An encounter with synthetic Kryptonite brings out some interesting facets of Kara’s personality.
So, first off, this episode draws on Superman III, which I haven’t seen. So I’m probably missing stuff. I do know that the bar scene is a particular homage, but that is the extent of my knowledge (and IMDb’s information) about the matter.
Broadly speaking, my favorite thing about the episode is the way they balance the humor of the situation (Kara used Cat’s elevator!) with the much darker side of things. Kara is virtually all-powerful and is now running…er, flying around National City with no pesky morality to stop her from hurting people. Not good.
And hurt people she does. What’s ultimately satisfying about this episode is that Kara's sudden personality reversal has serious repercussions on her relationships and the series as a whole. All the work she’s done to help the people of National City is tainted and she’s lost the people’s trust. There’s no “oh well she wasn’t in her right mind let’s just forget about it” going on here. That surprised me actually. Even some of the people closest to Kara aren’t able to immediately forgive and forget. The show does a really good job of showing people handling Kara differently.
There’s Alex, who arguably suffered the most from the events of the episode. She forgives Kara and even acknowledges some truth in Kara’s hurtful statements, saying “We have to work on that.” Cat sympathizes with Supergirl but focuses on the practicalities of winning back public trust. James is unable to let go of the horrible things Kara said while under the influence and although he understands she wasn’t in control, he needs some space. J’onn sacrifices everything to save Kara and Alex. That moment always gets me. He sees one of his girls about to kill the other and he doesn’t even have to pause to think. He sacrifices his job, his life as Hank Henshaw, everything in a second. He doesn’t regret it, either. Is it any wonder why I love this character?
The other big casualty of the episode is Siobhan, or rather, her budding career. She decides to go behind Cat’s back and send the story about Supergirl letting an alien go to Perry White at the Daily Planet. Kara catches her and reports this to Cat getting Siobhan fired. One thing I can’t help but wonder about is how non-Red Kryptonited Kara would have handled this situation. Would she just have let Siobhan scoop Cat knowing how furious that would make Cat? Kara turned Siobhan in out of selfish reasons but ultimately it showed Cat loyalty. What else could Kara have done, really? Maybe talk to Siobhan about it? I don’t think that would work, somehow.
That neatly brings me to Kara’s actions and statements while under the influence. I love that she didn’t turn evil and start killing civilians randomly, that all of her actions, inactions, and snarky comments were based in her character. She resents having to work as hard as she does and feels grossly under appreciated, particularly at her day job resulting in her throwing Cat Grant off a building. She’s expected to live up to this impossible standard every second of every day and the pressure of that is getting to her. We all have these nasty little thoughts about our lives and loved ones. The Red Kryptonite robbed Kara of her filter and her ability to dismiss those thoughts as she (and most people) usually do.
The episode did a fantastic job of making sure we knew that even as Kara was doing terrible things she was the victim. That scene where she wakes up after being treated was heart-wrenching. Multiple gold acting stars for Melissa Benoist. The Red Kryptonite was really treated as a metaphor for mental illness. It was never framed as Kara being bad or intentionally cruel, and while they certainly acknowledged the danger of having her brain altered, the narrative didn’t blame her. Even James, who reacted most strongly to Kara post-Kryptonite understood she wasn’t herself and didn’t hold her responsible her for her actions.
Bits and Pieces
Kara showing up at some random school to defend a random girl being picked on was just so sweet and so Supergirl.
It really annoyed me the way everyone was staring at Kara as she walked into the office the first morning after the Red Kryptonite. She wasn’t dressed that differently! She was wearing a dress instead of a skirt and top. THAT WAS IT. It wasn’t like she showed up in head to toe leather.
Alex: “Rebound relationships…they can work.”
Kara: “Name one.”
Alex: “Kim and Kanye.”
Kara: “I’m embarrassed you even know that.”
Kara: “We’re in a good place when I do what I’m told. When I don’t, you come down on me. I’m tired of it.”
Winn: “You are literally impervious to bullets and I’m worried for your safety right now.”
four out of four synthetic Kryptonites
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