SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from Supergirl Season 3. Proceed with caution.
Since the first season, the emotional core of Supergirl has always been Alex and Kara’s relationship as sisters. They have been through many ups and downs since Kara saved Alex’s life in the first episode of the series. They’ve had to face aliens, evil Kryptonians, love triangles, corrupt businessmen, long-lost parents, time-traveling superheroes, Worldkillers, and heartbreak.
Their bond was even stronger in Season 2 when Kara and Alex traveled back home after Alex’s breakup with Maggie. The show devoted an entire episode to the early days of the Danvers sister relationship.
And while Season 3 got off to a good start, with the Danvers sisters supporting each other through heartbreak, the connection between the two women was gradually lost. This was especially true when Kara left Earth for Argo City. She left after one quick conversation with Alex. That moment felt like a true departure for Supergirl, a show that use to end most episodes with the Danvers sisters binge watching television on the couch.
So what happened to the once strong Danvers sisters bond, and how can the show recenter their sibling love in Season 4? Let’s jump into some thoughts:
Supergirl’s drift away from the Danvers sister bond started in Season 2, when both sisters suddenly found themselves in serious relationships. With Alex spending more time with Maggie Sawyer and Kara focused on Mon-El , the screentime they were sharing began to shrink. Their new relationships didn’t split them up permanently, in fact several episodes even focused on the sisters’ bond as they battled Lillian Luthor and Queen Rhea, but the distance was there.
Supergirl’s third season seemed to be refocus on the Danvers sister relationship, as they leaned on each other while dealing with their broken hearts. Alex even helped coach Kara through the panic attacks she was experiencing. Their emotional intimacy didn’t last, however, as all of their interactions during the rest of the season consisted of fighting Worldkillers or trying to save the planet. They became work colleagues and not really sisters.
This shortage of Danvers sisters scenes didn’t just hurt the relationship between the show’s two most important characters, it also hurt the audience’s insight into both characters. Previously, the scenes between the two sisters worked as a way to get into their heads and understand how Kara and Alex were feeling about the challenges, joys, and heartbreaks going on in their lives.
Classic Danvers sisters scenes didn’t have to include a bowl of popcorn and a TV binge always either — these scenes also lent the show much of its emotional richness. But with the sisters interactions centering around the big problems of each episode, the audience had less time to check in with the sisters and see how they were feeling.
As the show went into the middle of Season 3, the pair drifted further and further apart. Once again Kara and Alex were broken into separate storylines with very little overlap. Kara was dealing with the return of Mon-El, who had a wife and Legion pals in tow. Alex, meanwhile, was spending an increasing amount of time babysitting Ruby and supporting J’onn as he discovered he was losing the father he had just rediscovered.
Kara and Alex went through their biggest test when Kara decided to leave Earth for Argo City. Alex’s biggest fear was always about losing Kara to her Kryptonian roots, and that fear came true in Season 3. Kara left so quickly, Alex wondered if her sister would ever come back. Thankfully, Kara made it back in time for the finale and decided to stay on Earth for good.
During the finale, Kara had many choices before her. But, Kara chose Alex over her mother, her heritage, and Mon-El. She could have gone to the future with Mon-El or Argo City with her mother. But Kara chose Earth. She chose Alex. She chose to be Kara Danvers and Supergirl.
In Supergirl’s first season, Kara told James that the House of El symbol she wore on her costume had another meaning: the family motto “El Mayarah,” or “Stronger Together”. This has been a major theme throughout the run of the series — characters are stronger together than when they are on their own. This is certainly true of the Danvers sisters, who have overcome ever obstacle when they worked as a team.
Supergirl needs to get back to this theme in Season 4. Instead of having the two sisters off in their own storylines, they need to work together more often. And they need to be doing more than fighting crime together. Some of the Supergirl‘s best moments have been when the Danvers sisters are just having fun together.
Supergirl will air Sundays this Fall on The CW.