Kara's first battle with a new enemy ends badly for her (and National City's pavement)
Credit: Colin Bentley/The CW
S3 E9
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Supergirl, no! That’s no way to leave us at the end of the midseason finale!

We open with Mon-El describing the 31st century, where technology is still mostly used for communication, entertainment, and killing. When the governments became overwhelmed by chaos and violence, he used Kara as an example and organized The Legion to help keep the peace.

His team’s ship got knocked into a wormhole and crashed on Earth 12,000 years ago, so they went into cryosleep until the 31st century. But the torpedo from the series premiere woke him up, and now they need the DEO’s help to get home.

Imra is thrilled to meet Kara after hearing all about her passionate fight for justice, and Kara, because she’s the nicest person in the universe, invites them to her holiday party that night. (Because they are not the cruelest people in the universe, they decline.)

At the party, Kara and Alex agree not to wallow about being alone for the holidays. “Crone buddies!” Alex cheers. Truly, they are #SisterGoals. Elsewhere, M’yrnn marvels over the awesomeness of hot chocolate, J’onn declares that The Empire Strikes Back is the best movie sequel of all time, and Lena and James drink Scotch and make eyes at each other.

Samantha, who woke up in her bed with no memory of her Fortress of Sanctuary shenanigans, arrives with Ruby, who happily sits with Alex to hear stories about Supergirl. (Yeah, I think we all see who’s going to step in with Ruby once her mom’s MIA.)

Meanwhile, Sam and Kara tease Lena about dragging James under the mistletoe, while she denies any bathing suit-area feelings in that direction. Then Kara tells her new besties that she couldn’t have gotten through the year without them.

The party’s interrupted when the DEO is called to investigate a mysterious shape burned into a field on L-Corp land. Kara recognizes it as something she saw once on a field trip to old Kryptonian ruins, so she consults the hologram of her mother.

Holo-mom says it’s a glyph that predates recorded history and is “low speech” from Urrika, the Kryptonian continent where life began. It originated with the Juru, who over time stopped worshipping a pantheon of gods to focus just on Rao, and this heralded the birth of modern Krypton. Unfortunately, the ruling council destroyed records related to the old “superstitions,” so holo-mom, containing all knowledge from the 28 known galaxies, can’t translate it.

By now, the symbol’s appearing all over the city, so even though it’s Christmas Eve, James scrambles to get his reporters to cover it while he mulls over how to “frame the story” so nobody panics. Um, nope. Good editors do not openly speculate about framing a story. Good editors report the best possible version of the truth using the best possible sources available and let the public decide. I mean, what if they genuinely do have reason to panic?

Anyway, given the symbol on her property, Lena immediately assumes it’s Morgan Edge, so she and James visit his office. He smarmily denies involvement and offers them a corporate Christmas gift for their troubles. (They decline, which is a shame. Edge is vile, but that looked like a nice mug. Also, never turn down free chocolate.)

Kara and James are apparently spending their Christmas Eve at the alien bar, but when they arrive, they find Mon-El and Imra there, having devoured plates of ribs. Kara has to watch as Mon-El tenderly wipes BBQ sauce off his wife’s face. Um, how dare they. RIBS IS A KARA/MON-EL THING. This awkward tableau is interrupted by a call summoning Kara to meet with Thomas Coville, the jailed prophet from “The Faithful.”

When she arrives, he eagerly explains that she’s facing the end of days. He spent two years in a global pilgrimage leaning about Rao, and thanks to a disgraced Kryptonian priestess at Fort Rozz, he discovered a prophecy predating the Book of Rao that tells of a dark god, a devil, a “Lilith made of darkness and teeth.” (P.S. Stealing that title for my new business cards!)

Coville says her coming is foretold in three stages. First is the mark of the beast, which they’re now seeing. Second is the work of the beast, which involves many deaths. Finally comes the reign of the beast, when Worldkiller arrives to bring about the end of times. He tells Kara that it’s her mission to smite this evil, but she blows off his words as an attempt to feel relevant.

Back at the DEO, Imra offers to put her skills as a 31st century cop to work, and then, with her stupid fancy accent and her stupid husky voice, asks Kara if they can talk alone. She tells Kara that at first, all Mon-El talked about was finding his way back to her, and he didn’t look at another woman until years later when he realized he’d never be able to return. Kara, naturally, wants no part of this conversation.

Also having an awkward conversation are Sam and Ruby. Sam says she’ll need to work through Christmas Eve, and when Ruby gets upset, Sam pulls her daughter into her lap and tells her a story about their best Christmas together. Then she gives Ruby her gift: a necklace with a Supergirl pendant. Samantha says she loves her and promises that they’re always stronger together. (Next page: Kara’s having a really bad Christmas)

In a bad part of town, Lena and James skulk around in search of evidence that Edge bought Kryptonian technology to make the mystery marks. Then somebody opens fire on them with a laser gun. “It’s just my quarterly assassination attempt,” Lena quips, but James has her take cover while he fights off the assailant with his Guardian shield. Okay, where, exactly, was he hiding that thing? (Insert Highlander joke here for those old/geeky enough to appreciate it.) Meanwhile at the docks, a dozen gang members are murdered by an unseen assailant in a disorienting flurry of violence, quick cuts, and a swirling black cape.

J’onn suggests this might be Coville’s “work of the beast,” but Kara continues to resist the idea. Then Mon-El stops her to apologize that Imra upset her. Kara says Imra’s smart, beautiful, and impossible to hate, and that they’re three good people stuck in a crappy situation (but hey, at least two of them are happy). She tells Mon-El that this is worse than the worse thing she could possibly imagine, which is him looking with her with no love in his eyes.

Yeeeeeah, I’m gonna need Mon-El and Imra to stop trying to make Kara talk about this. Also, they definitely need to stop cuddle training in spots where she can see them. For Kara, I prescribe lots of wine and Adele, stat.

At CatCo, Sam arrives to make sure Lena’s okay. She says laser gun guy’s connected to Morgan Edge, who likely wanted it to look like Lena had been killed by Kryptonian heat vision. When she hears this, Sam coldly mutters, “He shouldn’t be alive.” As the CatCo people are distracted by news reports of the dockside murders, Sam strides away, popping open her shirt to reveal the black Reign sigil underneath.

No surprise, Reign went after Edge, who survives by hiding in his lead-lined panic room. He immediately goes on TV to announce that he’s not not saying it might’ve been Supergirl. Watching, Lena and James share a drink, and just when I start thinking that their whole relationship is nothing but longing looks and hard alcohol, she grabs him by the tie and kisses him. He carefully sets their glasses down and kisses her back. So that’s a thing that’s happening now, apparently.

In the end, Kara decides to be proactive and burns her own symbol into the top of CatCo. (Um, way to advertise where you work, lady — why not the DEO? Not tall enough, maybe?) Reign answers the call and flies to the rooftop, but before Kara leaves, Alex stops her. Although she’d been trying to get Kara to embrace her humanity, this new threat scares her, and she asks Kara to be a cold, hard alien for this fight.

On top of the CatCo building, Kara sees Reign, who’s legitimately hard to recognize as Samantha with the face-obscuring mask, altered voice, and requisite dark lipstick that all women are assigned when they embrace the dark side.

Reign announces that she’s from a time before fathoming, born to cleanse the scourge and deliver the awakening. Too many people on Earth have eluded judgment, so she’s there to dispense it, and she orders Kara to stand down.

Kara declines this offer, and they launch into a fantastic fight scene that interrupts the most stereotypical office Christmas party in history. As the revelers cower, the two women whale on each to the tune of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.“It’s surreal and hilarious given the viciousness of the battle, which is shot with lots of swinging blows and flashing lights and abrupt camera movement, creating a feeling of chaos that’s incredibly well done.

Then they fly onto a tanker for a quick bout of “whip shipping containers at your enemy” before landing in the middle of a National City street. Supergirl tries to warn people to stay back, but Reign brains her with a chunk of concrete-studded rebar, creating a nasty head wound.

Then she tosses a flaming car door at Kara and uses heat vision to blast her onto a nearby rooftop. By now, Kara’s bloody and sporting a black eye. Reign announces that Kara’s no god, and she’s no devil. Instead, she’s truth, judgement, and death, and with that, she lets Kara fall off the edge of the building.

Kara plummets to the ground in slow motion — a shot that might have been more effective if we hadn’t seen the exact same thing in last week’s crossover finale — before slamming into the concrete below in a way that looks…well, it looks kinda fatal.

“Is she dead?” asks some terribly tactless child in the crowd. The team races Kara to the DEO, where Alex and the paramedics frantically work to revive her as the rest of her friends watch and worry. Honestly, it’s not looking good for the Girl of Steel.

Then we cut to Ruby at home, running downstairs and calling “Merry Christmas!” to her mom. But Samantha’s dressed in all black and staring out the window with an artificially rigid posture. Her fingers twitch, and when she whips around at the sound of Ruby’s voice, we cut to credits before we can see if she’s going to request a cup of eggnog or kill her beloved child.

Snaps of the cape

  • Well, that’s a shocking end to an episode! Sam’s transition to Reign has always had elements of horror, and the final seconds of this episode are no different. Well done, Supergirl!
  • Bless Winn’s nerdy heart; he’s so thrilled to hear about Martian Life Day and how it might relate to the wretched, don’t-even-watch-it-ironically Star Wars holiday special.
  • We’re on hiatus through the holidays, Super-friends! Until then, may you be as joyous as M’yrnn gazing at a Christmas ornament and sipping hot chocolate!

Episode Recaps


Kara (Melissa Benoist) steps out from her super-cousin’s shadow to become Supergirl and defend National City in the third Arrowverse show.

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