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‘Supergirl’ Falls: The Black Mercy Infects And ‘The Flash’ Adds To That Girl Power Problem

Supergirl is the first real female superhero to make it onto prime time television, so, as such, she has a responsibility to be a hero and role model to real-life fans, just as much as she should be a symbol of hope to the people of National City. This was the premise pushed by both CBS and star Melissa Benoist, but since the initial teasers were released, Supergirl has become lost among a line of male influences eager to help the poor orphan girl out of sticky situations. Now, The Flash crossover suggests viewers will get more of the same, implying that Supergirl doesn’t have what it takes to overpower an opponent without help.

Adding insult to inury, the Black Mercy will down Supergirl, infecting her with a virus, so soon after she has just recovered from a brown-out of her powers. Having to recharge, fans of Supergirl spent an entire episode watching the girl of steel recover with the sun’s help. Now, we see her infected again. Little by little, we’re being led to believe that Supergirl is more burden than bravado.

The Flash is here to save the day

On the surface, a Supergirl/Flash crossover seems like a great idea, and for fans of both series, it may even be a dream come true, but a deeper look betrays the real message this crossover is sending. Essentially, it’s just another message that Supergirl can’t go it alone.

The loss of Supergirl’s independence started with Superman. Sure, he’s been kept at bay, but he’s always overshadowing Supergirl. When he doesn’t come up in conversation, he’s texting Kara to make sure she’s all right and to remind her (and us) that he’s just a phone call away. Even James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) seems like a not-so-gentle reminder that Superman is ready to save the day.

If living in Superman’s shadow isn’t enough, they have saddled Supergirl with an actual back-up team in the form of the D.E.O. and father figure, Hank Henshaw (David Harewood). The D.E.O. may be a good idea in theory, providing someplace to dump alien criminals who cannot be held by traditional prisons, but they have evolved into Supergirl’s babysitter.

Now, they’re sending us The Flash. If the Supergirl producers were going to send in another superhero to pull Kara’s fat out of the fire, they may as well have sent in Superman. Overall, this trend seems to be implying that female superheroes are incapable of overcoming adversity on their own.

“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve

Dump the D.E.O., forget the crossovers, and send James Olsen packing back to Metropolis. Let’s see what Supergirl can accomplish on her own, when there’s no one to back her up. Supergirl needs to put the P back in Girl Power.

The Black Mercy infects Supergirl and sends Kara back to Krypton

A first look photo of the upcoming Supergirl episode, which is entitled “For the Girl Who Has Everything” and tributes the Alan Moore Superman story “For the Man Who Has Everything,” shows Kara back on Krypton with cousin Kal-El, but Kal-El’s advanced age leaves it seeming like a blatant continuity error. In fact, this is only a fantasy, a dream brought on by the infection of which Kara falls prey, following having been stung by the Black Mercy, a parasitic plant. The plant’s poison affects the pleasure center of the host’s brain, forcing them to live and relive their perfect lives.

“There was something about that particular story that, to me, was almost even more resonant for her,” Supergirl executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said. “For Superman, when it happens to him, it’s his wish for something that he never had. But for her, she wants something back that was taken from her.”

The fact that this comes just as Supergirl, A.K.A. Kara, feels that she’s had everything taken from her makes the effects of the Black Mercy’s toxins that much more precarious. The dream lets Supergirl regain all that she’s lost, tempting her to remain lost in the bliss offered to her, but, if she’s ever to come out of it, Kara must turn her back on all that she wants and return to the world of dismal reality.

The next episode of Supergirl, “For the Girl Who Has Everything,” airs on Monday, February 8, on CBS.

[Image by CBS]