Supergirl: 3.04 The Faithful
This is probably the most I’ve enjoyed an episode of Supergirl since the season return; it's just a shame it's quite a boring episode.
What this weeks episode lacks in dynamic storytelling, it almost makes up for with character work, though with mixed levels of success. The opening of this episode is very effective, showing us Supergirl’s first save from the perspective of inside the plane, triggering the events that unfold...
After someone approached Sam with a leaflet at her kid's football game, Kara learns about a religious group that has grown up around Supergirl, run by one of the survivors of her plane rescue. The basic narrative here, that people Supergirl has saved start following her thinking she’s some kind of deity, is interesting enough if a little underwhelmingly realised. There is no villain as such but the misguided leader of this Super-Cult does plan to set off a Kryptonian bomb under a sports stadium – but only so Supergirl will save everyone and thus increase his flock.
I’m having a few problem with this season, the biggest is that I don’t enjoy watching Kara anymore. She’s not fun or positive or inspiring. Even the opening “My name is Kara…’ monologue is now set to downbeat music. I can see that it’s a creative choice but the pay off had better be amazing as right now, I don’t really want to spend time with this character. The end scenes this week, when the imprisoned cult leader says he sees hazy, sadness in Kara’s eyes that he didn’t see we she saved him, was a nice acknowledgment that this isn’t Supergirl.
I have to say, I also don’t care about Sam and Ruby. I literally do not care about these characters at all and I hate the trope of kid whining because their parent has to work, too! It also seemed a little weird that Sam was invited to Kara and Lena’s girls night, along with Alex and Maggie and they all started talking about being cool aunts to her kid. Even if it didn’t feel like the show was trying to force these characters on us, this all felt a bit full on considering they basically don’t know these people. It did of course allow for some more Alex wants kids tension to build and while the whole girls night scene was pretty cringy, this element was a good build up for Alex’s later breakdown and confession to Kara that she didn’t know what to do.
I really like that Alex and Maggie will fall apart because of Alex wanting kids. Wanting or not wanting children is a big deal in any relationship and can’t be ignored as a compatibility factor, Chyler Leigh helps make it feel very real and painful.
Jaaaaaames rears his head this episode. The worst ting about this toxic masculinity version of Jimmy is the idea that he would be Superman’s best friend. Ugh! Maggie is also pretty obnoxious this week, with her casual steamrolling over Alex’s feelings and a near unprofessional dismissal of Supergirl’s concern’s about the cult.
I was left with mixed feeling about themes in this episode. I like the concept of a religion building up around Supergirl. Human nature being what it is and the power wielded by Krytonians on earth, the idea seems inevitable that such cults and followings would develop. While the handling was maybe a little simplistic it was an interesting idea to touch on.
What I was less sure about was Kara’s sudden and very devout faith in Rao, literally declaring him to be God at one point. Personally, Kryptonians and other supers being religious has always felt a tricky thing to reconcile, especially within the wider narrative of the comics and is quite a complex subject to work around. Add to this the diverse history of who and what Rao is and Kara showing little to no interest in this side of her history before, and the episode ended up having a clunky, born again feeling leading to an awkwardly on the nose rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the end sequence. I did really like the pageant of little girls dressed as Supergirl though, showing how Supergirl inspires and gives hope, in contrast to the blind religious following of the cult.
This series needs to do a lot to get me back on board as I’m simply losing interest in watching the characters; a couple of solid emotional beats this week helped remind me how good it can be but there is a long way to go.