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“Having a nemesis is hard!”
I have been a devoted fan and ardent supporter of Supergirl since the beginning. The tone the show has is unlike any other comic book-based television show out there. The thing that makes this show stand out is how they handle their female characters, giving them a wonderful depth and range where other comic book shows might just look to sexualize them. If you’re reading this then you are already a fan and know this about the show, so you might be wondering why I’m even bringing it up. I’ve noticed a trend since this beginning of this season where it feels like the show is trying to force more testosterone into a show that worked fine with the equilibrium it had established in season one.
Characters like Superman, Snapper Carr, Mon-El, and even the crime-fighting duo known as Guardian, have all been creating more conflict than harmony in both the show and the overall story line. It is becoming more and more obvious that the show is trying to force in more male characters for some unexplained, probably marketing related reason. To me, Mon-El is the biggest example of that. He is such a poorly written character whose charm usually extends to one-liners reinforcing his heterosexuality or are used to remind us that he doesn’t understand all of Earth’s slang or cultural references (This week: “What’s a Shark Tank?”) yet. Aside from the showrunners trying to force a partnership between Supergirl and Mon-El, they are also really pushing for them to end up together, probably in preparation for some sort of Valentine’s Day episode reveal. I thought we were past this whole forcing-Supergirl-to-pick-a-man phase in season one. Can’t we just explore Alex and Maggie’s relationship more, especially since it feels more organic and much better developed?
The Guardian isn’t completely off the hook either. Although Kara finally discovers that James is actually Guardian, the show creates what feels like an unnecessary conflict between, and gives the boys a chance to impress Supergirl. Although they fail spectacularly, this is an obvious set-up for some kind of Avengers-like group in the very near future. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love seeing James and Winn on screen as often as possible. They are actually well-developed characters of value and they once represented how an average person can help save the world. Now James/Guardian just feels like the showrunner’s response to some sort of perceived emasculation of the men in the show who are constantly being saved by a female. Since the guys all had to prove their machismo in this episode, that meant that Alex and Maggie had to take a backseat in this week’s story.
The Livewire Strikes Back
Livewire is back, but she is much less electric this time around. The spark that made her one of my favorite characters seems to have fizzled out in this episode when she is just used to tie the theme forgiveness and redemption between Supergirl’s problems and those of J’onn. Livewire’s story is so poorly fleshed out that she almost feels forgettable. If anything, her doppelganger gets more screentime than she does. I also don’t think they even bothered to name the villain that kidnapped her. It might be another product of the men fighting for the screen time, but there wasn’t even enough time for Livewire to offer her signature sass and cultural references. She was nothing more than a hostile prisoner in really bad corpse make-up and a horrendously bad wig. Come on, they couldn’t even give her the time to make her look close to the Livewire we knew? That part was truly… shocking.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
With Supergirl having to face her “nemesis” Livewire, and J’onn dealing with his “nemesis” M’gann, they each realize that they need to save them (literally) in order to save themselves (emotionally). Meanwhile, the men have a pissing contest where they try to prove they are worthy; Mon-El tries to prove he is worthy to be Kara’s partner (in both meanings of the word), and James tries to prove that he is an asset to Supergirl (which he already was even before he became Guardian, but whatever). This episode was a unity episode where every schism or even fracture in the team was healed.
Kara no longer feels Livewire is a lost cause, J’onn melded his mind with M’gann and now they are family, James and Mon-El got over their differences and both proved they can fight as a team together and with Supergirl, Winn found out that his disobedient actions wouldn’t result in his execution so that was also a win, and Alex is going to have to eat vegan ice cream at Maggie’s. Almost every relationship was mended or strengthened in this episode, and it’s all probably in preparation for so big attack by either the White Martians, the evil Luthor, or whatever other force we have yet to encounter. At the end of the episode, the only thing that was left broken was Mon-El’s heart.