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Supergirl: Both Sides Now

Alex: “We can try it your way. And when your way fails, we can try it mine.”

The DEO captures a Worldkiller, Purity, who eventually escapes. And we deal with our dueling natures.

I enjoyed a lot about this episode and I liked where it went, and I appreciated where it did not go. First, we didn’t spend a lot of time looking for Purity; Supergirl knew who she was. And then, the scene picking her up was fun. The DEO arrives in an unassuming neighborhood with overwhelming numbers, Supergirl kicks in the door (shouldn’t she have tried the knob first?) and then, instead of discovering someone dangerous, Purity – or Julia – is not behaving in a threatening manner. The young woman is kneeling on the floor, singing as she listens to music with her headset on. Not only was the moment of supreme anticlimax funny, but it was touching. Julia is terrified at the sight of all the uniformed agents with guns, but the sight of Supergirl reassures her.

Purity takes over Julia but the DEO (mostly Supergirl) overwhelms her. They get Purity to a holding cell at the DEO. I must think that for anyone in a cell, the idea that anyone outside of the cell “is trying to help” must seem a bit hollow. Still, how can you not feel that Supergirl is trying to help?

And this is where we see the heart of the episode. Alex is angry, demanding answers, while Supergirl tries to appeal to Julia, the woman who risked her own life to save the life of her best friend when a car nearly hit them both. Alex has some great lines and I think she’s right much of the time, but she’s not right all of the time. Predictably, Purity finds her powers and escapes and goes to wreak havoc in a subway (another great moment is when Alex is getting people out of danger). Purity has the power to kill Supergirl, but does not because Alex appeals to the Julia in that dual entity and Julia is able to fight back long enough. In fact, when Reign appears, Julia is still paramount and willing to sacrifice herself to save others.

There’s a nice scene between J’onn and Mon-El as they discuss marriage. At first it felt oddly positioned, coming right after Purity’s escape. But the guys didn’t know what happened, and getting the back story about how Mon-El and Imra ended up marrying in the first place was very helpful.

We also see Ruby at the ice skating rink, abandoned by her mother, and being picked up by Lena. I’m including a photo of Lena trying to help Sam instead of one of Supergirl for this episode, because that was a moment I totally admired: Lena trying to help a friend, even though she doesn’t know what is going on. We get to experience great friendships in Supergirl, friendships instead of romances, and I like that so much.

Title musings: “Both Sides Now” is a great title. We see both sides of both Purity/Julia and Reign/Sam. We see Kara and Alex taking on the roles of good cop/bad cop. We have Alex describing how she does not know what to do with the Maggie’s phone number: delete it or call it? And of course “Both Sides Now” is the title of a fabulous song by Joni Mitchell, first sung by Judy Collins in 1967.

Bits and pieces

The green piece of plastic – a weapon? – held by Winn is so dorky that I love it.

They finally told us the make of J’onn’s car. I’m terrible at cars
(and rarely care about them), but his is so cool! Anyway, in case you missed it, it’s a Chevrolet Bel Air.

The music when Purity broke out of her cell was excellent. It reminded me a little of some of the background music of West Side Story.

Liked how Lena picked up Ruby when Sam went AWOL and that Ruby finally tells someone. But I think Lena needs to make Sam take more leave until Sam stops having blackouts.

Lena’s lipstick is such a bright red. Katie McGrath certainly can’t sneak sips out of anyone else’s water bottle without being caught!


Supergirl: You don’t know why we’re here, do you?

Purity: Oh, ladies. How will you ever make up your minds about me?

Sam to Ruby: You get precisely one ‘hell, yes.’ I hope you enjoyed that.

Purity. I am the scalding light. I am the flood that sweeps away sins. I am the word and cry of justice.
Alex: Yeah, would you mind just condensing that a little bit?

Purity: You think I care about humans just because you do?

Alex: No matter how much evidence piles up saying you are wrong, you always hope.

Alex: Not all of us are bulletproof, Kara.

Mon-El: There was nothing logical about falling in love with Kara.

Winn: Now go, do superheroic stuff.

Overall Rating

Sometimes when I start writing a review I don’t know what my rating will be. I only discover that rating as I write. As I watched the episode I thought it was entertaining but not great. And yet, as I contemplate it, and I realize how it has moved me, how it has inspired me to do better and to appeal to the better sides of people – not naively, because I recognize it won't always work – I must give "Both Sides Now" four out of four Chevrolet Bel-Airs.

Victoria Grossack loves birds, math, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.


  1. I agree with the 4 Chevrolet Bel Airs. It was all about friendship and being a better person!

  2. They have built Lena up so wonderfully...Its going to destroy hearts and minds everywhere when she inevitably goes dark side and then Evil.
    That scene where Sam switches to Reign for a moment at the end ''SILENCE'' was awesome. Odette is amazing and anyone who saw her character on Banshee knew she would bring it.

  3. Really liked how you described the scene with Julia first encountering Supergirl in her house. I thought there tinges of the #BlackLivesMatter movement in Julia's response where she pleads with Supergirl to not let them (police) hurt her. I also thought there was a connection when she first used her power at that point to giving "voice" to the black community.

    I also think Lena knows Sam is Reign by the last scene of the episode. She saw a blackout in action, saw her personality change, and saw her eyes go red and then tells Sam she knows what's wrong with her. Not a lot of room for doubt.

    Lastly, I too love the friendships that are being developed and shown weekly over typical romance storylines.
    Thanks again for the review!

  4. Deborah, thanks for making the connection to BLM. I think it would be terrifying for anyone to open their eyes to see a cadre of armed personnel with their weapons pointed at you, but it must be far worse if you're black.

  5. I would have liked it a lot more if the fights were not so contrived. J'onn spends the entire climax holding a pillar but at the end when Reign escapes with Purity he just puts it in place and walks away. LOL is just what I can say.

    Lena is smart she must have figured it out, but I bet she won't mention it to anyone and will try to solve it herself.


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