Supergirl Season 3 Episode 13 Review: “Both Sides Now”

Supergirl Season 3 Episode 13

Supergirl is almost always at its best when it focuses on the Danvers sisters, and fortunately, “Both Side Now” puts Kara and Alex in the forefront, examining how the two women take both similar and different approaches to handling heartache and combating evil. As Alex points out during a harsh conversation with Kara near the midway point of tonight’s episode, Supergirl’s desire to believe the best in people and connect to them on a more human, emotional level is not practical most of the time; in fact, Alex even insinuates that Kara is only able to keep this mindset because she’s bullet-proof. For Alex, the quickest, most efficient, and most effective way of dealing with enemies is to be cynical and pragmatic. In her mind, there’s no sense in looking for humanity in beings whose sole mission is to cause harm; it’s hopeless to try and help them–you can only defeat them.

I don’t fully buy into Alex’s strategy here. Just a few short weeks ago, she saw how important it was for Kara to embrace her humanity in order to defeat Reign; would she be so quick to second-guess her sister’s belief in the power of hope and love again? I doubt it. However, her stance here wonderfully reflects Kara’s emotional state from the beginning of Season 3 and provides the Danvers sisters with a clearer connection than they’ve had all season long: they’re two people trying to move on from heartbreak, and they need to believe again that they deserve and will find happiness.

Furthermore, the very visible parallels between Kara’s journey with Mon-El and Alex’s with Maggie solidify the bond between the sisters and tell a story that’s deeper than simply getting over an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. Kara and Alex’s responses to loss are all about losing faith in themselves, in the people they know they should be and are; they struggle with compromising themselves when times are difficult and another path might look easier. Ultimately, the two of them being there to support each other is about reaffirming that what’s most important in their battle against evil is to never lose sight of what they’re fighting for, what they’re protecting, and that’s humanity. And by humanity, I don’t mean simply the physical, living, breathing people that inhabit National City; I mean what they represent: hope, friendship, family, and love. The fact that Kara and Alex can recognize and relate to the pain that the other has experienced enriches the words they exchange at the end of the episode. The two of them acknowledging and empathizing with each other’s bouts with loss, fear, and hopelessness make moments like Kara telling Alex that she deserves “all the things” in life and Alex expressing how glad she is that Kara is the person that she is more authentic and powerful.

And it’s moments like that or when Alex follows Kara’s lead and reaches out to Julia instead of trying to take down Purity that help lead Kara to come to the conclusion she makes at the end of “Both Sides Now.” She realizes that maybe she and Alex and the rest of the DEO aren’t supposed to beat the world killers but save them instead. Unlike enemies Kara has faced off against in the past, such as Mon-El’s mother, there might be a way to reawaken the human souls inside these new godly beings, a way to reignite the hope, joy, and love these women knew and experienced before their bodies were co-opted as mindless mercenaries. Kara may have to look inside herself and utilize what has always been Supergirl’s greatest super power, the same power I’ve mentioned many times before: her humanity. Kara’s faith and trust in others could be the secret weapon that not only saves the world killers but saves the world.

Other thoughts:

  • All credit in the world to Odette Annable and Emma Tremblay, who have brought such a genuine warmth and sweet sadness to their performances as Sam and Ruby. Each week, my heart breaks for this mother and daughter, as Sam becomes more and more lost in her Reign identity.
  • Also, now I’m left wondering what Lena is going to do to try to fix Sam. In the final scene of the episode, Lena tells Sam that she knows what’s wrong and that she’ll help her get better, but I honestly have no idea how she’ll attempt to do that and that both excites and scares me.
  • I will never tire of Winn nerding out over alien technology. His reaction to J’onn’s ship in this episode is priceless, and he ends up being extremely helpful when it comes to assisting Imra with the Legion’s ship.
  • Speaking of Imra, Mon-El is finally honest with her about his feelings for Kara after a conversation he has with J’onn. The two men bond over their respective marriages (J’onn’s lasted 77 years, by the way) and the importance of honesty in relationships. It’s a small scene but it’s one of my favorites from this week’s Supergirl because of both the information it provides (Mon-El explains how he and Imra only got married at first to unite the planets in the future) and the smart character insights it offers (J’onn’s points about Mon-El keeping secrets are dead-on).
  • But Mon-El’s secrets apparently aren’t as big as the ones Imra’s been hiding. We’ll have to wait to find out, but she hasn’t been fully transparent with her husband about why the Legion ended up in this time and what their actual mission is.
  • Supergirl will be on hiatus for nine weeks as Legends of Tomorrow takes over its time slot starting next Monday. Season 3 resumes on Monday, April 16. See all of you back here then!

What did everyone else think about this week’s episode of Supergirl? Do you think it was a strong way for the show to head out on hiatus, or did you want something more? Comment below and let me know.

[Photo credit: Katie Yu/The CW]

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