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Recap / Supergirl (2015) S3E4 "The Faithful"

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Kara discovers a cult has formed in National City made up of those who were saved by Supergirl under the name of the Kryptonian God Rao.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Affably Evil: Coville is a very friendly and compassionate, if delusional man. If he hadn't told people to endanger themselves and others for their faith, he wouldn't even have been a villain in the first place.
  • Berserk Button: Kara is very angry when she discovers Coville is perverting Krypton's religious teachings for his own ends, and that he is worshiping her.
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  • Big Damn Heroes: James relates that Superman pulled one of these to rescue him the first time they met.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Averted; Kara remembers every person she has saved, individually at least. The large-scale ones, like the plane Alex was on in the pilot, are another matter. Coville was on that flight.
  • Call-Back:
    • When Sam frets about ignoring her child because of the pressures of work, Lena mentions that her own mother was far worse.
    • Kara mentions the Omegahedron that powered Fort R'ozz.
  • The Cameo: My'rnn shows up in the ending montage, praying, when J'onn joins him.
  • Clark Kenting: Subverted here. Coville sees right through Kara's disguise, but he has the advantage of having seen her the first time she went public.
  • Cool Uncle: Gender-flipped; Lena, Kara, Maggie, and Alex all declare themselves to be Ruby's "cool aunts."
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  • Deliberately Distressed Damsel: The cult members begin putting themselves in harm's way to get Supergirl to save them. Coville's big plan is to threaten an entire stadium to create more converts.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: This is hinted to be partially why Coville founded the cult. When Supergirl saved him, his wife had left him for another man and his life had taken a nosedive down the bottle. Being Supergirl's devoted shepherd is literally all he has now.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Coville was just an average guy, fed up with his life and drinking heavily. Then Supergirl saved his life and he became a dangerous Cult leader.
  • A God I Am Not: Coville forms a religion with people who have been saved by Supergirl about worshiping her as a Messiah. Kara is very uncomfortable upon discovering the cult, even more so when they start putting themselves in mortal danger so she can save them as a kind of rebirthing ritual. Kara manages to prove she is not a God to the followers when she cuts her palm while the pod's Kryptonite cripples her powers. Unfortunately, Coville's belief is not so easily swayed.
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  • God Test: Inverted. In order to prove to Coville's followers that she's not a god, Kara uses a piece of metal to slice her hand open while under the effects of kryptonite.
  • Honorary Uncle: Kara, Lena, Alex, and Maggie all volunteer to be "cool aunts" for Ruby; all but Maggie show up at her recital at the end.
  • Jump Scare: Samantha's vision, as she is just minding her business in the bathroom, and suddenly she looks into the mirror and sees Kryptonian signs all over her face. Then a creepy, hooded, monstrous woman looms over her while speaking cryptically.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Coville realizes what a disaster he caused when he sees Supergirl weak and bleeding, meaning she can't possibly rescue the hundreds of people in the stadium above as he intended.
  • Mythology Gag: The story is partially based on a 2000 Supergirl story, "Hero Worship", where people believe Supergirl to be a divine messenger, and she has to talk them out of it.
  • Not So Different: When discussing Coville, James tells Kara that he can understand perfectly why she and Superman are seen as gods by many. He even admits that the first time Clark saved his life was seconds after he prayed for a saviour.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The episode shows that Kara's disguise doesn't fool anybody who has really looked closely into her eyes.
  • Parents as People: Samantha is seen struggling between her job duties and being a single mom.
  • Religion Is Wrong: Averted actually, as only what the Cult is doing is presented in a bad light. Peaceful belief is presented as something positive and relieving, as demonstrated at the end, with Kara (and Coville) praying to Rao, My'rnn and J'onn praying to H'ronmeer, and James earlier stating that he always feels good when he goes to church on Sundays.
  • Relocating the Explosion: Unable to stop the probe from overloading, Kara melts a pit through the concrete and the ground below, into which the probe is dropped, absorbing most of the explosion.
  • Remember the New Guy?: All the people Kara saved and are now Cult members were never seen directly on screen, yet Kara remembers them all.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Coville is correct that Kara is suffering from inner turmoil, but it's the loss of Mon-El that plagues her, not doubts of her place as a Goddess.
  • The Stinger: Yet another mysterious Kryptonian in a pod is about to wake up, only this time there's a whole ship with more pods.
  • Top God: Coville's interpretation of Kryptonian religion paints Rao in this light, since he refers to Rao's agents as gods in their own right... like he believes Supergirl to be. Note that Kara doesn't contradict Rao having other gods as servants, so presumably this is a standard part of the doctrine.
  • Tragic Villain: Given what he went through previously, it's easy to feel for Coville.
  • Wham Line: When Kara visits Coville in her civilian identity:
    Coville: Is this a test? Did you come to test my faith...Supergirl?
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Samantha is very troubled on how running L-Corp interferes with her spending time with Ruby. Lena calms her down, pointing out that she can't possibly be as bad a parent as her own mother was.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The explosion of the probe jostles the unknown alien ship, triggering a reanimation protocol in one of the pods.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When Samantha frets over her parenting, thinking of herself as the worst mother, Lena gets a laugh since she objectively has the worst mother in Lillian. She then assures Samantha that Ruby knows her mother is trying, and as long as she is loved she will do fine.

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