“We Can Be Heroes” focuses a bit more on the guys this week than on the ladies. Usually that would be a problem — leave it to the men to overtake a show about a FEMALE superhero — but considering the women have had plenty to do so far, I think we can forgive one guy-heavy episode for the sake of giving them a bit more character development. Because it wouldn’t be a feminist show if the male characters were solely there to be eye candy. Men are people too, we’ve heard [insert winking emoji].
J’onn and M’gann’s story continues when a mysterious psychic attack lands M’gann in a coma. Alex says that he health is steadily declining; it’s only a matter of time before she’s knocking on Death’s door. J’onn, who had kept her in jail because of her people’s crimes against all Green Martians, has to set aside his hatred for White Martians to form an intimate “mind meld” that could save her life. He learns of how M’gann rebelled against her people while trying to save a Green Martian child. She set fire to her fellow guards and expected to die herself, but somehow survived and wound up on Earth. In this moment, both J’onn and M’gann find common ground in their respective survivor’s guilt. As a result, J’onn finds a way to forgive M’gann.
This was a really touching story of forgiveness. J’onn, whose people were annihilated in the Martian Holocaust, carried with him an understandably huge amount of hatred that kept him going for decades. With the moral support of his surrogate daughters, Alex and Kara, he is able to find something within himself able to forgive this one White Martian who tried to do good both by letting the Martian child escape from execution and by making J’onn think she was a Green Martian so he wouldn’t feel so alone in the universe. Everything M’gann has done up to this point was to try to make up for what she’s done. It’ll never be enough, but it’s something, and J’onn knows that. For J’onn, forgiving M’gann eases the burden he’s been carrying all this time. The act of forgiveness, as Alex reminds all of us, is more for us than it is for them.
Now on to the main story.
Livewire has seemingly escaped from prison and is causing havoc around National City. This allows Mon-El to take his first crack at real superheroing after training with Supergirl in “superhero kindergarten” for some time. In their first confrontation, however, he lets his feelings for Kara get in the way when he prioritizes saving her over protecting the police caught in the crossfire. As a result, Guardian and one cop catch the brunt force of a stray lightning bolt. First night out as a hero-in-training and Mon-El already breaks Supergirl‘s big rule: Always protect civilians. Supergirl resolves to bench Mon-El until Livewire is caught so she can re-evaluate his readiness. It’s a smart move, all things considered. Mon-El does want to be a hero like Supergirl, but his other motivation is that he wants to spend more time with our leading lady. As of right now, we’re not entirely sure which he prefers to do more.
It’s not like Supergirl is completely in the right either. She’s not as harsh as, say, Batman would be if a Robin makes a mistake or doesn’t follow his orders — he’s fires them almost immediately — but she doesn’t exactly handle Mon-El’s insubordination well, either. In fact, she takes on a bit of a superiority complex. Even more so when she finds out that James is Guardian. Yes, she’s mostly acting out of concern for her friends, but she makes her points in the most condescending and patronizing way possible.
In the case of James acting and Guardian, Supergirl wants to regulate him as support or hang up his armor and continue his life as a regular human. James wants neither of those things. He found his purpose in life and he’s going to stick with it whether he has her support or not. As much as I do not care for Guardian, he makes a good point. Supergirl asking him to be less than he is is not only something a bad friend would do, but it’s also a double standard. Kara spent most of her life on Earth hiding her powers, being told to be less than she is. She fought to become the hero by making her family accept her decisions. But now she wants to keep James down for wanting to be what he wants because he’s a powerless human? By that logic, she shouldn’t let Alex go out in the field either because she’s just a human too.
Mon-El and James don’t exactly help their cause when they decide to take on the baddies and get caught — Livewire was actually kidnapped by a mad scientist who drains her powers to create his own electric-wielding puppets. This prompts Livewire herself to berate the men, calling them “little boys who think they can do a better job than the woman who’s an actual superhero.” Y’know what? That’s fair. The guys, including Winn, wanted so much to prove to Supergirl that they had what it took to bring in Livewire that they didn’t even consider doing some reconnaissance. They practically just jumped right in. But instead of being a good friend and letting them all work with her as a team, Supergirl just wants them out of the way.
While I support our characters’ want to join in on the good fight, I have to wonder if the show is derailing a little bit. Season 1 had many great moments where one does not have to be a fighter to become a hero. Prime example: Cat Grant inspired an entire city with an on-air speech. A bunch of civilians saved Supergirl from certain defeat against Livewire and Banshee. We need more of those moments. We need Cat to give Kara a good talking to.
- “You are never going to be strong enough for this!” Ouch, Kara.
- Mon-El called James a “professionally handsome desk person.” HA!
- “I’m the other Superman.”
- Mon-El confesses to Kara that he remembers their first kiss and that he has feelings for her. Then he shuts down the idea of getting together before Kara has a chance to speak. Sigh.
- The psychic attack on M’gann was made by the White Martians. THEY’RE COMING!
- The Mary Sue made a great comment about this episode: “We Can Be Heroes” … But Only If Kara Says It’s Okay. It’s not wrong….
- Brit Morgan‘s performance as Livewire ditched the campiness and made her more believable as a real character. She’ll have to do more to actually earn the designation of Supergirl‘s nemesis, though.
- Alex and Maggie making bets over what Kara will do next is priceless.