Everything You Need to Know to Catch Up With Supergirl

Ever since the release and success of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005, 2008, 2012) and Marvel’s Iron Man back in 2008, the superhero genre has been undoubtedly revived and hit peak mainstream success, most notably with Marvel’s The Avengers in 2012. However, this non-stop ride of superhero content has remained, one might say, more powerful than a locomotive - with no signs of letting up anytime soon. And while the Marvel Cinematic Universe has built its incredible film franchise, the DC Universe has built itself a comic book lover’s paradise over on television.

Call it the Arrowverse, the Berlantiverse (after big boss Greg Berlanti), the CW-verse or simply the DC TV Universe - a rose by any other name is just as sweet. Or just as kick ass.

What started with Arrow in 2012 has grown to include its spinoffs The Flash (2014) and the ensemble Legends of Tomorrow (2016) and, of course, its Earth-38 companion Supergirl (2015). (The multiverse theory is real, guys.)

Being the first female-led superhero show in the DCTVU is kind of a big deal. So, if you’re curious about the show but don’t currently have the time to catch up (Season 1 has 20 episodes and Season 2 is about to air its 16th episode) - this is for you. The show is on a brief break right now, but will be back on our screens the night of Monday March 20th. Here, you’ll find everything you need to know to be up to date with our Maid of Might, so you can check out that upcoming episode without missing a beat.

So, in case it isn’t clear, SPOILERS below for everything that has aired on Supergirl.

First of all, who even is Supergirl?

Let the girl herself, tell you all about it:

So, where does our story begin?

It begins with 20-something Kara Danvers living out a The Devil Wears Prada--type of deal as an assistant to a powerful media conglomerate’s CEO. Kara’s your typical millennial, to be honest. She goes on faux! Tinder dates, has an unrequited crush, would rather be eating, and is desperate to find a bigger purpose in her life, now that she doesn’t have a baby! Superman to take care of.

How lucky for her that a plane accident (sound familiar ;)?) takes place while the most important person in her life is on board (more on her in a sec!). So, what’s a girl to do but run into an empty alleyway, toss her clothes aside, and fly into the front pages of the world?

Her entire Season 1 Adventure™ (which aired on CBS) isn’t exactly smooth sailing, but it successfully brings our hero to life - both in the show and in the real world.

Let’s meet our Superfriends:

Kara Zor-El, now Kara Danvers (AKA Supergirl)

If S1 had a definite theme, it was feminism. Kara spends the entire season trying to figure out exactly what kind of superhero she wants to be and, particularly, what it means to be a female superhero in a world that already has Superman.

In addition to defining herself, she also has enough problems to deal with on both sides of her life.

As Supergirl, it’s not just about stepping out of her cousin’s shadow, but battling with her aunt Astra who is leading the criminals from Fort Rozz, Krypton’s prison that crashed to Earth at the same time as Kara’s pod did, as they were both stuck in the Phantom Zone, a place in space where time doesn’t pass. The good guys ultimately win, but Kara still keenly feels the pain at the loss of her last connection to her home planet.

As Kara, she deals with Cat Grant her boss and mentor, her feelings for James Olsen, and her close relationship with her sister Alex.

Alex Danvers

 

Kara’s human big sister, the woman Kara risked everything to save in the plane. Growing up, Alex was the star child until Kara came along. When her father Jeremiah died, Alex took it upon herself to take care of Kara no matter what. At times, the sacrifices she’s made to achieve that, leaving a medical career to become an agent in the U.S. Government’s Department of Extra-Normal Operations (DEO) for one, weigh on her just as much as her insecurities due to her mother’s favoritism of Kara. However, Alex wouldn’t trade anything in the world for her little sister and their relationship is a series highlight.

Hank Henshaw, now J’onn J’onzz (AKA Martian Manhunter)

Hank Henshaw is the alien-hating DEO director. Until, he’s killed by Jeremiah Danvers. Now, Hank Henshaw is the human alter-ego used by the shape-shifting “Last Son of Mars.” One of the DC Universe’s most beloved heroes, Martian Manhunter, comes to life in this adaptation. Throughout S1, we see J’onn come to terms with the loss of his planet and his wife and daughters, by finding a new home on Earth with his new family of Kara and Alex.

James Olsen (AKA The Guardian)

No, you’re not confused, this is Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s longtime best friend. A little different than you might remember him, James moved away from Metropolis and into National City for a few reasons: the first, a job offered at CatCo from Cat Grant; the second, a fresh breakup with Lucy Lane (yes, Lois Lane’s little sister); and third, a request from the Man of Steel himself to come watch over Kara. Kara and James dance around each other for all of S1, but it’s all for naught as S2 resets some pieces. (More on that in a bit).

Winn Schott Jr.

Kara’s best friend and the I.T. guy at CatCo, Winn is revealed to be the son of Superman villain Toyman. It’s not easy for Winn in S1, as he deals with his father’s brief return, his unrequited feelings for Kara (with time, the two become bffs again), and then accidentally dating the Silver Banshee. Whoops.

Season 1 Episode Recommendations:

Some episodes you might be interested in checking out:

“Red Faced” (1x06): This episode deals with Kara learning to channel her anger and grief into her powers - so much so she blows them out.

“Human for a Day” (1x07): Kara learns that powers don’t make the hero, heart makes the hero.

“Falling” (1x16): Kara comes in contact with Red Kryptonite and becomes terrifyingly evil. In order to stop her, Martian Manhunter has to reveal the truth about who he is to the whole world.

“Worlds Finest” (1x18): The Flash crossover.

Season 2:

Season 2 is a bit of a whirlwind. Here’s the short of it: the show switched networks to come home to the CW. The real life change of filming local affected the show in a few ways: we lose characters (Cat Grant, Lucy Lane, and the sometimes reluctant ally, mostly evil villain Maxwell Lord); the DEO office changes locations, Winn becomes an official DEO agent (and is now dating an alien named Lyra who may or may not be shady), and James, who is assigned to be CatCo’s CEO while Cat Grant is away, feels like it’s his turn to move out of the Supes-Family’s shadow and become a hero in his own right - by becoming the vigilante known as The Guardian.

However for all that we lose, we do get some new faces and new stories:

The show uses their real life change to do a bit of a soft reboot with a few notable changes: James and Kara do not continue, or even begin really, their romance instead preferring to remain just friends. National City is revealed to not just be exclusively the home to the Fort Rozz aliens. Instead, aliens from all over the galaxy have come to call Earth home (shoutout to the Alien Bar!) - however, some people would rather send those aliens home and “Make Earth Great Again.” With Kara moving up from being an assistant to being a reporter under Snapper Carr, we see the Kara Danvers part of her life struggle with learning how to channel her passion into successful journalism. In the most recent episodes however, it’s all come to a head as she’s fired  for posting on her blog an article Snapper refused to publish. The article potentially saved alien lives (more on that below), but if she had been wrong? Well… In case you’re wondering, if there’s a definite theme in S2, it would be immigration.

Newbies:

Mon-El (AKA Valor)

A mysterious Kryptonian pod crashed on Earth at the end of S1 and inside it was Mon-El from Daxam, Krypton’s sister planet that was destroyed as a consequence of the debris from Krypton’s explosion. He was also trapped in a part of space where time didn’t pass and is now a charming fish out of water struggling to adapt on Earth. Because of him, Kara has had to learn to move on from prejudices against Daxamites that were based on the feud between Krypton and Daxam. The two eventually developed feelings for each other and are now currently in a relationship. When Mon-El isn’t being funny, he’s trying to be a better man and a better (upcoming) superhero for Kara with his limited set of powers. It’s taken him….a while. He’s shown multiple times to not respect her, listen to her, or share in her moral values, but he’s also been intent on learning and changing to be a better man - so who knows? The relationship between him and Supergirl has indeed proven to either be a love it or hate it situation among fans - so whatever floats your boat. There’s also a bit of an ongoing mystery about his true identity that is set to be revealed in the next episode, so be ready!

M’gann M’orzz (AKA Miss Martian)

When Mars was destroyed and the genocide of Green Martians took place, it was at the hands of White Martians - a race of aliens that believed themselves to be the superior species. In an aged-up adaptation of the popular Young Justice (2010) character, Miss Martian is a White Martian who lives on Earth disguised as a Green Martian. Through her, J’onn J’onzz learns that he can’t judge her for the crimes of her people (as she didn’t share their beliefs and defected as soon as she could). The two develop a relationship of sorts, before she leaves for Mars in order to find and help other White Martians that might also want to defect. We miss you M’gann, please come back to us soon!

Maggie Sawyer

A longstanding presence in the DC Comics, this is an updated adaptation of the character. So, who is Maggie Sawyer? Comic books fans will recognize her as Superman’s main police contact and then Kate Kane AKA Batwoman’s girlfriend. In Supergirl, she’s part of the NCPD’s Science Division. Things we know about her: she’s a strong proponent of alien rights, she likes guns and scotch, her happy food is tiramisu, and she has a weird appreciation for bonsai trees. Oh, and she is also the reason Alex Danvers realizes she’s gay in what is probably one of the most authentic depictions of “coming out” ever seen on TV. These two are set to be the Monica and Chandler of the show, if Monica and Chandler rode motorcycles, shot alien guns, solved crimes, kicked ass, took names, and then went to a Barenaked Ladies concert. Seriously.

Villains

Now, all great heroes need terrible villains to take on. And all great Superman adaptations need some Luthors to bring that in. In Supergirl, Superman has already defeated Lex, which leaves us with his vengeful mother Lillian Luthor (and her trusty henchman the real Hank Henshaw, who is actually alive and has been turned into Cyborg Superman. It’s a comic book thing.). Lillian is the leader of CADMUS, a nefarious organization intent on destroying or deporting all the aliens in the planet. Whatever works, really. She just wants them gone.

Then there’s Lena Luthor:

Okay, so she’s technically not evil. YET. Hated by her mother for being the product of her father’s affair, Lena is desperate to make a name for herself outside of the Luthor name. She’s desperate to show she’s a force for good. The Supergirl parallels are quite obvious, and her friendship with Kara (or interest in? IDK guys she’s always flirting lmao) is reminiscent of the Lex/Clark dynamic from Smallville (2001). So far, Lena’s proven she’s on the good guys’s side despite everyone - except Kara - being against her. What the future will hold for her is anyone’s guess, but for now Lena definitely remains a character to watch.

Season 2 Episode Recommendations:

Some episodes you might be interested in checking out:

“The Adventuress of Supergirl” & “The Last Children of Krypton” (2x01 & 2x02): Superman comes to town for more than just a glimpse.

“Welcome to Earth” (2x03): Madam President comes to National City and is played by Linda Carter AKA Wonderwoman. Here is the episode where we meet Mon-El, M’gann M’orzz and Maggie Sawyer. Oh, and the National Alien Registry comes into play.

“Exodus” (2x15): In the previous episode, Jeremiah Danvers, whom the Superfriends have been trying to find since finding out that he’s alive late in S1, is finally found and rescued. Except, it seemed too easy. Because it was too easy. Jeremiah came back with a cyborg arm and a betrayal, and left with the Alien Registry - leaving Alex destroyed. Here in Exodus Alex goes on a mission to prove once and for all where Jeremiah’s loyalties lie. Spoiler: It’s with Kara and Alex. Spoiler (x2): You only leave CADMUS when CADMUS lets you, which means Jeremiah continues to be their prisoner.

 

And that’s it you guys. You should be ready to go. I leave you here with this clip, in which we see an alien couple who appear to be royalty reach Earth. These two have been searching the galaxy far and wide for Mon-El and they’ve finally found him. What will this mean for Mon-El and Kara? Tune in on Monday March 20th to find out!