Kara Danvers will be a little worse for wear when The CW’s Supergirl returns this week, but a trouncing has never kept the Girl of Steel down for very long. This time might be different, though. Supergirl was put into a coma by the Kryptonian world-killer Reign. In the show’s midseason finale, Kara went up against the superpowered Reign only to get framed on national television, pummeled with a chunk of rebar and plunged into unconsciousness. It would seem that Reign is a problem that can’t be solved with brute force or superpowers.
Kara’s injuries might not be what truly ails her, after all. This season has also seen the return of Mon-El, Kara’s former lover, whose departure from Earth only lasted long enough for him to be thrown into the 31st century, found the Legion of Super-Heroes and get married to Imra Ardeen — Saturn Girl. Mon-El’s sudden reappearance has left Kara shocked — time distorted in just such a way that Mon-El has only been gone for seven months in Kara’s timeline, while it has been seven years for him.
At first blush, the answer seems somewhat predictable — Kara needs to come to terms with Mon-El and Imra’s relationship, team up with the Legion of Super-Heroes (which also includes the hyper-intelligent Brainiac 5) and knock Reign into oblivion. This would line up perfectly with what Kara has said before, that on Krypton it was considered an honor to receive help from others, cementing the power of community over the dangers of going it alone. It also almost certainly won’t be enough. That’s because the world-killer Kara is fated to get a rematch with is really Samantha Arias, one of Kara’s best friends, and a member of their own community.
Much of Supergirl’s series run has seen Alex Danvers, Kara’s sister, try to extoll the virtues of being human onto her adoptive little sister (something she has always struggled with). The midseason finale revealed that Alex’s desire for her sister to act human only extends as far as it is convenient. Alex encouraged Kara to be “cold” and “Kryptonian” when going up against Reign, a hostile alien neither realizes is actually their friend. It’s a concerning message that one’s humanity can be momentarily expelled in the face of the unknown, and it’s certainly not sustainable.
It’s become increasingly convenient for Kara to run away from her human side, and that’s not much of a surprise. Sometimes being human sucks. It means you have to deal with break-ups, accept others moving on (even when a weird time anomaly is involved) and, of course, put in the effort to help friends when they’re in need. We’d all love to just pummel our problems away, but that’s not really the spirit of being human. Being human is hard. Kara hasn’t been dealing with the hard parts of her human side very well, which has led to a series of personal retreats.
That looks to be something Kara is going to have to accept when Supergirl returns, especially if she wants to save — not simply defeat — Samantha. The heart of Supergirl has always been in facing impossible odds to do the right thing. When Season 3 kicks into gear this week, it seems only natural that Supergirl will have to come up with a way to peacefully separate Reign’s dual identities and get her friend back. If Kara ends up relying on her alien side to power through, there’s a very good chance she’ll be facing yet another human emotion — a boatload of grief.