It is a shining episode of television when the dullest spot is Lynda Carter. Because Lynda Carter is not a dull spot. She is the former yet eternal Wonder Woman, the former bearer of the bright and sunny optimism torch that Supergirl‘s Melissa Benoist now carries with aplomb.
But man, Lynda Carter’s Hillary Clinton act was more wooden than the acting career of any pro wrestler not formerly known as the Rock. (I’m looking at you, John Cena.) And that’s perfectly OK because Lynda Carter’s turn as the President of the United States was just one very small part of one very good episode of TV.
And it was gay as hell.
A new channel, new creative freedoms and a new, larger, cast of available characters has been a godsend for Supergirl. While the show went out in peak form last season, it’s only improved in its new home on the CW. Pacing has geared up to insane Vampire Diaries levels with each scene performing two or three functions, and almost every character, short of Winn, given a chance to shine. The cast has been pared down, Cat Grant and Superman have left the building, and I never even noticed they were gone.
Not one, not two, but three major characters were introduced this week. There was Mon-El, who finally woke up and was chased away from the DEO base by a rocket launcher-wielding Alex. There was National City detective Maggie Sawyer, who was nearly chased away from a DEO crime scene by a rocket launcher-wielding Alex. And there was M’gann M’orzz (Miss Martian) who was, shockingly, not chased away from any venue by a rocket launcher-wielding Alex.
M’gann’s reveal comes at the end of the episode, and it is every bit as gleeful as J’onn’s reveal last season. Say what you will about the funky animation of the Martians, but these guys know how to make an entrance:
Mon-El is one of the few characters this week that isn’t partaking in some kind of allegory for the gay experience. True to his deliciously Silver Age roots, Mon-El hales from a sister planet to Krypton that Kara hates with the fiery passion of a bigot who doesn’t know they’re a bigot. But it’s OK, because by the episode’s end she’s realised she’s a bigot and tried to amend her ways — by finally telling the guy that his whole planet died one day after beating him into unconsciousness and throwing him in a cell and promising to never let him out of said cell again.
You buried the lead on that one, Kara! Also your nasty authoritarianism streak is showing.
Meanwhile, Alex Danvers is about to embark on a rainbow paved odyssey loaded with the entire discography of Tegan and Sara, at least one motorcycle, two leather jackets and an ex-girlfriend who learns English with her tongue.
Like Kara, the other Danvers sister gets a very special lesson in why bigotry is wrong. It rings a little false that Alex would be a big xenophobe, but it’s OK because her new National City PD partner is Maggie Sawyer, who loves aliens so much she’s banged a few.
She and Alex don’t bang, but they do eye bang… the entire episode. Also they compare their motorcycles, go on a date to an alien bar and rescue one another from the week’s hot-headed president hater, Scorcher. They could just be new friends — the show finally giving Alex someone to bitch to that she doesn’t share a DEO lunchroom with. But they share a lot of longing looks, heated conversations and wistful moments.
There have been rumours one of the CW’s superhero shows was getting a character exploring the other end of the sexuality spectrum, and after this episode I’d put all my money on Alex Danvers. I guess Winn could still snag the title, though, but then he’d need a plot beyond collating files in the DEO databases.
Supergirl has never shied away from the queer. Despite not having a single gay character up until Maggie’s arrival, the show has long traded in the gay code. Kara’s very act of becoming Supergirl was a massive allegory for coming out, and Alex’s fear over the outing, as well as her own bevy of secrets, have had all the markings of a queer woman stuck firmly in the closet.
If Alex does go gay it will be the show finally moving out of the realm of great allegories and into the realm of great representation. And after this year of brutal death for anyone not on the straightest end of the spectrum, that’s incredibly welcome.
- Where did Alex Danvers get her rocket launcher?
- Does she carry it everywhere on her motorcycle?
- Does she carry it to Cheesecake Factory when she and Kara challenge themselves to consume the entire menu?
- Does Kara get really annoyed when she finds it between her seat cushions?
- How many times has their mother been forced to make room at the dinner table for Alex’s rocket launcher?
- What did she name it?
- James has been put on the romance backburner, which means his arc is way down on the list of things the show cares about. This week he yelled at Snapper Carr who is the Lou Grant-esque gruff newsman missing from your television for the last 30 years.
- “People in this world don’t have much tolerance for others who look… different. I say that as an alien, and as someone who’s worn the face of a black man for 15 years.”
- “You should see my other jet.”
- The Wonder Woman twirl.
- Still not as gay as Gotham.