What has been your favorite episode so far?
Of this season? Gotta be 3x02, “Triggers”.
I think it’s just the sheer level of character work for Kara. And we’re continuing to see the same level of nuance and care taken in exploring Kara’s character within the rest of the episodes, but this was an episode in which the plot primarily revolved around Kara’s mental health (and not only through metaphors and hints, but directly), so it’s rather hard to beat.
Honestly, they gave us so much to work with in that episode that I’m still thinking about what it all means.
Some Karacterization that I loved from “Triggers”:
- Kara has a history of claustrophobia!
- Which makes so much sense, but it’s one of those things where you say, “oh, the writers will never go deep enough into it for that.”
- And because of this, Kara has a history of panic attacks? “Episodes”?
- Which Alex maybe helped her with?
(Also, a lot of shows have played around with similar situations where a character is magically affected by some mental health problem as a way to put them in character-exploratory situations without having to actually make the character have that problem. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show then make it real for the character in this way before. It’s pretty cool.)
- The entire pod sequence. An utterly immersive look into the most traumatic moment of a Kara’s life? Sign me up (…for therapy, along with Kara).
- Hearing young Kara’s scared breathing from inside the pod was a nice, heartbreaking touch.
- She saw what was left of Krypton after it exploded?
- She saw Krypton begin to crumble.
- Kara watching Kal’s pod leave just before she is stranded really drives home that sense of abandonment.
- In Kara’s nightmare sequence, they had Alura say, “Kara, because of the Earth’s yellow sun, you have great powers on this planet. You will do extraordinary things.”
- I’ve said for a while now that these words from Alura’s goodbye have stayed with Kara, influencing why she believes that she is alive, influencing why she thinks her mother wanted her to live.
- The question on many a Kara fan’s mind—How long was Kara awake in the Phantom Zone?
- Kara’s silence and still-ness post-Black Mercy is something I’ve latched onto for her overall characterization (as an example for her reaction to trauma), so I was very happy to see this tendency make another appearance.
- Similarly, I’m fascinated by how whenever Kara really talks about her loss of Krypton, she gets this look in her eyes like she’s not on this planet (think Kara’s face when she would have a balcony talk with Cat). It was cool to see her slip into that and then try to snap herself out of it.
- This sentence, Part I: “Alex, I’m trying to be myself again,”
- How often do we get to see someone struggle with ups and downs when depressed?
- See them smile or laugh but still not be Cured™? Witness them take steps toward being “themselves” again, but then have set backs?
- How often do we get to see the celebration of little successes in a depressed character, while knowing that it doesn’t signify sudden health?
- How often do we get to witness a character with depression actively fight it?
- This sentence, Part II: “-but everything that used to make me feel good, like… like a relief is- it’s disappeared.”
- This is referring to before Kara’s recent depression, and the decision to phrase the things that make her feel good as a relief is poignant. A “relief,” as if it were a break from something constant.
- I mean, it’s obvious that Kara would logically have ptsd, but this is another canon signifier that Kara has been struggling with mental heath problems for her entire life on Earth.
- Kara’s worst fear is hurting others.
- Kara’s absolute number one priority has always been fulfilling Alura’s expectations for her to do extraordinary things by being Supergirl. Has always been protecting others. Helping others. She’d choose the greater good over anything for this reason.
- So it makes perfect sense that the nightmare scenario that Kara’s mind conjured up for her would be that she put someone through what she has already described as torture and then killed him.
- It plays at both Kara’s massive abandonment issues and pathological sense of responsibility in the worst way.
- Kara being horrified that she killed someone she loved was just A Lot
- Another The Wizard of Oz connection. She said “There’s no place like home” in “For The Girl Who Has Everything”, after waking from the Black Mercy (a situation comparable to this one). And in the musical crossover, the Music Meister mentioned that she watched it countless times with her adoptive parents. Kara and Alex watching it now is all too fitting.
Okay, so it’s probably like really old news, but with Kara having watched The Wizard of Oz with her adoptive family and Kara mentioning in “For The Girl Who Has Everything” that she was fantasizing about the same things she did when she first came to Earth (and that’s why she imagined what she did when under the Black Mercy), how many times did she envision waking up just as Dorothy did? Surrounded by her family telling her that the land she went to was all just a dream?
And then the Black Mercy gave that to her.
- I mean? The Danvers sisters were really officially back this episode, so it gets automatic points.
And there’s probably more! And we haven’t even really begun to make headcanons from the new information or evaluate what the things we’ve learned mean for events that we saw before we knew all of this.
So yeah, it was a good episode and I personally think it’ll be hard to beat.
Next contender? 3x06—“Midvale.”