REVIEW: Supergirl, S2E22 – Nevertheless, She Persisted

The title of tonight’s excellent finale could refer to quite a few of Supergirl‘s heroines, but none more so than Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) herself. While I have not been the biggest fan of the way the writers have chosen to explore her growth this season, “Nevertheless She Persisted” was a beautiful testament to the woman and hero she’s become.

The first three minutes are taken up by a very well-choreographed, if slightly drawn out, fight between the Girl of Steel and her cousin Superman (guest star Tyler Hoechlin), who has been recently affected by silver Kryptonite. The fight works on several levels, providing more insight into Clark as he battles against his greatest enemy (a very cool Zod cameo!) and showcasing Supergirl’s own prowess against a fighter who is meant to be her equal. Of course, it is Kara’s story and so she is the victor, but her victory does not come off as pandering or anything short of believable.

One battle won only leads to another, because now it is Kara’s duty to face off against Rhea (guest star Teri Hatcher) in a duel that will decide the fate of the Earth. Clark provides some solid advice, not to mention a sturdy training partner, and his fond mentions of Lois are almost as heart-warming as Kara’s own musings about being so close to having all she desires. Once again, the romance between her and Mon-El (Chris Wood) throughout this season of Supergirl hasn’t worked for me, but it serves its purpose in this particular episode. Especially when the perfect back-up plan to save the planet collides with Kara’s vision of her perfect.

Keeping tabs? James had one scene and no lines.

Lillian Luthor (guest star Brenda Strong) actually has a plan to save the day, so long as her daughter Lena (Katie McGrath) can tinker with one of Lex’s old devices enough to make Earth uninhabitable to Daxamites. It’s exactly what they need, but it means that Kara will have to say goodbye to her own Daxamite lover forever or risk his death. To her credit, Kara does not hesitate in following through with her duty. She of course intends to defeat Rhea in direct combat, but when that goes south because the Queen of Daxam plays by no rules but her own, Kara gives the signal and sets off the device even though it breaks her heart.

Lena is also afforded an opportunity to establish her loyalties once more, and she unflinchingly chooses Supergirl over her mother yet again. It’s not a Sophie’s Choice for her this episode, but putting the remote trigger in Supergirl’s hands instead of Lillian’s is a simple yet powerful way of laying down the law when it comes to her moral compass. Although Lillian still holds the power of Kara’s secret, and one wonders just when she might use it to best effect in order to implode Lena’s solid friendships with both Kara and the Kryptonian superhero. At this point, not telling Lena the truth is the only mistake Kara really makes – but it’s a pretty silly one given the potential consequences.

Secrets aside, Kara comes through for the entire planet. But she doesn’t do it alone, as Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) continues to hold down the fort and spread hope to the populace. The media mogul even helps to ensure the safety of onlookers by keeping them away from the location of Supergirl’s fateful battle with Rhea. And when the Daxamites start destroying National City instead of honoring their deal, yet another woman comes to save the day. M’gann (guest star Sharon Leal) comes to Earth with a small army of reformed White Martians after hearing J’onn’s (David Harewood) telepathic cry of distress. Her efforts are invaluable, and her reunion – and first kiss! – with J’onn is well worth the wait. She promises to stay for a while, so I’m expecting an upgrade to regular cast member soon. Please?

‘Til we meet again… midseason finale, probably.

Kara’s goodbye to Mon-El, as he escapes Earth on the same pod in which he arrived lest the atmospheric lead kill him, was surprisingly poignant. Benoist has grown immensely as an actress since Supergirl started, and both her strength and vulnerability were on display as she cried for her love while hoping for his safety. On a more cynical note, I hope this means the third season will focus more on the female characters the way the tail end of this season did… But since Mon-El appears to get sucked into the Phantom Zone in his space travels, I’m afraid some of it will be dedicated to getting him out.

Though Supergirl‘s second season was a little rocky, it’s safe to say it ended on a very strong note. Not only do most of the characters feel like they’ve gone on a satisfying journey, but the episode itself was filled with several surprises that caused shock and glee – including Cat knowing Kara’s secret identity. One of the biggest surprises of the night, especially given how little screen time they had, was Alex (Chyler Leigh) proposing to Maggie (Floriana Lima). We don’t hear her answer before the finale ends, which leaves me a little worried. As much as I love the relationship, they haven’t known each other long and it seems that Alex proposed precisely because the world had almost ended. Perhaps next season will explore whether or not they really are the be-all and end-all for one another?

Of course, a bigger question is: who was the villain introduced at the end of the episode? 35 years ago, the night Krypton died, yet another pod was launched in Earth’s direction. And apparently this one contained an entity who will rule when the time is right. Who do you think it is? Doomsday? Lar-On? Or someone else? Let us know who you think it is in the comments below!