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Love—and Life—Is a Battlefield on SUPERGIRL

Supergirl’s ninth episode (“Reign”) was so wonderfully done for a lot of reasons. And I’m not just talking about how Lena snapped at Edge (“Morgan, you are a vile, despicable scrooge who’s going to die alone in prison.”). Or about Winn gleefully geeking out over Star Wars’ Life Day. (What do you get a Wookiee for Christmas, y’all? *wink*) But it really gave Odette Annable a chance to shine, even though she’s already been stellar this season. Although I’m unclear how much one side of her character is aware of the other (wearing a supersuit underneath her clothing seems questionable), seeing the soft moments with Ruby (the Christmas memory! The Supergirl necklace!) contrast with Reign’s sense of vengeful justice (“I’m from the time before fathoming. … I am Reign. … This world has sunken into chaos and sin.”) was masterfully done. I’m sure this is gearing up for some kind of internal battle down the line, but we shall see.

The fight scene between Reign and Kara was a sight to behold for so many reasons. Going into the fight, Alex gives Kara a pep talk, but urges her to be cold. It was strange, but fitting advice. Kara has been so emotional and full of grief; none of that would’ve served her in battle. Her posture and her tone are so difference when facing Reign, self-possessed and sure. The number of times Kara gets her ass handed to her, but she rallies fiercely was amazing. The determination. The light. The righteousness there. Melissa Benoist did amazing work in that scene, not unlike Chris Evans’ Cap (“I can do this all day.”). I also found it interesting that she landed in the Christ pose after Reign dropped her off the roof. I have many questions about how/why she was bleeding, although Reign was too.

Now, Lena and Jimmy. I’m feeling tepid about this, only because I feel like we weren’t given clues of an attraction until this episode. I find that frustrating. Urged on by Sam and Kara (and possibly aided by the fact that Jimmy saved her life twice), Lena kisses Jimmy, who reciprocates (shhh, no one tell HR). And don’t get me wrong: the makeout was hot. I just don’t know that the romance brings anything to the show itself. But they both do deserve a little love.

Obviously, we need to talk about the heartbreaking love triangle between Kara, Mon-El, and Imra. This situation might’ve been trite, but the trio is giving it their all and selling it for all their worth. It’s paying off. Again, Benoist’s mannerisms, pauses, damp eyes, and nearly weaponized politeness all serve this storyline so well. She’s flawless at portraying awkward sadness, considerate small talk, and conflicting emotions. It is, as Kara puts in, a bad situation: “This is worse then…the worst thing I can possibly imagine, which is you looking at me with no love in your eyes.” And she’s right. It would’ve been easier to handle if he didn’t love her. Or if Imra was some kind of awful, mean person. But neither of those things are true, and she has to watch the person she loves be in love with someone else—and yet, still love her. And that’s a particular agony. A smaller, meaner, pettier person would’ve been unkind, cutting, biter. And it would’ve been understandable. Instead, Kara tries to make peace with the impossible. She tries to be reasonable about an unreasonable situation. It’s cutting and so very real.

With Kara in dire straits, Imra reassured Mon-El that the Girl of Steel would be fine. And my god, that takes a strength most people don’t have, to be kind like that. Even I don’t have it in my heart to completely hate Imra. That said, she’s also unremarkable, except as a source of conflict. She’s a roadblock, a detour in someone else’s love story. Sooner or later, she’s going to realize that. She’s like Kara in her desire to do good, and she certainly is charming. But she doesn’t stand out, like Sam, Lena, and Alex. Hell, M’yrnn is more memorable (and adorable—the hot chocolate!).

Next time, I suspect we’ll find out if true love can conquer even the most impossible, unfair circumstances. Until then, nerds.

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