On Monday, while New Yorkers were stuck watching the Giants beat the Bengals, everyone else in the country saw Guardian debut on Supergirl. In this week’s “Changing,” James (Mechad Brooks) and Winn (Jeremy Jordan) team up and unleash James’s armored vigilante while Kara (Melissa Benoist) is out of commission. The two handsome numbskulls make the surprising, daring decision to keep Guardian a secret from Kara and D.E.O., even though all signs point to that being a very, very bad idea.
Towards the end of “Changing,” while Kara is recovering from an earlier fight with a monstrous parasitic alien, Mon-El (Chris Wood) — completing his own arc about wasting his potential — steps up to fight the alien. When things look grim, a sticky grenade from Halo injures the alien, and out of the fog machine comes James as the Guardian (with Winn calling the shots in a van parked blocks away). Guardian keeps the alien busy until Supergirl is recovered to save the day.
When the fight is over, Supergirl thanks Guardian, who withholds his identity (he has a voice filter and his armor is made of lead). With gadgets and a seriously durable combat shield, James’s Guardian is a Captain America-meets-Batman type of superhero who will aid Supergirl when he can. She’s thankful for now, but when she finds out it’s James and Winn, boy is she going to be mad as hell.
See, “Changing” was chiefly about Alex (Chyler Leigh) coming out and accepting her queer identity. Be it Alex’s queerness or Kara’s Kryptonian heritage, true identities are discussed in coded and literal language that all sum up to, “Don’t keep secrets.” At least not to those who matter. With James keeping Guardian from Kara, Kara won’t be happy one of her closest friend has not only endangered himself, but is keeping it from her for no good reason.
Seriously. In the post-fight afterglow, James and Winn’s only reason for not telling Kara is because she’ll want to stop them. Of course she will! James isn’t a soldier, nor is he even trained! His black belt is baloney, they give those things out like candy. James, with enabling by Winn, is putting himself in serious danger, and armor is only good until someone powerful enough comes along to crush it.
Kara and James’s relationship is already in limbo since the start of this season, when they called off anything romantic between them. Are they just friends? Colleagues? Is there still a chance for something more? But until this season, it was always clear what roles they played. When danger strikes, it’s Kara’s job to rush in. No one else’s.
But in the wake of their split, James has become impotent, even in his role as the head of CatCo. Recall his first day, when grizzled Snapper Carr called the shots, usurping James’s lead. On top of a close call with death a few episodes ago, now James becoming Guardian is a desperate cry to claim something of his, and Kara won’t be happy at all. If not because James could die, but because James didn’t want to tell her.
Supergirl airs Mondays on The CW.