Mercy and Otis Graves arrive in National City, causing a spike in hate crimes against aliens. Elsewhere, Kara is riding high (literally) after the events of Supergirl Season 3, and Superman being off-world is just letting her get even more time to shine.
On Supergirl Season 4 Episode 1, “American Alien,” the drama over Kara Danvers vs. Kara Zor-El seems to be gone as she’s embraced both sides of her identity and is finding a nice stride as a lead reporter for CatCo and the only Kryptonian hero on Earth. Is it too good to be true? Meanwhile, a new reporter, referred by Cat Grant, is introduced as Kara’s mentee, and Alex continues leading the DEO.
Kara Danvers: Reporter and Superhero
It’s so refreshing to finally see some sort of balance between Kara’s two identities. Seasons 2 and 3 focused far too heavily on Kara’s superheroics, which didn’t leave much time for the “normalcy” of human life that really resonates with viewers.
The strongest part of Supergirl Season 1 was how Kara’s career informed the show and the messages sent from her human identity; the entire point of the opening season was that Kara is a hero whether she’s wearing her cape or not. Now that she’s a lead reporter at CatCo, perhaps it will allow for more stories to take place inside the confines of CatCo and her reporting job, instead of Kara visiting the DEO every five seconds for help with a new problem. While her partnership with the DEO is a crucial part of the story, Kara shouldn’t be working for them. She should be working with them. With Alex in charge, the potential for this dynamic to shift back is great.
The introduction of Nia Nal—TV’s first transgender superhero and Supergirl‘s new star reporter—is beyond exciting and will open up a wide variety of future stories if done right. Recommended by Cat Grant, Nia is sure to be a wonderful addition to CatCo and will allow the writers to spend more time on Kara mentoring Nia as a reporter before a superhero. I’d love to see a period where it’s just Kara and Nia bonding at work before anything heroic or alien happens with Nia; the writers usually rush into these stories and don’t do a decent job of properly exploring them (which makes no sense considering they have a 22-episode season).
With the theme of this season being fear, particularly fear directed at aliens, the writers aren’t going to waste any time bringing Nia’s experience as a transgender woman into the story as an emotional weight and tie to that fear. Nia is the character we’ve needed for quite some time, and let’s start begging the writers to give her proper moments on-screen now… just kidding, but let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past, Supergirl writers.
Alex and James: Taking the Reigns
Yes, I am aware that James took charge of CatCo long ago, but we haven’t seen much development or growth from him in the role. While I’m not a fan of his relationship with Lena, though this has nothing to do with hoping for a relationship between Kara and Lena, Supergirl Season 4 Episode 1 showed the duo to be relatively happy together. Lena’s decision will leave a ripple on James’ life, particularly now that he can’t strut around National City as Guardian anymore, and it seems to be what will drive the nail in the coffin for this couple. Fingers crossed.
Alex, meanwhile, has an entire government organization under her with J’onn’s departure now official. Director Danvers might be a badass, and can very well train every agent to walk through her doors, but I’d love to see Alex attempt to deal with the bureaucratic side of things. How does she handle reporting to high-ranking officials? As we saw, she got on with President Marsdin just fine, but it’s embarrassing to be late to your planned meeting with the President of the United States.
Also, couldn’t help but notice that Alex didn’t mention wanting to start a family in this episode. Does this mean the most annoying story from last season has been sidelined, at least for now? Alex can sure as hell have a child whenever she likes, but it’s not necessary to make it happen now when it’ll define her character for the rest of the show.
Lena’s Throne of Lies
After Lena’s final moments of the previous season, it seems like this is going to be the year of Lena’s life where she’s deceiving everyone around her. Her little project with Eve wasn’t mentioned as anything more than a passing comment to Lillian, but it’s certainly going to come up in the future when the other Kara rears her head in National City.
As for her exchange with the District Attorney, this just seems to be the start of a very bad streak for Lena. Deceiving Lillian is fine, she is a terrible mother after all, but she also betrayed James. He specifically asked her not to pull any strings, and while he would have gone to jail if she hadn’t, she has now taken away James’ ability to clean up his own mess. He’s not going to be happy with her when he finds out, even if he’s appreciative that she saved her.
The tension with Supergirl is still incredibly high, and Lena’s interaction with Kara kind of gave off this vibe as well. I’m betting this is the season Lena finds out about Kara’s double life, and they will have to work through this if they’re going to become friends again because as it stands, Kara can’t interact with Lena without at least telling her one lie. It’s awkward for Kara as Lena unknowingly hates her, so Kara is growing away from Lena unfortunately. The writers better see that this is a mistake; we don’t need a villainous Lena.
Where Does Supergirl Season 4 Stand?
Going into the new season, I’ve had to repeatedly tell myself to give the show a fresh start. Gone are Andrew Kreisberg and his puppet (Mon-El) and the series seems to be getting back to basics by focusing on Kara’s job as well. The mentor/mentee relationship with Kara and Nia should, ideally, mirror the relationship between Cat and Kara throughout Season 1. With Alex, Lena, Nia, and two Karas, there are many women on the show to bring back the feminism of the show that has been missing for the last two years.
Who knows, maybe this season will restore our love for Supergirl. It’s on the right path, I believe.
Supergirl airs Sundays at 8/7c on The CW!