Supergirl: Is the series alienating fans with queerbaiting?

Supergirl -- "ItÕs a Super Life" -- Image Number: SPG513b_0004r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor and Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
Supergirl -- "ItÕs a Super Life" -- Image Number: SPG513b_0004r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor and Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved. /

The CW’s Supergirl celebrated its 100th episode on Sunday evening with an installment that once again centered around Kara and Lena’s relationship by playing fast and loose with various timelines. But why no Supercorp?

When a series is lucky enough to reach a 100th episode, it’s a pretty big milestone. Supergirl reached its 100 mark on Sunday with an episode that was simultaneously a walk down memory lane paired with the exploration of alternate timelines. As with a fair amount of season five, this episode centered around the strained relationship with former best friends Kara/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath). Still racked with guilt over not having told Lena her true identity sooner, Kara receives a visit from the interdimensional imp Mxyzptlk. The trickster returns to atone for his previous actions by giving Kara the chance to turn back time and reveal her true self to Lena in an effort to avoid the blowup from this season’s seventh episode, “Tremors.“

While we get to see a ton of returning faces (Odette Annable’s Sam is sorely missed) and it’s fun to play around with “what if…?” scenarios, Supergirl has sort of backed itself into a corner when it comes to the complex relationship between Kara and Lena. The show has always had a huge queer fanbase, thanks to Alex Danvers’ poignant coming-out storyline, played to perfection by Chyler Leigh, and Alex’s subsequent same-sex relationships. The show also features television’s first transgender superhero, Dreamer aka Nia Nal (Nicole Maines), as a series regular. However, there has always been a significant undertone of a romantic relationship built into in the close friendship between Kara and Lena, ever since McGrath joined the series in season two, which reached a fever pitch this season as Kara finally “came out” to Lena about her true identity.

Truth be told, Supergirl has always had a tough time portraying romances on the show, from the love triangle of Kara/Lucy/James in season one to the out-of-nowhere plot to get Kara together with William this season. Benoist has better chemistry with McGrath than any male romantic partner they have tried to pair her up with. The internet even gave them the ship name of Supercorp.

Season five has been hyping up Supercorp fans with an accelerated amount of tears, stolen glances, tense arguments, and longing smiles, all accompanied by romantic background music and scenes of the two of them included in montages that overlap other romantic couples on the show. So, when presented with the perfect opportunity to explore an alternate timeline where Kara and Lena are in a more intimate relationship, the showrunners left Supercorp fans hanging.

I’d like to say I’ve been a fan of Supergirl since day one, but that wouldn’t be true. I didn’t truly get on board until the show moved from CBS to The CW starting with season two. The series showcased strong but flawed female characters by giving them solid storylines about both their personal and professional lives. (Remember when Alex broke up with Maggie and wanted to quit the DEO so she could have a child? What happened to that?) However, much of this season has has been focused on melodrama over character development, and it’s starting to show.

Queer fans are at a point now where Supergirl either needs to put up or shut up when it comes to Supercorp. YouTubers who react to the show are even starting to become disillusioned at this point, particularly abnormallyadam who dedicated an entire video to Supergirl’s queerbaiting problem. For those of you who don’t know, queebaiting is a marketing technique used by works of fiction and entertainment, through which creators hint at, but don’t actually depict, same-sex romance in order to boost ratings.

Personally, I think it would be a nice change to the previous Kryptonian/Luthor narrative made in other DC shows by having Kara and Lena at least explore the possibility of having a deeper relationship. I mean, if my best friend lied to me about something, that’s still my best friend, and  I’m still going to stand by them, even if I’m mad at them. But, if a significant other lied to me, how I would act closely resembles the way Kara and Lena are being written this season. Your move, The CW.

How did you like Supergirl’s 100th episode? Do you want to see Supercorp become official? Let us know in the comments section below.