“Supergirl” Episode Review – S03E23 “Battles Lost and Won”

Superman Homepage writer Christopher Hart reviews episodes from the “Supergirl” TV series, airing on The CW.

Check out his review of the Season 3 finale in which Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and team take on Serena in an epic battle for Earth.

Battles Lost and WonOriginally Aired: June 18, 2018
WRITTEN BY: Robert L. Rovner and Jessica Queller
DIRECTED BY: Jesse Warn

REGULAR CAST:
Melissa Benoist (Kara Danvers/Supergirl)
Chyler Leigh (Alex Danvers)
Jeremy Jordan (Winslow “Winn” Schott)
Mehcad Brooks (James Olsen/Guardian)
David Harewood (J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter)

RECURRING CAST:
Odette Annable (Samantha Arias/Reign)
Chris Wood (Mon-El)
Katie McGrath (Lena Luthor)
Amy Jackson (Imra Ardeen)
Anjali Jay (Selena)
Chad Lowe (Thomas Coville)

3Rating – 3 (out of 5): “No. I don’t kill. Not even her.” – Supergirl

Season 3 has been full of memorable highs and miserable lows, and while this finale certainly wasn’t an example of Season 3’s best efforts, two or three intriguing moments helped elevate it above the show’s recent drudgery.

Like I hypothesized last week, Samantha proved crucial to taking down Reign (the first time around). She used her new-found abilities to gun for Reign (with surprising courage – best seen in Ruby’s admiring eyes), stabbing her from behind, which allowed Kara to take her out.

As she died, Reign’s laser blasts hit anyone and everyone. This caught me off guard for a moment – it made me wonder whether this might be the end of a few of our characters; an easy way to remove a few cast members who perhaps might no longer want to be part of the show.

But no one died – thankfully (and this is important, as it would have meant Kara went back in time for an entirely different reason – but her reason was and should always be to correct her misjudgment about killing). Had the writers left the Reign conclusion like that, I’d have come away thinking this a serviceable but predictable finale.

Luckily, they introduced a temporal twist. Time travel is always a highly exciting writing tool. Partner-show The Flash uses it all the time. But I don’t think anyone expected Kara to pull it out of the bag here, despite it having been laced throughout this season – the Legion used it to arrive in our time and they’ve often talked about changes to the timeline. It never struck me as something Kara might take advantage of herself.

Yet she did. And it’s really nice to retrospectively notice that sly foreshadowing – it shows the writers don’t only think ahead with boring characters like Coville (whose ultimate point seemed to be to send the distress beacon here); they’ve been playing with bigger toys all along.

Realizing she betrayed what she stands for (by killing Reign), Kara utilizes time travel to go back (in a 1978 Superman-esque way, but minus the globe spins) to the point of Reign holding her. You could argue that there should be two Karas at this point (the original Kara and our Kara who went back in time), especially when you think of the time travel rules used in The Flash, but never mind and we’ll get to doppelgängers in a minute.

On the do-over she uses the Harun-El to trap Reign, instead of killing her. It’s a nice reversal that stops fans getting mad at a murderous Supergirl, allowed for some nifty time travel and put even more power in Kara’s hands than usual (it would be interesting to see what she’d change if she had time travel at her disposal without limits). As Barry Allen’s often found though, fooling around with time often comes at a price.

We had some drastic changes of direction for a few of our characters – J’onn left the DEO, Alex tried to resign but ended up becoming Director of the DEO instead, and Winn left to join the Legion in the future (I guess he really is “that smart”).

To me, that seemed like a few perfect situations in which to leave these characters, if this had been the end of the show. It won’t be – we’re getting a Season 4 – but that doesn’t mean some of these characters didn’t bow out here (or revert to minor, occasional roles, like Floriana Lima did, for a while).

The closing moments of the season revealed that the Harun-El also gave birth to something else. We watched as a naked, cloaked Kara (an image familiar to comic book fans) found herself on the Siberian border. But this isn’t our Kara, which means it’s a doppelgänger.

We had a Supergirl doppelgänger in the show not long ago – Overgirl – but I don’t think this is her. My first thought was that we’re likely going to see one interpretation of the many doppelgänger arcs in the comics, but Rovner and Queller (this week’s writers) have already openly cleared up their intentions with this cliffhanger.

They told TVLine that the story they want to tell in Season 4 is inspired by the Superman: Red Son comic book story. These comics are an alternate origin story for Kal, which had him crash land in Russia, instead of America, and become a hero there instead. Rovner and Queller say what they’re planning will be an homage to that. It’s more of a Superman comic book pull than a Supergirl one, but it’s an exciting idea – and one that makes Season 4 sound a little different and daring, which is what we need at this point.

The location choice is also very similar to that of Wonder Woman #84, which will be set in the Cold War and will probably see Diana go to Russia. The DC TV universe is separate from the DCEU, undoubtedly, but when the stars align like this, I get more than a little suspect that such parallels are intentional. Both Kara and Diana are heading into a cold, very Russian 2019 (albeit in two completely different time periods) and I’m excited to see what both bring.

I don’t think it’s an accident that Mon-El referenced Greek mythology either, when talking about Kara (“The greek gods have nothing on you”). In Greek mythology, Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection (read: doppelgänger). We’ve seen Kara at odds with her double already, in the form of Overgirl, but we haven’t seen Kara working amicably with a doppelgänger.

When Kara walks up to the Siberian guards her look is far from evil – it’s merely poised and curious. And Superman in Red Son is a hero. So I’m wondering if, maybe, we might see a twist on the ‘evil doppelgänger’ trope in Season 4 – with doubles aligning and working together, using their likeness to their advantage.

Check out the “Supergirl – Episode Reviews” Contents page.

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