6. Season 5
Right off the bat, there is no arguing that season 5 had several disadvantages that couldn’t be helped. First, it was the season that was in production when the COVID-19 pandemic began affecting Hollywood projects, so it was an abbreviated season that ended prematurely. So, no matter how the season was originally going to end, viewers wouldn’t know about it until season six. From a storytelling standpoint, this is a huge issue, so we’re essentially looking at the build-up of the season along with the shorter arcs that were included in the season.
Although season five started strong with its premiere, “Event Horizon,” which dealt with the immediate ramifications of Lena (Katie McGrath) finding out that Kara is Supergirl from her brother, Lex (Jon Cryer), the rest of the season seemed to quickly spin out of control –simultaneously telling multiple stories that never really went anywhere or had any consequences to the actual characters. Azie Tesfai, who plays Kelly Olsen, and Andrea Brooks (Eve Teschmacher) are upgraded to series regulars, after recurring in season four. New characters Andrea Rojas (Julie Gonzalo) and William Day (Staz Nairobis) are introduced but eventually fade into obscurity as the season progresses.
Kara finally musters up the courage to tell Lena about her secret identity at a party celebrating her Pulitzer Prize and, while Lena is forgiving and supportive at first, we quickly find out that it’s the complete opposite. The rift between Kara and Lena, and the vilifying of Lena’s character, goes on for way too long. Though it did give us some of the better scenes between Benoist and McGrath, particularly during the scene when the two of them are in the Fortress of Solitude when it finally dawns on Supergirl that Lena had been lying to her.
There’s also an icky subplot that involves Brainy (Jesse Rath) working with Lex to save his friends while also lying to their faces. The underwhelming crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” although full of nostalgic moments, does little to bolster the season. The establishing of what is supposedly the season’s Big Bad, a centuries-old organization known as Leviathan, is drawn out and then easily wrapped up in one episode.
The 100th episode, which revolves around Kara trying to fix her relationship with Lena, is one of the few highlights, but the events are never spoken of for the rest of the series. There’s also “Reality Bytes,” an episode that focused on Dreamer/Nia Nal, played by Nicole Maines, that touches on the all-too-real subject of violence against trans women of color, but (again) includes events that are never mentioned again. Staff writer Jay Faerber recently gave a podcast interview in which he stated that the Supergirl team of writers didn’t put together an outline for the final two seasons (five and six), and it clearly shows.