The second episode of Supergirl season 4, "Fallout," raises disturbing questions about whether or not Kara really can pull her country back together. The episode title is an apt one, as the bulk of the story is focused upon the fallout of the season 4 premiere. The president has been outed as an alien, and the political consequences are massive.
As the United States falls into a state of chaos, Kara and her friends struggle to stem the tide of hate. But by the end of the episode it's clear they're outclassed on every level; Mercy Graves has done her homework, she knows just which members of the D.E.O. can be corrupted, and she even has a strategy to take down Supergirl.
So what questions does "Fallout" pose for the future of Supergirl? Here, we explore some of the most dangerous issues of all - including whether or not the time is coming for Kara Danvers to reveal her secret identity to the world.
- This Page: The Politics of Supergirl
- Next Page: Should Supergirl Reveal Her Secret Identity?
8. Could Supergirl's Politics Be Any More On The Nose?
Supergirl has never exactly been the most subtle show when it comes to handling its politics, but "Fallout" takes that to a new extreme. The episode kicks off at the White House, with President Marsdin listening to cries of "lock her up." Within moments, Supergirl is intervening to stop a riot at the gates of the White House, stopping only to catch a flag the mob have unwittingly toppled. In terms of political symbolism, this is about as subtle as a sledgehammer. Dialogue running through the rest of "Fallout" drives the point home. "They go low, we go high," J'onn observes. Towards the end of the episode, you have the throwaway question, "If the President lies, who can we believe in?"
Supergirl's speech calls for the United States to unify, and for people to put aside their fear and reach out to one another across the political divide. James Olsen, current editor-in-chief of CatCo Worldwide, wrestles with the question of whether or not to editorialize in the current political climate; will it lead to CatCo being viewed as biased, and thus dismissed as a partisan source of news? "Fallout" attempts to hold up a mirror to American society, to challenge it with the same message Supergirl delivers to her nation in-universe.
Rather appropriately, "Fallout" aired on the same day it was revealed that thhe Trump administration is considering instituting a narrow definition of gender under biological terms, rolling back recognition and protection of transgender people under federal civil rights law. This episode sees the new character Nia Nal reveal that she's transgender to James. She's destined to become Dreamer, the first transgender superhero we've ever had on TV. The timing of this episode couldn't be more opportune.
7. How Does Brainiac-5 Know Nia Nial?
When Brainiac-5 meets Nia, he's puzzled because she seems vaguely familiar. There's a simple reason: he knows one of her distant relatives. According to USAToday, the character is "inspired by and an ancestor of 30th Century DC Comics character Nura Nal/Dream Girl." That's one of Brainiac's colleagues in the Legion of Super Heroes. No wonder he had a sense that he knew her somehow.
6. How Bad Are These "Riots?"
As mentioned, the episode opens with a violent clash between protest groups outside the White House. Later in the episode, though, we learn that fear and anger is running unchecked and that riots blaze across the US. We don't see any indication of their scale, Supergirl herself doesn't seem to be busy trying to shut them down, and every time we see a street it really does seem safe enough. It's quite hard to say just how bad things are getting in "Fallout."
5. Just How Political Is Supergirl Herself?
The last two episodes have suggested that Supergirl has become closely associated with the current administration. She appeared to have open access to the White House, and that's presumably set to continue under President Baker. That may not be wise, especially given Kara knew Marsdin was an alien for quite some time, but chose to keep that fact secret from the American people. It's interesting to see that it's Supergirl who takes to the TV in order to make a speech, not her cousin Superman. It suggests that the two cousins have taken a slightly different approach to superheroics; Kara is a political figure, while Superman possibly tries to keep out of the politics as much as possible.