The “Supergirl” Musical Crossover Cemented Its White Bread Mon-El Problem

Tuesday night, in what almost felt like a Glee fugue state, Supergirl and The Flash joined forces to present a musical spectacular. The songs were downright delightful, and I could forever watch Kara and Barry work together and complement each other’s big goofy hearts, dashing and dancing and saving the day. Plus Melissa Benoist (Glee‘s Marley Rose/New Rachel) and Grant Gustin (Glee‘s Sebastian Smythe) are such talented triple-threats, it would have been a shame to never leverage their comedic timing and friend-chemistry while also showcasing their talents. The CW made it A Thing and even added Darren Criss (Glee‘s Blaine Warbler) to the mix as the Music Meister.

When we left Kara on Supergirl, she was thrust on stage and told to sing. When Barry finds her again on The Flash, she has apparently decided to just go with it, and is singing a beautiful rendition of Moon River. One of the biggest travesties of Melissa Benoist’s stint on Glee (besides the eating disorder Kitty actively gave her and having her disappear without a trace) was that they rarely if ever gave her a pure solo. But this song is all Kara, beginning to end, and it’s beautiful. And because Melissa Benoist is a gem, you can watch her face go from, “Why am I even singing? Is this happening?” to “Fuck it, if I’m going to sing this song, I’m going to SING this song.” There’s even a cute moment when she notices Barry in the crowd (who just sits down to watch, awestruck) at the moment the song gets to the line, “My huckleberry friend.” She actually says “Barry” at the perfect time, so if you listen closely she actually says “HuckleBARRY! Friend”. And I don’t know exactly what a huckleberry friend is, but if anyone’s a huckleberry friend, it’s Barry Allen.

Most of the plot took place in a dream universe of the Music Meister’s making, and those parts were fun to watch. I spent most of the middle bits with my hands on my cheeks to keep my smile from breaking my face. There were some glaring problems toward the end of the episode, though, that contradict everything nice I said in my Supergirl recap on Tuesday. And by “glaring problems” I mean “Mon-El.”

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At the beginning of the episode, Kara literally told Barry that Mon-El was her “nothing.” She was still angry at him for lying about being a murderous prince, and nothing had transpired to make that change. At the end of the musical story within the regular story, Iris and Mon-El kiss Barry and Kara awake, respectively. True Love’s Kiss or whathaveyou. And just like that, Kara forgave Mon-El. Totally forgiven, with a quick little, “Never lie to me again or I’ll kill you! Teehee!” Just because the Music Meister said so? Because everything is easier in a musical?

Darren Criss is incredibly talented. I like him, as an actor, a lot. And I liked Blaine Warbler once, I did. Music Meister was like Blaine went to whatever fancy music school and got a few gigs in some esoteric Off-Broadway shows that get vague reviews like “so definitively abstract” because no one has any idea what the hell is going on, then walks around acting like he knows everything. The stated purpose of the Music Meister was that he saw two people in different universes who happen to know each other and were having relationship troubles, so he wanted to bring them together to force them into True Love’s Kiss to remind them — and I quote — “Love is about letting yourself be saved.” Which I feel fairly certain is not what love is about? At least not only. At least not always. When he left I was a little surprised no one sang, “Well the battle’s done, and we kinda won?”

1985

I don’t know where Kara goes from here. Supergirl fans, as a whole, have been really frustrated about Mon-El since his arrival, and this crossover episode only cemented the troubling things about the way his relationship with Kara is being written. It’s a dynamic that is more frustrating and egregious when it’s juxtaposed with Kara’s relationship with Lena Luthor. One is grounded in real chemistry and shaped by misunderstanding, communication, and growing affection. The other is — look, even enormous even mainstream geekery websites know he’s flat and weak and boring.

I don’t know if Kara and Mon-El’s reconciliation will stick. Maybe the next time Mon-El lies to cover his own ass (and you know he will), she’ll realize that actually the ending to the movie Grease (despite being one of the best movie musicals of all time) is kind of bullshit, because Sandy changes her whole entire deal and Danny puts on a track jacket for like three seconds before realizing Sandy changed so he didn’t have to and that’s way easier. And then Kara will dump Mon-El for good? Then she can start anew?

1976/1973

And even though I get that Alex is happy in a relationship and just wants her sister to be in one too, I wish she was playing the Elsa to Kara’s Anna and saying things like, “You can’t marry a man you just met/forgive a man for no reason!” even if Kara, like Anna, has to learn it on her own. Speaking of which: Why didn’t Alex travel to the musical episode instead of J’onn? Chyler Leigh can sing, I’ve seen it. On Grey’s Anatomy, with her husband’s band. J’onn didn’t sing at all! Why, I ask you, did they deny us the sweet, sweet vocals of Alexandra Danvers?! Kara even says that Alex tells her she puts the “Kara” in “karaoke!” Alex could have been there making that amazing joke.

There was, however, some gayness to love in the SuperFlash crossover.

In this musical universe, Iris plays Millie, who is in love with a man with Mon-El’s face, and Barry and Kara have to get the lovebirds to tell their parents about their relationships. And while Kara goes with Not!Mon-El to tell his father, played by Malcolm Merlyn, Barry goes with Not!Iris to tell her DADS, played by Joe and Stein. Barry is like, “Dads?” and they both turn to him and say, “Do you have a problem with that?” He definitely does not (and nervously stutters that he likes musicals as a response, which I guess is code for ‘down with the gays’, which may have been weird but coming from sweet baby angel Barry Allen it felt right). All three dads sing “More I Cannot Wish You” from Guys and Dolls and it’s a very sweet moment packed with the talent of Victor Garber, Jesse L. Martin, and The Gayest Man on Earth, John Barrowman.

But the best thing of the whole episode was the SUPERFRIENDS MUSICAL.

1976/1958

In the most Kara-and-Barry thing that has ever happened in the history of ever, Kara and Barry made up a little ditty about friendship. They combined all of their adorkable energy into a literal song and dance about how cute they are as superfriends. The song was written by Rachel Bloom, creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and had the perfect amount of quirky charm. It was a nice homage to the Anything Goes song “Friendship”, complete with tap dancing and between-verse spoken back-and-forth. Including a dig at Superman, and a bad joke admonishment before they hit the final note.

Most shows don’t do more than one musical episode, but TECHNICALLY this was just a musical episode for The Flash, so I’d argue that Supergirl could still have one (and involve a lot of the same people, and also Chyler Leigh this time). Maybe even Legends of Tomorrow, since Caity Lotz was in a girl group once. (It was called Soccx. Do yourself a favor and give them a quick Google. Start with “Scream Out Loud” if you’re interested in AU Sara Lance saying things like “lick” and “bite”.)

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Anyway, Mon-El. Am I being Kara right now, hoping the show will get it together? Supergirl started off so strong, and even though it has veered off its path, I know at its core it’s smart and good. I don’t mean quality-wise, even though that’s usually true, I mean pure and kind and genuine. I’m all for a redemption arc. Faith the Vampire Slayer is one of my favorite characters in TV history and her past isn’t all shiny and wonderful either. But no one seems to think Mon-El needs to earn his redemption. And do we really need another reminder, on what’s supposed to be one of the most feminist shows on TV, that straight white guys get everything they want (including the literal best girl) just because they feel like they deserve it? Isn’t reading the news every day reminder enough? Isn’t it time for a new story, superhero storytellers?


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Profile gravatar of Valerie Anne

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 64 articles for us.

129 Comments

  1. This episode was so disappointing! I’ve said this before, I’m watching with my daughter, who is now 8. And if she wasn’t already excited about the musical cross over, I might not watch this with her. In fact, I still might just skip it.

    On Supergirl, I’ve been able to pause and point out every time Mon-El doesn’t listen to, ignores, lies to, tries to protect, or is otherwise disrespectful to Kara. I’ve paused after a friend/sister has said, oh but he seems like such a nice guy, and asked her, how can they know that. But I do not know how to spin this episode to her.

    Barry says to Kara, “he seems like a nice guy and like he cares for you” after they’ve said two sentences to each other. What nonsense is that! How can Barry know anything about Mon-El?

    (I’m totally on the Supercorp ship. And I really try to tone it down in front of her. I don’t want to layer my subtext stuff onto her. But I do pause sometimes and point out how Lena listened to Kara, or thanked her, or generally respects and values her.)

    What am I going to say to her about this episode? Sorry kiddo, the writers screwed it up big time. We could’ve had a buddy musical or an adventure musical, but instead we have a lame white-bread romance musical that requires Kara to compromise her values and strength.

    • You know what I would do? I’d ask her what *she* thinks of that ending. Does she think it’s fair/right? Why or why not. It sounds like you’ve established really good thought patterns leading up to this episode, so I’d be curious to see what conclusion she comes to.

    • I just wanted to say it’s awesome that you do this with your daughter when you’re watching. I think the critical thinking you’re already encouraging is enough, and even if you can’t find anything to say about this stupid episode ending, you’ve given her the tools she needs to call bullshit on guys like Mon-El – and probably dismantle patriarchy too.

  2. The episode explains why kara forgave Mon el she forgave him when she was talking to cutter is I thought she should have because if you look at it in Mon el point of view what would you have done.

    • The problem is that Cutter’s son already knows why his dad would be mad. Mon-el never really knew what Kara will say if he had told her the truth. He lied for nine months because yes she said bad things about people from his planet but if he had told her sooner that despite going along with it there he hated it and wanted to change then did anything to show that it would have been different. But he doesn’t. He acts like what happens in movies is how “the real world” works. They make him say the dumbest things like this is where you forgive me. His whole arch/character is problematic.

      The writers have done just about everything thing wrong in their relationship. You shouldn’t be able to lie and be terrible and still get the girl. That sends the absolute wrong message.

    • See, and this is why I find this relationship so damaging and terrible for this show. Because the way they frame everything (shots, musical cues, other storylines), Kara is the bad guy for not just accepting Mon-El as his deserved romantic partner. I know that sentence structure is garbage, but it’s all fed to us from the perspective of Mon-El and what *he* “deserves”, versus Kara (despite it being.her.show!). By the laws of tv tropes and rhythms, Kara is being a hard ass. Her forgiveness of Mon-El should coincide with her also “taking him back”, or else she’s a villain.

      That might not be how “we” see it, but that’s seriously how it’s structured and fed to us. If I didn’t agree with Kara wholeheartedly, I’d be frustrated with her as a character, and the writers/producers/directors aren’t showing us anything differently. There are no consequences to any actions to show that she’s right. There are no character moments where they hash out that actions have meanings, or that forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean “Mon-el please also be my boyfriend”.

      And to top off the tragedy, it’s dragging the other characters down through their tacit or active approval (I’m looking at you, Alex).

      I watch this show most often with a gay man who is a feminist, but doesn’t filter all of his entertainment through the lens of feminism or female representation. He thinks Mon-el is hot. He doesn’t really care what it does to Kara as a character. And I end up frustrated that from his perspective SHE is creating the conflict by trying to buck expected TV/media tropes. Nor does he want to have a big “social justice” conversation about it…to where I can’t even bring it up, because now *I’m* the problem too!

      I just can’t. What are they doing to me? Why can’t we have nice things? I feel like fans of Sleepy Hollow must have when Fox took everything cool about the show in the first season and killed it, basically destroying the show in the process (whitewashing it, essentially; at least based on what we saw on the screen they decided what we needed was MOAR WHITE MEN to make the show “even better”).

      Please, Supergirl. Please.

  3. Oh I’ve been building up a rant since Tuesday that I’m going to unleash on the “Friday Open Thread” article, but until then I’ll just say that perhaps the thing that I hate most about all of this, especially everybody pushing Kara toward Mon-El, is that it delegimitizes Kara’s feelings.

  4. +10 points to Hufflepuff for pointing out the Crisis-cover connection.

    But… “Murderous”? He allowed himself to benefit from a murder committed on his behalf in an emergency, and that’s bad, but it’s not like he knew it was going to happen.

      • That was very bad; but at that point, he didn’t know he was literally leaving her to die.
        When he got outside and started to realize how bad things were, he did (literally) look back at the injured people, though he was too weak-willed and panicked to defy his guard.

        So, for me, Old Country Mon-El was depicted as weak and callous, but not irredeemable. And I think he has made significant progress, even though he’s nowhere near good enough for Kara.

        • I think you have a real point here, but that the show isn’t developing the story in a way for it to work. The entire conversation isn’t structured around “Will Mon-El grow as a person?” (which I could maybe get on board for), but around “Will Mon-El and Kara get together?” (with any of his character development being in service of that, and frankly being treated as optional most of the time).

          The truth is that Mon-El had a lot of privilege in an oppressive system and benefitted enormously from that, but that is true of many people–you could say the same of anyone who has American citizenship or speaks English, like Kara, who also benefits enormously from her whiteness/ability to pass as human. And dismantling systems of privilege from which you benefit is complicated and confusing and easy to do wrong but, and I would welcome any storyline that at least started to get into that.

          But the show is clearly uninterested in all of this. It only cares about Kara/Mon-El in a rom-com sense of “destined couple must be together.” And that does a real disservice to both characters (though more to Kara).

      • I’ve tweeted this very problem to the show runners a few times. They haven’t responded. So disappointing.
        I’ve actually given up a lot of shows recently because of problematic story telling.
        Blindspot
        Quantico
        Madam Secretary
        Pretty Little Liars
        Shameless
        The 100
        Sleepy Hollow
        Empire
        The Catch
        Stitchers
        American Horror Story
        UnReal
        Designated Survivor
        Poldark
        Once Upon A Time

          • You’re kidding, right? Sleepy Hollow is a classic example of how it edged out it’s MAIN female character so that the straight, white male could stand in the spotlight. To add insult to injury, it’s a female character that’s also a POC. Abbie was supposed to be the lead and Crane was supposed to be secondary. As the show progressed with more seasons, Abbie got pushed further and further to the sidelines. I think that’s one of the reasons why the actress chose to leave because by season 3 any storyline she got was only to advance Crane’s. I quit the show end of Season 3. It was not what I had signed up for.

    • That’s so true. It’s mon-el. Mon-el.mon-el. Nothing against the actor but my god what are they doing? Don’t they see they are losing viewers? I dread watching it everytime i see him in the promos. Get better writers for God’s sake!

    • You are so wrong. Making her love a man and being able to forgive me does not make her less. I love them together. If anything it shows how he is trying to be better for her. I hope they stay together.

      • Should Kara be able to love a man? Yes.
        Should Kara eventually be able to forgive Mon-El? Yes, IMO.
        Should Kara be able to forgive Mon-El at this point? Maybe. Probably not, but hey, it’s a TV show. Also, feelings aren’t rational.
        Having forgiven him at this point, should she continue to love him romantically? See previous paragraph.
        Should she, at this point, resume a romantic or sexual relationship with him? Hard no. Since it’s TV, maybe after some supreme act of selflessness and self-sacrifice, or in the 30th Century after a thousand years in the Phantom Zone to mature.

  5. Valerie, I agree with EVERYTHING you wrote about Mon-El, but can I also PLEASE point out that, in the canon of TV musical episodes, this was literally the WORST one EVER. Like, worse than the Grey’s Anatomy musical episode. Like, I had to watch Once More With Feeling afterwards just to remember what a GOOD musical episode is like. Remember how Joss wrote a musical episode that had 12 original songs ANDDDD managed to significantly move forward FIVE SEPARATE PLOTLINES all while being a cohesive story in and of itself?!

    Okay, the Superfriends song was adorable. And Dream!Winn was great. And I love me some musical references. But the entire concept made no SENSE. The Music Meister was no Sweet, he had no motivation! And it seemed like they broke Kara and Mon-El up just so they could get them back together in the musical episode, like their entire fight and breakup was just a set up for the Music Meister!? The musical episode did not move the plot forward at ALL, it just set them back to square one.

    • Yup, everything you said. The Musical episode, while cute, had literally zero effect on the Supergirl setting. It has more impact with the Flash setting (and included a great song by Barry at the end) but Music Meister made zero sense and had no motivation outside of a really hackneyed plot contrivance.

    • Not to mention the numbers themselves were mostly mediocre… They don’t even seem to have bothered choosing song recordings where the actors’ voices sound good. I kept thinking “Hang on, isn’t this person supposed to be a good singer?”. And those I’ve seen sing on other shows certainly sounded much better there.

      I think I’m going to watch Once more with feeling when I get home tonight. 🙂

      • I kept thinking “Hang on, isn’t this person supposed to be a good singer?”

        Seriously. I think the ONLY thing about the “Music Meister” I liked, was where he said Kara was flat (on “Moon River”—which then made me think Melissa was *supposed* to be flat, which made me respect her more! If you’re a trained singer, it’s actually hard to sing off-key).

        For me, the best moment of this show, qua musical, was Barry singing to Iris at the end: that was truly lovely. The Barry/Iris relationship was also a “more frustrating and egregious when it’s juxtaposed” factor, compared to “Karamel” (and I don’t even watch “The Flash”!).

        This episode, at least for “Supergirl” was truly a WASTE.

        • Agreed. There were some fun moments, but you could really feel that the songs were written by different composers for different occasions, and seemed to have been chosen based on what they could get the rights for/what would make the best promotional spin. They weren’t chosen to showcase the actors’ talents.

          I also want to say that including John Barrowman felt like a wrong move–the worst type of fanservice. Neither Barry nor Kara has any pre-existing relationship with him. So while the scene between Barry, and the doppelgängers of Iris, Joe, and Stein worked in both realities–because both Joe & Stein were father-figures for Barry, and Joe really is overprotective of Iris in real life, and the casual inclusion of a same-sex couple really worked–the equivalent scene did not work. It was just Supergirl & Mon-El standing around with some guy neither of them has ever met before.

          All of which is to say that yes, the Flash parts of the story felt much stronger than the Supergirl ones, and it was painful to see the female hero be so much less well-served.

  6. I hate Mon-Ehl, no secret there.
    This entire time the show(s) have done nothing the describe, display, or even examine WHAT Kara is thinking, or why? Others have already said that far better than me.

    BUT I JUS’ WANNA SAY THANK YOU VALERIE FOR THE FOLLOWING:
    “It was called Soccx. Do yourself a favor and give them a quick Google. Start with “Scream Out Loud” if you’re interested in AU Sara Lance saying things like “lick” and “bite”

    Because Sara Lance / Caity Lotz.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZWdZ3YDkf0

    YES 🙂

  7. A better man than Dull El, would have gone back to Daxam. If nothing else at least to try and be a better leader to his people after all the terrible things him and his family had done. Now that wuld be a man deserving of Kara’s love. I honestly thought after Kara broke up with him thats what ws going to happen. He NEVER even considered it not once, to actually do right by the ppl he abandoned. All he cared about was getting the girl, becos “Oh i’m a changed man, look how far i’v come”
    What i see is a boy who wuld go back to being his irresponsible self if he thought there ws no way he culd get Kara to take him back. Thats not a person that is trying to be better, thats just a selfish person who feels he must have what he wants.
    Mon El makes Kara appear weak both in strength and in character and thats so not what i wanted to see in thos show

    • And also it’s kind of a slap in Kara’s face, because his family/culture/planet is still there. He has the chance to be with them. It’s not romantic that he “gave all that up for her”, it’s insulting. Especially knowing how easy it is for them to travel back to Earth. Kara would go back to Krypton and her parents if given the chance, even if she ended up coming back to Earth later.

      • Yes, the one part of the episode that really worked was Kara’s resentment that Mon-El still has a family and planet. That would be a serious problem for a much stronger couple than they are, even without the comic-book shenanigans and lying and general awfulness of being an evil oligarch from outer space.

  8. Thank you for taking the time to put out a follow-up article, Valerie. There are just so many problematic things here. The harmful, character-sabotaging elements playing out in this “heterosexual white man gets everything by feeling really sorry for a minute” trope are incredibly harmful from a place of feminist representation, women’s issues, etc.

    I can’t get past how great dufrau’s comment about how this whole season feels as if Jonathan is the star, versus Buffy. That’s the feeling exactly!

    Sanvers was/is awesome. And I’d prefer Season 1 to even getting that. It’s hard to accept that bright spot when everything else is just trash. If Mon-el were Alex in Season 1 (and he’s basically filled that role for Kara in Season 2, except with romance included), there would not have been any angst about killing Astra. He’d have been proud, and she’d have been shamed for not forgiving him (versus the more nuanced handling of the matter, where Alex was actually guilty for lying, and didn’t expect forgiveness).

    #wedeservebetter is about being shown women loving women actually have fulfilling relationships with hopeful “endings” on TV, but there’s also a subtext/intersection for me as a woman where I hope for strong female character arcs that don’t *center* around catering to male love interests. I have a lot of heterosexual OTPs, but they definitely aren’t ones in which the female must destroy herself or make herself less in order to make it work (there may be other issues, that’s a separate discussion).

    I feel like this season is an onscreen example of Erin’s “Are Straight Women OK?” article. I recognize there are tongue-in-cheek bits. I also recognize that there are harmful patterns that are not healthy that we seem to accept as a society or expect as women. And it should not be ok for a show that purports to be more to instead reinforce and further normalize those issues.

    I’m glad that others are pointing out the issues (i.e. the gizmodo article), but that’s cold comfort when a show I felt embraced by now seems to actively be attacking my psyche. Where I read other comment boards, and women and girls are gushing about that cutie Mon-El.

    Is there any hope that they’re setting us (and Mon-El) up for a big lesson?

    Are they aware of how harmful and othering the message they’re sending to women and girls is? Like, “If you aren’t on board with this version of a fairy tale, then you’re the weird one?”

    If even well-meaning (???) beings from other dimensions can come in like magic and tell us we’re wrong to our faces, where do we even go with that? There’s no space left for women who don’t want to take that, I guess, except marching in the streets. But sometimes I just want to snuggle up on the couch! 🙁

    • I agree about preferring season 1, even without the sanvers. Cuz yeah, their story is cute, for the 3-6 minutes of every episode it’s in. I’ve been watching only their scenes on YouTube for the last month or so, and that’s all they’ve had. Yeah they’re a cute couple with a nice story, but good representation would be both quality AND quantity. And it wouldn’t be surrounded with the stories every female character (including the gay ones) in some way being defined by the white boy’s story. Sanvers is paralleled with the other pairing in so many episodes, as if they’re relationships are equally positive. Alex’s relationship with Kara has come down to her pushing her sister towards this self-absorbed, entitled former slave owner. Season 1 Alex would’ve run this guy right off the show by now.

  9. I think Mon-El is a wonderful addition to the second season. Kara and Mon-El are adorable together and I hope they take their relationship to the next level. I hope Kara gets pregnant. The writers would have so much fun with that development. Hey, the cw is dare to defy.

  10. Kara didn’t immediately forgive mon-el,in the dream world Kara was lecturing Malcolm about how sometimes people have to keep secrets to protect the ones they love, and Kara came to relization that that was the same reason mon el lied to her. So after that relization, she forgave him and they got back together.

    • But Mon-El was only protecting himself. Which I suppose counts as someone he loves, from a certain point of view. 😉
      (And I kind of like him, as a character more than as a person; but he’s just not a good or worthy boyfriend for anyone.)

      • That’s an interesting thought. Do privileged guys like Mon-El ever spend much time thinking about whether they are “worthy” of a relationship? Do they think “what do I have to offer a partner”? Because the most prevalent arc seems to be “I want it so I get it”.

        Are questions of worthiness just something that women do obsessively? I’ve seen it from a dude once or twice on screen, but mostly for dramatic purposes in the context of manly “providing” or nerdly “getting the girl” tropes, which doesn’t really touch on the more fundamental questions of emotional and moral standing and being “good enough”.

      • That’s my biggest frustration, I think. When I look back at the time before Mon-El asked about “mating” that fateful night. Before that, when I thought they were going the cousinly-hero-training route, I was all for Mon-El. (Well, I didn’t think the show needed to add a white dude but since he was there I was ready to see what his deal was.) I really like Chris Wood and I think he and Melissa play off each other really well, especially in the little comedic bits. I think his evolution would have been really fun to watch, but watching him not grow while also mistreating Kara and having her just kind of…give up trying to help him? It hurts.

    • Except, in what sense were is lies meant to protect anyone? Telling her the truth didnt put her in any danger whatsoever. Actually lying did. Remmeber when he said “Ive never seen that ship before in my life” and then stood back as kara went to get shot at by its fucking missiles?

  11. I know there are behind the scenes reasons that explain why this season is so different from the first (I guess the main one would be the producers wanting to draw in the same audience, ie. men, as their other CW superhero shows)… But if someone who isn’t aware of the network change were to watch both seasons now, I wouldn’t blame them for suspecting the first season was actually a Trojan horse designed to trick little girls into watching a cool female-driven show before brainwashing them into learning to return the feelings of mediocre boys who treat them like shit. The shift in tone and priorities is that jarring.

    • The only way they could even potentially save this story is if they reveal that Cadmus hijacked Kara’s brain that time she and manhell were kidnapped and Jeremiah saved them.

      And not even that would excuse the fact that this story should never have been written, if it meant anyone were shipping Kara in this problematic relationship.

  12. The show keeps TELLING me that Mon-El and Kara have chemistry and belong together but I just don’t see it. If the writers want Kara with a male so badly they could have put her with any of the few men already in her orbit that she has miles more chemistry with and get her as far away from Katie McGrath as possible. Shit, Kara has more chemistry with The Flash than she does Mon-El but they are never going to let that happen. As for his supposed hotness, I have to ask “Where?”. There are like 30 average-looking white men on television with the exact same face. Why do y’all stan mediocrity?

    Mon-El is nothing new to the CW. They had multiple male characters across many of their shows over the years who pull the exact same shit and worse and then the writers want us to view them as romantic heroes. I have always had a problem with it because of the dangerous messages it sends about relationships to the numerous teenage girls we know dominate the bulk of their channels viewership. Damon Salvatore(many of TVD men tbh), Chuck Bass, Bellamy Blake, Mon-El, etc. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last. I have a feeling if Supergirl were still on CBS this character would be written much differently.

  13. I wanted to write a bigger comment about this thing, but I can’t. I’m so tired from all the trash in the real world, and watching this show mostly makes me sad. The 1st season wasn’t perfect, but at least I could trust what they were doing. I feel like doing that now will only set me up for further disapointment 🙁

    Just bring our Kara back.

  14. Oh, lord. Yes to everything everyone’s said already.

    I mean, this was just…. exactly what I though would happen. But I had trouble following it at times, it was just so flimsy plot-wise and logic-wise.

    1. Music Meister, why do you do what you do? Who are you? Shouldn’t I know by the end at least?

    2. Kara’s ”lesson” was just to see it from his point of view? Which was… if I don’t lie I won’t get a girl to like me. If she knew the truth she wouldn’t like me. So the truth according to Mon-El is he’s unlikable. Well, you’d think that realization would lead to a different outcome. Also, lying to make yourself likable is unbelievably unsympathetic, right? Like, that’s Selfish 101, right? I don’t understand this thing.

    3. I really am tired of how much time I have to spend each week considering Mon-El’s feelings/motivations/whatever. I don’t care. This show is supposed to be about Kara. I don’t know why that would be a problem because Kara is awesome. Why don’t I know almost anything about Kara’s feelings and motivations about this???

    4. On a different note: Lena Luthor is gonna be Kara’s new boss, right? I mean, she’s gonna be a series regular, she’s a CEO, Kara just got fired…. I mean, they’re sidelining James, scrapping Catco and moving to L-Corp? Anyone else suspecting this? Lena Luthor is the new Cat Grant, right? Hopefully that will re-center the series. Hopefully Lena Luthor does us a solid and murders Mon-El.

    • Thank you for your thoughts. It seems that there are a lot of Mon-El haters on this board which I don’t understand. Just because Kara’s love interest isn’t the character that you prefer doesn’t make it wrong. He compliments her and vice versa. The show will always be about Supergirl/Kara.

      The show is also very left leaning which is fine. The last several episodes they have been taking shots at President Trump which is also fine. “Lets make Daxom great again” reference comes to mind. And Snapper talking about fake news and the dangers because if you are not careful we could have a Fascist in the White House.

      I’m enjoying the three love interests of the show. Alex and Maggie’s relationship is blooming and I hope it gets stronger. Winn and Lyra seem to have a good thing going now. And of course you have Kara and Mon-El. The writers know a good thing when they see it, so look for more romance and heartache to come.

        • What Paddy doesn’t seem to understand is that ‘the Mon-El haters’ as she/he/they said, don’t hate him because he’s Kara’s love interest. We’re all for Kara being happy with someone who doesn’t have a history of disrespecting her wishes and lying to her face (just to apologize after). We also want Kara to put a stop in a relationship that only reinforces a patriarchal society where women should always forgive their men no matter what. This is a toxic relationship from the very beginning. As simple as that.

      • I hate how Mon-El is written and how he’s being employed in the narrative, but I don’t hate Mon-El. Because the thing is… Mon-El isn’t real. He’s composed of a series of choices made by the people who make this show every week. The only one making a positive contribution to making us like Mon-El is Chris Wood, who plays him with charm. That’s a problem.

        Were he played differently he would be terrifying. Because he is a walking collection of red flags. That’s a problem.

        And he doesn’t have to be. He shouldn’t be. The way he’s written should make him ineligible for romantic hero status. If they want Kara’s love interest to be Mon-El all they have to do to get us to like him is write him to be likable! To frame the romance through Kara’s eyes – I want to see what she sees! I want to know she’s excited, or happy, or that she thinks xyz is great about Mon-El!

        Instead I’m taken on a journey of Mon-El’s interior life which is a)deeply offensive to behold in itself and b) opposite of what I signed up for when watching Supergirl and c) reinforces every single problematic trope of hetero romance. Framing anything from the point of view of Mon-El is ridiculous. Writing Mon-El as a cartoon villain but also a romantic hero is ridiculous. The whole thing is beneath this show.

    • I hate that they’re trying to have “a new Cat Grant”. Because Cat is Cat, and no one can replace her. Lena is great, and smart, and powerful, and attractive. But she’s all those things as Lena. I agree that the show wants her to be the new Cat, but that’s just impossible. Sorry, it’s just Cat was and will always be my favorite character on this show.

      • I’m not sure Lena will work as a new Cat, either. But I think if she’s the ‘new Cat’ only in the sense of filling that narrative void, it could work really well. She is very different from Cat, so we’ll see how that plays out I guess.

        Honestly, not having a strong workplace portion of Supergirl has been bad, I think. The DEO has some glaring plotholes built into it and spending too much time with villain of the week can make things feel a bit rote. It’s made room for other stuff (Alex, Maggie, Winn, Guardian) to take more focus, but eventually Kara has to focus back on her job (and the show has to focus back on Kara).

        I also really miss Supergirl doing things that aren’t villain of the week stuff, like rescuing snakes and schoolchildren. I feel like the DEO stuff has leaned more into ‘punch bad guy’ and less ‘rescue innocents’ and I feel the latter was more interesting and charmingly played most of the time. Maybe a return to Kara’s day job adventures will bring that focus back, too.

        • Totally agree with this.

          I’m fine with there being more Lena. I don’t find her as interesting as a self-made character like Cat, who built her own company from the ground up in a ruthless, sexist marketplace. Thus, she’s not in a position to mentor Kara about the same types of things, but they do have some different common ground in big family expectations, feeling like outsiders (I’m thinking adoption), being powerful women that people can fear on a super-villain level…

          There’s definitely a narrative void that needs to be filled. I feel like the way the 1st season set up the contrast between the DEO and Catco and Supergirl and Kara Danvers lent provided a lot of narrative tension and texture that helped. It’s not only the introduction of Mon-El and the shift to seeing most things from his point of view that have whitewashed the season.

          Suddenly the DEO is everyone’s hang-out. We lose the “occasional antagonist” tension. It loses its mystery. It’s no longer a top-secret super-powerful international pseudo military organization, but more like an urban peace-keeping force on the level of the local cops, but with cooler tech. Previously it was like Hank and Alex had the tiger by the tail…the DEO could turn on them if the wrong government forces were brought to bear. Now it’s just like a weaker mash-up of corporate America (Catco) and its previous black-ops self. Now it’s practically interchangeable with Star Labs or Wayne Enterprises or L-Corp, or whatever bat cave thing they have in Arrow…also corporate versus government.

          And the thing is, the DEO is a common background semi-sinister thread in the DC Universe. Sometimes it’s helpful. Sometimes it’s not. But the SG S2 version is just nothing.

          And losing a distinct Catco-type environment really made us lose Kara Danvers as a character, which is tragic, and also one of the other main sources of character conflict in S1, this duality that Kara was trying to preserve. Her connection with humanity even while she owned her alien self more and more.

          See? I hardly even talked about Mon-El here. I didn’t even talk about the shift of narrative POV from the female gaze to the male gaze! The contrasts between Supergirl S2 and Supergirl S1 are numerous, and S2 mostly comes off the weaker of the two. Now, typically CW shows have garbage 1st seasons and get stronger afterwards. SG is in an odd position because S1 was on a different network. I wish I had any confidence that the problems I see are the ones “they” see. I have a small amount of confidence in the Supergirl team based on their S1 work, but it’s running out. I’m probably too jaded, after my decades of media consumption.

          There’s a reason I don’t watch the other CW superhero shows regularly. I don’t like how they treat their characters. I don’t like how they treat interpersonal relationships. They have a problem with how they treat their female characters. I don’t like how they handle their heterosexual relationships (particularly how they treat their female characters). I also got bored with the way they set up conflict, particularly the manner in which interpersonal relationships were involved or not, and how they address the comic book tropes and storylines that have largely not addressed the problems with how they treat their female charaters.

          • Totally agreee. I also think the strength of Supergirl as a show is the ways in which it differs drastically from the other Arrowverse shows, but if they’re streamlining everything to be one big ad sell Supergirl will lose itself completely.

            I don’t think Supergirl has, or will have, or could have, the identical audience to Arrow or Legends or Flash and I think this shift to try to make it more like those shows is a major misstep. I am concerned that the powers that be don’t see it that way – the CW passed on Supergirl initially and I suspect the reasons for that are what I just said about demographics.
            If I were them I’d use Supergirl to go for the Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend demographics and vice versa – make a big ‘people who enjoy female-driven narratives!’ ad block and go for that hard. Make a big lady-driven evening of it and sell tampons or whatever you have to do. We all know streaming potential is major for all three of these shows anyway, let Supergirl be part of that block more so than the Arrowverse block.

  15. There are so many things wrong with Dull El it’s almost hard to remember them all.

    One of the things that I’ve seen pointed out elsewhere from the crossover that I think SHOULD be very telling is when Barry and Kara burst into the apartment. Barry looked utterly heartbroken to see Iris (even though he knew it wasn’t actually her) with someone else. Kara just looked disgusted but completely unsurprised that Dull El was making out with someone else. Like she had always expected it to happen eventually. That alone should say all that needs to be said about what she really thinks of him.

    As others have said here the show keeps saying that he is “becoming a hero” and changing. But I don’t see it. Everything he has done that is even slightly heroic has always felt like he is just doing it to try to score points with Kara. If he was in a situation where Kara would never find out he did the right thing I don’t for one second believe he would. Even that scene just before he was kidnapped by Cadmus felt like he was gonna run and tell Kara he gave some homeless guy some money or whatever expecting a pat on the head. As one comment above pointed out, if he was really becoming a hero he would have gone back to Daxam and tried to change his parents, tried to help his entire people, tried to make it a better place. But instead he went back so he could keep being around Kara and not really contributing anything to a city/planet that has a number of heroes that actually want to do the job.

    And as far as him allegedly becoming a better person in general I don’t see that happening either. A few episodes back he said something like “this was so much easier when I could just use women” or whatever disgusting thing it was. That just sounded like “why can’t Kara just be a mindless bimbo so I can stop pretending to care about any of this earthling junk”. Again everything he does feels like he only does it because it’s what he thinks will score points with Kara.

    As for the breakup, I was happy when it happened, but also a bit disappointed with how it happened. Yes I fully agree Kara deserves better than to be lied to. But she also deserves better than everything else he does. Which she called out during the fake break up to fool Myx a few eps back. What happened to all that stuff she was fed up with just a couple weeks ago? When did all the crap he pulls week in and week out suddenly not matter any more?

    This whole season arc between the 2 of them has been normalizing emotional abuse and it’s sick.

    Frankly (aside from her singing ability) I would have been thrilled if Alex had gone to Earth 1 instead of him. I would have been thrilled if they hadn’t had her (and virtually everyone else in Kara’s life, including Barry who just a few minutes earlier had seen Dull El try to deny that Kara had dumped his ass, which in itself is abusive behavior) pushing them together. You know Kara would have spent this whole season venting to Alex about him being an ass and never listening and never taking responsibility for his actions and everything else. Alex would NEVER be the one telling Kara to give him a second chance. If all this had happened then they could have gone full on Frozen and had Alex be the True Love’s kiss to save Kara in the end. Get the whole thing back to Kara figuring out who Kara is now (as they made such a big deal of at the beginning of the season).

    As I have seen making the rounds for months “Season 1 Kara would be so disappointed in season 2 Kara”.

    [And for the record I am a SuperCorp shipper but even without Lena in season 2, and her and Kara’s relationship to shine such a bright light on how horrid he is, I would have been disgusted with Dull El.]

  16. I agree wholeheartedly with this article!

    This should have been a moment like with the Black Mercy where Kara was saved by the power of sisterhood, and instead it involved that lout.

    • It’s sad that the Mon-El haters refuse to see the beauty between them. Just look at all their scenes together. Especially when they finally cement the deal and the wake up scene and then his announcement to the DEO that they are dating. That’s called romance and fun. Then watch that lout comfort her while he holds her tight. That’s called LOVE. Still not convinced that they have great chemistry? Then watch how loving and supportive he is when she loses her job. That’s called a soul mate.

      I can only hope that their relationship gets stronger with each episode. And then maybe a super baby. hahahaha

  17. May I just note that the original Mon-El infected by lead (his kryptonite) had to be sent to the Phantom Zone until Superboy (original version meaning Clark as a boy) could find a cure. So, maybe that’s how they get rid of this one.

  18. Mon El has a destiny to fulfill. He has to almost die of lead poisoning, get stuck in the phantom zone for 1000 years get let out for short periods of time then finally cured so he can shack up with shadow lass. He’s just the warm up act for Querl Dox . . . or maybe Jerro

    • I’m really hoping for the Legion of Super-Heroes in Season 3… but that’s​ more likely to be a way to bring “Mon-El” (I *hate* that that’s his real name) back to Kara, rather than hook her up with Brainiac-5. Though hey, it’s the WB, it’ll probably be a love triangle.

  19. I find everything Darren Criss does to be super annoying, as you said he walks in and acts like he owns the place though you explained it with more detail and fancy words.

    I disliked this episode once again for being called a “crossover” plus, I don’t really know what was going on in the Flashworld to keep up with why some appearances were so “oh wow”. Let’s face it Joss Whedon set the bar high when it comes to musical episodes and this just didn’t cut the mustard (they got the mustard OUT). I mean what was J’onn’s purpose in the episode anyway?

    I can’t get sucked into caring about Mon-El and Kara especially on the Flash. I honestly think the show was really to get Barry and Iris back together not really for Mon-El and Kara because his story still needs to play out on Supergirl and it may be that he will end up leaving and go back to Daxam to rebuild the planet better and come back for Kara one day (that’s just my theory).

    Finally Valerie I have theory about your Alex to Hamilton connection. Samantha Ware who played Jane the Warbler on the last season is “and Peggy” in the Chicago production. I mean alien dude didn’t specify where he wanted to see Hamilton so why not Chicago.

  20. Great article! TPTB said they know Chyler can sing, but they were still filming Supergirl at the time the musical was being filled, so they needed Chyler and Floriana to carry the bulk of the load while everyone else was away working on the musical. Maybe if they do another musical, Chyler can get in on the act.

  21. Someone above complained that queer show-runners should know better.
    Should they, though? If the problem is how the show(s) treat(s) straight women, maybe what’s actually needed is more creative involvement from straight women?

    • I don’t think sexual orientation has anything to do with it. These same showrunners as well as other queer showrunners have written LGBT storylines just as poorly over the course of their work. And we all can name many a straight showrunner who has written a straight character and/or relationship abysmally. The problem here seems to be a CW-wide problem affecting the majority of their shows IMO when it comes to how they write relationships and the men in them.

  22. What show actually had the first musical episode? My research (Wikipedia) tells me Xena’s (The Bitter Suite) is from February 1998, Buffy’s from November 2001. Who can tell me if any show did a musical version before Xena?

      • I mean any kind of TV show that ever had a totally musical show as a complete departure from what had been that show’s history until then. I don’t mean a show with a single musical number here and there. I know the Xena musical and so know it was an episode with all original music (I think I’m right in claiming “original”) that mostly kept to the tone of a typical Xena offering. I don’t know Buffy but think it followed that pattern, too.

  23. This musical crossover is such a double edged sword for me. On the one hand, the song and dance numbers were DELIGHTFUL and I am all for watching Barry and Kara just goof around (and sing…OMG them singing together was beyond adorable!) together. On the other hand, it completely undid any and all character development Kara gained from the latest episode when she dumped BLANSOME’S ungrateful, lying ass. Like seriously, Kara? It hasn’t even been a whole 24 hours and you crumpled like a paper boat in the rain. SMDH. I really think that the show’s move from CBS to The CW has done more harm than good because Season 2 is a far cry from the awesomeness that was Season 1.

    Also, why in the hell wasn’t Alex in this crossover? From a character standpoint, it makes no logical sense. Aside from being Kara’s sister, Alex knows the most about Kryptonian physiology so why in the hell wouldn’t she tag along and offer her expertise? That and she’s Kara’s SISTER. Remember that Supergirl writers? Kara’s sister who in Season 1 had her back every step of the way, checked in on her after a brutal day, berated her when she was reckless, made sure she was on the SAME EARTH so she could keep an eye on her. Season 1 Alex would have fought tooth and nail to travel with Kara to Barry’s Earth. Season 2 Alex is…I can’t recognize her. As I said in my comment in the Supergirl recap, this season’s Alex is a pod person. I mean what even was J’onn’s purpose for going with Kara to Earth-1? To stand in Star Labs and scowl? Ugh…fail.

  24. Thanks to this recap and the comments, I deleted this episode from the DVR without watching it. Sadly, I think I’m going to do the same with Monday’s Supergirl ep and just quit watching altogether.

    Rather than “me too” or “ditto” a bunch of times, I’m going to bring up what this whole situation reminds me of: soap opera stories that show runners thought were who’s-the-daddy and star-crossed lovers stories, but were really rape stories.

    IIRC, General Hospital had a storyline in which a women passed out in her non-partner’s bed, became pregnant, didn’t know who the father was. Angry viewers pointed out that sex with a passed-out woman was rape because she had no ability to consent. The story was retconned (thank god for soap tropes) into people just thinking it had happened.

    Another soap had a rapist enter into a relationship with the woman he raped years ago, but since she had amnesia, the show runners thought this was OK. Wrong again, viewers said, because her ability to fully consent was taken away. This time, the retcon involved the male character being an imposter, but there was still emotional damage done.

    I feel this Supergirl relationship is sick, stupid, and wrong on many levels, and I’m guessing the word CONSENT wasn’t used on the show. Mon-el robbed Supergirl of her right to consent. And it’s her goddamn show! And the show runners think this is OK.

  25. It would have been better and made much more sense if it had been Alex, after their conflict over Jeremiah and what he was up to (somehow Kara being able to stop the ship that Alex was on is enough????), plus what the discussion they never had after Kara had been infected by the red kryptonite, as well as how distant they’ve been with each other lately. They’re the ones that needed a bit of work and reminding on their relationship, not Kara and Mon-Ew who have only been a couple for two weeks and had only just broke up 24 hours before. There’s no way that Kara and Mon-Ew’s relationship compares at all to Barry and Iris’s, or even Kara and Alex’s.

  26. “that straight white guys get everything they want (including the literal best girl) just because they feel like they deserve it?”

    Yes. This is exactly how I’ve been describing the huge problem with them together, it’s based on nothing more than deserving Kara because he wants her, “why WOULDN’T a woman be with the conventionally attractive white man who says he likes her???”

    The most mind boggling thing is, ok, they obviously think that the superhero at the center of the story just HAS to have a romantic relationship, why not just write him as less of sexist douche?!? Why not just write some actual redemption into his redemption arc so that they could have her hetero it up without erasing all her convictions?

  27. If people are wondering why my hatred of Mon-El burns with the intensity of a thousand suns, this article sums it up pretty well.

    I hate that it’s the trope of girl changes guy through emotional labor and guy gets away with everything because he’s ‘cute’.

    Also, it feels like the CW was uncomfortable with the notion of a Black man (James) being intimate with Kara. I mean, look at how quickly they destroyed a season of buildup in a two minute scene but rushed the relationship between Kara and Mon-El.

    In the words of Blind Joe:

    “Something don’t smell right.”

  28. What makes me even sadder is that I’ve watched a Facebook live Chyler did sometime ago saying that she loves Mon’El and that he is sweet and all… Ok, I’m really trying to hold the possibility that it would be very bad (for her as an actress, off course) if she attacked the character but to say that he is sweet and that she loves him is a bit too much for me to handle right now!

  29. Guys. You know the way to fix this? MAKE NOISE. Tweet to the writers and producers, write physical letters to the CW network, go to the comment page of the CW site and tell them what’s wrong with Mon El. Shows exist for the fans. If we’re vocal enough, we just might make a difference.

    This link really helped me out (yes, I am aware it’s a tumblr blog and that’s unfortunate, but it has very sage advice for how to go about contacting the right people): https://supergirliskarasstory.tumblr.com/post/157660705645/introduction-why-does-this-blog-exist

  30. this episode was so cringe worthy as their affair became public around the time it aired, and the “love story / angst” aspect of it just fell flat. Like when Kara is upset that Mon-El is kissing someone else I just felt sorry for their respective exes, it seemed horribly insensitive and poorly timed. Plus the breakup / makeup was way too forced and fast to have any impact on, well, anything. And agreed, what the hell was Alex doing staying behind?

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