Supergirl: Season 2 Episode 6 review – Changing

By ·November 16, 2016 7:07 am

If you looked for our Supergirl review last week and couldn’t find it, that’s because we had to skip one week due to limited resources for that particular week (if you’re interested in joining our fold, visit our write for us page). That shouldn’t be misinterpreted as us not having seen the episode, however. To touch on it briefly, we found Crossfire to be somewhat lacking, with a little too much Mon El goofiness for our liking, making it our least favourite episode this season.

Now we gleefully return to reviewing the show and at the perfect time too, because this week waded deep into the show’s lesbian subplot, while handling the important subject with weighty respect and expert execution. Below you’ll find our spoiler-heavy review of this week’s episode.

It only takes a glance at the controversy stirred up when shows like The 100 and The Walking Dead kill off their lesbian characters (we highlighted similar fears about Maggie Sawyer potentially leaving too soon) to see how strongly fans (both of the LGBT community and otherwise) want a long-standing strong lesbian presence in their shows, but are often denied it. Lesbian relationships are undoubtedly a trend in modern shows and despite the unwarranted character deaths it’s a positive trend that often produces wonderful results.

The source of Alex's affections and the inspiration for her coming out - Maggie Sawyer.

The source of Alex’s affections and the inspiration for her coming out – Maggie Sawyer.

Supergirl has been commended before now for inspiring young girls in a variety of ways, with reports of parents praising the show for highlighting to their daughters that its OK to be different. Before Maggie Sawyer even entered the show’s fold, the show had been called ‘gloriously gay‘ for simple moments like Kara fawning over President Marsdin (Lynda Carter).

For a show that has so much feminist power coursing through its veins, it makes an enormous amount of sense for it to adopt a gay storyline and to treat that as yet another bow in its growing quiver of strengths. It seems like such a natural move, in fact, that it’s a surprise that it took this long for it to happen. Although Season 2 was doing just fine without it, it is also undoubtedly a big boost of interest for those who did perhaps hold waning attention spans for the show and it also opens up a whole new potential audience for those who might now tune in because of the lesbian arc.

Alex being selected as the character to go through this journey of awakening definitely makes sense and we did pick up on the potential for this to happen as soon as Maggie entered the show. Even though Alex never exhibited any obvious signs of being gay in Season 1 (at least to our eyes, which granted might not be sharp on what constitutes as signs), her sexual realisation doesn’t feel forced and instead feels like a natural hidden truth to the character.

It shouldn’t be ignored that Alex wouldn’t have been the only choice that the writers could have opted for. It would have been perfectly reasonable to have Kara herself come out as bisexual (we know she likes men because of the James arc). She certainly fawned over President Marsdin a little, and presenting viewers with not only a bisexual character, but with a bisexual leading lady would have been brave indeed. It’s a prospect that would have been very interesting in its own right, if one that might have sparked a few lash backs, but we’re just as happy to see Alex walk down a similar path.

What’s most important of all is the handling of the subject, because young girls (and perhaps even women like Alex) who haven’t yet come out to their families or accepted their true sexual orientation will no doubt be watching and will do doubt potentially take inspiration from the writers’ words and scenes. Personally, we found the writers’ navigation to be excellent, which was heavily reinforced by Chyler managing to convincingly portray a genuine confusion about her feelings, as well as the fear and subsequent braveness that is takes in order to stand in front of a family member and tell them that you’re gay (which went on to give us another of those powerfully emotional sister moments, when Kara and Alex had a heart to heart on the couch). The writers also commendably showed that even went you do come out, everything might not go prove as rosy as you might hope, which came in the form of Maggie calling Alex “fresh off the boat” and rejecting her (which could have been handled with a little more tact by Maggie, as much as we love her).

Kara comforting Alex during the heartbreak of rejection.

Kara comforting Alex during the heartbreak of rejection.

Although we support the community wholeheartedly, we’re among among the LGBT community’s numbers, so in order to get a true reading of how accurately the show portrayed coming out, we suggest asking someone of that community or doing a little research online of your own. What we found when we dug for LGBT views on the Alex arc suggested that the show did a great job in the eyes of the community.

While Alex’s storyline definitely outshone the other moments in this episode, we’d be amiss not to address them. Seeing William Mapother appear in anything is always a big plus for us (being massive LOST fans), even if the subsequent monster of the week was a little generic, as reinforced by the Purple People Eater title that Winn gives it, which is a phrase that relates to everything from a 1958 song to a 1988 film (we’re certain that the writers were nodding to one or the other of these – probably the latter).

Another sly little Winn nod came in the form of him using the term Superfriends, in relation to James now having become Guardian, which is a move we’re not sure show should have taken (turning too many regulars into superheroes can be a detriment), but we’ll reserve judgement for the time being. One thing we were still left wondering at the episode’s close is whether Miss Martian was actively complicit in the slaughter of J’onn’s people, or whether she is just feeling guilty by association. We’re sure that the show will reveal that soon. For now, we’re just delighted to have a strong, prominent gay female character in a show that we love, without the fear of having her vanish from our screens all too prematurely.

Image credits: The CW

More: Supergirl The CW

Written by Christopher Hart

Co-Editor in Chief / Film, TV and Literature Writer

Christopher holds an MA in Publishing and a BA in Comparative Literature, and currently works as an analyst for a major Bank in London.

Christopher self-publishes his own Science Fiction and Fantasy stories. His completed series of short stories is titled 'Altered Stone' and can be found on Amazon.

His specialist subjects include LOST, Preacher, Supergirl, A Song of Ice and Fire, Kevin Smith, Bioshock and Fallout.

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