Supergirl, Season 2, Episode 6 “Changing”
As a demonstration of how far Supergirl has come as a series, the show trotted out an all-time classic villain out of the Superman rogues gallery, and it’s barely worth mentioning.
In spite of its cotton candy nature, Supergirl took the time to address a very real, modern issue in a way no CW superhero show has done before. If this were the 80s or 90s this would have been promoted as a “very special episode” of Supergirl. Instead the series told a tale of sisterhood and personal growth with a lot of heart and honest emotion.
The continuing saga of Alex’s struggles with her identity came to a head in this this week as she was lifted up and ultimately sent crashing to Earth by her crush, Maggie. For an episode that prominently featured a giant purple glowing CGI creature with six mouths, it got very real when dealing with the agony Alex goes through to come out to her sister.
Maggie is the one who encouraged Alex to take that step, seemingly for Alex in her own evolution as a person, and also hinting that it’s an important box to check in order to date Maggie.
So, on a walk along the riverfront (notice people wear jackets more this season in National City?), Alex tells Kara she has romantic feelings for Maggie, and that she’s had feelings for other women along the way. Kara is a little slow to process all this information, but is ultimately supportive of her sister.
The sisters have another heart-to-heart after Kara has her first run-in with Parasite, the aforementioned purple villain out of the pages of Superman. There, Kara realizes that growing up, during their sisterly gab sessions she had a tendency to suck the air out of the room — being the tween from outer space — leaving little room for Alex to discuss her own feelings and secrets.
Alex is emboldened and expresses herself by giving Maggie a big kiss the next time they meet up. That is when Maggie crushes Alex by dropping a “I don’t date rookies” standard she never mentioned before. This reaction is consistent because the show has made it clear that Alex’s awakening has more to do with a specific attraction to Maggie than an overall attraction to women. Maggie’s response rips out Alex’s heart and sends her into a spiral.
The spiral doesn’t last long because Kara is there to save the day and lift up her sister. Chyler Leigh and Melissa Benoist did a stellar job of handling a delicate real-life situation in a realistic way that might help Supergirl viewers who are having similar struggles.
There were other happenings around the main part of this episode (like, to execute a cool wall flip, you have to tuck your cape into your underwear; who knew?), but in reality the new Winn-James pairing, Megann’s dark secret is revealed to save Hank’s life. And, though Mon-El falling into the hands of Cadmus will be important moving forward; it was surely secondary in the overall arc of Alex’s story.