s undoubtedly a Me Problem!

    ” so Lena gives Kara a box to put her shard in, if you know what I mean.” ROFL! 🤣

    “telling her that chicks dig scars, almost like they heard our cry for more on-screen Dansen conversations.” This recap is *fire*, VA! 😁

    ***We. Have. Never. Seen. Supercorp. Alone. Together. On. The. Danvers. Feelings. Couch. Before.*** (That is all! Except, um—don’t hate me—maybe remove those dykey sneaks, before you tuck your feet up on the precious, holy, DFC? Were you raised in a barn, Lena, or just Luthor Mansion?)

    “Lena decides that now is the perfect time to come out to Kara” Phrasing, Chef’s Kiss. 💋

    “They both had to face a gauntlet, why does Kara seem so…hopeful. And what’s the word? Gay? Happy. Same thing.”

    And I just went with “…because, Nyxly, Kara is with her One True/Endgame Love”. 💙💗💙💗

    Till next week!

  2. Is it pie? Or quiche? Can’t tell.

    —-

    And here I was thinking we’d have to wait ’til the series finale for another scene of Lena and Kara without her mask (her glasses). And with Lena filling the roll of emotional support lesbian on the couch? Yes.

    And not one but two domestic Dansen scenes? We are being spoiled, by friends!

    —-

    I … don’t get Kara’s trial in the gauntlet. By the timing, it feels like she missed her moment of true courage when she flew away after saving the plane? What was she supposed to do? I appreciate that we’re not being spoon fed the answers, but unless I missed something, there’s not even subtext about what she did “wrong”.

    Personally, when the totem said that Kara had to face a moment of true courage in her past, I expected it to drop her on the plane ride home from Kasnia, when she almost told Lena. You know, the one What If moment that they didn’t cover in the 100th episode.

    —-

    The first totem caused a flashback to the first season, so it stands to reason that we’ll get more. Seven totems, six seasons… one flashback per season, and a flash forward for the final totem? Perhaps the final totem is the love totem, and it flash forward’s to the Supercorp wedding?

  3. Just my spec re the Failed Trial of Courage:

    In the 5×13 Re-Try (of a scene taking place in S2, that was itself added as a flashback earlier in S5), Kara tells Lena, “Your brother, my cousin: they had it all wrong.”

    Kara Zor-El never chose to be Kara Danvers, per se: it was chosen for her by cousin Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman. When she saved the plane, she followed her cousin’s model of secret identity, but she never really considered the COURAGE it would take, to do it publicly. It’s funny: in this season’s time travel eps, we see how young Kara had already taken to “Supering”, but again: the identity thing was never really discussed, only assumed (w/ Alex lecturing her not to risk it).

    But what if Clark/Superman was “all wrong” about it? What could have been the consequences of an alien, in their full, well, humanity, choosing to save people, not as a “Super” icon, but just because Kara Zor-El can? Might be a courageous choice.

    Here ends useless spec.

      • Strongly agree with this take. I think it might be possible that her courage test was to stay and confront the world as Kara.
        My other option is that it was to let the plane get to its destiny…or to let Alex manage by herself (in the sense that she has her own resources and could have deal with the situation), but I’m not really a fan of this idea.

  4. Woohoo, Supercorp reunited and bless, more Dansen scenes. Though I can’t shake the feeling that Kelly has somehow been assigned the role of teaching others a lesson in humanity (tokenism?!)

    // Total digression and *spoiler for the final ep of Vigil*, but that pandemic caption made me wonder whether Amy and Kirsten didn’t kiss during that tearful confession due to pandemic restrictions, but then remembered that in fact they kissed in other scenes, so the intense forehead teaching was prob on purpose… //

    Ahem, interesting that Kara ‘the epitome of courageous’ has failed that test, but maybe she should have faced the world as Kara as theorised above. That sorting hat-esque voice of the totem was cracking me up.

    Not sure if it was related to the final season or a general remark, but I saw a BTS snippet with Katie McGrath where she mentioned that her character becoming part of the gang was vital to telling the story in the end. So yes for Lena exploring her true self and saving the Superfriends while she’s at it.

  5. Sooo….after a few hours of kicking the heavy bag, Kelly Olson becomes Guardian? Gimme a break! I’ve watched every single episode of Supergirl since Episode 1. And all I can say is……what the bloody hell has happened to this once great show? Every 5 minutes we have a “pep talk”….about courage, about being gay, about following your bliss, blah blah blah. It’s a shame to see a great show go so far downhill.

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