The Arrowverse – Supergirl 3×19 “The Fanatical” review

Supergirl 3x19

All season long Supergirl has been building things, even in episodes that felt like they were not part of the bigger narrative. Unlike a couple of the other DC CW shows, this series has been able to call back to everything that they have done this season when necessary and build it into the ongoing story naturally. While they seemed forgotten, Coville’s Supergirl worshipping cult returns after they were disillusioned earlier this season (and after Coville turned to Reign’s side and contacted his cult to do so as well) with the means to create a World Killer of their own. A means that could also be the key to curing Sam of being Reign.

Around all the cult, World Killer and action stuff was the true center of this episode: identity. Everyone from Kara to James to cult leader Olivia to Ruby and M’yrnn struggles to deal with who they are and who they are supposed to be now that they have learned or lost something. Supergirl was not afraid to go deep into things this week, especially when it comes to James and his dealing with the possibility of losing his secret identity. Watching the cops turn on Guardian once they saw he was black instead of pursuing the actual antagonists who were the white cult members, was just way too real in our current reality. Same with the story James told about the first time he was put in cuffs at seven years old just for being black and deemed to be in the wrong place. The episode didn’t reach Black Lightening levels of dealing with black issues in America, but it tackled it in a very real and important way of its own.

Even with all the capes and super-powered folks and aliens attacking from space, it is honestly great that these shows (even though they are packaged as dramas to be on a teen-focused network) don’t shy away from the reality of the world. They could have easily glossed over James being a black vigilante and how the world would react to that, but they didn’t. They took the tougher and true route of showing what that might do and how the character would deal with that. Knowing that if his identity was revealed, more than if Kara’s was, it would ruin his life in so many ways. Despite the heroic things that the city knew that Guardian had done, as James pointed out they didn’t know that it was a black man that was doing those heroic things. While many would be fine with that, many others would not. Keeping things real and honest makes these shows even better when they handle it correctly.

Over the weeks many of the character things dealt with the love triangle of Imra, Mon-El, and Kara but thankfully this week (now that Imra and Brainiac 5 are gone) it wasn’t an issue. Instead the actual issues the characters were going through got room to breathe. Alex and J’onn both tried to force Ruby and M’yrnn respectively to come out of their shells from the issues they are dealing with (mother that is Reign that tried to kill you and a deteriorating mind), but instead learned the lesson that characters need to learn and honestly, more real life people need to learn: let people have some space to deal with things on their own terms. Once they left the two alone, they were able to bond over a Foosball and playing a game of FoosBall and letting Ruby learn about Mars.

Supergirl 3x19 Team and Reign

Can’t forget also the trouble Kara has trying to figure out what to do about the revelation Lena made to her about not trusting Supergirl. While Kara’s reasons for not telling Lena she is Supergirl both before and now are sound, Lena was very much right to let her know that there was no need to worry about ruining a Supergirl/Lena friendship because it never existed and cant’ exist because Lena’s actual friends (since she doesn’t know that Kara is lying to her cause Supergirl of course) know better than to manipulate her with her past. Clearly, this is not an issue that will go away anytime soon.

Mon-El is a character that has had major ups and downs since introduced on the series. Season two was a rough one where people either hated or like him, his actions were not the greatest. This season he’s done great things but that whole love-triangle thing has bogged things down and made him (and Kara and Imra too in their own ways) a bit frustrating. That wasn’t the case this week. That Mon-El undercover thing in the van alone was a highlight this week, as it was fun and light in a tense moment. Along with the later discussion with J’onn about Kara and how he could not tell her about why he’s still here showed how he’s matured as a hero as J’onn points out. Spending seven years in the future definitely has done him some good.

While it’s clearly a deus ex machina type thing, this stone that can possibly help turn Reign back is interesting. It is a bit eye-rolling that after they lose the stone on Earth (destroyed trying to help turn Olivia back after she went all World Killer wannabe on the group) there just happens to be some in an asteroid not that far from Earth that they can go get. No doubt it won’t be easy to obtain next week, but it just works out in the character’s favor. Thing is, despite it being such a forced cliche thing, it doesn’t take away from the great things of the episode. That’s what happens when you build strong characters and a strong episode, the cliche things that have to happen for a superhero show or a drama show are more palatable. When the cliche things become the center of everything and dominate, that’s when you have an issue.

Final Thoughts

Being able to build up a great set of characters is the key for any ongoing series, and when the action of the show takes a secondary nature to the character development is when you hit a great spot. This week hits that spot well as it moves the story forward but also deals with a lot of recent plotlines and develops the characters in them. So far everything from this season has come back to matter in some way, and that is great. There are only a few weeks left and it looks like the heroes are back on a ticking clock to find a way to stop Reign for good.

Score: 8 out of 10

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