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Supergirl Recap: Kara Battles Rhea for the Earth—”Nevertheless, She Persisted”

image: Katie Yu/The CW

image: Katie Yu/The CW

And so we come/to the end of the road/still I can’t let go … We’ve arrived at the finish line, Superfriends! The Season 2 Finale of The CW’s Supergirl has come and gone, leaving us with a much better show than we had last season. In it, Supergirl has to fight her boyfriend’s mom for the planet. If that’s not high-stakes, I don’t know what is! Welcome to Season 2, Episode 22, “Nevertheless, She Persisted.”


image: Katie Yu/The CW

image: Katie Yu/The CW

S2, EP. 22 – THE RECAP

  • At the end of last week’s episode, we were surprised along with Supergirl as Superman emerged from Rhea’s ship ready to fight her! So, “Nevertheless, She Persisted” opens with that fight in progress and made more complicated by the fact that Rhea has Superman under the influence of silver Kryptonite, another Kryptonian mineral that rained down on Daxam when Krypton was destroyed, and it makes Kryptonians see their greatest fear. In Superman’s case, when he looks at Supergirl, he sees General Zod threatening the Earth and is determined to take “him” down … once and for all. Supergirl and Superman fall to Earth as they fight and end up having a slow-mo water fight in a fountain. Supergirl knocks him out, then collapses from exhaustion. Defeating Superman isn’t exactly a walk in the park, you know?
  • Supergirl wakes up in the Fortress of Solitude confused and disoriented (after having first “woken up” with Mon-El in her own bed). Turns out she passed out, then when Alex came to her aid, came to long enough to fly her and Superman to the Fortress before passing out again. Superman is still out cold, but eventually comes to, equally confused.
  • Lillian goes to see an agitated Lena at her office. At first, Lena assumes she’s there to blame her for trusting Rhea and allowing this Daxamite takeover to happen, and at first, she’s right. Lillian tears into her for not thinking like a scientist and questioning everything “like she taught her.” Lena, however, reminds her that what she actually taught Lena was to have to look everywhere else for approval and validation, because she wasn’t going to get it from her mother, so she ended up trusting the first mentor who showed her any kindness. Ah, Mommy Issues. Lillian then apologizes, and says that she’s actually there because the portal she built for Rhea was brilliant, and perhaps she bet on the wrong Luthor child to save the world. She’s brought with her a cube from Lex’s archive that he originally designed to disperse Kryptonite into the atmosphere and force Superman to either leave the planet, or die. Lillian says that Lena can modify it to disperse lead instead, an amount insignificant to humans, but one that would force the Daxamites to flee.
  • Back at the Fortress, Superman is awed that Supergirl defeated him. When she tries to deflect and say that the silver Kryptonite probably weakened him, he says that no, he was at full strength, and she beat him anyway. He searches the Fortress’ database for information on how to defeat the Daxamites and they happen upon something called “Dakum Ur.”
image: Bettina Strauss/The CW

image: Bettina Strauss/The CW

  • At the DEO, Superman and Supergirl arrive to bring them the information they’ve discovered. Winn takes his crush on Superman to the next level by telling him he loves him, and Supergirl asks for them to call up Rhea and bring her on screen. They do, and when Rhea answers, Supergirl invokes the ancient rite of Dakum Ur. Rhea accepts, and tells her they will meet in four hours. Confused, Alex asks what the hell just happened. Oh, nothing, except that she challenged Rhea to a fight to the death that is binding: if Supergirl wins, Rhea and her ships have to leave Earth forever. If Rhea wins, she gets Earth.
  • Mon-El is not happy about this. First, because he doesn’t want anything to happen to Supergirl, and second, because if she loses, Rhea will get the Earth and show it no mercy. He asks why Superman can’t do it instead, but Superman tells him that she defeated him. She’s the Earth’s Champion. It has to be her. Supergirl tells Mon-El that she doesn’t have time for his fear. “I need you strong.”
  • Meanwhile, a still-unconscious J’onn sees M’gann in his mind, telling him that everything will be okay and that she’ll be there. He shoots up out of bed, much to Alex’s relief. That is, until he starts asking about M’gann, who is clearly not there, but on Mars. Confused, he asks Alex what’s going on, and she has to break the news. Sorry, dude. But while you were sleeping, the Daxamites took over. J’onn then leads the DEO in preparing for the battle, and for protecting civilians while it’s happening. Later, when they see the fight sensationalized on the news,  they worry that it will attract curious people to the site and put them in harm’s way.
  • So, Kara and Clark go to CatCo to see Cat and ask her to ease up on the Battle Royale coverage to protect people. At first she’s reluctant, but as she can’t stop flirting with Clark, he works his charm on her and reminds her that no one cares about The People more than she does. She agrees to tone it down. She then asks if Clark can talk to James, because he’s putting himself in danger by being Guardian. Cat then makes a really bad Darth Vader/Star Wars analogy, and when Kara corrects her, she says “Oh, I don’t know. I’ve never seen Star Wars!” (Shout-out to Flockhart’s hubby, Harrison Ford!) Her flirting with Clark is relentless throughout their entire encounter, and as they leave a disgusted Kara says to herself, “I hope Rhea kills me.”
image: Bettina Strauss/The CW

image: Bettina Strauss/The CW

  • Lena calls Supergirl and Superman to see her and her mother at her office to tell them about the device they’re working on to defeat the Daxamites. Lena clarifies that it would affect all the Daxamites, and Supergirl realizes that this includes Mon-El. He’d have to leave Earth. For a moment, she hesitates, but then she tells Lena to get to work on it.
  • Supergirl and Superman go back to the DEO and explain Lena’s device, and Supergirl has to break it to Mon-El that, if she doesn’t win and they have to employ the device, he’ll have to leave Earth. He says that they should do that if they need to, that he won’t be the reason that Earth suffers. Kara, however, is insistent that it won’t come to that. She’s determined to beat Rhea. J’onn sends Winn to L Corp to assist Lena.
  • Later, Supergirl and Superman have a pre-Fight-For-the-Earth chat, but not before they spar so that he can teach her some new moves and keep her on her toes. After they spar a bit (and Superman is impressed by how quickly she’s picked up the new moves), Supergirl talks to him about the fact that she’s only just recently finally gotten everything she’s ever wanted: family, friends, a job she loves, her hero groove, and love with Mon-El. She gets to keep all that if she defeats Rhea, but she’s not sure if anyone can have everything they want. Superman tells her that whenever he’s fought anyone, he’s fought for Lois, and that “the people we love are a secret superpower.” He tells her to fight for those she loves, and she’ll win.
  • IT’S TIME. Mon-El accompanies Supergirl to the agreed-upon site, and THE LADIES FIGHT. At first, they are pretty evenly matched. However, Rhea is way more ruthless, and so she orders her forces to start randomly destroying the city, hoping to distract Supergirl by forcing her to choose whether to fight, or to save people. However, Team Supergirl has her back, and while she fights Rhea, they spring into action to protect National City. Then, a funny thing happens. As Supergirl pummels Rhea and she starts bleeding … we see that she’s BLEEDING GREEN KRYPTONITE! Apparently, Kryptonite became part of the Daxamites’ blood as it rained down on them? So yeah, she’s basically a living anti-Supergirl weapon. Not good.
image: Bettina Strauss/The CW

image: Bettina Strauss/The CW

  • Winn helps Lena with getting the device to work, and when they do, Lillian tries to set it off ahead of time, as she just can’t wait to get rid of all them there aliens. However, it won’t work for her. Lena, knowing her mother all too well, gave the remote to Supergirl. Only she can set it off if she needs to.
  • As that’s happening, Mon-El and the rest of the DEO fight the Daxamite soldiers on the street. Supermann fights a Daxamite soldier at CatCo. And M’gann appears having heard J’onn’s call in her head and she brought White Martians (the good kind, like her) to help!
  • However, despite the reinforcements, Supergirl cannot defeat Rhea. Not with her Kryptonite blood and her forces bombarding the city. Supergirl turns to Mon-El for reassurance, and when he nods, she pulls out the remote and sets off the device. Lead floods the atmosphere and the Daxamites start dropping like flies and retreating. Rhea falls to the ground, suffocating. Mon-El is affected, too, but not as bad as she is. Not yet. Since he’s been on Earth for a while, the Yellow Sun has made him a bit sturdier than the average Daxamite, but not for long.
  • He and Supergirl stand by as Rhea disintegrates into grey dust. As Mon-El gets weaker, Supergirl contacts the DEO and asks Alex to do her a favor …
image: Bettina Strauss/The CW

image: Bettina Strauss/The CW

  • Supergirl brings Mon-El to a field where sits a Kryptonian pod. She is putting him on it to get him off the planet and save him, knowing he won’t be able to come back. But first, they share a really tearful goodbye where they tell each other they love each other for the first time. She gives him the necklace she always wears to take with him, the necklace her mother gave her when she sent Young Kara off to Earth. It’s really sad, you guys. It’s, like, the saddest Supergirl has ever looked. I know there are conflicting feelings about Mon-El amongst fans, but come on. That shit was heartbreaking. Mon-El gets in the pod and leaves.
  • Later, Supergirl stands on the DEO’s balcony totally depressed. Superman tries to help her feel better before he leaves, telling her that he is humbled by her and not only her physical strength, but her strength in being able to let Mon-El go. He says that he’s not so sure he could make a similar choice if he had to choose between the Earth and Lois. She tells him to go be with her and never let her go.
  • J’onn and M’gann finally have a moment to reunite when not in the heat of battle. She tells him that she’s found many White Martians like herself who want to make changes on Mars, and that they’re working toward that. He asks if she can stay, and she says she can stay for a while. They kiss, and it’s adorable.
  • Alex goes out to Supergirl on the balcony and tells her how proud she is of her. Supergirl tells her to never let go of Maggie. She’s determined that everyone around her that has love in their life keep it and nurture it and don’t let it go. If she can’t have it for herself, she at least wants others to have that. As Supergirl flies off, Maggie comes out to Alex on the balcony and holds her, letting her know that Kara will be alright. Then, having allowed Kara’s words to sink in, she abruptly asks Maggie to marry her. She doesn’t want to let her go. Maggie smiles.
image: Bettina Strauss/The CW

image: Bettina Strauss/The CW

  • At CatCo, Cat wonders why Kara is so deflated when Supergirl just defeated the Daxamites. Kara tells her that while Cat was gone, Kara had a boyfriend, one that was the first person she truly loved, and that it just ended. Cat comforts her by telling her “as someone who’s been married four times. It would’ve been five but I turned down Rob Lowe. Twice” (Shout-out to Brothers and Sisters co-star Rob Lowe!) that she’s learned that the thing that makes women strong is that “we have the guts to be vulnerable.” She knows that Kara will feel this pain deeply, but also that it will pass and Kara will come out on the other side even stronger. Suddenly, Kara has to go and she rushes out of the office. Cat says to herself, “Go get him, Supergirl!” SHE KNOWS! (Of course she does, especially now that she knows what J’onn and President Marsdin can do, which would explain last season’s trick that allowed Kara and Supergirl to be in the same place at the same time!)
  • Kara flies up toward space as we see Mon-El entering the portal and flying off to who knows where.
  • In the episode’s final scene, we are taken back to Krypton on the day Kara and Kal-El were sent to Earth. On another part of the planet, these creepy hooded figures put a creepy, baby-sized hooded figure in a pod, put blood on its head, and shoot it off toward Earth. When one hooded figure asks the other if she thinks this will work, she says “It will grow strong on Earth. And it will reign.” Well, I guess we know something we’ll be dealing with next season!
image: Katie Yu/The CW

image: Katie Yu/The CW


“Nevertheless, She Persisted” is the perfect title for the episode in which we see Supergirl at the height of her power. She’s always been a hero, but she’s never been as strong, in as many different definitions of that word, as she was in this season finale. This was my favorite thing about the episode: that in the face of this monumental crisis, Supergirl is always heroic.

Confident in her choice to fight Rhea, willing to shoot lead into the air and give up the man she loves if that fight doesn’t go well, willing to risk her own life, able to DEFEAT SUPERMAN, and yet still humble enough to not make a big deal out of the fact that her cousin tells her that she’s stronger than he is. Real strength means never having to prove it or show it off. You just are strong. Seeing Supergirl get to be this was all the more refreshing after a season that seemed dead set on reminding us of every single one of Kara Danvers’ many flaws.

This was an effective finale, as not only was it a well crafted, fast-paced, character based story, but it seemed like the inevitable conclusion of the arc of the season. Throughout Season 2, Rhea was successfully and subtly built up into the quality antagonist she became. Meanwhile, Mon-El’s relationship with Kara and the way he navigated being a hero paid off here as we watched him love her, but do the heroic thing anyway, which is to leave. It was also great closing out the season with Superman when it started with him, too! I love Clark and Kara’s relationship.

Melissa Benoist has been killing it all season, but this demanding episode showcased her delivering her “A” game. Her performance was compelling and completely lived-in. I’ll admit it. I cried.

A perfect end to a new (and improved!) season! What did you think of “Nevertheless, She Persisted?” Let’s chat about it in the comments below!

(images: The CW)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.