After leaning hard into the anti-immigrant tone of American discourse in its second season, Supergirl backed away from the topic in its third year for a more pulpy story featuring an initially great villain from the Supergirl comics and the debut of the Arrowverse’s own Legion of Superheroes. But as the season wore on, some of the more interesting thematic elements of the series fell by the wayside for more ham-handed comments on gun control and a quartet of finale episodes which left a lot to be desired.
According to star Melissa Benoist, the shift in tone was meant to lean into the sort of “fire and brimstone” feel of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but as she told Deadline, the third season will swing back toward the thematic resonance of the second season. “[The writing staff] really want to thematically tackle more topical stories that maybe mirror what’s going on with the state of the world and our country,” she said. “There’s a lot of anti-alien sentiment at the beginning of Season 4 that Supergirl is going to have to grapple with. I think their main premise is that fear itself is a villain and can hope conquer it? Supergirl stands for hope, so we’ll see. I think fear is her biggest opponent yet because it’s tangible and more of a wildfire-type emotion.”
The new level of fear will be personified by both Benoist’s role as a Superman: Red Son-inspired version of Kara Zor-El, the arrival of Mercy Graves (Rhona Mitra) and Supergirl‘s version of DC Comics anti-hero Agent Liberty. To be played by Sam Witwer, the character will utilize the anti-alien sentiment left over from the Daxamite invasion during the second season and the controversial decision by the Earth president (Lynda Carter) to allow alien immigration on Earth to secure his power base.
Which all sounds great provided the topic is treated properly. Season 3’s anti-gun episode was, perhaps, one of the worst decisions the show and its producers ever made. Particularly when you consider Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) and DEO agents were shown using firearms in subsequent episodes despite then-Director J’onn J’onzz’s (David Harewood) ban on guns. If the topicality can strike the balance of Season 2, it may give the show a much needed focus.
Supegirl returns October 14th on The CW
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