Supergirl’s eighth episode (“Medusa”) is easily summed up in one line, spoken by Kara: “Be your own hero.” While this is directed toward Lena, it holds true for the majority of the characters in different ways.
For Alex, she comes out to her mother. She makes peace with herself, with who she is, and the difficulty that comes with finding a “new normal.” I really like what they’re doing with her as a character, having Alex discover herself with all the fits and hiccups, reactions that read as true and honest—and raw. This also yields a nice moment between Alex and Eliza (who popped by for Thanksgiving, to help the DEO save the world, AND to cure J’onn of his White Martian troubles, because duh). Eliza, in that moment when Alex confesses that she’s gay, is the very ideal of a mom: “And I love you, however you are.” No, YOU teared up. Again. Perpetually. Stop with the feeeeels, y’all.
I also have to say that Maggie is her own hero, too—and not just because she takes an alien bullet, while helping out Kara and Alex. No, Maggie confronts her own relationship fears just in time to show up at Alex’s with beer and pizza, laden with kisses and heartfelt confessions. And yeah, that scene was sweet and perfect. While I could see these two getting together a mile away, nothing about their evolution has felt forced. It all reads as genuine, and I think it’s important for something like this slow discovery of self to have screen time.
Now, there’s also Mon-El, who not only takes on Cyborg Superman, but he rushes back into a bar full of dead aliens! He brush’s Kara’s hair out of her face so tenderly. He makes googly eyes at her. He fiiiinally digs up the courage to kiss her and then—well, he pretends that he doesn’t remember it happened. And Kara plays along. And both of them are idiots. Listen to Maggie, you two: life is short. Seize the fish! (*ahem* Carpe diem.)
Speaking of heroes, let’s talk about Lena. You guys. YOU GUYS. I love her. First, I adore her strength, her sly smarts. The way she circled around her mother, refusing to show weakness, playing her perfectly. Lena, so far, is the very force of good she wishes her company to be. And you know, this episode gave her a tremendous depth and backstory. The cold rift between her and Lillian made my heart break, especially when she tells her mom: “See, I know you’re lying. … Because you told me you loved me, and we both know that’s not true.” OUCH.
I admire the way she tricked her mother, only to neutralize the alien poison. Not only that, but she called the cops on her too. When Lillian accuses her of switching out the isotope, she boldly replies, “I did. And I called the police.” Hell yes, girl. I really appreciate how strong and yet vulnerable they’re making Lena. Katie McGrath’s performance is just fantastic. There’s layers there, a softness underneath the controlled exterior. I really like the friendship between her and Kara—as well as the burgeoning relationship between her and Supergirl.
J’onn is, as ever, a big damn hero (RIP Ron Glass). He goes out into the fray with Kara to fight Cadmus, knowing that the toxin might kill him. But he’s going into battle on his own terms. His fight with Cyborg Superman was not my favorite fight scene, but I love watching David Harewood tackle two challenging roles. He’s exceptionally talented, and his portrayal of J’onn is passionate and fierce.
Lastly, two things happen: a random bunch of aliens are hunting for Mon-El (that can only be awful) and Barry and Cisco show up. Unfortunately, Barry doesn’t bring ice cream, but he does bring his adorable face—and Cisco! (Who, by the by, needs to stop being a stick in the mud. He just met an alien—give me nerding out and SQUEEing, please!) Barry’s there to enlist her help, and Kara’s already all in for the fight. That is the kind of friend we all need, right? The one who joins in the fray and has your back without question, no matter what. Those are the people who matter.
And Kara Zor-El is definitely that kind of friend.