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Recap / Supergirl (2015) S3E6 "Midvale"

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In the wake of Alex's break up with Maggie, the Danvers return to their hometown and the history between the sisters is revealed.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Absentee Actor: Samantha, Lena, James and for the first time in the series, Winn, are absent for this episode.
  • Almighty Mom: Eliza is fair but firm with Alex and Kara.
  • Almost Kiss: Kara and Kenny nearly kissed, but she felt awkward and pulled away.
  • Alpha Bitch: Alex was revealed to be this in high school. After her adventure with Kara in solving Kenny's murder, however, she takes Kenny's place on the totem pole as a social outcast — not that she really minds, in the end.
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  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Kara tries to comfort Alex by saying her grief will get better over time, Alex just rhetorically asks her is she is feeling better.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Kenny Li bonds with Kara with his stargazing hobby. He's even smart enough to store pictures of galaxies in his laptop.
  • Asshole Victim: Both the pot smoking bully as well as the pedophile teacher were not guilty of killing Kenny, but their legal repercussions were still deserved.
  • Big Brother Worship: Well more like big/little cousin worship, Kara is shown to idolize Clark/Superman as a teenager, and initially openly wishes she could live and fight evil with him and not the Danvers.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Sheriff Collins sure seems like a friendly, helpful, and considerate small town lawman at first, doesn't he? Turns out he's anything but.
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  • Book-Ends: The episode opens with the sisters going to their childhood home to help Alex cope with her breaking up with Maggie and ends with them heading back to National City. Outside of that, the episode is entirely a flashback.
  • Call-Forward: Sheriff Collins wonders if Alex ever considered a career in law enforcement, an occupation everyone knows she takes in the present day.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Young Kara was an advocate of the "knocking them out from behind before they know you're coming" approach.
  • Continuity Cameo: J'onn uses his powers to disguise himself as a FBI agent who looks like Kara's mom in order to try to dissuade her from using her powers. He changes back when nobody's looking.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The girls borrow J'onn's car/ship for their trip home.
    • J'onn is shown keeping an eye on Kara and Alex, taking the form of an FBI Agent identical to Alura to help her through her problems, honoring his promise he made to Jeremiah to watch over the Danvers.
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  • Corrupt Cop: The sheriff who's selling drugs on the side — and killed Kenny to keep him quiet.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Not a character, but the first episode in a long time to fully focus on Kara and Alex's sisterhood.
  • Dirty Cop: Sheriff Collins.
  • Disappeared Dad: During their high school years, Alex's dad is still presumed dead at the time. Alex blames Kara for it.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Kara, according to Alex. Alex even calls her a crazy driver.
  • Fantastic Racism: Both in the flashback as well as in the present during her chat with her adopted mother, Kara still shows light signs of this, insisting that she isn't human.
  • Fatal Flaw: Eliza points out that Kara's inability to show weakness to her loved ones in the face of tragedy is hers.
  • Foreshadowing: The song "Fake Do-Gooders" by The Eames Era plays during a montage of Alex and Kara competing with each other. "Fake Do-Gooder" turns out to be a rather appropriate description of the episode's villain.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: J'onn disguises himself as an FBI Agent that looks exactly like Alura so Kara can open up about her struggles more than if he were Hank.
  • The Ghost: Kara mentions Clark's friend Chloe, and is in contact with her during the investigation of Kenny's death, but is neither seen nor heard.
  • Hero of Another Story: One of Superman's encounters with Lex Luthor is talked about.
  • He Knows Too Much: Poor Kenny got killed over blackmail material of the sheriff dealing drugs.
  • Humiliation Conga: The Jerk Jock is overpowered by a girl half his size in front of his teammates, is forced to admit to using pot, and gets suspended for it.
  • In Vino Veritas: Alex gets very blunt and downright mean after being drunk.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Teenaged Alex acts that way, blaming Kara for everything wrong in her life. Given that she is a teenager, this might be justified or at least understandable.
    • Sheriff Collins, who thinks that he is entitled to get more than he makes in his job and thus turned to drug smuggling. Since he's an adult, it's considerably less justifiable.
  • Jerk Jock: Kara flat out states that she hates the school's football players. They hardly do much to invalidate such an opinion.
  • Little Miss Badass: Kara as a 15-year-old is quickly able to save Alex from being killed by Sheriff Collins. She also easily overpowers a jock who she suspected of murdering Kenny.
  • Match Cut: The first scene of the flashback transitions from the last scene of Kara and Alex going to sleep, and does the same in reverse when it ends.
  • Mundane Utility: Kara uses her Super Speed to get first dibs on the bathroom before school.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Kara mentions Clark's friend Chloe, who's into weird tech stuff and has a "Wall of Weird".
    • Although the whole episode is a Prequel named after the city where the hero grew up, just like Smallville., the entire setup -Kara Zor-El adopted by the Danvers and hiding her powers as growing up in Midvale, the whole time wishing she could live with her cousin and be a hero- is taken from the Silver Age Supergirl stories.
    • Superman once foiled Lex from selling Powered Armor and was pretty angry about the affair. This is more or less the plot of the first episode of Superman: The Animated Series, which ended with Superman giving Lex a Death Glare and a stern warning.
    • Superman is said to wear red underwear over his pants. While this version of Superman is shown to be wearing a different suit in the present, the implication is that, at one point, Superman wore the classic suit, complete with red trunks.
  • Not So Above It All: Kara finally allows herself to intentionally be vulnerable with Alex and acknowledges that despite her brave face, she still misses Mon-El.
  • Origin Story: The beginning of Kara and Alex's sisterhood is the focus of the episode.
  • Power Incontinence: When Kara goes into the woods at night, she hears a twig snap behind her. She whirls around and blasts a tree next to Alex with her Eye Beams. She then apologizes, explaining that it sometimes happens when she's startled.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Kara tries to be there for Alex in the wake of her broken engagement, but Alex cruelly throws the six months Kara spent distancing herself from her and her friends over Mon-El back in her face.
      Kara: You want to talk, it might help?
      Alex: (defensively) You don't get to do that.
      Kara: What!?
      Alex: You don't get to shut down for six months after Mon-El goes and sit there and tell me to talk!
    • The flashback shows that even years after Kara arrived on Earth, Alex still resents Kara because her presence disrupted her content life with her parents by resulting in Jeremiah having to leave and Eliza forcing Alex to act as a mentor/babysitter.
    • Teenage Kara hates living on Earth because, unlike her cousin, she still remembers and misses her life on Krypton and her family. It's compounded by the fact her upbringing there resulted in her classes being either too easy (Kryptonians learn calculus at a younger age) or difficult (she has no basic knowledge of US history) and struggles to fit in with the other students' social behavior.
  • Red Herring: Samuel Bernard, one of Kara and Alex's teacher's, is set up as the villain and while he's definitely guilty of statutory rape (presumably, the age of consent in the state Midvale is in is 18), he's not Kenny's murderer. That would be Sheriff Collins.
    • Earlier, Kara suspected the Jerk Jock since Kenny had something on him. It turns out he was smoking pot and only threatened to beat up Kenny if he tells anyone.
    • She also briefly suspected Kenny's dad due to his behavior while being questioned.
  • Secret Keeper: Chloe is implied to be this for both Clark and Kara.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: At the end of the episode, one of Kenny's telescope images reveals that he knew Kara was an alien, and that he didn't care. When Kara learns this, she admits that if he were in front of her right now, she'd kiss him. As an adult Kara even calls him a "keeper of secrets".
  • Ship Tease: Kara and Kenny shared an Almost Kiss, and it's implied that Kara's awkwardness was not because she didn't return his feelings for her. Unfortunately, Kenny's death means nothing ever comes of it.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sibling Rivalry: As teens, Alex and Kara had a very frosty relationship. It got better. It shows that, while Kara aced calculus and science, having studied them as a child on Krypton, and gym (by using her Super Strength), she doesn't know much about American history, as she doesn't feel like she needs to learn that.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: Kenny gets badmouthed in his death by his classmates, some even seeming to be happy he's dead. Kara is very justifiably pissed.
  • Starter Villain: Chronologically, Sheriff Collins is this to both of the Danvers sisters.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Deconstructed as Reality Ensues and the teacher promptly goes to jail for statutory rape. Josie, the student in question, tried to justify the relationship to her soon-to-be-former best friend Alex by pointing out the age gap (ten years) isn't that large and that no one will care in five years when she's older. What she fails to realize is that in five years it's assumed she'll be mature enough to realize a guy that old that is willing to have a relationship with a teenager (his student no less) is a sexual predator. It's also implied that, in the state where Midvale is located, the age of consent is 18 (it varies between 16 and 18, depending on the state)note .
  • Three-Point Landing: Kara had already mastered this landing pose when she was a teenager. In fact, she does it repeatedly, maybe even beating Iron Man's own "Iron Man Pose per story" record.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Alex ditches her Alpha Bitch personality by the end after learning just how horrible her "friends" truly are.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Kenny's telescope, which was left as a gift for the Danvers' and still remains in their home.
  • The Unfavorite: Alex felt like this as a teen due to the fact Eliza kept forcing her to watch over Kara and excusing any of Kara's transgressions on the basis that she's not from Earth.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Overlaps with No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. Kara and Alex expose the Jerk Jock quarterback is using pot, that the history teacher is a sexual predator, and the sheriff as corrupt and a murderer and what's the reward? Being social outcasts in the school. However, Mr. and Mrs. Li are grateful, so they rewarded Kara and Alex with Kenny's favourite telescope.
  • Watch the Paint Job: J'onn texts Kara at the end of the episode, warning her not to scratch his car.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Kenny Lee, Kara's high school friend.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Other than the Book-Ends, the majority of the episode is a flashback to 10 years prior.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The entire flashback is essentially Riverdale.
    • On a Supergirl-related note, the plot of the flashback also has quite a few passing similarities to the story Supergirl: Being Super from 2016.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Sheriff Collins murdered Kenny, and is perfectly fine with trying to do the same to Alex.


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