Better late than never. Supergirl’s Valentine’s Day episode comes almost a week after the holiday, but the bigger sin is definitely making us wait for Kara and Mon-El to finally get on the same page. With the amount of miscommunication between these two, it’s a minor miracle they’ve made it this far.
Mind you, the appearance of fifth-dimensional super being Mr. Mxyzptlk (possibly the most stressful name I’ve ever had to spell), doesn’t help matters. Not just because the episode serves as a deconstruction of rape culture and how the concept of love at first sight plays out within that context—probably not the best framework for exploring a budding relationship—but because the entirety of the plot revolves around the communication of being in love. And, by extension, how poor our main cast is at it.
So, let’s take a look at some of tonight’s confessions, confusions and pick-up lines and decide just how effective they are in helping the Supergirl family find the love they need.
A+ for getting to the heart of the matter, Kara. When a magical imp appears and confesses his love for you, getting his name should definitely be the first step, if only so you can avoid him later. In the future, maybe say it with a little more force. Not that he’ll listen, because Mr. Mxyzptlk has a bad habit of—
Interrupting. Look, buddy, I’m part of the whole Disney renaissance generation, so that song is maybe the most romantic thing ever, but using it to cut Kara off is a pretty shady move. If you want your relationship to work, listening is key. And if you must be the overbearing sort who doesn’t let your “love” finish a sentence, at least don’t taint a beloved cultural touchstone in the process.
Side note: I see what you did there, writers. Hiring the “Aladdin” from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and having him sing his own love ballad. Clever.
I think we’re all a little bit bitter at not knowing what J’onn wrote in his message to M’gann. Still, I’ll forgive it. Just knowing she’s still around to send messages to is enough for me. Also, “to write something down is to truly say it” is probably the most practically romantic sentiment of tonight’s episode. An excellent idea if you want to make sure you’re message is clear and that your sweetheart can’t wave it away. Certainly much better than…
Alex! No. Hasn’t your relationship with your mother taught you anything? Acting like something isn’t important only ends up with you being frustrated and grumpy. And a frustrated, grumpy Alex inevitably turns into an impulsive, not listening-y Alex. It’s okay to stand up for yourself! Maggie won’t know anything’s amiss if you don’t tell her. Well, at least she won’t know until you get drunk and blurt it out next Thanksgiving.
Okay, so it’s not so much a pick-up line as a pick-up quotation, but full points to Winn for this one. Unlucky in love he may be, but the stars have aligned in his favor. Meeting Lyra of Starhaven could have gone a lot of ways. She’s tough, direct and doesn’t like bullies. So who could have predicted that being able to quote her favorite childhood novel would come in handy? That’s pretty smooth, Winn. And sweet.
Kara! What is with these Danvers? Communication, ladies! Communication! Which not only means being honest about how you really feel, but also taking others seriously when they tell you how they really feel. It’s a little irony of this episode that, while the A plot focuses on Kara’s frustration with Mr. Mxyzptlk and Mon-El not listening to her, she herself advocates that Alex shouldn’t listen to Maggie. It’s a nice reminder that we’re all human—well, Kara’s not (obviously), but she is flawed. Perhaps not as devastatingly so as Mxyzptlk, but I think we all know that making assumptions about Maggie Sawyer can only lead to tears.
Oh no, we don’t want to say that, Mon-El. Not even a little bit. He has a lot of horrible lines tonight, but this one kind of hits the problem trifecta. Showing Kara that you don’t trust her, don’t think she can take care of herself, and are jealous of the man who is literally torturing her pretty much sets the bar for misunderstanding everything that Supergirl is. I get that you’re worried, Mon-El, but you really need to take a breath before your behavior gets you sent the way of James Olsen. Ouch, I hurt myself with that one.
As parting quips go, this one is pretty heartfelt and sweet. Ever the helpful, non-murderous hero, Kara sends Mxyzptlk off with some pretty solid advice. Who knows, maybe the next time we see him, he’ll have gotten some counseling. You know, after taking some time to work on the Mxyzptlk inside.
As self-esteem-crushing events go, being labeled an “experience” has to land pretty high on the list. Lyra may be talking about the science fiction equivalent of objectification, but I think all of us have wondered at one point or another if someone we’re with is really interested in who we are, or just the thing we can give them. That kind of thought can eat away at a person, so good on Lyra for putting it out in the open. Of course, if she’d seen Winn’s character growth over the last two seasons, she probably wouldn’t be as concerned.
Seriously, though, Maggie and Alex’s love is too precious for words. Who knew that an apology could be so very romantic? Yes, Alex oversteps the line, but Maggie withholding her real Valentine’s Day story and then dismissing Alex’s feelings out of hand isn’t a great move, either. I guess it just goes to show that, no matter how lovely a couple you are, you can still make mistakes.
See also: “I’m sorry for acting like as ass.” And: “You are my kryptonite.”
After an episode’s worth of idiotics, it turns out Mon-El is just saving all of his smart lines for the last two minutes. Learning to listen is hard. I think pretty much everyone in tonight’s episode can vouch for that. But Mon-El seems to have figured it out just in time. It’s a good thing too, because the will they/won’t they of this couple has been killing me. They’re on the same page now. Let’s just hope they aren’t in different books.
Katherine Siegel is a Chicago-based writer and director, and a regular contributor to Paste. You can find out more by checking out her website or follow her on Twitter.