Supergirl: Season 3 — a review

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It’s no big secret that Supergirl is one of my two favorite DC superhero shows on the CW. The other is The Flash, of course.

The two series share some common traits. Their titular heroes are, by and large, positive-minded and classically heroic, in the comic book sense of the word “hero.” And they are likeable in a way that Oliver Queen never can be (Ollie is semi-likeable, at best).

My praise of these two series is not meant to insult the other Berlanti-fueled shows. I did enjoy the first season of Black Lightning and will be watching it next season. I stopped watching DC’s Legends of Tomorrow because I was juggling too many series this year and it was my least-favorite of the Berlanti crop. However, I keep reading many good things about the season I just skipped and will watch it, sooner or later. It seems like I must.

Season 3 of Supergirl did not change my opinion about the show, although it did take a turn toward the dark side a bit. Not as severely as The Flash did during its third season, since Kara never goes quite as dark as Barry did during the Savitar storyline, but still pretty dark for the usually sunny Kara Zor-El.

During the beginning of the season, Kara is definitely acting out-of-character after the departure of Mon-El. She throws herself into being Supergirl without attending to Kara’s needs. James Olsen is now running CatCo, at least until Lena Luthor buys out Cat Grant (who I miss a lot more than I thought I would). It seems like Morgan Edge, a rich industrialist who is anti-alien in the classic Lex Luthor mold, is going to be the season’s Big Bad, at least in the early episodes. He’s portrayed by Adrian Pasdar, who seems to be cropping up in every comic book property on television, and he is great at playing unlikeable characters. Alex Danvers and her girlfriend Maggie seem headed for the altar, until, suddenly, their relationship unravels. Alex wants to be a mom; Maggie doesn’t see kids in her future. Seems to be an impasse.

Lots of cool stuff going on, but it’s a slow burn. The real story of this season doesn’t take off until after Mon-El returns after being in the future for a while (at least 7 years, I think). Those of us who are OG comic book nerds know about Mon-El’s role in the Legion of Superheroes, and, wouldn’t you know it, that’s how he’s been spending his time in the future. This version of Mon-El seems more mature, and he’s accompanied by fellow Legion members Brainiac 5 and Imra. Sadly, for the Kara/Mon-El shippers out there, Imra is Mon-El’s wife, and she seems perfectly lovely.

We learn about a cult of Kryptonian worshippers, led by Chad Lowe’s Thomas Coville, which becomes important to the biggest storyline of the season. We are introduced to new character Samantha “Sam” Arias—and her daughter Ruby—early in the season. She begins working for Lena Luthor, and then becomes friends with Kara as well. Of course, it turns out, she is also a Kryptonian “Worldkiller” known as Reign. As such, she becomes the Big Bad of the season.

Oh, there are other things going on as well, which may be good news to you if you’re cursed with a short attention span the way I am. J’onn is reunited with his father M’yrnn during a trip to Mars. The Martian Manhunter brings his father back to Earth with him, and there is an entire story arc dedicated to them that ultimately pays off in the finale.

Also, Kara discovers that Krypton’s Argo City survives out there in space, and that her mother is still alive there. Her mother is now played by Erica Durance, who used to be Lois Lane on Smallville. You gotta love the symmetry here.

James Olsen continues to do his thing as Guardian throughout the season, and then reveals his secret identity to the world during the finale. Will this have repercussions? You betcha.

As the season ends, the viewer is prepped for changes coming in Season 4. Mon-El leaves again for the future, even though it seemed he had made up his mind that Kara was his One True Love (sorry, Imra). J’onn steps down as the head of the DEO to follow in his father’s footsteps and hands the position over to Alex Danvers (we’re just going to accept that this is how promotions work in this world). I’m hoping this doesn’t mean we’re losing the Martian Manhunter as a regular series character. This change for Alex seems to be designed to allow her the freedom to start her own family. I was certain she would be adopting Ruby Arias, but—good spoiler—it looks like Sam Arias will live on after all.

The worst of the changes, in my opinion, is that Winn Schott will not be a series regular next season. Actor Jeremy Jordan has opted for a reduced role as his character is going to the future with Mon-El. Brainiac 5 is being left in his place, but that’s not an even swap. I know that Winn didn’t have much of a character arc this season, but he’s an invaluable man-in-the-chair character (much like Cisco Ramon and Felicity Smoak in that regard).

Also, in the finale, we’re teased with a doppelgänger Supergirl suddenly appearing in Siberia, somehow as a result of the epic battle with Reign. Two Supergirls in Season 4. What are the odds that this new one is evil?

While Season 4 of Supergirl was certainly event-filled and busy at times, its payoff was ultimately satisfying. With its ever-expanding cast of characters, the potential plotlines also continue to multiply. What’s going to happen with J’onn? Will Alex become a mom? Will Kara’s mom hang around for a while? How will James Olsen’s secret identity reveal affect his life, and especially his relationship with Lena Luthor? Will Kara find a new love to replace Mon-El?

I’m interested in finding out. This was a good season of television, and I’m looking forward to more.

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