Supergirl Faces Her Most Monstrous Opponent Yet: Toxic Masculinity

Warner Bros. Television

Supergirl has battled evil aliens, horrible cyborgs, and Luthors, but on a special Valentine’s Day, she squared off against the ultimate bad guy. That’s right, Kara had to deal with dueling male egos.

When Mr. Mxyzptlk dropped in at the end of last week’s episode to interrupt what would’ve been Kara and Mon-El’s first kiss, he really brought out the worst of the poor lovestruck Daxamite. This was a bit of a new side of Mr. Mxyzptlk, a Fifth-Dimensional Imp who looked way hotter in Supergirl than he usually does in the comics, where longtime Superman fans are used to him. He’s typically a creature of chaos — more annoying than anything else — but on Monday’s episode, he’s a sleazy, controlling pick-up artist. He wants to marry Kara and won’t take no for an answer, no matter how much dismay he causes or how much she protests.

Kara really doesn’t have any time for Mxyzptlk’s bullshit. He’s just another foe to be vanquished, albeit an especially lecherous one. What’s really irking Kara is the ugly side of Mon-El that Mxyzptlk dragged out. Mon-El has always been a bit of a bro, to say the least, but his “battle” with Mxyzptlk “over” Kara emphasized his most chauvinistic, bullish tendencies. He’s coming from a place of earnest affection, but that’s not an excuse to ignore Kara’s wishes. She’s got this, as we saw when she expertly tricked Mxyzptlk into typing his name backward, banishing him.

With Mxyzptlk gone, Kara and Mon-El make up, and after a first kiss, officially become a couple (though Kara did give Mon-El a much-needed talking to about respect first). This romantic pairing doesn’t have any precedent in the comics, so we’ll just have to wait and see where this couple ends up.

It’s an interesting episode of Supergirl, although not unusual if you’ve been watching for a while. Sure, Supergirl is a fun, accessible superhero romp, but it’s also proudly and unapologetically progressive. It’s already one of the gayest shows on TV (look no further than this episode’s subplot dealing with Maggie’s real coming out story for proof), so it’s no surprise that it would touch on the darker sides of romance for what could be billed as a quirky Valentine’s Day special. Mxyzptlk is a goofy character, but, as depicted in Supergirl, he’s also a sexual harasser. The discomfort that he — and Mon-El, inadvertently — cause Kara, isn’t just laughed away. Supergirl knows that toxic masculinity is a much bigger threat than any purple parasite might be.

And, not for nothing, but this is at least the second time that Supergirl has had a slimy male villain call someone a “nasty woman.” Make of that what you will.

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