11:06 pm EDT, June 18, 2018

‘Supergirl’ season 3 finale recap: A neat ending to a messy season

We’re recapping the Supergirl season 3 finale, “Battles Lost and Won,” in which the fight against Reign and the Dark Kryptonians reaches its climax.

Supergirl‘s third season has been something of a narrative mess, and the finale was no exception. With the final two episodes of the season suddenly throwing out new mythology with the Fountains of Lilith and relying heavily on them for the conclusion of Sam and Reign’s story, more space for those ideas to breathe earlier in the season was sorely needed. Instead, it feels like an afterthought to clean things up.

But let’s rewind a bit. Before Team Supergirl — aided by Imra and Brainy — can fight Team Reign, M’yrnn passes the memory of the first Martian receiving the sacred texts onto J’onn. He promises to be with his son in spirit, then merges with the Earth to stop Reign’s attack. Little time is given for J’onn to grieve the loss of his father, whom he only just got back, because they still need to stop Reign and the Dark Kryptonians.

I am heartbroken for J’onn over the loss of his father. After centuries of loneliness, he reunites with his father, only to suffer through losing him slowly to dementia then quickly to this sacrifice made to protect his son’s new home. Carl Lumbly was a wonderful presence on the show, and he had fantastic chemistry with David Harewood; I’ll miss him.

Coville, it turns out, didn’t die after all. Betrayed, he makes his way to J’onn’s ship and sends a beacon. Team Supergirl follows it, leading to an all-out battle. The Dark Kryptonians are subdued pretty quickly — they’re not fighters, after all — but Reign gets the upper hand on Supergirl… until Sam arrives.

Because Sam finally reached the Fountains of Lilith. There, Patricia greets her and guides her to the correct water to drink to grow strong. She also apologizes for being a horrible mother, and Sam forgives her. Sam then wakes up floating in the DEO and, using her new powers, heads to face Reign.

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What follows is a series of events I kind of wish the show had been brave enough to make stick: Sam distracts Reign long enough for Supergirl to get the upper hand and throw her into the cauldron. In her death throes, Reign’s heat vision kills Alura, Mon-El and Sam.

As cruel as it would have been for Kara to lose her mother, it would parallel J’onn’s struggle. Losing Mon-El would be a switch-up of the male heroes losing their love interests to push their stories forward. And losing Sam would put Alex in line to adopt Ruby, becoming the mother she wanted to be.

But Kara has not learned much from being besties with Barry Allen because she takes Mon-El’s ring and travels back in time about five minutes to avoid killing Reign and thus save everyone.

But Supergirl doesn’t seem interested in the consequences of time travel the way The Flash (or even Legends of Tomorrow, which is about fixing mistakes they Legends unintentionally made) is — which I don’t love. If time travel is going to be an issue in this universe, the existence of consequences should be universal across the shows.

Anyway, Kara gets the idea to imprison Reign in the Harun-El. She takes herself, Sam and Reign into the Dark Valley, and Sam knocks Reign around with her new powers then forces her to drink the water that weakens her.

Then dementors time wraiths dark spirits take her away, presumably to torture her eternally. It’s a sequence reminiscent of the Flash‘s season 2 finale when the time wraiths take away Zolomon. And this is an example of my issues with superheroes refusing to kill. Killing her seems far more merciful than the fate she was sentenced to.

Meanwhile, back at the DEO, Brainy tells Mon-El and Winn that they are needed in the future; Brainy, for his part, needs to stay in the present. One of the people saved from The Blight is now trying to kill AIs in the future, so Brainy isn’t safe.

But Winn’s design for the force field belt is apparently the basis of a lot of future tech, so Brainy believes Winn is destined to save the AIs in the future. Winn, after talking to James, decides to go.

James, for his part, took off his mask to reassure a panicking woman during the upheaval. This convinces him to go public as Guardian, and he gets a nice “I’m Iron Man Guardian” moment. Some powerful stories can be told about a black man publicly fighting crime, so this is a good move. I’m sad he won’t have his man in the van anymore, though.

Sam is cured of all her alien-related issues; she’s now fully human and can go back to her regular life with Ruby. Considering how close she became with Kara, Alex and Lena this year, I wonder if we’ll see more of her in a recurring manner?

Alex decides she wants to put motherhood ahead of her career and tries to quit the DEO, but J’onn promotes her to director instead. That way she won’t be in the field so doesn’t have to worry about not coming home to a child. J’onn, for his part, wants to live among the people; however, he promises that he is not leaving.

This is questionable since Alex would likely have less time to be at home as director of a government organization. Plus, that type of role requires a lot of politics, and she’s not exactly a politician.

And Mon-El, after breaking up with Imra (ugh), realizes he needs to go back to the future; he cannot abandon the Legion. Kara agrees, saying he wouldn’t be the man she admires if he did. So Mon-El gives Kara his Legion ring then returns to the future with Winn. Staying behind would have undone all the development this season attempted to do for him.

Alura also returns to Argo City with extra Harun-El. She and Kara say goodbye like they’re never going to see each other again, which is confusing. Why can’t Kara visit every now and then? But Lena kept some for herself to run tests on.

And in the final moments of the episode, after Kara grabs onto the Harun-El, a Kara doppelganger appears in Siberia. Dun dun dun!

Overall, the finale very neatly cleans up some messy stories. Some developments are satisfying while others are simply confusing. Season 3 was a bumpy ride with some high highs and low lows — and now it’s wrapped up. Except for the fact that Clark still doesn’t seem to know part of his home planet survived. Will someone please tell him?!

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