“Supergirl” delivered a heartbreaker of an episode on Monday night (Nov. 14). Perhaps it’s the real world’s current political unrest, but the emotion of watching Alex (Chyler Leigh) struggle with coming out — only to have her heart broken — had an extra intensity.
Alex doesn’t want to make her life harder than it already is, and she doesn’t have to deal with the possible negative repercussions if she never reveals herself as gay. Of course, when Alex finally tells her half-sister Kara, she receives nothing but unconditional love and support. And for a moment, we get the feeling that everything is going to be all right.
Supergirl, someone who has had to hide her true self for most of her life, understands why it’s easier to ignore such a glaring part of one’s identity. Revealing what makes you inherently different, even to loved ones, can be terrifying. And it’s an important theme that ran throughout the entire episode.
James is scared to reveal his new superhero self to Kara. Mon-El is scared to let go of his Daxamite upbringing, for embracing a new kind of life in National City could sever the only surviving link he has to his home planet, even if it’s just emotional. And then there’s Martian Manhunter, who is unknowingly changing for the worse because M’Gann (Sharon Leal) won’t reveal she’s actually a White Martian.
With all these characters refusing to show their true selves, it was a breath of fresh air to hear Kara encourage Alex her to “Go get the girl!” We wanted things to play out like a ’90s rom-com… And at first, it seemed like that was exactly what was going to happen. Alex boldly strides into the bar with confidence, and without words, pulls Maggie in for a kiss. It’s a beautiful moment…
But while Maggie is flattered, she politely declines a romantic relationship with Alex. She even uses the dreaded F-word: Let’s be friends. While shutting down Alex’s advances may make viewers hate Maggie, it’s important to understand things from her angle. Right now, Alex has a lot to figure out about herself. It’s a lot of pressure to be someone’s girlfriend, let alone their first girlfriend ever. Maggie has already been through that awkward learning stage — perhaps that is part of where her tough exterior comes from. And coming off a bad break-up, it’s understandable if she doesn’t have the energy right now to be the person who assists Alex through this coming out period. In fact, it’s probably best if it isn’t her.
However, it’s not the end of the road for these two. The Sanvers chemistry is undeniable, but the timing is horribly off — and if “Supergirl” has taught us anything, it’s to never lose hope: A message that only grows more important as situations become even more dire. Since Maggie is the only cop currently working the DEO, it’s safe to say that they will still be seeing a lot of each other in the near future, especially with National City so divided, embroiled in a hot mess of alien violence as it is right now.
Similar to how Kara put her relationship issues with James on the back burner, we expect Alex will do the same… For a while. Her sexuality is important, but far from the only defining quality of Alex Danvers. She’s also a fearless, kickass agent of the DEO, a loving sister, and a cool head under stress. And like all of us, she’s figuring out herself out.
While it sucks that Maggie didn’t jump into her arms with reciprocal feelings, one of the many qualities Alex has in common with sister Supergirl is that she doesn’t need a romantic relationship to establish her self-worth. And we have a feeling it’s exactly when she remembers that — and puts it into action — that her dreams may start to come true after all.
“Supergirl” airs on Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.