Well that was quite the episode in more ways than one. Oddly enough Chyler Leigh’s character Alex had the more predictable story arc this week. Not that that’s a bad thing. If you’ve seen this week’s episode of Supergirl titled Changes then you know there’s a ton of stuff I could unpack. Since I started working on this piece before I watched the episode I’m just going to focus on the subject that’s in the title for now.
Speaking of being gay, this wasn’t really a big surprise. For the last two or three episodes the writers have been intimating (and not necessarily subtly) that Alex Danvers is gay. I think that’s a great thing and I was so excited when I figured out that’s what was going on. Granted I kind of wondered if that’s what was happening when Maggie showed up at that first crime scene, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
It’s been interesting to watch Alex struggle with these weird new feelings because it gives us more background on her character. Up until this point we’ve never heard anything about Alex’s dating life. From what I remember there hasn’t even been a throwaway line about her having a bad date or how she’s too busy working for the DEO to have a social life. I suppose that’s because we spent all of season one with Kara and her will they or won’t they relationship with James Olsen.
At first I was disappointed that James and Kara didn’t get together but now I’m actually kind of glad because it gives us a chance to focus on things like this. Not to mention it would probably have gotten lost anyway what with Mon-El crashing to Earth, Superman showing up, a new Martian (we can debate her true colors later)appearing and Cadmus lurking in the background. While I don’t think Alex being gay will end up being a big thing in the long run it does provide a breath of fresh air that I feel is long overdue in television.
Alex Danvers is not the first nor will she be the last character to come out as gay. I imagine that she won’t be the last gay person to be rejected by her crush. Sure I’ve watched shows like Queer as Folk and Transparent where people get rejected but that’s different. Both of those shows have just as many gay as they do straight ones. But Supergirl is different in that Alex is a gay character among a bunch of straight ones.
That’s not new either, we see it in shows like Modern Family and The Goldbergs. But both of these shows use their gay characters for laughs or at least one of the gay characters is a stereotypical gay. You know what I mean. The high-strung, effeminate guy who is too sensitive and freaks out every time a crisis occurs. Not to say that’s always done poorly, I love Cameron and I think he’s great I just wish they didn’t use the trope of his feelings get hurt to get a laugh.
We’ve only seen Alex through this new lens for one episode so far but if the previous season is any indication we’re in for someone who is not only gay but a bad ass as well. Like any normal person being gay is just part of who she is, it doesn’t define her. The scene where Alex comes out Kara for the first time is honest, refreshing and yet completely normal. What comes across as possible disappointment and surprise on Kara’s part is just her trying to process this new part of her sister’s life. Kara is fine with Alex being gay, she’s just sorry she didn’t make time for her sister to come out sooner since everyone was so busy keeping Kara’s secret. Before long Kara is back to fighting aliens and Alex is busy providing back up and kicking butt.
Alex coming out as gay gives her sense of freedom and feeling whole. She may not have gotten the girl but she has given us a new side to her character. One that only adds to reasons I like Supergirl as a show and I’m eager to see where this new development takes us.