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To say that Supergirl this week was a bit problematic is a big understatement. “Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk” saw the introduction of a magical imp from the fifth dimension, whose intention of marrying Kara solidified why Mon-El’s presence is aggravating and testing my patience. There were some fun moments on this week’s episode, and Kara and Maggie got some nice attention, but the episode was far more irritating than it was fun. And a lot of that had to do with Mon-El and the show’s insistence that we like him even as he continues to be the most unlikable character the show has ever had.
Here is the episode breakdown:
Kara and Mon-El
“Things were easier on Daxam when I objectified women and didn’t care about anyone.” This, ladies and gentleman, is what Mon-El said after being frustrated with the entire Mr. Mxyzptlk situation. This is the man the Supergirl writers deem worthy enough for Kara. Of all the testosterone-fueled actions in the superhero genre, one of the primary reasons Mon-El is so infuriating is that Supergirl latched on to a male with such an immense ego and a nature that is fueled by getting what he wants without much care to anyone or anything else. He is the exact opposite of the kind of male characters they’ve written for before, and they’ve fallen back on the stereotype of the arrogant, macho type. A type I thought they’d left behind. On a show full of characters trying to do the right thing, his presence is a major sore spot. Let me further explain why that is and why this episode made it even more glaringly apparent.
For one, he spends most of the episode undermining Kara and her intelligence and accuses her of having terrible judgement. He also accused her of falling for Mr. Mxyzptlk’s charms just because he magically put her in a Vera Wang wedding dress. He’s condescending, and to make matters worse, he gets intensely territorial and suggests, more than once, to just have Mr. Mxyzptlk killed. Kara continuously tells him that she’s handling the situation and the way in which he handled the issue, paired with the methods he was prepared to use, go against every fiber of Kara’s being and everything she stands for. And yet… she still wants to be with him? Why? Somewhere in the middle of the episode, amid their big fight at the DEO, there was a lot of honesty in Kara and Mon-El’s heated words, but it’s eventually retracted and practically forgotten about by episode’s end. Clearly, the show wants us to ignore their issues as much as they want to, but Mon-El continues to be a hard pill to swallow (as well as a superficial one) and that unfortunately doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.
Alex and Maggie
Valentine’s Day was in full swing for these two. Alex is excited that she gets to spend her first Valentine’s with Maggie, but her excitement is immediately dampened by Maggie’s less-than-enthusiastic approach to the holiday. In fact, she downright hates it. We later learn it’s because her coming out to her parents wasn’t as easy a transition as she had led Alex to believe. Her parents found out because a girl she liked in high school outed her and they then followed up on the matter by throwing her out of the house at fourteen. But Maggie later makes it up to Alex by planning a private event for just the two of them. The episode wasn’t entirely focused on them, but it’s easy to see that their relationship, especially in comparison to Kara and Mon-El’s, is mature and even though they hit a bump, they’re quick to talk about the issues rather than sweeping them under the rug. Alex and Maggie, so far, are becoming one of the healthier and more likable relationships in the Berlanti-verse.
Elsewhere in the episode, J’onn sent a telepathic Valentine’s Day message to M’gann. It was all off screen and also proved to be frustrating. M’gann was one of the more interesting new characters this season, and her storyline was unfortunately cut short with her relationship with J’onn not as well-developed as it could have been. This speaks to the lazy writing more than anything. Winn had a one-night stand and later, a date with an alien named Lyra. It’s nice that they’re giving Winn something aside from his work with the DEO. It means the writers are trying to keep him around and care enough to do so. This brings me to my biggest irritation with this episode. James. No, my frustration wasn’t with his character… because he didn’t appear at all. Not even a mention of him anywhere in the episode. This has been happening more and more often, and it’s really hard to overlook, especially when he was a much bigger player in season one.
Supergirl has dismissed and neglected a character who has a big heart, cares about people, and takes the time to listen to others like Kara. And yet, here we are, thirteen episodes later and we haven’t seen all that much of James all season. Is he not important enough to even be included in the team scenes while they’re hanging out at the bar? He’s the Guardian and he can’t be shown doing that or helping out, especially now that he and Kara are on the same page again? Is he that expendable? The answer is no, he’s not. It’s just that Supergirl cares far more about Mon-El than they ever did James, and it’s glaringly obvious and hurtful that such a good character has been dismissed like he never meant anything at all. If they can give Winn a side romance, then it’s not difficult to include James in an episode, but Supergirl refuses to be so kind.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.