Make #Supergirl Queer, You Cowards (3.09 Recap)
Listen. A lot of really cool stuff happened in this episode, but I'd like to focus this recap on one issue. You all know this is an EXTREMELY aggressively pro-Lena Luthor blog for a multitude of reasons:
- The actress who plays Lena Luthor looks freakishly like the first girl I had a crush on in high school.
- Lena's an inherently fascinating character, what with being the younger sister of one of DC's biggest villains.
- The missed potential of a relationship between Kara Danvers and Lena Luthor will genuinely haunt me until the day I die.
Now that we have that out of the way, let me just say that I have a LOT of opinions about the James/Lena BULLSHIT that was forced upon the world in this episode.
First of all, I'm SICK and TIRED of writers forcing straight romances because they have no idea what to do with two characters. Are James and Lena compelling characters? Yes. Does that and that alone mean they should be together? No.
James is a pretty solid dude, but he doesn't ever trust that Lena will do the right thing, despite the fact that she has consistently planted herself on the good side. If something bad happens that can minimally be related to Lena, James is like, idk, maybe she's evil now lol.
Call me old fashioned, but I'd prefer my love interest to have consistent, unwavering support for me even when things don't look good.
One of my favorite ridiculous scenes from season two was when everyone thought Lena was actually evil except for Kara, because she has literally never once doubted Lena. This pissed Kara off so much that she had to go punch some concrete.
And who was leading the anti-Lena campaign? James Olsen.
Another issue for this doomed relationship is that there's genuinely zero chemistry between the two of them. That's not a knock on their acting. Just, sometimes, two people exude chemistry, and sometimes it's not there. They've shared three scenes (maybe) together and in most of those, it's been entirely professional without even the tiniest bit of subtext.
When it comes to LGBT couples, TV shows have to have a plethora of scenes where the founding blocks of the relationship are established before they get together. Even then, there will still be people out there who SOMEHOW didn't see it coming. For heterosexual couples, a guy and a girl only have to look at each other ONCE and suddenly, it's a true love story.
Genuinely, out of nowhere, in this episode both Kara and Sam were like omg Lena the chemistry between you and James is UNREAL. It would've made much more sense to pair Lena with Winn since they've at least worked together a few times and they're both tech nerds. It's simply a case of the writers not knowing what to do with Lena and James, so they just pushed them into a relationship.
But what do I know?
The New York Times posted an article basically explaining non-canon relationships to the masses by doing a Q&A with a Tumblr expert, whatever that is. Anyway, the point is that they used Lena and Kara as an example and I simply CANNOT believe THE NEW YORK TIMES wrote about this.
Listen. I'm a rational human being...except when it comes to Pitch Perfect and you'd best BELIEVE my ass is getting queer baited for the THIRD time. So, when it comes to Supergirl, I'm completely aware this storyline will never be written. However, SOMEHOW they're writing a compelling love story without even trying when all their actual attempts to write love stories are horrible.
Here's an example:
During season two of Supergirl, Kara and Lena are having a heart-to-heart after Kara cleared Lena's name. Lena's thank you to Kara is as follows: "Supergirl, may have saved me, but Kara Danvers, you are my hero."
During season two of Supergirl, not only did Mon-el think Kara was incapable of saving the world, he called her desire to save people "one of the more annoying things about [her]."
But who is Kara supposed to be in love with???
During Barry Allen and Iris West's wedding in the last portion of this year's crossover, part of Iris' vows are as follows: "The Flash might be the city's hero, but Barry Allen, you are my hero."
You can't just have two characters say the EXACT same thing and have it be the pinnacle of romance in one instance and just friendship in the other. It's one thing to see The Flash or Supergirl as heroes, but it's another to see Barry Allen and Kara Danvers as heroes. That's what Barry and Kara want. Someone to see them for the dual lives they lead and to love them for who they are without superpowers.
Mayo man Mon-el can't even appreciate Kara as a hero, let alone understand how important Kara Danvers, the regular person, is.
At the end of the day, it's just bad writing. Anyone with eyes sees that Kara and Lena are a better story than any other couple on the show. And I think that's what's making me so mad. It's the fact that there's this amazing chance at a really forking good storyline right there. And it'll never happen.
This isn't just me desperate for better queer representation on television (although, hi, yes, I'd love better LGBT representation), this is just anger that nobody in the writers' room can see what's in front of them because they already have their one gay character quota filled by Alex Danvers.
Charlie Brooker is the writer/creator of Black Mirror which, if you're not watching it, you truly should be. It's basically like the modern technology-centered update of The Twilight Zone. It's so very good.
There's an episode called San Junipero. I won't give away any of the real spoilers/specifics in case somebody out there hasn't seen it, but the central focus is on a gay relationship. While writing it, Brooker originally planned to center it on a heterosexual couple, but he was hitting a roadblock. Eventually, he says he switched it to two women and then it basically wrote itself. He joked that that was his writing advice. If you're stuck, make it gay.
Well, Supergirl writers, maybe you should take that advice because what you're doing isn't working. Plain and simple.
As I've said a million times over the course of this blog, what makes Kara and Lena's basis for a relationship of any kind, so compelling is the history it's built on. Lex Luthor and Superman's rivalry is one for the ages.
You have two girls who grew up in the shadows of two of the most famous men in the world. One, trying to be just as good, the other, attempting to repent for her brother's sins. Both of them yearning to live a life that's entirely their own. That's interesting. There is so much that is starkly different about them and so much that is absolutely the same.
People talk all the time about opposites attracting, but a lot of times that's written as two people yelling at each other before eventually just making out. Never any sort of resolution as to the differences that split them.
Kara and Lena are opposites. Kara's family (at least Clark, not the rest of the Kryptonian Zor-els) stands for everything that's good in the world. Lena's family stands for hatred and fear-mongering and xenophobia. Kara's world is sunny and pastel and a little eccentric. Lena's world is all hard lines and professional and minimalist. They are opposites through and through, but there's a current that runs through the two of them that makes them a lot closer than anyone may realize.
Their lives are shaped by loss. Kara's lost basically everything she's ever known. Lena lost her birth mother and her father. The one person who made her feel at home in the world was Lex. And look what happened to him.
But their lives are also shaped by hope. Unrelenting, passionate hope despite the world knocking them down again and again.
They're compatible on such a basic level that it infuriates me because if the writers really were trying to make their show the best it can be, this would be a no-brainer. Not just for the beautiful fact that a proudly queer superhero is what the world needs, but because it's the best story they can tell.