I've never been interested in Marvel, DC, or any other superhero worlds. The only reason I watched Supergirl is because according to my tumblr dash, the show is super gay. It wound up being extremely straight, almost forcibly so. But I kept watching, despite a lackluster pilot episode, a campy attitude, and relatively predictable plotlines. Something about the story of Kara Zor-El, a hotheaded, too-trusting, altruistic alien, stuck with me.
|Maybe what stuck with me was the episode where Kara turns evil. That was terrifying.|
Kara as a protagonist is relatively cookie-cutter, obsessed with maintaining the status quo and unraveling her tragic past. Most of the problems Supergirl's writers throw at her are black-and-white. Imprison the bad alien. Convert your evil aunt. Rescue your sister. Save all humans by throwing an alien prison the size of a city into deep space. These problems don't change her character, even though they are fun to watch.
|Like fighting a guy with his own chains. That's pretty cool.|
The largest example of this in Supergirl is the whole environmentalism dilemma. The show establishes early on that Krypton exploded because its inhabitants, the Kryptonians, overused its energy sources. Kara's aunt, Astra, tried to warn everyone to curb their energy use in the face of anthropogenic global warming (the show directly references rapidly changing ocean and weather patterns.) But the greedy Kryptonians don't listen, and so Astra becomes an eco-terrorist, blowing up government buildings and attempting to use mind control to turn the whole of Krypton into a think tank (yes, seriously.)
Astra's sister, Alura, cracks down on the terrorism and sentences Astra to a lifetime in prison. But right before she does, she tells Astra that Krypton will actually die and they're all screwed. A few days later, Alura ships her daughter Kara, our protagonist, off towards Earth and dies when Krypton explodes.
|Kara, getting upset at a hologram of her mother.|
|OK, so Max Lord's plan to get rid of the mind control regime was to irradiate National City and kill thousands of people. Maybe not the best idea. But he was all about green transportation in episode 5.|
At the show's finale, Kara saves the humans by throwing an enormous prison the size of a city into space. It's a voluntary suicide mission, and Kara is 100% prepared to die. Her act of heroism is apparently a big enough action to alleviate Kara's guilty conscience, making her feel like she did something to prove she isn't her mother. But in the end, Kara's foster sister rescues her from a death in deep space. Everyone goes on burning their fossil fuels and eating potstickers. Except for our libertarian tech lord billionaire, Maxwell Lord, who is up to some nefarious business in his back rooms. It's always the mad scientist/criminal hacker who gets pegged as the evil alternative to status quo maintenance. Maybe next time, Kara can team up with Max Lord to save Earth from its own destruction. That's what will prove Kara is not her mother. Kara Zor-El is all about working together, after all.
|Astra, just telling it like it is.|