Hey, you. Welcome to this mega Supergirl series finale recap, which will cover season 6, episodes 19 and 20, “The Last Gauntlet,” and, appropriately, “Kara.” And while this will be my last ever Supergirl recap, I promise it’s not the last time this show will appear in my writing. After six years, these characters have woven their ways into my life in an inextricable way.
But we’re not done yet. So let’s pick up where we left off, with everyone still in their bachelorette party finest, standing in the Tower, the dead body of a reporter and the devastating lack of Esme making the air tense. Before they can decide what to do next, Lex’s voice cuts through the thick air and Alex immediately starts threatening his life if anything happens to her daughter.
But it’s just a recording, and Lex promises Esme won’t be harmed if the Superfriends fork over the five totems they have PLUS find the Destiny Totem for him. They’ll make the exchange on a bridge that is a dead zone for magic and tech, a safe space for the swap. Alex is desperate, ready to burn the world down, but Kara promises Alex and Kelly that she’ll fix this.
Lena sets off to find a spell that will help her track Lex, Nia tries to dream the location of the Destiny Totem. Alex doesn’t care if they use the decoy totem or just give them the real totems, whatever will get Esme back, but Kara thinks they can use the totems to power her up instead.
All Alex needs to do is trust her.
In the villain lair, Nyxly is surprisingly sweet with Esme, her heart breaking a bit when she realizes the little girl is resolved to her fate because even at such a young age, she’s no stranger to bad things happening to her. Nyxly takes her hand and says the totem’s magic word, pretending like it’s a game meant to cheer Esme up, but all that happens is Esme’s totem tattoo loses a few petals.
Lex is ready to just cut the totem out of her but Nyxly won’t let the little princess be hurt, especially not at the hands of some man. And for now it seems Nyxly not wanting Lex to hurt Esme is enough for him to hold back.
Across town, a Shadow woman slips into the Tower but gets caught by Lena. Andrea sees the reporter’s body lying on the ground and thinks Lena was wrong about her; maybe she IS a monster. She blames herself for stealing his byline, but Lena is quick to reassure her that this is Lex’s fault.
Andrea can’t fix this, but Lena says it’s not too late to be a better person. Lena has made missteps, and in another timeline has done worse things than this, so she knows better than anyone that redemption and forgiveness is possible. Andrea can still make amends. She has to actively choose to be better, to acknowledge and fight back the darkness, not pretend it doesn’t exist. Keep doing the next right thing.
As predicted, Kara feels like this is all her fault for taking a night off. She says it’s her job to keep her family safe and even though she’s tired and stressed she’ll do whatever it takes to make this right. She’ll use the AllStone herself if she has to. She just has to fix this.
In the villain’s lair, Lex is playing with himself (chess, to be specific) when the one and only Lillian Luthor strolls in. She schools him on chess and asks him what the deal is with all this murder and kidnapping nonsense, and when he says he’s in love she rightly laughs in his face. But when she finds out he’s in love with an alien, her face grows cold and angry. After all he’s done in the name of human supremacy, after all THEY’VE done, now he’s in love with an imp?
Lillian wants him to plead insanity and dump Nyxly so that the Luthors can be a perfect evil human family again, but Lex knows Lena isn’t coming back, and he’s not going anywhere without Nyxly. So Lillian storms off.
Back in her room, Esme is drawing a picture of her moms, and is dubious when Nyxly says she’ll see them again. Nyxly tells a story about her dad ruining her colored pencils, and says that just because scary things happen doesn’t mean scary things are always going to happen. We are not the bad things that happen to us. Esme looking somewhat calm now, Nyxly tries the password again, but more petals fall from the totem tattoo.
At the Tower, Kelly follows the sound of crashing to find her fiancée crying in the weapon’s room. She’s so worried about Esme, and she feels so… powerless. It’s something Alex has struggled with in the past, being the only non-powered human on the team, and she calls it her kryptonite. But the thing is, she’s not alone anymore.
Kelly is also just a human with training and tools, doing her best. And she is there to pull Alex out of her emotional quicksand made of what-ifs and worst case scenarios. Kelly reminds Alex that their little family has so much love they literally attracted an ancient elemental energy, and that’s how Kelly knows that they’ll be together again. And that they’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Brainy makes Nia a bracer for her Dream Totem, but she’s afraid that she’ll dream that something terrible will happen to Esme, like when she dreamed about Brainy having to go away. But Brainy says no matter what she sees, they’ll face it together… which gives Nia an idea. She decides to take him into the dream world the way she took her sister, so they can quite literally face it together.
When they go back to the team, they tell them they know Esme’s safe but not where she is, but they do know where the Destiny Totem is. Supergirl flies off to Prague to a statue of the Fates and plucks the thread of life, says the password, and sees a possible future. As she’s considering that future, and how much the statue of Clotho looks like Sara Lance’s friend Charlie, Alex shows up and takes the totem from her. Whatever it takes to get her daughter back.
And Kara is the fastest person on Earth, and the strongest. And as Alex just mentioned, she’s technically powerless, but for her magic glove. Kara could just take it back. But she doesn’t. She tries to talk her sister into giving it back, telling her of the future she saw. The wars, the destruction. But Alex is willing to risk everything for Esme.
Alex puts the final nail in Kara’s plan’s coffin when she points out that if Kara fails, she’d never be able to forgive her. And Kara would be willing to risk just about anything to stop Lex and Nyxly, but she won’t risk her relationship with her sister. Especially since it’s not like Kara’s 100% sure HER plan will work.
So Kara doesn’t move to stop Alex as she portals back to National City, totem in hand.
Meanwhile Nyxly, arms full of stuffies for Esme, finds herself face to face with Lillian, sitting like some kind of Lena Luthor on the couch.
Lillian doesn’t think Lex can love anyone but himself, and she’s not shy about her xenophobia. She tells Nyxly that Lex is just using her, a pawn in his game, and says so with enough conviction that Nyxly starts to doubt her boytoy’s intentions.
Kara goes back to the Superfriends to tell them that Alex took the totem, and how she had to let her go. Kara looks tired in an existential way, and it seems to be breaking Lena’s heart a little.
Kara knows she can’t face the AllStone on her own, but she’s not on her own. So she wants to use a combination of science and magic to stop them. Brainy has an idea that would supercharge Supergirl, making her able to go higher, further, faster, baby. Kara asks why this was never presented to her as an option before, and Brainy says that between the satellites they’d have to hijack and the energy they’d take from the sun, it would take things six months to get back to normal.
Lena is horrified at this; she knows what kind of devastation this could bring to the Earth. Kara would be playing god, and at a great cost.
Kara knows it’s not the best option but it might be their only option. She has to take the big swing. She has to fix this.
And she’ll fix the sun problem later. Not wanting to be part of this, Lena goes to the bridge to help Alex and Kelly, and Nia joins her.
Once they’re gone, Brainy starts setting up the satellite, and tells Kara she’ll need to charge for four minutes to reach peak power, and that they’ll likely meet resistance from the governing bodies.
With 21 minutes to go until the agreed meeting time, Esme’s tattoo is down to its last petal. Lex mutters his plans to cut it off her himself out loud, which Mitch overhears and runs to get Nyxly, who stops Lex from using her crystal ball on the little girl. So now Mxy is gone, Nyxly feels betrayed, and Esme is scared. Nyxly puts her body between Lex and Esme, and with this surge of love for the little girl, the totem pops out of Esme and into Nyxly’s hand.
Now that they have it, Nyxly is going to bring Esme back to her mommies and she’s so, so done with Lex. All he is to her now is another power-hungry man who tried to take advantage of her.
When Guardian and Sentinel get to the bridge, they’re pleased to see Dreamer and the Wicked Hot Witch of the East join them as backup.
Nyxly brings Esme to the bridge, and Esme lets out a joyful squeal when she realizes her moms really came for her. Everyone starts walking toward each other on the bridge when a storm starts to crackle.
Because across town, Supergirl has begun to charge.
When it’s time to make the exchange, Alex puts the box of totems down and Esme runs into Kelly’s arms. As soon as all the totems are near each other, they whirl together to form the AllStone, but before Nyxly can grab it, Lex and Lillian show up to explode the bridge.
High above National City, Supergirl is charging and the world is going dark, causing the people to start to panic.
As the timer ticks down and it’s almost time for the final surge, Kara sees the fear in the eyes of the people she was trying to protect and realizes that Lena was right; this isn’t the way. This is exactly what she has stopped people from doing for years, seizing power for themselves, no matter the cost. This isn’t right. So Kara stops the process and the sun gets back to normal.
Kara drops down into the street among the people, her heart breaking a little as she realizes they’re cowering away from her. She apologizes and says she realizes now what she was about to do was wrong. But that she’ll fix it.
So Kara flies to the bridge to fight by her family’s side. And fight they do. Esme hides while the Superfriends, Nyxly, and Lex & Co. all play a deadly game of keepaway with the AllStone.
Eventually the stone rolls toward Esme’s hiding spot and she picks it up, seeing it causing all this grief, and shouts, “Leave my family alone,” before punting it to the ground, shattering it.
It splits into three, and Supergirl, Nyxy, and Lex all grap a piece. They start to use the AllStones powers against each other, and at firstUPShe looks to Lena for help, so she starts whipping out some magic, causing a storm to swirl around them.
Lillian is surprised to see Lena doing such strong magic, but then turns to her other child in time to see Nyxly about to zap him with some AllStone energy. Using up her last shred of maternal instinct, Lillian leaps in front of Lex, falling to the ground as Lex and Nyxly continue to fight, turning into lizard people for some reason.
Lena, the only good Luthor to ever Luthor, runs to Lillian’s side and holds her, because despite their differences and despite what some would even call abuse, this is still the woman who raised her.
As Nyxly and Lex continue their titan tirade across National City, the Superfriends regroup at the Tower, watching the news report that they’re sucking energy, power, and all the totem’s elements like humanity and hope from the world.
Kara still has her piece of the AllStone but she doesn’t want to use it to fight; she doesn’t want to be like them. She needs to find another way to fix this.
Kara dons her Supergirl suit and flies up over National City to clear her head. (And this is neither here nor there, but in case you were wondering, this is the first place I teared up during this two-hour finale event. I wish I knew why! Even writing about it without watching it is making me emotional. Supergirl flying over National City for one of the last times. Her theme swelling softly in the background. I don’t know! It’s all downhill from here re: my ability to hold in the waterworks.)
Supergirl hovers there in the sky and listens to the people crying, calling out; she hears their fears and their pain.
But then she hears something different stand out against the murmur of agony. She hears Orlando giving a hope speech of his own. The people he’s talking to start out being so sucked dry of everything they had that they were literally black and white, but he puts the color back in them. He reminds them that they have power within them that no one can ever take away, that they still have the ability to fight. And a hope speech is exactly what Kara needed too, and she knows exactly what to do.
As we transition into the final episode, Lena is at Lillian’s bedside, mourning her dying step-mother and the fact that humanity itself is fading.
Before she goes, Lillian has something she needs to tell Lena. She’s known her whole life that her mother was a witch, and that Lena was too. She just gaslit her into thinking she was powerless. She pushed her to science, turned her into a Luthor, tried to snuff out her light. But here Lena is all these years later, a Luthor in name only, having found her own way, and her own power. Lillian says that Lena is free now, and that she has to really own that power. Forget about Lex, and Lillian, and everything they tried to make her. She needs to live the life she chooses.
Supergirl goes back to the Tower and realizes she’s been going about this all wrong. Supergirl doesn’t need to fix this. Kara doesn’t need to fix this. Everyone needs to fix this. The Superfriends don’t have to save everyone, they have to empower the people to save themselves. So they come up with a plan: Brainy is going to use a Legion crown to project a Supergirl hope speech into everyone’s mind. The problem is, he can make everyone hear it, but he can’t make them get it.
Lena comes in and tells them Lillian is gone but she barely liked that woman anyway and at least she got to say goodbye. Still, Kara hugs her because it sucks to lose even a mostly shitty family member.
Lena’s ready to distract herself with work though, and has an idea of how to help open people’s hearts to Supergirl’s message. While J’onn, Guardian, Sentinel, and Dreamer go try to contain Nyxly and Lex best they can, Kara, Lena, and Brainy use their powers combined to inspire the world.
Supergirl gives one last hope speech. Quite literally a hope speech to end all hope speeches. She tells everyone that they have to work together, that they have to believe in themselves and lift each other up to stop this. They can defeat this darkness, but only if they all come together.
And little by little, everyone starts to regain their color, and the people aren’t just taking their power back metaphorically, they’re literally taking it back from the AllStone.
The rest of the Superfriends arrive at the final boss battle, and Nyxly and Lex call back some of their big hitters, including but not limited to the Nightmare Monster and a shadow version of Red Daughter.
But with hope and her family by her side, Kara Zor-El is not afraid.
And so they fight. They each lean into their strengths, they work together, and just when it seems like the tide is turning against them, reinforcements appear. First the Legion reinforcements from the future, then James in his old Guardian suit. At one point, Lena finds herself face to face with her brother…
But Andrea in her Shadow form appears right on time to save her.
Hell, even Mitch gets tired of being bossed around and helps the Superfriends.
Nyxly wants to really get into Dreamer’s head and starts to attack her using Nia’s mom’s dream owls, but as if to reject the idea of using a good mom’s energy as a weapon, Best TV Mom Ever Eliza Danvers appears.
(For those keeping track, this is when my tears started to trickle out a little. One by one, still few and far between.) Alex is happy to see her Mama and they make a joke about how she was a Kryptonian in the movies, because it’s the last episode and there are no rules.
Realizing how very outnumbered they are, Lex opens a portal to the Phantom Zone, but his foes won’t back down. He summons some Phantoms, but when the Phantoms fly out and assess the line of
Superfriends Superfamily, now backed with the full support of National City, the Phantoms turn on Lex and Nyxly. Because, as it turns out, they were the ones with the most fear.
The Phantoms scoop up Nyxly and Lex and take them to the Phantom Zone, and Lena is amused that hubris did end up being Lex’s downfall after all.
And while I think this was an appropriate ending for Lex, I sort of wish they had found a way to put Nyxly in her crystal ball or something. She went through enough in the Phantom Zone by circumstances out of her control. But I suppose this was easier.
The battle done (they kinda won), they have a funeral for the reporter, and I have to assume also Lillian, two notable casualties in this war.
To thank them for ending the reign of terror, and perhaps realizing they almost made things worse instead of better, the government offers to let J’onn and Alex restart the DEO, but in their own way now. Not in the name of alien oppression, but just in specialized alien support services.
Alex isn’t so sure she wants to go down that road again.
But Kara thinks she should. Starting the DEO up again would give them the ability to teach and train and empower more people. This isn’t a make-a-big-swing-then-sit-back situation. They have to fight every day, they have to keep doing the work, and the more the merrier.
And as she explains the importance of keeping up the fight, of spreading the hope, we catch a glimpse into the future of the Superfriends. Alex and Kara do start up a brand new DEO. Lena starts a new Luthor foundation, and helps Andrea set up a journalism school. Dreamer and Kelly start a Dreamer center for LGBTQ+ outreach (and City Councilman Orlando is there for the grand opening.) It’s all very beautiful.
They can’t just swoop in and save the day as vigilantes or heroes; it’s not sustainable. But they can be civil servants, teachers, leaders. They can be friends, to each other, and to the citizens of National City.
The future folks go home, Mon-El stopping to tell Kara that she did good. Not just well, she did GOOD. And her speech made the history books; what she did here today will echo through time. She’s an inspiration.
Nia says goodbye to Brainy, he’s sad he can’t even stay for the wedding. He leaves her with two whole cheesy dream sayings, including that she’ll always be the girl of his dreams. And frankly that’s relatable.
And then we cut to three weeks later, the day before Alex and Kelly’s wedding. Kara’s apartment is full of flowers and she’s assessing her next task when the news reports about a kitten up a tree. She takes her glasses off and is ready to help when the reporter gets the breaking news that local business leaders got together; she doesn’t need to fix this.