To be quite honest, it’s been hard to gauge where this season of Supergirl was headed. Not because I’m not a fan of slow burn, season-long plots, but because the season so far has been off to a shaky start. Patience has paid off, however, and “The Faithful” has provided us with the strongest episode of season three so far that balances heart, action, and a through line about faith: faith in Supergirl by strangers and Kara’s faith in herself. Even better is that this episode furthered the plot and centered Kara, which allowed for strong character moments.
Kara’s been on Earth for so long that it’s easy to forget, besides her show of power, that she’s Kryptonian and her beliefs regarding a higher power are different. It’s also easy to forget that this show’s strength has never been in subtlety regarding political or social messages, but this episode managed to do this really well. It argued that many warp certain religious teachings, in this case Thomas Coville’s (Chad Lowe) guidance from Rao, for their own personal gain and influence. With his supposed mission to convert people into believing they can be saved by Supergirl, he was willing to sacrifice people’s safety to prove a point. But his belief in Supergirl, since the night he was saved from dying on a plane, never wavered.
After finding out what Coville was doing, and how he was using Rao in all of this, Kara is livid. Rao’s teachings are very precious to her. However, what’s interesting is how she reacts to being worshiped. This whole season so far, Kara has made passing comments about how she’s stronger than a human, how she simply wants to be Supergirl because that’s what makes her feel stronger and better without her human identity. She’s reveled in her superior strength and condescended to humanity. With this mindset, one would think she’d be more than happy to bask in her own glory; she has the exact opposite reaction though. Kara is as many about not being worshiped. She’s no god, just an alien who gains power from the sun. “I’m not a miracle,” she says. But James says otherwise. “Kara, you’re something we can see, something we can touch. How are you not a miracle?” It’s a touching scene and one that is later followed up with showing, not worshiping, how inspirational Supergirl can be.
For Kara, this episode humbled her in many ways and also scared her. She’s been running on autopilot for a while, but this situation draws her more into awareness about not only the power of Supergirl, but the power having faith in something. Perhaps Kara was latching onto only being Supergirl not only to hide from the hurt and pain of her decision and Mon-El’s absence, but also because she’d lost a little bit of faith in herself. Supergirl seemed like the more one-dimensional way to cling to what was left, pushing aside Kara’s constant need to help people and believe in hope because she’d lost it, too. Although it ended badly, it seems Kara’s faith in herself and her ability to inspire others was at least momentarily restored. She’s healing and the pieces of herself are beginning to fall back into place.
“The Faithful” moved along Samantha’s plot as well. In the past, she’s shared similar visions with Kara, the most common thread being that of Kara’s mother appearing. For Samantha, these images always turn into something far more eerie. As we get to know her more and become more entrenched in her everyday life as CFO and mother, the more whatever’s coming down the line for her will hurt. Seeing her interact with Lena and the rest of the show’s ladies was wonderful and really showcased how strong the female relationships on Supergirl can be. Samantha already has so many layers too. She’s capable and friendly, smart, and open. She also showed more of her vulnerable side when faced with the fear that she wasn’t being a good enough mother to Ruby. It showcased some of her fears and I’m interested to see how some of the mother themes that have been slowly making their way into the show will tie into the overall story this season.
Speaking of mothers, Alex finally vocalizes the fears that she’s been holding in regarding her currently precarious relationship with Maggie. Alex, despite assuring Maggie that not having kids is totally fine, breaks down with Kara and admits that, while she loves Maggie, she really wants children and doesn’t know what to do now. It’s something that is clearly a relationship breaker and something that signifies the coming end to a relationship. When Alex opens up, she pours out her heart and once again, Chyler Leigh delivers a wonderful performance that tugs at the heart strings.
“The Faithful” is a solid episode of Supergirl when at its best. The episode was firing on all cylinders and balanced everything very we’ll. It even made time to give Kara a nice scene with James and Winn as they go together to the service. We haven’t seen the three of them interact like this in a very, very long time and it was refreshing. All in all, this is the first episode of Supergirl’s third season that’s made me look forward to what’s ahead for the characters, their journeys, and specifically Samantha’s plot.