Supergirl finale recap: Sweet forgiveness and some serious cliffhangers
If nothing else, Supergirl season 5 was a victim of circumstance. During a time when more and more of us sought comfort and connection online, the show offered a weekly warning about the hazards of losing yourself in a digital space.
The parallels (and disconnects) between real and screen life were at times jarring, and now, thanks to the pandemic that deprived so many of us of in-person connections, the season comes to a premature end with an overall satisfying finale.
Lucky Lex finally earns his ticket to the Leviathan ship, quipping, “I anticipate everything, but I must admit I did not expect you to live in a casino.”
Gemma gives him a pin to protect him from the ship’s radiation, and Rama Khan gets to work loading up on Kryptonite to slaughter Supergirl.
Lex then horrifies Brainy by refusing to hand over the pin so Brainy can safely access the ship. Instead, he wants to wait until Supergirl and all her friends are dead. I mean, of course. It's Lex.
But Supergirl’s not going down without a fight. After warning Lena not to bring up the past, they fill in her allies on what’s up with Rama Kahn and his “big dumb gladiator outfit.”
Lena offers to make another anti-Kryptonite suit, and to get Kara safely across town to Luthor Corp, the Martians will serve as Supergirl decoys to lure out the Leviathan.
This leads to some choice comedy as J’onn-as-Supergirl complains about Supergirl’s new pants chafing him and Nia point out that all the Super-dupes are just like the beginning of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
“Moody and Hedwig died,” Kara exclaims before screaming in delight at Alex’s new vigilante suit, complete with wildly over-the-top (in the best way!) eyeshadow.
The decoy plan works, although Rama Khan and the other element-benders, including Tezumak, injure J’onn and give Alex and M’gann a hard time while Nia shakes off another pesky Brainy-vision.
But the important thing is that Kara and Lena make it across town by bus and get to work on the suit, which will take a few hours to complete.
Lena’s then pushed to the side as Kara’s super-hearing catches a phone call between Alex and Kelly about William’s disappearance. Kara’s desperate to help, particularly when she hears that Eve’s involved, but Alex orders her to stay put while she and Kelly sort it out. (Sorting it out involves Alex Mission: Impossible-ing into a secure Obsidian room and wowing Kelly with her vigilante chic.)
Brainy’s also not content to stay put and summons the female Brainy to come with him on what’s assuredly a suicide mission to access the Leviathan ship so he can bottle them. He’s fine with dying to save his friends along with the whole planet; he simply wanted his female counterpart there so he wouldn’t die alone. Off they go to break into the casino and wait for their chance to board the ship.
As Lena works to track down Eve, she jokes that it’s just like Kaznia and once again tries to apologize, which prompts Kara to unload all of the hurt she’s been carrying around. She worries every day about endangering the people who know her secret identity, which is why she kept the truth from Lena.
“I made one mistake, one mistake, that was only ever meant to protect you, and in return, all you did was hurt me in every way imaginable,” she concludes. It's hard for Lena to hear — heck, it's hard for us to hear — but it's also important that Kara have her say, too, about Lena's manipulation, theft, and Kryptonite harm.
It’s a damning list of sins, and I’m damn glad it’s all out in the open now. Lena’s lip quivers as Kara tells her that she’s not offering any absolution today. Then they get a ping on Eve’s location, and Kara’s off even without that anti-Kryptonite suit. Lena goes with her.
They find William handcuffed in a warehouse, held at gunpoint by Eve, who's all about protecting her mother at this point. Supergirl and Lena stop her, but not before she shoots William in the shoulder.
Supergirl cauterizes the through-and-through wound with her laser eyes, and he shakily quotes the awesome Kara Danvers: if a reporter's kidnapped, he's on the right track. Then Lena provides cover for Supergirl’s identity and assures William that Kara’s safe.
But the danger escalates when colorful electricity crackles through the warehouse and Leviathan show up with their Kryptonite weapons. Kara succumbs to the poison until Lena’s able to race the now-finished suit to her via drone deployment.
Supergirl’s back to full speed and backed by Dreamer and M’Gann. She levels Leviathan with a super-clap (we love the super-clap!), but Leviathan reassembles and the good guys flee.
Having confirmed that Leviathan are immortal, Supergirl turns to Eve for answers with a solid “don’t lose hope speech.” Eve spills the goods on Gemma’s plans to kill all the humans in VR at Obsidian’s Unity Festival.
The solution? More hope speeches! Supergirl needs to get into VR to convince all the humans to log off. She’s not sure she’s up for it, but Alex and Lena say in unison, “If anyone can do it, it’s you.” Awww, snaps for supportive loved ones!
Then for the first time all season, Kara dons the VR lenses and steps into a virtual world, where she’s blown away to see all the blissed-out humans using the Obsidian platform.
While she tries to get through to them, J’onn draws Leviathan out by telepathically taunting the short-tempered Rama Khan, who storms out, vowing to destroy Mars next. This gives Brainy the opportunity to access the ship.
He steps inside and immediately reverts to his green-skinned, white-haired form as he starts to succumb to the radiation. Female Brainy talks him through the 10 minutes it'll take to upload the code so he can start the bottling.
Unfortunately, Gemma notices Supergirl’s presence in the Unity Festival and at first, wants to speed up her mass murder plans. But Lex, having learned that Gemma answers to an unseen higher being, urges Gemma not to disappoint her boss lady. Instead, they’ll send an assassin to kill Supergirl’s unprotected body.
That assassin, of course, is Andrea, who was saved by Leviathan in the cave when she collected the Acrata medallion but was never activated on this Earth. Gemma tells her that she either uses her magic to kill Supergirl with a Kryptonite blade or Gemma will ruin her company and destroy her father. Andrea reluctantly agrees.
Meanwhile, Supergirl’s struggling to reach the billions of humans in the VR, all of whom are happy in their own worlds. So Lena creates enough copies of Supergirl so she can talk to each of them individually.
As Supergirl delivers her hope speech, reminding all of the Obsidian users that pain helps humans grow and forgive, we watch Brainy start to spit up blood on the Leviathan ship as J’onn, M’gann, Nia, and Alex fight Leviathan. And can we take a minute to applaud the all-too-human Alex for facing down immortal gods without a second thought?
As these battles rage, Andrea shows up at Luthor Corp, and Lena physically puts herself between Andrea and Kara’s unprotected body (yes, Lena, yes!!) and gives a variation of Supergirl’s hope speech urging Andrea not to give in to fear.
As Supergirl tells the Obsidian users that she believes in them, Lena reminds Andrea of their long-ago promise: you jump, I jump. It’s enough to stop Andrea, and Supergirl succeeds in emptying out the Unity Festival. And while I’m glad Andrea saw the light in the end, this in no way forgives her myriad sins against journalism, for the record.
Brainy, meanwhile, succeeds in bottling Leviathan and saving Alex and company, seemingly at the cost of his life. When Lex sees Gemma start to glitch, he realizes what Brainy’s up to.
Lex storms onto the Leviathan ship, where female Brainy’s holding Brainy’s hand as he’s gasping his final breaths. And then Lex goes and Lexes it all up, gloating that he knew this would be Brainy’s plan all along; he just didn’t think Brainy would kill himself to do it. He takes the bottle from the helpless Brainy and goes off to kill Supergirl himself.
Nia, who confided in M’gann about Brainy invading her dreams, finally realizes that M’gann was right that she should look more closely at those visions and realizes that Brainy’s in real trouble. But can she get there in time to save him?
Lena, meanwhile, apologizes once again, but this time she acknowledges that she truly listened to Kara’s perspective instead of walling herself off. And between this and Lena’s actions that day, Kara’s finally ready to accept her apology. They shake hands and agree to take Lex down. Again. Kara and Lena are back on track! You love to see it.
And we end the season with Gemma turning into a truly terrifying lady-robot creature, which I for sure will see in my nightmares tonight, while Lex hands the bottle off to Lillian for what we can only assume are Very Bad Purposes.
Snaps of the cape
- The showrunners had to cobble together a series finale with the footage they’d shot before the shutdowns, and they did a bang-up job, all things considered. Leviathan and the dangers of technology haven’t necessarily been the strongest baddies this show has seen, but Mitch Pileggi is a great preening villain, Jesse Rath got to play all kinds of conflicted emotions, and Jon Cryer has been a towering figure as Lex. Plus, we had so many juicy scenes for Melissa Benoist and Katie McGrath to tear into. With Supergirl, you take the good with the bad, and as usual, the good is so dang fun that the rest sort of washes away.
- Okay, is Alex banking on that eyeshadow to protect her identity, or is it just to be fancy? Because dang, girl. And was Gemma trying to distract Lex with her cleavage in that Unity Festival outfit? Because double dang, girl.
- Best wishes to Melissa Benoist, who’ll have given birth by the time Supergirl returns to our screens. Cheers to a new super-baby in the world!
- Is Brainy alive? What’s Lex going to do with a bottle of Leviathan? Who the heck does Gemma answer to? Will Lena be invited to the next game night? These questions and more will hang over our heads until Supergirl returns. Alas, that won't be until midseason next year, which, thanks to the extended pandemic hiatus, means we’ll likely be meeting back here for season 6 around this time in 2021.
- Until then, friends, take care of yourselves, and whenever possible, embrace the kindness and compassion of Kara Zor El.
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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