Supergirl’s 13th episode (“Both Sides Now”) had a lot of Jekyll and Hyde moments (Purity vs. Julia, Sam vs. Reign), peppered with humor and heart-wrenching moments. I’ve said it before, but Odette Annable is absolutely exquisite in the role, teetering on the edge, between fragile and fierce, shifting between terrorizing and feeling fear. The anguish that comes through—when she’s worried about Ruby, when she’s questioning her blackouts—it’s brilliant.
Krys Marshall, who plays Purity/Julia, is also great. We got to know Purity more than Julia—who was, of course, a focal point for Alex/Kara to argue and grow—whose slow-boiling rage was interesting. (It was quite sharp and cruel when directed toward Alex: You want to hurt me, because you’re hurt. You want me weak, because you’re weak. Someone cut something out of you, and you can feel the hole every day. … And it’s not getting any better is it?”) I was not particularly enamored of her power essentially being Black Canary’s cry (which was then dealt with via…fancy earplugs). Kara, optimistic and seeing the good where it might glimmer, thinks that she can get through to Julia. The brief glimpse of Julia at her home were enough to make Kara try. And it turns out, the Girl of Steel was right. The little quirks we learned about Julia (the Lisa Loeb song, the fact that she protected her best friend) were enough for Kara to begin shaking her loosing from Purity, leaving Alex to soften back to herself, finishing the job: “You can fight this, because you…you are stronger than you think.”
Mon-El spent the bulk of episode brooding and at odd with his wife, who (it turns out) he only married to unite two peoples. It was a noble gesture, and while he came to love Imra (Amy Jackson has such a great voice, no?), it was not a marriage based on love (there is a difference). J’onn steps in (as everyone’s Space Dad), with booze, and attempts to offer advice. It was a sweet scene, and it’s nice to see how far their relationship has come.
It should also be noted that seeing this crack in Mon-El’s façade was very welcome. I wish we’d seen inklings of it before, but these admissions aren’t too shabby: “It seemed like the logical thing to do. … I grew to love her. I was content. With Kara, I mean…there was nothing logical about falling in love with Kara. … but what I felt for her? It was just…being back here is um…I’ve had to keep a distance from Kara. Because whenever I’m around her, these old feelings get stirred up.” (To quote Spike from Buffy, “Love isn’t brains, children.” And yes, if you ask me real nice, I’ll do that entire monologue for you in a British accent.) J’onn advises him to open up to Imra, which he does. While the scene technically accomplishes what it was supposed to, it rang somewhat hollow. I almost wish we had a reason to root for Mon-El/Imra, but we don’t. I did feel for Imra when she asked Mon-El if he still loved Kara, and he replied, “I don’t know.” Oh, honey. If he doesn’t know? That means yes. “I don’t know” almost always means, “I don’t want to tell you.”
Obviously, I enjoyed the closing bar scene between the Danvers sisters. Their relationship is not perfect or easy, but they lift each other up when it counts. And that’s not nothing, kittens. You know what else isn’t nothing? Lena and Sam having it out over Ruby, only for Lena to (I think, I hope) get a glimpse of the Reign beneath it all. I’m so curious to see how that plays out, and if we’ll pick up exactly from that moment when the show picks up again.
Until then, I’ll be furious searching for whatever lipstick Lena is always sporting. I have a mighty need.