Welcome to The House of El, the monthly video series where I go beyond the Supergirl recap, possibly delve a little into the DC Comics source material and other incarnations of the character, and hone in on a topic from recent episodes of CBS’ Supergirl that I find interesting, annoying, or that really sticks in my craw. Wherever my “craw” is.
In March’s House of El, I delve into the Supergirl episodes “Solitude,” “Falling,” “Manhunter,” and the so-sweet-it’s-practically-edible “Worlds Finest” in order to discuss discuss Supergirl‘s approach to friendship. Join me as I talk about how Kara’s relationships with friends and family are tested throughout these episodes, and all the lessons we can learn from Ms. Danvers/Zor-El about how to be better friends to those we care about.
After many hiatuses, March was jam-packed with Supergirl, with a new episode airing every week this month. These four episodes – “Solitude,” “Falling,” “Manhunter,” and “Worlds Finest” all, on some level, addressed Kara’s relationship to, and dependence on, her friends.
In “Solitude,” Kara is at peak hate for Hank after he supposedly killed Astra. Of course, we viewers know that he’s actually covering for Alex, which makes Kara’s treatment of him all the more humiliating. However, by the end of the episode, after they’ve dealt with a new villain named Indigo, Kara comes back to the DEO realizing that, while she still can’t stand the man, she’s stronger with Hank’s help than without it. As strong and fearless as she is, she (like most of us) is better with the support of her friends. It’s after this realization that she learns of Hank’s innocence and Alex’s guilt in Astra’s death, and she reconciles with them both.
The next episode, “Falling,” really delved into how Kara really feels in each of her relationships, and while the Red Kryptonite made her express herself in the douchiest manner possible, she was also the most honest she’s ever been in this episode – about resenting Alex, about her feelings for James, and about how she feels superior to Hank because she isn’t afraid to be her true self in public. This episode basically shows us the consequences of holding in certain feelings rather than being open and honest with the ones we love – those bottled-up feelings have a tendency to explode inappropriately if they’re not tended to in a timely fashion. If ever there were a PSA for therapy, this episode was it.
In “Manhunter,” much of the focus is on another friendship entirely – that between J’onn J’onzz and Jeremiah Danvers. In those flashbacks, we think we lose Jeremiah after he protects J’onn from a murderous Hank Henshaw in the ultimate act of friendship. However, by the end of the episode, we learn that this friendship is still ongoing. Jeremiah is at Project Cadmus, and it is now J’onn’s turn to protect him.
With Kara, we go back to the theme that we first explored in “Falling,” how can we be honest with our friends without hurting them, or being vulnerable ourselves. Kara, at long last, tells Lucy that she’s Supergirl. At first, Lucy is furious that both Hank and Kara have been lying about who they are. Kara explains the fear behind the need to hide their true identities, and Lucy understands. Still, we’re left to think about the times that Kara (under the influence of Red Kryptonite and not), has encouraged J’onn to be open about who he is, and we’re left to ask the question: is it ever okay to lie to a friend? When trying to protect them, or protect yourself?
“Worlds Finest,” the Supergirl/Flash crossover – well, that was just a perfect little nugget of love, wasn’t it? There, we not only learn that some friendships can form really quickly, but that a helping hand from a friend can often come from unexpected places. In this case, another Earth entirely.
But it also expands the notion of friendship when the citizens of National City step in to protect Supergirl and ultimately defeat Livewire and Silver Banshee. The relationship in the background of all of these episodes since “Falling,” was the friendship between Supergirl and National City. She did the city wrong when on Red Kryptonite, but she apologized and did everything in her power to make it up to them. And National City not only forgave her, but was willing to stand behind her when it was important. Because that’s what friends do.
Ultimately, Supergirl teaches us that needing our friends doesn’t make us weak. In fact, one’s strength is proven over and over in their ability to make and keep relationships. Friendships require honesty, vulnerability, communication, and love. All of those things require courage and strength. So, in order to even have friends, you already have to be a strong person. Once those friends are made and kept, you’re stronger still, because everything you do is propelled further by their support.
As always, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below! Let’s talk CBS’ Supergirl! And check back on Thursday, April 21st for the last House of El of the season!
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