Dear Supergirl TPTB,
It’s been a little over a week since Season 3 of Supergirl ended and I continue to reel from it as are thousands of fans. Now in fairness, there are also thousands of fans who have don’t share the same view or couldn’t care less. You may ask, well then why write about this at all? I write for me, for myself. I write this because I need to put my feelings in words to understand how I got to this feeling of sadness over a fictional character.
At first, I thought maybe I was overreacting, perhaps I missed something. I even put a poll together, and it showed I wasn’t alone in my thoughts. But it also showed a very negative and vocal side of fandom that I will talk about in a separate letter. I did learn later that some fans came together to put together a change.org petition to show how many believe in #justiceformonel. Seeing I wasn’t alone, I began to take a look back.
I enjoy watching Supergirl for the relationships, not just the romantic ones. The Danvers sisters give me life and remind me of my relationship with my own sisters. Kara’s friendship with Winn and James is a joy to watch. Her and Alex’s fatherly bond (as well as Winn’s) with J’onn aka Papa Bear makes my heart melt. The storyline with Sanvers, Sam & Ruby, James & Lena, as well as M’yrnn and J’Onn were really well handled. But a big part of my enjoyment did come from watching Kara be herself with Mon-El. Two aliens who could be themselves with one another. Kara said as much in season 3, episode 20 “Dark Side of the Moon,” “[o]ut here with just you, I don’t have to pretend. I can just be me.” Because that’s all any of us want, or at the very least me.
Two years ago, you brought on the character Mon-El of Daxam, played wonderfully by Chris Wood, onto the show. Over the course of season 2, we began to see him change thanks to the influence of Kara Danvers/Supergirl and his friends at the DEO. At first, he was a misogynistic, selfish party boy who we literally see in action in episodes 5, “Crossfire” and 6 “Changing.” But at the end of episode 6, we begin to see a change. He stands up to the bad guys at the end of each episode, albeit not great, but he tries, which is more than he had ever done or shown before. Then in episode 7, “The Darkest Place” we see a significant turn of character. Mon-El tries to help someone in need and sacrifices his freedom to prevent a friend from being hurt further.
Over the course of the season, we begin to see further development of his character. It’s not all perfect or a quick 180. He makes mistakes, many in fact, but we all do. It’s in our nature. In episode 10, “We Can Be Heros,” he does save Kara over a cop, but he wasn’t doing it selfishly. As an up and coming hero, he made a mistake. Being a hero isn’t easy after all, especially when your feelings are involved. Then later in episode 15 “Exodus,” he is called out for being a lousy boyfriend, but in the same episode, he admits to his mistakes, and we even see him learn from them by listening to Kara, his girlfriend at this point, and is there for her.
This is what I’ve enjoyed about seeing Mon-El grow, it was honest. He wasn’t suddenly an unflawed character. We saw his development over the course of the season.
Looking at the relationship of Kara/Mon-El is interesting. We had seen Kara’s difficulty in season 1 with her dual identities. We then rejoice with her in her realization that maybe she can have it all, by being with Mon-El. Her romantic journey was something many of us could relate to, and her understanding was our understanding. We then followed them through the honesty of their relationships which had their ups and downs. In episode 16, “Star-Crossed,” we come to the realization that Mon-El had been lying to everyone, including Kara, about who he truly was, the former prince of Daxam, the rival of Krypton. I agree, it was a pretty big thing to lie about, but I also understood Mon-El’s reason for withholding the truth. Kara, in general, is very quick to judge and believe she is right in many things. She comes to realize and understand she is being unfair to Mon-El, in the cross-over Flash season 3, episode 17 “Duet” episode and they reunite.
We continue to see the Kara/Mon-El relationship grow throughout the rest of the season and join in their heartbreak in the season 2 finale “Nevertheless She Persisted.” The only way to rid the world of the threat is also to harm Mon-El, who in a display of his growth, insists that it be used if necessary to save the planet. In the end, it is used, and Kara must send Mon-El away to protect him.
During the season 2 to 3 hiatus, we learn from Supergirl Executive Producers Jessica Queller and Robert Rovner that our favorite Daxamite isn’t going anywhere and they confirm what we believed which is that he is the love of her life. Great! Something to look forward to in season 3.
Season 3 begins, and we’re treated to Kara remembering Mon-El and her difficulty in moving forward from him. We see her friends be there for her as we would hope any of our own friends would do for us in a time of loss. We got some of the best Danvers’ sister moments and words from Papa Bear. Then in episode 7, “Wake Up,” Mon-El returns but not alone. We learn that he’s been in the future for seven years forming the Legion of Superheroes and married his fellow Legionnaire Imra. For the next ten episodes or so, we see Kara and Mon-El try to come to terms with the reality of their situation. Kara trying to move forward and fighting her feelings, and Mon-El fighting his feels for his first love and to respect his love and marriage to Imra. I think Kara said it best, “I see this very clearly for what it is. We’re just three good people stuck in a really crappy situation.”
Then in episode 14 “Schott Through the Heart,” we saw what was in hindsight, the beginning of the seesaw. You gave us Mon-El back with his friends and Kara. You gave us Valor, Mon-El’s superhero alter-ego, in all his might and glory in episode 15 “In Search of Lost Time.” He truly became the hero Kara knew he could be, so thank you for that. In that same episode, you have Kara rip into Mon-El for all of his faults that took place before their relationship. I don’t have a problem with her letting loose, but the content of the tirade just did not make sense if it was intended for her to feel cathartic about their relationship. That’s not who he was at the time. Color me perplexed and feeling bad for Mon-El.
We begin to see revelations of Mon-El’s struggle with his feelings for Kara. We see Kara is starting to admire, respect, and enjoy being with Mon-El. We see others also seeing their dynamic and closeness, including Imra, who told Mon-El to stay back and figure out his feelings in episode 18 “Shelter from the Storm.”
Enter episode 21 “Not Kansas” where their feelings for one another comes to a head. Mon-El confesses his feelings and Kara tells him not to be sorry for sharing it. They appear about to kiss or hug, we’ll never know because they were interrupted. What was evident was that there was going to be a big moment. We even get Kara’s birth mother Alura stating what we all know, “[t]he connection between you two is obvious. He makes you happy,” in the very next episode 22 “Make it Reign.”
And it is in episode 23 “Battles Lost and Won” finale where the ultimate betrayal of trust in the writing occurs. While Mon-El resolves things with Imra, we are told he must return to the future by Brainy. Brainy who says Imra was supposed to speak to him, but apparently chose not to, maybe disagreeing with Brainy’s assessment, we don’t know. Mon-El does decide to return to the future, but it is the goodbye he received that is concerning. I understand Winn is leaving his home and family and deserves every minute of his farewell. But Mon-El deserved something better than what he received. He got only one goodbye with Kara, and for two people who were getting good at saying goodbyes, this one tanked. After watching their goodbyes, you wouldn’t know that these two people were the loves of each other's lives. You’d have no idea that their connection was obvious or that they were even friends because we didn’t even get a handshake, a wave, or a hug. A head nod. That is what we got.
Even if we have to send Mon-El to the future, there are a few things that could have been done to be fair to the fans.
1) Kara and Mon-El have a conversation about what it means for the two of them, picking up from their big moment in episode 21 “Not Kansas.”
2) Apparently, future-travel is no big so treat it like a long-distance relationship and let them go back and forth.
3) Let them have a conversation about it…
I don’t understand what happened, and maybe I never will. What I do know is that it is not fair to compare this to a Casablanca type ending regarding satisfaction. In Casablanca, we didn’t grow along with Rick and Ilsa’s relationship. When we met them, they were already former lovers. Here, we were together for the ride for Kara and Mon-El, over 30 episodes and longer than the length of a movie. To rip them apart the way that was done in season 3, was crueler than what happened in Casablanca and far from satisfactory.
So while, season 3 did a great job with the other storylines: Sam/Reign, Lena-Kara, and James’ Guardian storyline. It’s your handling of Kara and Mon-El and Mon-El, in particular, that was disappointing. I do want to be sure you understand that I think you did a great job in making Mon-El the hero Kara knew he could be. No doubt there. It's everything else. My feelings on the Kara/Mon-El dynamic in season 3 can be summed up respectfully with the Nick Fury gif from Avengers.
I hope that you will do justice for Mon-El by working with Chris Wood to bring him back one day and give him the send-off (if we must) he deserves. I would love to see Kara/Mon-El together again, but for now I will live in the land of season 2 until that happens.
Featured Image credit: https://www.change.org/p/supergirl-justice-for-mon-el
[Editor's Note: Updated to add images and minor edits]