I’ve been a fan of the CW’s Supergirl since the moment I saw the preview for the show. Here was finally a fully-fledged representation of a female superhero character in modern pop culture that could, and would, lead the narrative of a television show.
What’s more is that the creators of Supergirl didn’t just settle for one relatable female character in the form of Kara Danvers, played by Melissa Benoist. In fact, there’s a whole host of them in this ensemble. In the first season alone there’s the acerbic and highly successful empire-running Cat Grant, perfectly played by Calista Flockhart and Kara’s adoptive sister Alex Danvers played by former Grey’s Anatomy alum Chyler Leigh. In season two the formidable and intellectual character of Lena Luthor, portrayed by Katie McGrath, has been added to the cast.
However, the storyline of Alex Danvers is one that has become enormously important. In Season One Alex is portrayed as Kara’s protector, which could be ironic when you consider that Kara is impervious to everything except a dose of Kryptonite. But somehow the irony of it is never obvious because Agent Alex Danvers has as much character as she has kick-ass fighting moves. But, in season one at least, there’s a hidden part of Alex Danvers that the character has not fully realized of herself.
It’s in the fifth episode of Season Two, after meeting detective Maggie Sawyer, that Alex admits to herself, and the viewers, that she is gay. While this storyline has proved to be a seminal moment of the truth for the character it’s the manner in which the storyline was depicted that likely spoke to LGBT viewers. Though this specific scene is preceded by several others it is this moment in the episode, titled Crossfire, when Alex overcomes her fears and accepts who she truly is with a brilliant speech.
“My whole life has been about being perfect. Perfect grades, perfect job, being the perfect sister taking care of Kara. But the one part of my life that I’ve never been able to make perfect was dating. I just never really liked it. I don’t know I mean I tried, you know. I got asked out I just…I never liked being intimate. I just…I don’t know I thought maybe that’s just not the way that I was built, you know? This is not my thing. I never thought that it was because of the other…that…maybe I. I mean I don’t know, I don’t know. Now I just cant stop thinking about…That maybe there’s some truth to what you [Maggie] said. What you said about me. ”
Is this a groundbreaking storyline for television writing? No, it isn’t. But what it is, finally, a realistic and relatable portrayal of an LGBT character. It’s important that Alex’s coming out, and subsequent relationship, has been portrayed in a mainstream show such as Supergirl because this storyline has the ability to resonate with countless LGBT viewers who have not seen many of their own stories represented on television screens.