After six seasons, the Arrowverse’s third installment, Supergirl, has come to an end. In the two-part finale, which aired Tuesday night, Kara Danvers and the Superfriends faced their biggest foes yet and wrapped the series up in a relatively satisfying way. Though, one loose thread remains: Why did Kara end the series alone?
One could argue that Kara ending the series single and independent was an empowering choice. She’s Supergirl, she doesn’t need a love interest to be powerful! While that is true, Kara’s lack of love life not only makes her stand out in comparison to the rest of the Superfriends but in the Arrowverse altogether. Because if the Arrowverse has proven anything, it’s that love can always save the day.
So much so, that relationships like Oliver and Felicity, dubbed Olicity, on Arrow and Barry and Iris, dubbed Westallen, on The Flash have become the backbone of The CW’s superhero universe. More recently, the Arrowverse’s power couple squad has expanded even further, with Clark and Lois, Clois, from Superman & Lois, as well as Sara and Ava, Avalance, from DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
While Kara ending up alone might have been empowering five years ago, during the peak of “strong female character,” fever, it sticks out like a sore thumb today, especially while surrounded by so much love during her final season.
The series ends with Kara’s sister Alex Danvers getting married to her girlfriend Kelly Olsen, James Olsen’s sister, and the Superfriends all come together to celebrate the union of those two women. The wedding is beautiful and wonderfully done, and it happens to bring out the love in many of the other Superfriends as well.
Nia Nal, the Dreamer, catches Kelly’s bouquet, indicating that she will be the next one to get married. This is then confirmed by Brainiac-5 himself, Nia’s boyfriend, who expresses his desire to marry her after she catches the flowers using her dream powers.
Love was even in the air for the Superfriends’ Space Dad, J’onn J’onzz. During a conversation with Legionnaire Winn Schott, he confirms to J’onn that in the future he will be married to M’gann and they will have a son together.
Even before the finale, love was a prominent theme throughout season 6, but especially so during the final four episodes. Though, not for their lead character Kara, but the two villains of season 6: Lex Luthor and Nyxly.
The amount of time and story spent on the relationship between Lex and Nyxly, which blossomed during episode 17 of season 6 and ran through to the end, proved that a storyline about love was a necessity in this final season. It was clear that the totem storylines needed that grounding relationship to carry it through, but instead of allowing their lead character to be the one that shouldered the storyline, they gave it to their final villains.
In a way, this relationship feels like it was created solely to avoid Supercorp, the romantic pairing of Kara and Lena Luthor, which fans have been passionate about since Lena’s introduction in season 2.
It feels pointed that, rather than explore a relationship between the lead of the show and another woman, the writers instead opted to spend multiple episodes building a relationship between two villains. I can’t help but imagine a reality in which Supergirl had been allowed to kiss a woman on screen, one where Kara’s feelings for Lena were revealed via the Truth totem. Where instead of Nyxly realizing the depth of the relationship she and Lex shared, Kara ran the Truth gauntlet to find that her truth was her feelings for Lena all along.
This storyline wouldn’t have come out of anywhere, either. The series has been under fire for years about the use of queerbaiting in Supercorp scenes, but that same queerbait could’ve laid the foundation for a beautiful love story as well. Even throughout the final episodes, Kara and Lena became an odd non-couple, often being paired up opposite duos like Kelly and Alex, and Brainy and Nia, making it all the more noticeable that they were the only two single Superfriends.
Supercorp feelings aside, one of the very first things we learned about Kara as a character was that she was searching for that “perfect partner at a game night.” She told this to James during season 1, and since then Kara has had just two love interests, with James even being one of them (as short-lived as it was). Though it’s been years since Kara made that admission, even recently on the show Kara stated that she didn’t want to be alone anymore.
One could argue that she was simply alluding to wanting to keep her connection with the Superfriends strong, but it’s hard to ignore just how much Kara’s life was changing at the time. Her sister was settling down with Kelly, signaling the end of the Danvers sisters’ era as Alex moves forwards into her life with her now-wife, and the rest of the Superfriends had all broken off into their pairings. All except Lena.
It’s perfectly natural for Kara to long for a partner for herself, yet the show refused her only viable option. During season 5, Supergirl shot down the possibility of a romance between Kara and William after a single date, and Kara’s other love interests had both been written off the show in previous seasons. Due to the process of elimination, it was Lena or nothing.
And they chose nothing.
As mentioned earlier, Kara ending up alone isn’t empowering, it’s downright weird, especially in the Arrowverse canon. Olicity, which started as a fanship that eventually defied comic storylines and became canon, was the backbone of Arrow, and the show treated them as such.
Oliver was not brought down by his love story, he was made stronger because of it. Being in love with Felicity didn’t make Oliver any less of an empowered hero; it made him a stronger hero through the connection he had with Felicity.
On Supergirl, the same could honestly be said about Kara’s relationship with Lena. Through her admission, Lena challenged Kara throughout the show, and even the series’ 100th episode focused solely on the “friendship,” between the two of them. They constantly professed that they saw each other as their heroes, the ones that kept them grounded and tied to their humanity, and that the relationship made them both better people in the end.
As unfortunate as it is, we just have to call a spade a spade here: Kara wasn’t allowed a final love story because her only viable option was a woman. It’s extremely upsetting that this is still the reality in 2021. Especially because the series built so much of itself on the heavy-handed queerbait weaved into every scene Kara and Lena had in the series.
The Arrowverse may have been built on the foundations of love, but Supergirl’s aversion to Supercorp was built on the foundation of harmful practice, one that should’ve been retired years ago.
Just a few days out from the finale, it feels like the worst is yet to come for The CW in terms of backlash from those queerbaited with Supercorp, and it remains to be seen if this backlash will result in another campaign to create change within television itself. Similar to those who fought for Clexa, which ultimately resulted in a huge push for better queer representation on the screen to great success, I can’t help but wonder if Supercorp fans will make this the last case of queerbaiting they tolerate.