Supergirl Still I Rise Television 

Five Thoughts on Supergirl‘s “Still I Rise”

By | September 8th, 2021
Posted in Television | % Comments

This week on Supergirl, Kara learned Joey and Orlando Davis had been denied the housing they’d been promised, after National City’s Council decided to sell the building to a tech company. While she fought to change the council’s mind, Nyxly teamed up with Naxim Tork’s former subordinate Mitch, and Nia was guided by her mother’s spirit to confront what’s really been bothering her.

1. Breaking the Ice

Trapped in her apartment by Nyxly as part of her deal, Nia continued to explore her woodland dreamscape with her mother Isabel, who encouraged her to be confident and interpret her dreams by herself. Eventually, Nia realized her self-doubt was caused by her estranged relationship with her sister, Maeve, who if you recall in season 4, revealed she had seriously transphobic misgivings about Nia inheriting their mother’s powers. When Isabel’s time among the living ends, Nia is forced to confront her sister alone: she whispers “truce,” as the icy cage representing Maeve in her mind literally breaks.

2. Politics Shouldn’t be Showbiz, But It is

Early on, we’re treated to a really funny PSA of Supergirl and Brainy encouraging kids to eat their greens: unlike Melissa Benoist, Kara is a pretty clumsy and awkward actress, and is embarrassed that her performance got publicly released. Little wonder she wants to campaign for Joey, Orlando, and everyone else affected by the council’s decision privately, with her alter-ego and William applying pressure through the press, but Rojas wants to improve CatCo’s ratings, and encourages her to do a video Q&A. Kara struggles to react on air, and excuses herself when she has to go rescue Desmond Raab. I think that while Rojas had a point, that social media can be a great way to rally supporters for a cause, Kara just isn’t cut out for that kind of leadership, and it was a self-serving idea really.

After some advice from Kelly (who presumably understands these problems better as a woman on the ground than the sky), Kara gets someone who’s actually charismatic and sincere to speak out in front of a crowd: Orlando himself, who gives a calm and beautiful speech about how the council should invest their money in their community, and not some corporation. That’s what politics should really be about — representatives making the right decisions based on what’s good for their people — but so often folks are unable (for various reasons) to make their cases, even thought it shouldn’t have to be the first hurdle, and governments listen instead to trained, and bought for lobbyists.

3. Recidivism

It was clever that while Supergirl and friends were trying to tackle the root cause of recidivism in National City, we learned Mitch — from the ’00s two-parter — had resumed his life of crime due to a lack of opportunities for an alien felon. Mitch (who’s no longer blue thanks to an image inducer, the solution to any and all make-up budget limitations) is persuaded into helping Nyxly get revenge on Supergirl by kidnapping Desmond Raab, the engineer from Edifar, and forcing him to build a cryo-nuclear bomb. It’s telling the Super Friends weren’t that concerned by Mitch after boarding Naxim’s former ship; he’s suffered enough, becoming a stooge for two different villains.

4. Supergirl: The Never-Ending Battle

Kara and Brainy’s last conversation, about whether anything really gets better, really struck a chord: after the last presidential election, it was really easy to hope (as desperate as it was) life would become easier, but almost a year on, it’s hard to maintain a reasonable degree of optimism about the world, between the Delta variant, the climate crisis, Afghanistan, Texas, the backlash against last year’s George Floyd protests, and so on. But we must always remember life bends towards entropy, and nothing happens if you don’t continue to fight back. Brainy’s vow to stay beside Kara’s side forever was particularly powerful given how, since they’re both aliens, their fight will likely last a lot longer than most people’s lifetimes; hopefully, they’ll be able reach the shining utopia of the 30th century the long way round, together.

5. Forgiveness

Kelly directly intervenes to save the racist Councilwoman Rankin when the bomb goes off, something Alex jokes she shouldn’t have done when Rankin reveals she was the only one who voted against giving back to the community. As Kelly notes, a hero helps everyone, regardless of how rotten they are. It’s perhaps something Kara should’ve remembered when she left Nyxly for dead in the Phantom Zone, although I wouldn’t blame her too much in this case: the true cause of Nyxly’s vengefulness lies in her being incarcerated in the Phantom Zone, a fate worse than death. It reflects how in the real world, prisons are often not places for rehabilitation, but cruel environments where the risk of reoffending festers and grows — and ultimately, the community Kara wanted to help paid the price, when Nyxly finally activated her bomb.

Continued below

Bonus Thoughts:

– The title is a reference to Maya Angelou’s poem of the same name, and presumably refers to the African American community’s perseverance against issues like gentrification and recidivism: it does feel like it also refers to Nyxly defeating Supergirl here though, which is odd.

– This storyline was pretty much ripped from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other officials’ opposition to Amazon building another headquarters in New York City.

– Desmond Raab’s design was likely inspired by the Talosians from Star Trek, but he honestly looked more like the tiny face morphs of celebrities you’ll see littered across the internet.

Elias will be back to discuss Mxyzptlk’s return in “Mxy in the Middle,” this time next week.

//TAGS | Supergirl

Christopher Chiu-Tabet

Chris is the news manager of Multiversity Comics. A writer from London on the autistic spectrum, he enjoys tweeting and blogging on Medium about his favourite films, TV shows, books, music, and games, plus history and religion. He is Lebanese/Chinese, although he can't speak Cantonese or Arabic.


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