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“Are we gonna be OK?” Alex (Chyler Leigh) asks Kara (Melissa Benoist) near the end of Season 3. And it’s a fair question to ask, even though they both have pizza. Because the finale two episodes of the show’s superb third run not only wraps everything up in a satisfying manner, but also opens up a whole swathe of unanswered questions with several major changes to the status quo.
Coville, who’s still alive, as we know, helps Selena and the Evil Kryptonians to begin the ritual to bring back Reign at the Fortress of Solitude – because, as we learned last episode, separating the Worldkiller from Sam wasn’t enough to vanquish her entirely. It’s the kind of twist that feels a lot like buying time, when the show could’ve ended with Episode 21, but Supergirl steps up its pacing once more with these final instalments that you don’t even notice the padding. Coville tells the Kryptonians that the blood of Pestilence and Purity (needed for the ritual) is at the DEO, and so we get our first big set piece in a string of big set pieces.
It’s a nifty punch-up, which cleverly does three things: firstly, it sees the use of Alura’s hologram crystal to trick one of the Kryptonians into punching open a portal so that Mon-El, Kara and Alura can get back to Earth and join the fight; secondly, it sees Winn invent a non-lethal omni-directional shield that clips onto people’s belts; and thirdly, it gives Alex the chance to kick butt with a Kryptonite gun and her two bad-ass feet. The first two are important for the plot, the latter is just for fun.
His purpose fulfilled, Reign’s first act once she returns is to kill Coville altogether (goodbye to a no longer necessary supporting character), and as Reign gets stronger, Lena’s analysis of Sam’s blood reveals that her friend is getting weaker. Fortunately, Alura knows of a magic fountain in Juru that can make Sam stronger – and so Kara and Sam heads there to find it, while Reign heads to the Earth’s core, as you do, to terraform Earth into Krypton and wipe humankind out for good.
The result takes us into the final episode, with one of those action sequences that Supergirl does best: one in which every single character teams up to save the day with a thousand little steps to stop one gigantic Earthquake. Alura and Kara working together to freeze a tidal wave is wonderfully satisfying, just as it’s cute to see Kara and Imra make up. There’s even a shout-out to Superman who’s on the other side of the world saving lives, plus a stylish shot of the gang assembled in triangle formation on the town hall steps for everyone to applaud. You go, team.
In the middle of all this, there are two crucial emotional beats that the show’s writers handle with maximum efficiency and minimum loss of impact. The first sees James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) take off his helmet as Guardian to reassure a woman that everything’s OK. The second sees M’yrnn and J’onn complete the process they start in Episode 22: The Reach. The transfer of memories from father to son is vital for the Martian philosophy, culture and heritage to continue on in future generations, and Carl Lumbly and David Harewood continue their impeccable work as reconciled dad and heir – Harewood’s face is full of passion and tragedy, as he knows that his father will soon be departing forever, while Lumbly’s expression is one of calm wisdom, after several episodes of panicked confusion.
There’s only time for one last memory transfer – the dawn of the Red Martians and the giving of the sacred scrolls – before M’yrnn performs a merge with the Earth (yes, you read that correctly) to stop the Evil Kryptonians from terraforming. How? Nobody really knows. But it’s all so moving that everyone just seems to agree to forget about it and move on.
Moving on turns out to be the key for the whole season’s climax, and all kinds of new avenues are opened up by the way things resolve. First off, Reign and the Evil Kryptonians attempt to get their wicked cauldron back up and running again, leading the DEO crew to storm the Fortress of Solitude in cape-wearing style. Sam, meanwhile, heads to the Magic Fountain of Juru, where she finds her mother (remember her from a few episodes ago?), who apologises for her false upbringing and points her towards the non-lethal fountain. (Pro tip: Keep that bit in mind for the next paragraph.)
Having drunk from the Magic Fountain, Sam powers up and heads to the cauldron, where she interrupts a punch-up between Kara and Reign to deliver a killer blow. It goes wrong, though, and Reign laser-visions everyone in the room as she melts into the fire – killing Sam, Alura and Mon-El, who jumps in front of J’onn to save his life. Kara, shocked, orders Winn to locate a disruption so she can travel back in time (the Legion have clearly set a bad example). Replaying the showdown, she stops Sam from landing that decisive blow, and instead uses the Harun-El rock to transport her, Sam and Reign to the Dark Valley. There, Sam can punch Reign to bits freely, and they force the Worldkiller to drink the lethal fountain (we did warn you). Bye bye, Reign. So long and thanks for all the dead fish.
That all happens impressively quickly, and Kara’s knack for finding a way to save the day without just killing Reign in cold blood (using that Krypto-flooding tool Lena devised) is satisfying enough to stop it feeling like an anti-climax. With the world saved, our characters are then left killing time until the end credits roll. Supergirl’s strength, though, lies in how well it’s learned to balance and develop its characters, turning Mon-El into a mature supporting friend, Winn into a boffin and natural team player, and James into a compassionate man who doesn’t need Guardian to be true to himself.
And so the finale treats us to some surprising, but rewarding character beats – and every one lands with a welcome emotional punch. Mon-El and Imra, after some time apart, realise that their marriage is better as friendship between teammates, which puts a nice end to that love triangle. Mon-El then tells Kara that, even though he loves her, he needs to do his duty and fight with the Legion – just as she decides not to go back to Argo and instead stay on her home planet of Earth. Two selfless acts from our two loveable leads? What a wonderful journey the pair have been on this season.
If it’s journeys you want, though, neither can trump the one that Winn’s about to go on. Brainy reveals to Mon-El and Winn that while the Legion managed to stop Blight happening, their timeline shenanigans has resulted in an evil relative of his staying alive – and he’s now wiping out everyone else, one by one. Brainy, therefore, must stay on Earth and not go back to the future to stay alive. And so he proposes something else: a job swap with Winn, so he can take his place as token nerd on the Legion spaceship. Winn, whose shield didn’t save the life of a colleague earlier this episode, is endearingly unsure about his talents, but Brainy reveals that his non-lethal weapon doodle he scribbled to explain the shield to said colleague went on to become the cornerstone of the future’s most groundbreaking technology, saving countless lives. It’s now a treasured artefact in the national library.
And so Winn decides to go to the future in Brainy’s place – leading to a heartfelt, moving farewell for one of the show’s funniest characters. It’s a surprising twist, but one that minimises the risk of what to do with Winn ever returning – and also opens up the way for Supergirl to follow in the comics’ footsteps and spark a bit of chemistry between Brainy and Kara. “You’ve never seen Star Wars? Not a single Star War?” cries Kara, during the opening battle sequence, after she drops a Han Solo quote and he doesn’t get it. We can already see a George Lucas marathon happening round her place next season.
It’s all change at home, too, with James revealing that after he took his mask off during that battle, he wants to do so permanently – and so he admits on the news that he is Guardian. It’ll be interesting to see what that will mean for him professionally in Season 4, but there are enough professional shake-ups going on elsewhere to keep us busy for now. With M’yrnn inspiring his son to live among humans and not hide away, J’onn decides to quite as DEO chief, putting on his hat (so you know he’s serious) and strolling down the street, cool as you like, blending into the crowd. What does that mean for the DEO? Enter Alex, whom J’onn promotes to his job, which solves her dilemma about adopting or arresting aliens for the rest of her life: step behind a desk instead of work in the field, and she can get the work/life balance she needs to commit to parenting.
Meanwhile, Lena gives Alura a case of Harun-El (plus the recipe to synthesise more) and bids a fond farewell to Kara’s mother. But has she kept some for herself? Of course she has, and she and Ms. Techsmacher (who is presumably being lined up to play a welcome bigger role next time around) are secretly testing the rock in her lab – could Lena go dark in the very near future? If not, Ms. Techsmacher certainly has the name for it.
And, to top it all off, we get a flashback to 48 hours earlier, when Kara time-travelled to save the day. Just as Brainy taught us that time travel has consequences, we see the unintended result of her disruption: a Kara doppelganger appearing out of nowhere in Siberia. It looks like Season 4 may be about to drop a Red Son adaptation on us – which, if true, is hugely promising news.
But promising is certainly the word of the day, as Supergirl drops no end of shock revelations and decisions on us in the course of its Season 3 finale. James’ identity is no longer secret. Alex is the new DEO Director. Lena is turning sinister. Winn has left (but will no doubt pop up as a guest star several times). Brainy has been upped to regular. And J’onn has apparently gone entirely.
It all spells a markedly different Season 4 for The CW’s most optimistic series, but with Season 3 seeing the writers master how to hone its ensemble for fresh thrills and moving character beats, we have full confidence in their plans to mix things up even more. That’s not least because at the heart of the show remains the sincere sisterhood between Alex and Kara. Are they gonna be OK? With those two still in the frame – and with pizza in hand – there’s no doubt about it.
Supergirl Season 3 is available on Sky 1 every Monday at 8pm. Don’t have Sky? You can stream it live or catch up on-demand through NOW TV, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription, no contract. A 14-day free trial is available for new subscribers.