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A Spark of Hope on SUPERGIRL

Supergirl’s tenth episode (“We Can Be Heroes”—Bowie reference ftw!) fell pretty neatly under the heading of heroism: what it means to be a hero, who can be a hero, the imperfection of heroes, and being the ordinary hero. But moreover? I think it’s about preconceptions and second chances. How, sometimes, even the supposed “villain” can be a hero.

I have to say, I’m warming to Mon-El as a rather delight addition to Team Supergirl. Sure, he’s a frat boy crossed with an overeager Golden Retriever. And yes, he’s madly awkward. But his humor and half-snarky wit is winning me over (“Mistakes were made. But it was our fewest cardboard fatalities yet.”)

Granted, he’s training to be a hero just to be near Kara. He bumbles his first real mission (what on earth were those weird goggle glasses? Did he steal them from Launchpad McQuack? Winn, I expect better from your suits). And Kara confronts him about his reasoning: “I need a partner who will listen to me. … Why can’t you just listen to me? … Why are you working with me?” He admits nothing, and her frustration is palpable. Which is a clear sign she does care.

Sure, by the end of the episode, he’s convinced she doesn’t return his very earnest affections. Um, dude? She kissed you back. You make her flustered. There’s obviously something there. But that scene, weirdly, hit me square in the chest (“I saved you at the police station, because I care about you. … I get that you don’t care about me. … Keep being my partner.”). Liking someone who doesn’t like you back the same way—but wanting to be near them anyway? Well, that’s a bit of delicious pleasure mixed with pain, isn’t it? Who hasn’t been there? Just me? Okay, then. Moving on.

I absolutely wanted to smack Jimmy and Winn, even if I do understand their desire to be useful. Winn, able to go full dork and quip while being half of a duo, is fantastic. I still don’t care for Jimmy’s desire to be the poor man’s RoboCop, but these two make a compelling case. Ordinary men, stepping up and jumping into the fray, when it’s needed. Not because they can fly. Not because it’s safe. No, because it’s right. I admire the hell out of that.

However, on the other side of the coin, I almost understand Kara’s inability to support them. She accepts their decision (which is huge—some people lack that basic component of humanity), while voicing her concern for their well-being. Understandable. But it was interesting to see Jimmy stand up to Kara: “You do not get to decide who gets to be a hero.” Because, man, he has a point.

Now, we have to talk about Hank. This is a superb outing for David Harewood and Sharon Leal, who plays M’gann. At Alex’s sage coaxing, he agrees to mind-meld (snort) with a comatose and dying M’gann to save her life (as Alex says, “It’s like her mind is drowning, and it’s pulling her body down with it.”). This is not a light or easy decision, because Hank loathes her. But he made a stellar point about why people cling to their hate: “Hate becomes your reason for living when you lost everything that you love.” This is why people hold on to anger—because it’s easier than dealing with the pain.

But in the end, he forgives her—sees the good in her—and saves her life. He lets go of the pain and rage, and it was a really uplifting moment. She had done terrible things, but M’gann hit a breaking point. She took a stand, stopped following orders blindly. And that scene demonstrated how far they’d both come from their past selves. Sometimes, we all need to be seen (truly seen) to be saved. To let someone see the ugliest parts of ourselves and not let that be the sum of who they are, how they seem themselves: “I’m here with you. I see you. You are my friend. … You are forgiven.” THE FEELS. I have them. *ahem*

Speaking of feels, I never thought I’d feel bad or root for Livewire (welcome back, Brit Morgan), but here we are. She was broken out of prison by an evil scientist…who wanted to make a limited amount of electric super soldiers to sell. Um, that is basically like Pinky and the Brain trying to take over the world, minus the Brain. NARF. Following a trend, he is nameless and his villainy was short-lived.

But the redemption angle was sharp here. And I rather enjoy Livewire’s wit and strangely feminist slant: “You know what I love? Little boys who think they can do a better job than the woman who’s an actual superhero.” It made me chuckle. Because Jimmy and Mon-El both frakked up and got themselves captured. Kara had to save their silly butts. But it gave Kara, and the audience, a moment to see a spark (ha) in Livewire—a spark of good. At Kara’s urging, they team up, handle the bad guys, and Livewire even lets the evil scientist live. Sure, Kara allows her to go. And yes, she’s hoping Livewire will change her ways and want to have a girl’s night (aka be a good guy). But we saw a glimmer of hope, there. And where there’s hope, anything is possible.

In the days ahead, remember that. Be the hero you wish to see in the world.

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