TV reviews

Supergirl 3×02 – ‘Triggers’ – Review

The second episode of the latest season of Supergirl continues a lot of the themes from the first episode, continuing to explore the effect of losing Mon-El (Chris Wood) has had on Kara (Melissa Benoist). Whilst the first episode explored her loss through her anger, this week we get to see the fear and guilt that Kara feels, and how this ties into past trauma in her life.

Thanks to the villain of the week, the psychic bank robber Psi (Yael Grobglas), drawing Kara’s fear to the surface we get to see our hero more vulnerable and hurt that we have in the past. Whilst this begins as simple moments of claustrophobia, growing to her reliving the destruction of Krypton and the death of her family, before culminating in her literally on her knees weeping because she’s convinced Mon-El is dead because she sent him away, these moments have a huge impact, driving home that despite getting past her anger in the last episode she’s still nowhere near back to being okay.

Whilst Psi is an incredibly forgettable villain, with very two-dimensional motivations and an almost non-existent backstory, she acts more as a plot device to get Kara to the point where she acknowledges her fears and her trauma.

Being the only CW DC Universe show with a central female lead (sadly Legends of Tomorrow doesn’t count even though Sara is the leader because it’s a team show) it’s always been important that the show portrays its hero in a strong way. Whilst initially it may seem counter productive to have your hero on her knees crying with grief, doing so to then have her sister remind her just how strong a person she is so that she can overcome these fears to stop the bad guy is possible one of the most heroic moments the CW has given us. It may not have the flash and spectacle of her doing something spectacular (it lacks the awe of her lifting a submarine into the air like in last week’s episode) but it makes her stronger in a much more important way.

This episode also continued to explore the character of Samantha Arias (Odette Annable) and, most importantly, ties her into Kara’s world by the end of the episode. Whilst I was initially wondering if we’d simply be following her life completely separately from the main cast until her eventual transformation into Reign, it was a pleasant surprise that the final moments of the episode made her a part of Kara’s world.

With Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima) no longer being a series regular for the third season I’ve been waiting for something bad to happen to her to ruin her marriage to Alex (Chyler Leigh), and it may be possible that we see the beginning of that this episode. When Maggie reveals to Alex that she doesn’t want to have children you can see a definite moment of worry on Alex’s face. Will this lead to more? Is this the start of the end for the couple? I hope not, but with Lima no longer a regular cast member I can’t help but worry.

Despite only being in the episode for a small amount, ‘Triggers’ also sets an exciting new direction for J’onn (David Harewood) as he received a psychic message from M’gann M’orrz (Sharon Leal), calling him back to Mars. After having J’onn taking a back seat to run the D.E.O., and some fun character moments such as this week’s argument of band vs DJ, it’s exciting to know that the show will be giving J’onn some big and emotionally heavy stories very soon into the season.

Despite having a very throw away villain, and perhaps making the Samantha segments too dull, the episode manages to show a weakness that Kara has been hiding since day one, and a level of strength that makes her incredibly powerful. Simply for the moments where she faces her own past trauma and the loss of Mon-El alone, this is an unmissable episode.

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