Flying around using superhuman abilities to save lives for years is bound to lead to some people that will really adore you and look up to you. Some of those folks will begin to go to a bit more extreme levels and base an entire religion around praying to you and worshiping you. Season three of Supergirl has been very up and down since it started, with last week’s Martian focused episode being the best, and this is one of those ups. Instead of focusing on the mopey Kara still missing Mon-El it tackles the subject of religion and faith that can be very touchy at times for a lot of people, but the way it’s done is very interesting and true. If there was someone like Supergirl, or most other heroes, in our real world you can definitely know that there would be some group that would build a religion to them.
Deeper than the religion is the fact that the series has now had two episodes in a row dealing with faith in different ways, a clearly emerging theme in the season. In “Far From the Tree” J’onn’s father M’yrnn used his faith to survive for hundreds of years in the clutches of the White Martians but at the same time it blinded him when his own son was standing before him because he could not let go. This week finds a group of people that have let their faith grow to such a level that they are obsessive and deranged to be able to be saved by Supergirl, putting others in danger just to test their faith and be saved by the city’s hero. Faith is neither good nor bad in the way it’s being portrayed in either episode. Even when one has the best of intentions sometimes their faith can blind them to the realities around them and cause them to perhaps take the wrong path.
After barely seeing him in the previous three episodes, this one seemed to finally find a way to use James in a meaningful way. With his Guardian thing seemingly not happening, the episode starting with crime being so low that he and Winn are able to tag along with Kara instead, it allows him to have time to speak with Kara in regards to this cult and faith issue she’s dealing with. Hearing his story about the first time that he was saved by Superman, gave perspective that while this cult & it’s leader Thomas Coville (Chad Lowe) have taken their faith way too far they are not completely off base. The things that Supergirl & Superman can do are far beyond mortal beings and it’s hard for those regular people not to feel like these super people are some higher being out to give them a second chance and answering their prayers.
The first two episodes had the really over the top villain of the week thing going on that worked but also really added little overall since Morgan Edge hasn’t even appeared since then (though he was name dropped in this episode). This episode though does a lot more to really build up villains/antagonists. Coville is not just some typical cackling antagonist, he’s a man that was saved and is really trying to cling to his faith but takes it way too far, which we all know happens quite a bit in the real world. His faith is so deep that he even put millions of lives in danger with the degrading Kryptonian probe power source to prove that Supergirl would answer their prayers and stop it all. Even when he finds out that the person he believes to be a god is breakable (thanks to Kryptonite) he doesn’t lose his faith in prison. Instead he actually makes a clear point about how Supergirl/Kara isn’t as free and clear as she once was in the first season, she’s still clouded by the doubts and issues caused by Mon-El’s departure.
At the same time the series has been slow building the transformation of Samantha (Odette Annabelle) into Reign, instead of just right away introducing her as some villain to oppose the hero as the Arrowverse shows tend to do. Tying her to Coville’s group by the fact that some shadowy group seems to have manipulated Coville for their own purposes and is behind trying to turn Samantha into Reign is a good idea. It makes not only Coville’s story matter more instead of just being some one-off foe for Supergirl to deal with but it also finally gives the season it’s driving force and purpose beyond Kara dealing with her issues. There has been a lot of telegraphing about things so far this season and one of them seems to be that Kara’s mom is going to be playing some bigger part in things. You don’t hire Erica Durance, former Lois Lane, just to have cameos in dreams and holograms.
The constant telegraphing and pushing that Alex and Maggie are going to break up is getting to be a bit tedious with every episode. It’s taking a sledgehammer to the viewer each time as it’s just so blatantly clear. That being said, watching Alex break down during the school recital moments at the end because she truly wants children, and Kara being there for her was a very powerful moment. About not sacrificing something you truly want just because it will allow you to have something else. It finally makes it clear to the characters what the viewers already knew, that she is going to have to break up with Maggie because there is no way that Maggie will change her mind on the children thing.
After dragging a bit to start off with the first two episodes, Supergirl has finally found it’s footing with the last two episodes. I applaud them for taking on a hefty topic like faith when they easily could have just focused on something more fun or light. Last week was closer to the carefree style series that people raved about in the past, while this week definitely was more on the serious side of things. Preview wise next week seems to be the same, so hopefully the series doesn’t forget it’s more carefree roots like Coville mentioned to Supergirl during the prison talk. Moving the background plot along is a bit help to righting the ship, and most likely will bubble over very soon. Most likely by the mid-season finale.
Score: 9 out of 10