Supergirl Recap: Kara Explores What It Means to Be One of “The Faithful”
On this week’s Supergirl, guest star Chad Lowe plays a man who, after having been saved by Kara while on the same flight as Alex in the pilot episode of the show, believed her to be a god and started a religion worshipping Rao in the name of Supergirl. Meanwhile, Alex has to come to terms with what she really wants out of her relationship with Maggie, and Sam continues to struggle with being a working mom and her strange powers and visions. Welcome to Season 3, Episode 4, “The Faithful.”
**THIS IS A RECAP – SPOILERS ARE PART OF THE TERRITORY.**
S3, EP. 4 – THE RECAP
- A bitter and drunk passenger on an airline flight (Chad Lowe) who’s just lost his wife and his job tells the young man sitting next to him all about how life sucks and isn’t as rosy as he hopes it’ll be. Suddenly, something happens to the plane and it’s suddenly plummeting toward the ground. As the passengers brace for impact, the plane suddenly and inexplicably makes a safe water landing. The bitter man looks out the window at the wing and sees Kara standing there in street clothes. This is a flashback to Kara’s first act as Supergirl, saving the flight Alex was on. As he looks at her, the bitter man’s look softens, as he’s just witnessed a miracle.
- Sam sits watching one of Ruby’s soccer games, but isn’t fully present, as she’s also working, constantly on the phone with a laptop on her lap. Suddenly, a random woman who calls herself “a follower” approaches Sam, says that she and Ruby are “chosen,” and gives her a pamphlet with what looks like an “S-shield” on it telling her about a meeting tonight. Sam takes it out of politeness, but is super-skeptical.
- Sam arrives to L Corp late after Ruby’s game and apologized, but Lena is understanding, because she’s seriously the best boss ever. It doesn’t hurt that Sam is on the verge of closing her first merger for L Corp as its new CFO. Kara is with Lena, and when Sam reveals she has no further plans for the evening, Kara invites her to her girls’ night. Lena insists, and Sam accepts. Kara then notices the strange pamphlet on Sam’s desk, recognizing the symbol on the cover. She asks to take it with her.
- At CatCo, as James and Winn are leaving for the evening, Kara is still at her desk. They assume she’s working late, but she’s doing research into the pamphlet. The symbol on the cover is the symbol for Rao, Krypton’s god. Kara decides to go to the meeting in the pamphlet, and Winn and James tag along.
- Once at the meeting, they find a religious scene. The bitter man from the opening scene on the airplane is leading a service for the Children of Rao, quoting actual Kryptonian sacred texts. One of the Children of Rao is a young woman named Olivia (Sofia Vassilieva), who tells the story of how she was saved by Supergirl. As it turns out, everyone in the congregation is someone Supergirl has saved, and they are all there to worship Rao in Supergirl’s name. Kara is supremely freaked out by all this.
- At the DEO, Winn has figured out that the man is Thomas Coville and makes the connection that he was a passenger on the flight of Alex’s that Kara saved when she first revealed her powers. Kara is becoming increasingly angry, as she says that Coville is running a cult, not a religion, as he’s twisting Rao’s teachings.
- Later than night: girls’ night at Kara’s! As Alex, Maggie, Lena, Sam, and Kara sit around drinking wine, Lena is telling the story of a guy she was about to have sex with before he stopped it by asking if she was Catholic, because apparently he only sleeps with Catholic women. While Lena found it amusing, she also respected that he had faith of any kind. Conversation turns to whether Kara is seeing anyone, but she deflects saying that she’s still getting over her previous relationship. Sam starts talking about how hard it is to balance work, a social life, and Ruby, and the women all volunteer to be Ruby’s “cool aunts.” This brings up the sore subject of Alex, Maggie, and kids, and while both women say that kids aren’t a part of their plan, Alex clearly looks pained about it. Suddenly, there’s the sound of fire trucks, and Kara leaves the room to “go get ice.”
- Supergirl arrives at the scene of the fire and saves a man. Turns out, that man set the fire himself, because he’s one of the Children of Rao and “had faith” that Supergirl would save him. He’s also Olivia’s boyfriend apparently? Anyway, burning down a building to prove your faith? Not cool. Now, Supergirl is even more pissed about the whole cult thing.
- Sam is at the office working late as Ruby sits there with her, begging to go so that she can practice a song she needs to practice. A L Corp employee walks in to tell her that Morgan Edge has tried to sabotage the merger she just worked out, and now she has to deal with that, leaving Ruby in her office alone and depressed.
- Kara visits Coville to try to convince him, as a reporter, that Supergirl isn’t a god, that she couldn’t be, because she physically can’t be everywhere saving everyone all the time. Not only does this not sway his faith, but he recognizes Kara as Supergirl. Her face on the wing of that plane made an impression! He thinks that this is Supergirl testing his faith, and he talks about how Rao said that even gods can lose their way. He becomes determined to save Supergirl from her own doubt. He shows her an obelisk he’s found that has all of the Kryptonian sacred texts on it, which is where he learned everything he knows. Kara takes it from him, then attempts to speak to him the way a god would, ordering him to stop telling people to put themselves in danger to prove their faith. He is not swayed.
- When Kara leaves, Coville goes into a back room where he talks to a big, black pod-looking thing with a blue glowing ball in the middle. He’s determined to “save Supergirl.”
- Ruby has fallen asleep on Sam’s office couch, and while Sam has saved the merger, she feels really guilty about not being there as much as Ruby needs. Lena congratulates Sam on the merger, and Sam confesses her guilt to her. Lena says that while Ruby might not be able to appreciate it now, that watching her mother work and work well is “how you raise a girl to be a badass.” She then comforts Sam by telling her that Ruby “is loved. She knows it.”
- James finds Kara out on the balcony at CatCo. Kara talks about her Kryptonian spirituality and how she misses it. She’s conflicted about Coville thinking of her as a god, and she wonders how she can burst his bubble by telling him that she only ended up saving him because her sister was on that flight. James then tells her about the first time that Superman saved him, when he was in a dangerous situation and prayed when he thought he was about to die. Superman was literally the answer to his prayers. He relates that to Supergirl and asks Kara “How are you not a miracle?” As they talk, James does something to the obelisk to make a hologram appear. Kara grabs it to take it to the DEO for examination.
- Once there, Winn alerts her to the fact that a beta hedron (like an omega hedron, but smaller) is about to blow in the city. These beta hedrons were what powered Kryptonian probes that were sent out that contain bits of their culture, like the obelisk. So somewhere out there, the probe where this obelisk came from is about to explode. Oh wait! The big, black pod thingie with the glowing blue ball in the middle. That’s it. Except now it’s not at the Children of Rao church, it’s in a packed stadium.
- Coville has taken his Rao cult and the about-to-explode probe to the stadium to show even more people that Supergirl is god by having her save all 15,000 people in the stadium from the impending blast. Supergirl arrives, and demands that he shut the probe down, telling him that Rao is peaceful and would never want this. When Coville refuses, Supergirl attempts to shut it down herself, but she can’t get close to it without doubling over in pain. She orders Coville to shut it down, and as the cultists slowly start to lose faith in her, because she’s weak in this moment, Coville goes to shut down the probe. Except he can’t. Supergirl uses her x-ray vision to see that there’s Kryptonite in the probe. Alex arrives and removes the Kryptonite—soil samples from Krypton that were also included in the probe. With the Kryptonite removed, Supergirl is just strong enough to use her heat vision to create a deep, deep hole in the floor, which she has Alex and Coville throw the probe into before it explodes.
- Days later, Kara visits Coville in jail, and he has more faith now than ever before. He sees it as his job to remind Kara of what she’s capable of, and that he can restore her to peace and clarity of purpose. For him, this “isn’t his prison, it’s his salvation.”
- Later that night, Sam along with Ruby’s “cool aunts” (minus Maggie) are in the audience of her school’s talent show. There’s a Supergirl-inspired group, followed by Ruby, who sings a lovely rendition of “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Watching the children perform, Alex feels suddenly overwhelmed and leaves the room.
- Kara follows Alex out into the hall, and Alex breaks down, being honest about desperately wanting to be a mom and have experiences like talent shows with kids of her own, while also being terrified about what that means for her relationship with Maggie. Kara comforts her as she cries.
- CUE THE MONTAGE: Kara prays to Rao along with the hologram of Alura at the DEO (who looks like she’s holding a Havdalah candle). J’onn, whom we didn’t see much this episode, is praying to H’ronmeer with his dad, and Alex…is losing faith in her relationship as Maggie puts her arm around Alex in bed. Faith comes, and faith goes.
- As Sam gets ready for bed, she looks in the mirror and is suddenly covered head to to toe in Kryptonian symbols! A mysterious, hooded figure appears there and tells her “From Rao’s fire you are born. One day soon, you will reign.” Ruby walks in to find Sam cowering on the floor with nothing out of the ordinary happening around her.
- Flashback to when Supergirl bore a hole under the stadium to throw the probe into. That hole goes all the way into the ocean, and we follow it to a ship that’s lodged into rock underwater. The ship suddenly comes to life as the probe explodes above it. Lights and maps start whirring, and there are chambers that contain…Kryptonians? Other aliens?
S3, EP. 4 – THE REVIEW
One of my favorite things to explore in any sci-fi story having to do with aliens is alien culture, and so this episode really resonated with me for the time it spent on Kara wrestling with her feelings about her own spirituality and how her expectations for how it should be practiced were or were not met by Coville and his Children of Rao. I love that the show did the standard, sci-fi “I am not a god” thing where Kara gives all the scientific reasons for why she can do what she does, but where the episode wasn’t standard is that even with that, Kara was also allowed to be spiritual.
She genuinely believes in Rao’s teachings and holds them sacred, and has an interpretation of them that she subscribes to. This wasn’t about science being “better” than religion, it was about science being right in certain contexts, and religion being right in others, and being able to discern which is which. I found that hugely interesting. It’s something the show has been dipping its toe into for a while, what with Kara doing Kryptonian meditation and J’onn’s father being a Martian priest. In “The Faithful,” I’m glad that the episode focused not necessarily on Rao, or even Supergirl as a god specifically, but on the idea of the importance of faith.
What’s interesting, then, if faith is the main theme, are the secondary plots in the episode that were paired up with the main plot. The first, of course, being Sam and Ruby, in which it’s Sam’s faith in herself as a parent that’s being called into question. And then there’s Alex and Maggie, and the episode dealing with Alex’s lack of faith in the relationship surviving if she wants kids and Maggie doesn’t.
Sadly, since Floriana Lima has returned to the show in a “limited capacity” this season, I think that this might the way they’re ending the relationship. However, if I had my way, I’d have Alex take it to Maggie that she should reconsider her stance. Maggie just kind of dropped the fact that she “doesn’t see kids in her future” on Alex as if the decision had already been made, framing it in such a way that Alex couldn’t really say no. She kind of just assumed Alex felt the same way without really checking in with her, and I didn’t think that was fair. Maggie hasn’t said she adamantly doesn’t want kids, or that she hates kids. Merely that she “doesn’t see kids in her future.” Doesn’t mean she couldn’t ever see them.
I’m also reeeeally excited about them finally getting to Sam becoming Reign and how the show will explain world killers. Also, the woman at Ruby’s soccer game mentioned both Sam and Ruby were “chosen,” and while that was in relation to the Children of Rao, and both Sam and Ruby were saved by Supergirl, I wonder if this means that Ruby will also be revealed to be a world killer, or some other type of superpowered being.
I definitely felt this episode on a more personal level than the ones before it so far this season, and I would love to see more of Kara’s spiritual side in future episodes. And no offence to my EICs here at TMS, but could Lena Luthor be my boss, please? Because she seems like the coolest person to work for (sorry James).
What did you think? Were you into “The Faithful?” Let’s chat about it in the comments below!
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8PM ET/PT on The CW.
(image: Bettina Strauss/The CW)
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