In a number of ways, the third season of Supergirl ended on a very familiar note. Again, we saw Kara and her allies had a confrontation with a super-powerful enemy intent on destroying everyone and claiming the Earth. However, the formulaic end to the third season showed that the series was unable to capitalize on the entire conflict with Reign in the way it should have. Nonetheless, it did provide us with enough strong character moments that prevented the series from going for a completely bland and predictable finish. First and foremost, most of the global carnage was exorcised by ‘Battles Lost and Won’ in the early part of the episode.
Had the episode dedicated more of its time focusing on Kara and her team putting a stop to natural disasters or dealing with Reign and her mistresses. The action scenes shown early in the episode were quite impressive, even though they were a bit lacking in the special effects department, but after that, the conflict took a more intimate approach. It was frustrating to see that a villain like Reign didn’t get a chance to live up to her full potential eventually. When it comes to villains, this show has seemed to fail as compared to other shows in the Arrowverse, but for a while we thought Reign would change that.
During the season’s first half, the writers got plenty of time to work on the character and develop Reign’s human side as well as flesh out Samantha’s relationship to Lena and Kara. The purpose was to ensure that when Samantha’s dark side finally did take over, her downfall would be more significant and meaningful. Unfortunately, the story of this villain was just one of the various areas where the series went off the rails in its last weeks. It all began with their decision to kill of Pestilence and Purity in ‘Trinity’, which was nothing but a waste two great supporting villains.
However, the biggest flaw was the increased focus on the Harun-El rock and all the other mystical element that this brought to the table. Reign was most definitely an interesting character, but the mythology behind were was just not that interesting. Likewise, Serena and her other witches lacked the depth needed to be different and ended up falling into the same category as other Supergirl villains who want to destroy the world just because the plot demands it so. Another blow to the final conflict was when the showrunners decided to literally divide Reign and Samantha into two individual characters.
Thus, Kara’s reluctance to kill Reign didn’t carry the same meaning because we were aware that her fate was not really connected to Samantha’s in any way. It meant that Samantha never had to make the choice between good and evil as this choice was made for her. But, there were some redeeming qualities to be found like how they showed Kara’s struggle to avoid killing Reign and save her. Practically speaking, it seemed like a simple choice to kill Reign in order to save the planet, but that would mean that her friends and family would be killed in battle.
Instead, Kara was smart enough to come up with a more elegant solution to this problem when she set things right by using some time travel. In addition, it was also a good thing that the show didn’t make Kara’s use of time travel appear to be a painless and quick solution. As Barry Allen is aware, messing with the timeline is not without its consequences. Now, it seems that Kara’s decision to travel through time has brought her dark side to life, meaning there is a good chance that Supergirl herself will be the villain in season 4.
As far as the show’s supporting cast is concerned, it has been an eventful season for them. Alex has had to deal with her breakup with Maggie and her increasing desire to become a mother. Mon-El has been torn between his desire to have what he had with Kara once or do his duty as a Legionnaire. J’onn experienced the joy of being reunited with his father once again, but then be forced to watch M’yrnn’s mind deteriorate right before him. In the case of Lena, she has evolved from being an ally to someone morally uncertain. Apparently, you cannot run away from the Luthor genes, even if you are adopted
Naturally, the show hasn’t exactly handled all these subplots well during the season. Alex’s breakup was more than frustrating as it didn’t really seem a good idea to destroy the most endearing romance we have seen on the series. Another area where the show has struggled is with James’ role. In recent storylines, they have tried to explore the struggles he faced for being a black man in 21st century America, but the results really didn’t amount to much. Season 3 was unable to capture the appeal of Season 2 using the extraterrestrial population of National City as a metaphor for the immigration reforms.
Coming back to the finale, the episode was able to tie up all the loose ends quite well. M’yrnn’s character had a strong arc over the season and the death delivered a strong emotional blow that was needed. David Harewood and Carl Lumbly were amazing during the tearful farewell scene. It was nice to see Harewood get a good send-off as he will be taking on a reduced role in the next season. On the positive side, J’onn’s job would now be taken over by Alex, which would definitely bring a good change.
The season was also a strong one for Mon-El, even though the Legion was not used as effectively as he should have been. But, he did get a strong conclusion as he had to accept that he couldn’t resume things with Kara again. Their farewell was also emotional and satisfying thanks to the chemistry between the two actors. In a nutshell, the third season ended on a mixed note as some emotionally charged scenes gave the show the pickup it needed to repair some of the damage.