Supergirl, Season 2, Episode 22, “Nevertheless, She Persisted”
For its second season finale, Supergirl pulls no punches and goes all-in on the action, without minimizing the emotional punch it’s spent so much of the year carefully crafting. While this episode was far from flawless (every character from this season shows up except Dean Cain?), the end result was more than satisfying.
When we last left Kara, she was having to face down her cousin, Superman, because it looked like he was under some kind of mind control. It turns out that Queen Rhea (and by extension, the Supergirl writers) reached into the Silver Age of Comics bag of tricks to pull out silver Kryptonite, which makes Superman think Kara is his old nemesis, Zod.
The battle bounced around National City before it concluded in a fountain, backlit by fireballs from an exploding car. It was one of the better action sequences on network TV this year and given the series’ budget constraints, a fairly major achievement.
Kara comes to in the Fortress of Solitude with Superman and Alex in tow. Thankfully, the effects of the silver Kryptonite were temporary, and the trio gets to work on a plan to put an end to Daxamite invasion – to the library!
Sure research isn’t sexy, but in this case, it is effective. They learn that Daxam has a “two beings enter, one being leaves” trial by combat among its traditions. So, as champion of Earth, Kara issues the challenge.
As a backup, we have to remember the weapon that Lilian Luthor tried to set off earlier in the season. Lena Luthor uses bad fake science to adapt the weapon into a bomb that would throw microscopic levels of lead in the atmosphere, making the air toxic to Daxamites (including Mon-El), but still “safe” for humans.
We get an epic rooftop battle between Kara and Rhea. The evil queen lives up to her reputation ,and breaks the truce triggered by the combat challenge. M’Gann and a bunch of good White Martians hit the scene to help beat back the invasion with Superman and an awakened Martian Manhunter.
Ultimately, with the invading force getting the upper hand, Kara has to make the drastic choice of setting off the bomb to save Earth, but it means that her love must leave the planet forever.
So Kara’s victory is short, as she leads Mon-El to her own escape pod and to an uncertain future in space. Superman tries to cheer Kara up by saying how physically and emotionally strong she is, because he wasn’t sure that he could make the choice between Earth and his beloved Lois.
Kara’s funk doesn’t last too long. Thanks to a patented Cat Grant pep talk, Kara throws herself back into her work saving National City from dangers of all kinds.
Overall this was a thrilling way to end this second season that was so much different than the first. As the title of the episode implies, Supergirl found a political voice this season, and the show championed causes like tolerance and feminism through a number of avenues. This voice also opened up a world of storytelling possibilities for this season and beyond.