Supergirl: “The Faithful“ Review

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By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)

Last week’s episode of Supergirl was full of emotional content and family issues galore, but very little Supergirl herself. This week, the show not only focused on Kara (Melissa Benoist), but built an entire religion around her, averaging out the Supergirl content between the two episodes. To find out how the episode went, we’ve got a spoiler-y review for you!

Supergirl has been known to tackle some big issues over the seasons, from gender equality to immigration. Sometimes tip-toeing around the issues, light as a feather, or sometimes facing them head-on, the show’s writers have managed to address current political situations with grace and open-mindedness. This week’s episode of Supergirl was no different.

“The Faithful” touched on the topic of religion. The episode addressed religious freedom, faith, fanaticism, and other issues surrounding the subject, while remaining confined to a fictional belief system. This allowed the subject to be more fully explored while wisely avoiding the trappings of any strong feelings surrounding currently existing faiths of Earth. The exploration began with a walk down memory lane to the premiere episode of the show in which a nearly-catastrophic plane crash jump-started Kara (Melissa Benoist) into action. Her actions apparently sparked the start of a cult worshipping the Kryptonian god of light, Rao. Needless to say, it didn’t go well and an entire stadium of hockey fans almost met their makers as a result.

Watching the episode, I felt that it connected almost seamlessly to some character motivations in DC’s Batman v Superman. The film touched on the fear that emerged with the reality of Superman’s almost god-like power (which, I think, was allegedly the reason why Lex Luthor went bonkers creating a giant destructive monster – although to be honest, I’m still a little unsure about how that unfolded). The power of a superhero might be the cause of fear for some. But in Supergirl’s case, it seemed to have inspired unflinching and unquestioning devotion (to an unsafe fault).

True to its roots of delving into both sides of an issue, “The Faithful” not only explored the fear that drives some toward religion or away from it. It also looked at the potential beauty surrounding faith in something bigger than the self. James (Mehcad Brooks) had some incredibly wise and open words for Kara as she struggled with the cult-like belief system. The conclusion of the episode this week was also a sweet and soulful portrayal of all the positive things that religion has the potential to represent.

Aside from the overarching religious theme of the episode, a major mystery remains. Who is Samantha (Odette Annable)? And what happened to her at the end of the episode? (If you’ve read the comics, shhh! Don’t spoil it for those who don’t know yet.) Her story about balancing motherhood and being a badass businesswoman was beautifully told, but we haven’t been given reason to sympathize with the character just yet. What is her history? How did she come to be such a large part of the story so quickly this season? With further development, the attachment to the character (whether hero or villain) may increase, but her struggles may have come too soon to have the impact they deserved.

Samantha wasn’t the only one dealing with the drama of motherhood. Alex (Chyler Leigh) broke down with her hopes of becoming a mom seemingly dashed. She echoed the sentiments of those who can’t have children for a variety of different reasons and the pain that can come with it. The genius of “The Faithful” plunging into topics of motherhood is that it worked in juxtaposition with the daddy issues that filled last week’s episode.

Overall, “The Faithful” was a solid representation of what Supergirl does best: taking big issues of today and making them otherworldly; ironically, making them more accessible and safe to talk about. It can safely be called a rousing success for the week!

What did you think of the episode? Did it hit the mark for you or was it too heavy for you?


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