[Review] Supergirl Episode 2×22: “Nevertheless, She Persisted”

written by Dayna Abel, Jason Froikin and Cara Russell

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

THEY SHOT HIM INTO SPACE AND PUT LEAD IN THE ATMOSPHERE SO HE COULD NEVER COME BACK AND ALSO SPACE ATE HIM

…yes, I know Chris Wood is signed on for Season Three. Just…just let me have this, okay?

“Nevertheless, She Persisted” (and what a title!) is Supergirl the way it needs to be. Yes, there are romantic relationships, but they are not the centerpiece, nor should they be. Supergirl should be a healthy balance of character drama and superheroics. I mean, “super” is right there in the name. Fortunately, we certainly had a banquet of action to feast on this episode, from the brawl between Kara and a hallucinating Clark to J’onn and M’gann fighting the Daxamites to the final showdown between Kara and Rhea. Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman remains an absolute delight to watch, and I hope he shows up more (but not too much) in Season Three.

I was actually surprised they went there with the lead-spraying device (WHICH MADE ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE WHATSOEVER but moving on). I honestly believed Kara – who legitimately beat a fully-powered Superman! – would pull a win out of her cape against Rhea. Serves me right for not assuming Rhea would cheat and for not paying attention to Chekhov’s MacGuffin.

There’s a lot to look forward to for next season – potential gay wedding bells (you still owe us for Batwoman, DC), J’onn and M’gann together, more of Lena and *cough*a conveniently single*cough*Kara, more Cat Grant if there is any justice in the world, and the reveal of the evil blood-drinking baby from Krypton. I suspect that he will turn out to be Doomsday, but I’m personally hoping it’s the Eradicator. Here’s to a third season with far more action and adventure, and absolutely no possible chance whatsoever that Mon-El can ever, ever, ever return to Earth.

…I said let me have this!

-Dayna

* * *

I’m going to start out this review addressing the elephant in the room: Superman being defeated by Supergirl. It’s going to lead to a massive amount of protest among comic fans, no doubt. There are mitigating circumstances that could be kicked around, like Superman’s emotional state, or that maybe he knew it was really her, or he’s so used to holding back that he does it unconsciously.

There is a simpler explanation: Alex. We’ve seen Kara training with her sister, and she has to have picked up a few habits to fight more efficiently. Alex has beaten men larger than herself; it stands to reason that same comparison holds true for the two Supers.

For a lot of people, including me, it was no surprise that the “battle to the death” was a distraction for both sides. The main event was happening all around them – the battle for Earth’s freedom. The Daxam invasion force cheated, and Supergirl was ready with cheating of her own. In the end, she had to lose big to win, and had to break her own heart in the process.

I could wrap this up by saying “I told you so” about Cat Grant knowing Supergirl’s identity and simply choosing to play the game of pretending she doesn’t. But instead, the part that really stuck with me was when Alex more or less refused to leave Kara, and asked her what she needed. It almost made everything feel normal again.

-Jason

* * *

In this season finale, Superman makes an ominous return, fooled by a chunk of Silver Kryptonite into thinking Supergirl is his nemesis Zod. A tense battle ensues, during which Supergirl is the victor through sheer brawn, rather than clever tactics – a theme throughout the episode, as she tries to write her victory off on a weakening effect of the Silver Kryptonite, or another success to a lucky fluke, just to be denied by whomever is closest.

After a trip through Krypton’s database, Supergirl settles on a one-on-one trial by combat against Rhea for the fate of Earth. As a backup plan, Lillian and Lena Luthor come up with a modified device (originally built by Lex) which will irradiate the atmosphere with lead instead of Kryptonite. While the science of “lead isn’t toxic to humans” is questionable in regards to general responsibility, the intent is to make the earth toxic to Daxamites, forcing them away if coercing them doesn’t work. As expected, Rhea welches on the deal, ordering her invasion force to pillage as soon as she starts to lose the fight. Even with help from M’gann and White Martians, Supergirl is forced to use the Luthor bomb to win Earth’s safety…sacrificing her future with Mon-El.

While he’s gasping his last breaths, Supergirl packs him into the ship she arrived on Earth in, along with her mother’s pendant for protection. Whether you like the guy or not, you have to feel for Kara as the warmth and companionship he provided is something she craved, and no longer has. It’s an absence she rightfully mourns, and no amount of her loved ones telling her how inspiring and strong she is will fill it. She also mourns the loss of “having it all” and is graced with the feeling of missing out as she compares herself to her closest compatriots. But as Cat so rightly notes, women are strong because we have the guts to be vulnerable, to feel the full depths of our emotions – while it’ll hurt for a while, I’m sure she’ll be okay in the end, and stronger for it.

-Cara

Supergirl airs Monday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Dayna can be reached on Twitter @queenanthai, Jason at @Mangacool, and Cara at @virtualcara.

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