Supergirl’s fifth episode (“Damage”) was directed by Kevin Smith, whom I adore. I’m a Jersey girl and a nerd, and his work is basically my favorite. This episode brought more girl power than it did anything else. Kara and Alex teamed up for a physical fight on the outset, but the emotional fights are what interested me the most. Everyone is fighting a battle, while unwitnessed damage has taken root.
For Alex and Maggie, this means the world’s longest goodbye, punctuated by booze, dancing, a horizontal tango, and tears. At first, I thought the initial scene, with the presents on the table, was all we were getting. But what I thought was hollow and perfunctory gave way to something honest: loving someone and being loved by someone who still—for all the work and passion—isn’t right for you. That’s a special kind of pain, tinged with sweetness. To love and lose someone who was everything, except not a perfect fit. And, like Maggie and Alex, what we carry with us after that isn’t just the scars of what almost was. It’s the growth we were allowed to do while standing beside that other person. And it may not be what we wanted, but it’s a far cry from nothing. I mean, Alex gained a lot of emotional ground: “I didn’t know I had it in me to be happy. Or to be accepted for myself.” Don’t get me wrong: I still hate this decision to split them up (I will really miss Floriana Lima a lot). But it did make for one hell of a gut-wrenching emotional through line.
Lena also squeezed my heart in this episode, facing all her worst fears and shadowy what-ifs: “My whole life, I was a pariah. … Then finally I did just one…one thing that was good. And now I’m the monster that poisons children.” While I don’t blame Lena for drinking herself into a somewhat sloppy stupor (her life has not been even close to easy), she’s never truly passive (climbing up a fractured plane was pretty badass). It was oddly refreshing to see her façade crack a little. She’s progressed from something of a self-contained reserved person to not only needing people, but leaning on them. Plus, the situation gave Sam and Kara a chance to shine—and a chance to be a pretty good Nancy Drew-ish team, with a little Winn assist. (More Winn, please!) I absolutely love the female friendships on the show this season. I don’t think I realized that Sam and Lena really knew each other before Same took over L Corp. That was an interesting facet.
Obviously, all the evil machinations were Edge (Adrian Pasdar) being a manipulative supervillain in a nice suit. He’s slick and quietly menacing, but he doesn’t hold a whit of fear in his heart—not even of Supergirl, who he essentially calls out for being too soft (“This is the real world. It’s dog eat dog out here. … Let’s say for instance that I was your enemy. … But you capes, you don’t have what it takes, do you? Yeah, I didn’t think so.”). He also seems entirely devoid of a conscience (hi, poisoning children, etc.—nice Flint, MI shoutout, btw. Still doesn’t have clean water, y’all). This self-assured smarm and lack of moral fiber is an interesting combination. I feel like he and Rhea would be a match made in the third circle of Hell. But I’m also wondering about his endgame. I don’t know that we have a glimpse of his depths yet, but I am looking forward to it.
Speaking of unseen damage, Sam is bulletproof! And Jimmy is waaaaaaay not. I did feel like her not realizing she was shot was a bit…impossible. But Annable definitely sells the crap out of Sam’s bewildered, oh-my-goodness countenance. There’s a quiet earnestness to her stark disbelief that I find endearing. You know what else I found endearing? Kara calling out of work for both she and Alex, before the sisters take a road trip back home.
I am always here for road trips, especially if they involve snacks. It can’t be a road trip without snacks. I hope she and Alex get in a ridiculous squabble over roadside slushies, wrong turns, and why black licorice is awful. Those two could use a little normal in the madness of their lives. After all, they’re both grieving very different losses. It’s a perfect time for the Danvers girls to lean on each other. Because those who love us when we’re down and out, broken and in emotional shambles? Those people are worth all the stars in the sky.
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