The mid-season finale of Supergirl Season 3 introduced us to Kara Danvers's greatest enemy to date. Reign took flight and immediately proved herself to be more than Supergirl's equal. The episode ended with Kara in critical condition, beaten to within an inch of her life. Although the Legion of Super Heroes are on hand to back up the D.O.E., it's already clear that Reign will not be defeated by brute force alone. So how can she be stopped?
It seems Reign is the product of years of Kryptonian research. As a result, Reign's Kryptonian genes have been carefully modified. She possesses power beyond any other Kryptonian, as was proven when the so-called Worldkiller defeated Supergirl with disturbing ease. This presumably also means she's more powerful than even Superman. Worse still, the powers appear to be accompanied by an artificially-created persona. The Reign persona is dedicated to her mission — to judge worlds — and has been equipped with all the skills and knowledge she will need to achieve her goal. In her battle with Supergirl, Reign demonstrated tremendous hand-to-hand combat skills. She effortlessly fused these abilities with her own enhanced strength and speed.
At first glance, it would seem that the Kryptonian cult had successfully created their Worldkiller. In reality, one thing has not gone as planned. Although Reign survived the destruction of Krypton, she was sent to Earth in a pod, and grew up as the human Samantha Arias. Samantha lived, and loved, and even had a child. Crucially, it was actually Samantha's love for her daughter Ruby that led to her uncovering the power of Reign. This love remains.
The central theme of Supergirl has always been the importance of family. Season 3 has seen Kara tread a difficult path, trying to decide whether or not she is more a Kryptonian or a human. Reeling from the pain of Mon-El's loss, Kara desperately tried to escape her humanity. It would be so very appropriate for Reign's human connections — her tie to Ruby — to be her one great weakness. Samantha is motivated by love for her daughter, a passionate and committed love that has seen her prove to be a tremendous single mother. Her daughter dared to believe her mother would become a superhero, and Ruby's faith in her mother offers the possibility of redemption.
The mid-season finale offered a single tantalizing hint that Samantha's persona still has influence over Reign. When Morgan Edge's goons threatened Samantha's friends, her anger led Reign to seek vengeance against him. That's a crucial scene, suggesting that the two personas are not so sharply divided as that ancient Kryptonian cult would have wished. The Kryptonians never intended for Samantha to have a daughter, and their dark plans never factored in the power of a mother's love.
It's too soon to say for certain how this will play out in Supergirl. A possible redemption arc might just mean Reign survives Season 3. More likely, though, is that Samantha's persona will ultimately force Reign to relent from judgement and sacrifice herself to save Ruby. This scenario would be all the more appropriate, given it would fit in with other themes of this season. Kara's sister Alex has always wanted to have a child; could she wind up adopting Ruby after Reign's death?
Whatever the case may be, Reign is clearly the most powerful threat to strike National City. She's already proven to be a terrifyingly effective nemesis, one who should rightly strike fear in the hearts of Supergirl's allies. Ironically though, she is not beyond redemption.
Supergirl Season 3 returns with “Legion of Superheroes” on Monday, January 15th @ 8pm ET on The CW.