'Supergirl' Continues the Superhero Tradition at Being Terrible in Love

Love blows colder than ice breath.


Superheroes wouldn’t be 21st century analogs of Greek gods if they didn’t have tragedy. Usually, it comes in two forms: dead parents or the inability to love like regular folks. Mary Jane and Spider-Man, Lois Lane and Superman are geekdom’s premiere power couples, and what’s become of them? MJ divorced Spidey and is now Tony Stark’s personal assistant. Superman went off with Wonder Woman, and then dumped her too. On CBS’ Supergirl, Kara has spent most of the season caught between the man she wants and the man who wants her. In “Childish Things,” she may have lost both forever.

If the title wasn’t Supergirl, Kara wouldn’t be the star. It would be Winn, dorky boy next cubicle capable of so much more than others give him credit for. He’s Peter Parker minus the radioactive spider bite. But this is Kara’s show, and in Kara’s show Winn’s dad is the Toyman, a minor but storied DC supervillain.

Halfway through Supergirl’s stellar first season, Winn undergoes a radical change when he overcomes his cowardice keeping him from telling Kara his true feelings. It’s both a preventative measure from becoming like daddy, who bottled up emotions which later snapped him into supervillainy, and also because plot demands this story finally get somewhere. But at last, Winn confesses his love for Kara, complete with a horrendously inappropriate kiss which Kara shoots down. Not even a Kryptonian can survive it. Supergirl can contain bombs with ice breath but she’s helpless against these bombshells that destroy her treasured friendships.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Olsen — the man Kara pines for — welcomed his girlfriend Lucy to the Catco offices, subjecting Kara to coffee break make-outs within peripheral vision.

With more than half a season to go, something’s gotta give. Would it be wrong if Kara did choose Winn, which would sadly frame terrible moments like the kiss as just speed bumps and not stop signs? Would it also be bad if Kara chose James, who is not only unavailable but also paint unhealthy interpersonal behavior as just things to endure until you get what you want like a pot of gold near a rainbow? News flash: People aren’t pots of gold, and no one gets what they want in the end, or at least how they expect it. Ask Oliver Queen.

Normal people complicate love too much. Superheroes complicate it all the time. It comes with the job description.

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