Supergirl, S2E10 – We Can Be Heroes

Supergirl returned last week with Kevin Smith’s highly-publicized directorial effort, in which Mon-El (Chris Wood) and Kara (Melissa Benoist) go to another planet to rescue abducted humans. Emboldened by the success of that experience, “We Can Be Heroes” centers around Kara trying to mold Mon-El into her partner in crime-fighting. Kara quickly learns she has a less wanted partner in James (Mechad Brooks), who teams up once again with Winn (Jeremy Jordan) to prove that he has what it takes as Guardian. Both wannabe heroes end up almost competing with Supergirl herself to stop and later rescue archnemesis Livewire (guest star Brit Morgan). Meanwhile, J’onn (David Harewood) overcomes his hatred for White Martians to connect with M’gann (guest star Sharon Leal).


This week’s Supergirl reintroduces us to Livewire’s present circumstances: hashing out issues with her therapist and plotting fruitlessly against Kara while in jail. Those circumstances quickly change, however, when a prison breakout is staged and Livewire is allowed to escape. The DEO team soon realizes that this escape was planned by someone other than Livewire herself, and when Kara and Mon-El look for her it turns out that now both her fellow inmate and her prison guard have the same powers. The mechanics behind this plot – a mad scientist looking to create super soldiers by cloning Livewire’s powers – weren’t particularly compelling. But it served to bring back one of the first season’s most delightful antagonists and show off another side of her. Given the delightful yet wary camaraderie she develops with Kara by the end of the episode, a few more appearances could turn Livewire into Supergirl‘s Captain Cold.

James tries to admit he’s Guardian, but Kara beats him to the punch.

Kara spent the rest of the episode torn between Mon-El and James… but not because of romance. Her desire to turn Mon-El into a hero is admirable but short-sighted, as he proves time and again that he doesn’t yet have the heart for it. Still he is powerful and he wants to try, to please her and nothing else. On the other hand, she couldn’t be less supportive once she discovers James is the man underneath the Guardian mask. It’s understandable that she cares deeply for him and doesn’t want him to be hurt, but her reasoning is a little faulty given that she just went through the episodes of the Heroes Vs. Aliens crossover. She just met a large number of heroes such as Oliver Queen and Sara Lance who don’t rely on powers to save the day, yet that doesn’t seem to enter her mind where James is involved.

While both Mon-El and James end up looking a little self-serving when they go to rescue Livewire to “show up” Supergirl, their motivations for being heroes remain very different. James wants to help people and the structure of the show he’s in won’t let him do it as a journalist or media mogul, which is unfortunate considering the current political climate. But Mon-El admits this episode that he only wants to save people because it’s what Kara wants, and he proves it when he chooses to protect her rather than civilians. Yet Kara ends the episode agreeing to still work with Mon-El, even if she does not respond to his romantic advances, while still refusing to see James as a partner or equal. As much as I’m not a fan of the Guardian storyline to begin with, it seems that James has earned a little more respect than that from Kara.

Though it received the least amount of screen time, the most poignant aspect of the episode was J’onn’s struggle to help M’gann after she suffers some kind of psychic attack. As much as she personally may have helped him, or as innocent as she may have been in the massacre of his people, J’onn can’t let go of his hatred and anger. Thankfully a few wise words from Alex (Chyler Leigh) get him to open up and lead to a beautiful dream sequence that explores their telepathic connection. J’onn finds M’gann trapped in a prison of her own making, experiencing the terrifying events of the genocide on Mars all over again. While there, he learns the extent of her attempts to save his fellow Green Martians and forgives her for any part that she played. The final moments between them in the dream are among the most beautiful on Supergirl  this season, both in terms of the scenery and the performances. Of course, this also sets up a future White Martian story once M’gann wakes up and warns J’onn that others are coming to Earth looking for her.

Mon-El trying to be “the other Superman.”

“We Can Be Heroes” was an overall decent hour of Supergirl, but a few things feel off. While Chris Wood is a very strong comedic actor who brings a lot of warmth to the role of Mon-El, the romance with Kara still isn’t fully coming together. The biggest reason for this is that Kara’s feelings remain a mystery. When she confronts him about liking and kissing her, she still doesn’t reveal whether she wants him to or not. Even when he confesses at the end, she remains silent. This might work – or at least is an overused trope – in stories about whether the protagonist will get the girl, but in this case Kara is our protagonist. It doesn’t matter whether Mon-El gets her or not if Kara doesn’t want to be gotten. If this romance is to continue, hopefully the following weeks explore it from her perspective instead.