S6 E20
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Warning: This article contains spoilers for the series finale of Supergirl.

Supergirl ended its six-season run with a welcome return — as well as one frustrating step backward and one promising step forward.

Picking up where we left off last week, the first part of series finale, "The Last Gauntlet," opens with Jon Cryer's Lex Luthor delivering his obvious ransom terms: The Super Friends must find the Destiny totem and deliver it along with the other six to Lex and Nyxly (Peta Sergeant), or Esme (Mila Jones) dies. Lex proposes that the exchange happen at a bridge near where Fort Rozz crashed because the Omegahedron explosion rendered the location a dead zone for powers and tech, which is only important insofar as we appreciate a season 1 callback despite the clunky exposition.

Of course, Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Kelly (Azie Tesfai) are reeling from Esme's kidnapping, especially Alex, who immediately wants to go through with the exchange, consequences of Lex and Nyxly assembling the All Stone be damned. Leigh does a great job of conveying Alex's desperation, so it's understandable, though still surprising, when she makes Kara (Melissa Benoist) hand over the Destiny totem after passing the gauntlet. (Note: The Destiny totem was located in a statue of the three Fates, who were featured in Legends of Tomorrow's fifth season.) Even though Kara believes she can defeat Lex and Nyxly while also saving Esme, she agrees to let Alex go through with the exchange while she, Brainy, and J'onn look for another way to beat Lex.

Chris Wood as Mon-El, Melissa Benoist as Supergirl, Azie Tesfai as Guardian, Chyler Leigh as Sentinel, and David Harewood as J'onn J'onzz on 'Supergirl'
| Credit: Colin Bentley/The CW

Meanwhile, all is not well on the villain side of things. Brenda Strong makes a welcome return (but not the one we mentioned above, that comes later) as Lillian Luthor and sows discord between Lex and Nyxly because she can't stand to see her son fall in love with an alien. Her bigotry truly knows no bounds! (This raises the interesting point that despite everything, Lex at least managed to outgrow his nurturing, like Lena, but there's no time for the episode to get into that.) The Luthor matriarch manipulates her son into giving in to his baser instincts and going behind Nyxly's back to separate Esme from the Love totem, which is something Nyxly forbade him from doing because she refused to hurt Esme. This in turn convinces Nyxly that she can't trust Lex, so she breaks up with the criminal mastermind and takes Esme to the hostage exchange by herself.

As the exchange approaches, the Super Friends come up with a backup plan: They'll hijack a government satellite and use it to supercharge Supergirl with solar energy. Sure, that'll render the sun useless for a long time, which will have disastrous effects on the Earth, but hey, it'll give Kara the power to defeat Lex and Nyxly should they assemble the All Stone. In other words, it's a truly awful idea, and even with the stress of the high stakes it's hard to believe Supergirl would ever go through with it. Thankfully, Kara abandons this foolish plan when she starts seeing the chaos it causes.

From there, Kara zips off to join the rest of the Super Friends at the hostage exchange, where things immediately go haywire. Lex sets off bombs at the bridge, plummeting everyone into a ravine where they battle over the newly formed All Stone. (Apparently their powers don't work on the bridge but work on the ground just beneath it? Sure!) In the fray, the All Stone gets split in thirds, and Supergirl, Lex, and Nyxly each get a piece. Lex and Nyxly use their thirds to knock Supergirl down before turning on each other. Nyxly prepares to blast Lex, but Lilian dives in front of the beam and saves her son. A heroic act from a wicked mother.

Having transformed into literal monsters, Lex and Nyxly portal off and start fighting their way across National City. Unfortunately, the more they use the All Stone, the more they drain the world of the elements each totem represents, turning everyone grayscale in the process. "They're empowering themselves by disempowering everyone else," Kelly says. It's because of that Kara rules out using her piece of the All Stone to stop them. But if she won't do that, what can she do? Praise Beebo, because inspiration strikes as Kara watches Orlando restore hope for a few people with a rousing speech as the episode ends.

Mehcad Brooks as Guardian, Azie Tesfai as Guardian, and Chyler Leigh as Sentinel on 'Supergirl'
| Credit: Colin Bentley/The CW

Part 2 of the finale, aptly titled "Kara," kicks off with Kara sharing her epiphany with the rest of the team: Instead of saving people, they need to to empower everyone "to be the hero of their own life." That helps them realize that the key to depowering the All Stone, as well as Lex and Nyxly, is to empower the entire world. Cue a classic Supergirl hope speech to do just that!

The speech leads to one final action sequence, because Lex and Nyxly are still a threat even without the All Stone. Short story shorter, the Super Friends receive an assist from Winn (Jeremy Jordan), James Olsen/Guardian (Mehcad Brooks), Mon-El (Chris Wood), and Mama Danvers (Helen Slater); Supergirl battles a version of Overgirl created by Nyxly; and Lex and Nyxly wind up getting sucked into the Phantom Zone. No point spending too much time on the battle because the episode, thankfully, doesn't. The whole thing is less than 10 minutes, and once it's done the hour turns its attention the more interesting character work.

In the wake of the big battle, the team attends William's funeral (hey, remember him!). At the end of the ceremony, J'onn announces that the president has decided to reconstitute the DEO (now named the Department of Extranormal Operations) and to let them run it how they see fit. The destruction of the DEO was such a great development, so this feels like a huge step back because the status quo has been restored. Kara believes leading the DEO and becoming civil servants instead of vigilantes will help them spread their message of empowerment, but that feels very naive. All institutions start out with the best intentions but can easily go astray.

Anyway, the finale jumps ahead three weeks to the eve of Alex and Kelly's wedding. Kara receives a call from none other than Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), the aforementioned welcome and surprising return, who hasn't been seen since the season 3 premiere. Calling from a green screen Colombian beach, Cat explains that she's returning to journalism as the new owner of CatCo and she wants Kara to be the editor-in-chief. Even though Kara has felt aimless since amending her superheroic mission, she initially decides to turn down the offer. After all, she left CatCo because she couldn't juggle being both Supergirl and Kara.

Azie Tesfai as Kelly Olsen, David Harewood as J'onn J'onzz, and Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers on 'Supergirl'
| Credit: The CW

The next day, Alex and Kelly have a lovely wedding filled with poignant moments between Kelly and James, the Danvers girls, and a musical performance from Kara and Winn. After the ceremony, Kara, James, and Winn grab a moment together and reminisce about their humble beginnings as Super Friends. It's one of the strongest moments of the finale, if only because it's reminder of how great their chemistry was by the end of season 1. It's easy to forget that one of the things that set Supergirl apart from the other DC superhero shows when it premiered is how Kara immediately told Winn and James about her secret identity.

Of course, Cat calls Kara during the reception demanding to know why Kara hasn't signed her contract yet. Kara explains that she feels torn between her two lives. Cat has no patience for this. Revealing that she knows Kara is Supergirl (see: the season 2 finale), Cat scolds Kara and tells her to give up the secret identity because it's holding her back. "Let's take a look at everything Supergirl and Kara Danvers have accomplished separately, and let's imagine what you could do if you became one integrated, authentic being," Cat says. "Kiera, you need to stop making excuses and decide what your course will be. Now, there is important work to be done and I hope you'll join me. But more than that, I hope that you will choose to become your full self, because that would truly be something to see. And it would be interesting, because this is boring." Even though she's clearly acting by herself, Flockhart makes a meal out of this dialogue and reminds us what made her Cat Grant so great.

That talking-to combined with an emotional conversation with Lena (Katie McGrath) helps Kara decide to get rid of the glasses once and for all. The episode ends with Cat interviewing Kara, CatCo's new EIC, and revealing to the world that she's Supergirl.

Despite the underwhelming and sweaty totem quest, this is a satisfying and promising place to leave Kara. From the beginning, the show has been about Kara trying to juggle her human and Kryptonian sides, so Kara realizing she doesn't have to choose and can just be herself definitely feels earned. Not only that, but Cat is right. The idea of a unified Kara is an interesting one, and in spite of the messiness of the final season, the series finale does leave us wanting to see what Kara's future looks like.

Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen, Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers, and Jeremy Jordan as Winn on 'Supergirl'
| Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

Wall of Weird:

  • With her dying breaths, Lilian reveals that she knew Lena had magical powers and took steps to suppress that side her, and urges her daughter to fully embrace her power to defeat Lex.
  • Did the magic stuff work for anyone? The show didn't do a great job of establishing the rules, so it often just felt like a lazy plot device.
  • Last week Brainy got all emo after finding out he had to return to the future to save his entire race. In the finale, he says screw the future and decides to stay here to be with Nia. What was the point of all the angst, then?
  • Even though it likely wasn't possible due to the pandemic and scheduling, it's hard not to be disappointed that Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) wasn't in the finale. Would've loved to have seen Kara and Clark discuss her decision to abandon her secret identity. At the very least it would've been nice if we saw Kara instant-message Clark about it like she did in season 1.
  • Already counting down the days until Superman & Lois frees Cryer's Lex Luthor from the Phantom Zone, because Cryer has been great in this role.

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