Do you think Kara would have saved the plane in the pilot if Alex wasn't on it? I'm not sure but I think she wouldn't have. It would have left her feeling guilty enough to make her sick but she'd sat out emergencies before.
Oh, she’d have let them all die lol.
I’m pretty sure Kara hasn’t saved anyone since Jeremiah gave her the talk after she saved the woman and the baby from the exploding car and Alex got hurt.
It’s so strange to think about because, now, there’d be nothing that could stop Kara from saving that plane.
But do you recall how angry and scared Alex was after she saved her?
“What were you thinking? You exposed yourself. To the world. You’re out there now, Kara. Everyone will know about you and you can’t take that back. […] What if people figure out who you are? What you are? It’s just It’s not safe for you to do anything like that. Ever again.”
That’s how all the Danvers treated Kara’s secret. Like there was nothing scarier than someone finding out that she was an alien. They were a family of scientists, they knew how much people would love to get their hands on Kara and what they might do to her in the name of progression.
And that fear was instilled, on purpose, into Kara. Fear for herself, maybe fear for her new family. And she only got over that fear once she had, in her mind, no choice but to use her powers and she felt what it was like to be a hero.
This is one of the reasons I’m super understanding of her not telling any single person on the face of the Earth her secret if she doesn’t want to. Beyond just her general right to keep it a secret & that it’s no one’s business. If her fear of anyone finding out that she’s an alien was enough for her to, despite what she really wanted, have let people die for years, it’s enough fear for her to lie to someone she likes for a while. It’s a lot to over come, and with the anti-alien tensions at play and the high from just becoming Supergirl gone, it’s enough to trip someone up.
But I think people forget how different Kara’s life was before the show.
She didn’t have a Purpose™
She was using her position at Catco as her way to help the world, but she felt it was insufficient. This is the most obvious change.
She didn’t have the confidence or the faith in her own moral compass that she has now
Or she’d have already been saving people. It was what she wanted to do, but she was abiding by the advice of others and their judgment of what The Right Thing To Do was.
She didn’t use her powers regularly to heat up coffee or to fly to work
She wasn’t even sure if she’d be able to fly because it’d been so long, and Cat having hot coffee was like a first, because Kara was suddenly using her heat vision. She might have used them occasionally, like at thanksgiving or when she was in a jam, but I’d wager it wasn’t frequently by any means.
(Now, I feel like super strength is different, because I don’t think it’s a turn on/turn off kind of power like the others. At least, I don’t see it that way. So she’d be more likely to use her powers to lift heavy objects than to use super speed. Just for pre-pilot fic reference.)
Aliens weren’t well known
There is some continuity error here, because somewhere between Kara telling Winn that Aliens don’t exist in the pilot and Leslie Willis posturing if Supergirl had tentacles, people figured out that Supergirl and Superman are aliens. But, either way, they weren’t really a discussion people were having before. There were no pro-alien anti-alien debates. (Well, if there were, it was a debate of ‘do they really exist?’)
So someone finding out that Kara is an alien? It would have been a really big deal. Like you finding out your classmate is an alien. That big.
(This also means that the Luthors, before Lex found out Clark was an alien, weren’t anti-alien. Aliens didn’t exist to the general public when Lena was growing up. She wouldn’t have heard things like ‘aliens are bad!’ from her family. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they were generally xenophobic. So if you’re doing Lena backstory and want to address the toxic/hateful environment she grew up with and that she has to overcome, I’d lean away from the “family that hates alien” idea and toward “family that hates things that are different” idea. Or just have it be a recent development because Lex went crazy.)
She didn’t have a close group of friends, and was likely pretty unpopular when she was younger
When she was talking to the guy who kidnapped Alex, she mentioned how she was sitting alone when Alex was sick. I think she probably had trouble for a long time with human interaction. And Winn is the only friend we know she had before the start of the season, and I don’t think they were as close as they are now.
She didn’t date much or have boys fawning over her as much as she has since the pilot
Eliza was said to have criticized Alex in the past for Kara’s not dating enough, and she started the show with obvious ‘dating troubles’. Remember that clueless guy who wasn’t into her in the pilot? (What a dumb move on his part lmao.)
But it’d probably be hard to get close to someone romantically with that secret. In fact, the date in the pilot wasn’t going well because Kara couldn’t talk about herself properly. He asked where she lived or was born or something and she’s like “uuuhhhhhhhh up…north????” so yeah….
But, if you’re curious, I’d bet money that she hadn’t slept with anyone yet.
I’m not even sure if she could sleep with a human without something to de-power her but that’s actually beside the point.
Her relationship with Alex was more strained
In the early episodes of Supergirl, Alex and Kara worked some things out that hadn’t been worked out before that time. Alex had some resentments toward Kara, and she also was keeping the DEO secret (and before the DEO, her secret downward spiral).
And I think Kara had resentments about them telling her not to use her powers.
Honestly, just watch this (deleted) scene and feel the tension between them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlvSrSA6hFQ
So I don’t think they were as open as they are now with each other. I think they tried to bury it all, and it affected their relationship, if not their ultimate love for each other.
So Kara’s life has changed a lot since before the series started.
Becoming Supergirl has really made her life so much better, not only in terms of her impact on the world, but on her own relationships. For the first time, these past two years, she’s felt really connected to people.
And I really don’t think she ever though she’d have real friends or a real relationship, or a relationship without resentment with her sister.
And this is why, every time she fails in a relationship or loses someone, it feels like “oh, so I don’t get to have this after all.”.
But I think, eventually, Kara would have started using her powers on her own.
It’d take a push of some kind, or her having an internal realization, sure, but she’d get there. It’s who she is. Who she really is. Even if it takes her some time to understand that.
Hell, having Jimmy Olsen around, reminding her of what her cousin was doing might have done it.
Or maybe she’d have naturally grown confident enough to try it, over time.
Or maybe she would just have woken up one day, turned on the news, seen someone who needed help, and said, “No. Not this time. This time I’m going to act.”