Supergirl Review: “The Faithful”

A religious cult comes to National City, and Supergirl must stop them before people get hurt.

Supergirl – “The Faithful”, Season 3, Episode 4
Airdate: October 30, 2017
Writers: Paula Yoo and Katie Rose Rogers
Production Company: Berlanti Productions / Warner Bros. Television

What You Should Know:

Due to her feelings of abandonment growing up, Maggie tells her fiancé Alex (Supergirl’s adoptive sister) that she is not interested in having children. Alex puts on a good face at hearing the news but keeps from Maggie her secret that she still would like to be a mother someday.

Samantha Arias becomes the new co-director of L-Corp but is finding it hard to juggle both her work responsibilities and being a single mother.

What You’ll Find Out:

The episode opens to show a rather jaded man sitting aboard an airplane cabin. (Played by actor Chad Lowe) He tells the person next to him how miserable his marriage is and proceeds to get drunk. Something happens to the plane as it begins to head downward sharply. Looking around, the jaded man sees that everyone on the plane is praying. He then looks out the window to see that Supergirl has saved the plane from crashing. Getting a better look at what Supergirl is wearing, we learn that this is the same plane-save event that occurred in the very first episode of the series.

Flash forward to the present, we find Samantha at her daughter Ruby’s school soccer game. She is only half paying attention to the game as her work phone is keeping her tied up. A strange woman tells Samantha that both she and Ruby are very special people. She hands Samantha a brochure and tells her that she can find out more about herself and Ruby at the address within. Not thinking anything of it, Samantha takes the brochure to work and leaves it on her desk. When Kara sees it, she notice’s the Kryptonian symbols on the cover and makes arrangements to visit the group along with James Olson and Winn Schott. When they get there, they discover that the group is called the Children of Rao. They also discover that it is a cult loosely based on the Kryptonian Rao religion, but with Supergirl as their main deity of worship. Their leader is the same jaded man from the opening sequence.

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After some research, Winn is able to learn that the man’s name is Thomas Coville and that he was aboard Flight 237, the same flight that introduced Supergirl to the world. The cult is filled with persons who’ve been saved in one way or another by Supergirl over the years. Coville encourages people to put themselves in harm’s way for the possibility of having Supergirl save them so that they can fully appreciate Supergirl as a savior figure. Soon after a building fire occurs. When Supergirl arrives, she saves a young man from being burned to death. Once he is safe, he is greeted by another “Children of Rao” member who happily confirms that he has been saved by their god and can now join their religion. Realizing that the fire was set on purpose, Kara aka Supergirl asks Maggie to arrest Coville before anyone gets hurt. Unfortunately for her, Maggie tells Kara that unless Coville breaks the law himself, he’s protected.

Having a girl’s night out at Kara’s apartment, Samantha shares with Lena, Kara, Alex and Maggie the hardship of having to balance work life with her mother-based home life. She then tells Alex and Maggie that they will understand once they have children of their own. Alex is speechless, but Maggie explains that they aren’t having kids but that they will be awesome aunts instead. There is a look of pain on Alex’s face but she keeps her thoughts to herself.

In her Kara persona, Supergirl approaches Coville telling him that she is a reporter for CatCo. interested in interviewing him on his religion. After some awkward questions centered on the harm the religion is doing, Coville reveals that he knows that Kara is really Supergirl. He explains that he looked into her eyes when she saved the plane all those years ago and that he sees the same eyes in her. Kara tells him to stop preaching his religion as it is a blasphemy to the real Rao religion. Coville’s response is that he is being tested by her presence and that he intends to pass this test. After Kara leaves, he goes to another room where we see a Kryptonian machine called a Betahedron. He speaks to the machine, saying that he will use it to help Supergirl. Winn later discovers that the Betahedron has been set to explode at a filled hockey stadium in the hopes that Supergirl can save the people within, providing the Children of Rao with more followers. Not knowing it has Kryptonite within it, Supergirl is weakened when she attempts to destroy the Betahedron. Realizing her predicament, she cuts her hand, showing the assembled Children of Rao members that she can bleed. They gasp and leave, no longer believing that Supergirl can save them from the explosion. Coville stays on, looking defeated. Supergirl uses all of her strength to heat vision a hole into the earth. Alex and Coville then push the machine into the hole, where it safely explodes. Coville is taken into custody for the bomb explosion attempt, but he tells Kara that he will use his time in prison to meditate and pray for her.

Samantha later invites Kara, Lena, and Alex to attend her daughter’s talent show. As Ruby sings “World of Pure Imagination”, Alex begins to cry and walks out of the show. Seeing this, Kara follows her and asks her what’s wrong. Alex tells her that more than anything she wants to be a mom, but she knows that she can’t be one married to Maggie. She then falls into Kara’s arms crying, telling her that she doesn’t know what she’s going to do.

The earlier Betahedron explosion unknowingly triggers an underwater spaceship to suddenly become active. Lights appear throughout it, and within there are several closed life pods. Becoming active as well, a hand can be seen attempting to open its life pod door.

In the final scene, we see Samantha getting ready for a bath. As she looks in the mirror, she sees that her face and body are completely covered in Kryptonian symbols. Turning around, she sees a dark cloaked figure that tells her, “From Rao’s fire you were born. One day soon, you will reign.” Samantha falls to the floor in terror. When Ruby walks in and sees her mother on the floor, she calls out to her. The Kryptonian symbols and the cloaked figure then disappear before Ruby can see them.

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What Does This Mean for the Future?

This episode further gives credit to Alex and Maggie’s marriage not happening. Unless Maggie is able to come to terms with her past and support Alex’s wish to become a mother, the two’s upcoming wedding seems doomed.

New alien beings are set to appear in the series via the newly activated underwater spaceship, but who those characters will be and what their relationship to Supergirl is, remains to be seen.

Rating: 6/10

Final Thought: This was a pretty mediocre episode that explored a bit of the Kryptonian religion of Rao. This is something die-hard Superman/Supergirl fans might enjoy, but normal viewers might find a bit lackluster. Of course, how an episode is written is what drives audience interest. With the right plot and story accents, James Cameron was able to leave people at the edge of their seats for over 3 hours in anticipation of watching a boat sink. Exploring another world’s mystic religion could’ve been shown just as interestingly. Ultimately though, the story presented didn’t do that. It instead was a bit choppy and thrown together in presentation. For this reason alone, I give the episode a lower score in comparison to my past Supergirl reviews. (Though it wasn’t terrible by any means.)

The real heart of the story was seeing Alex come to the realization that she very much still wants to be a mother and to share that experience in the same way her own parents had. In this slow to realize epiphany, she also understands that in order to have that dream fulfilled, she may have to sacrifice her relationship with Maggie. You can almost feel the devastation of her emotions as she holds her sister for support, not knowing what she should do. To the writer of this bit of plot/dialogue, kudos to you. Please, bring more of this real-life emotion to the forefront in more episodes. For as much as I love seeing the “comic-booky” other world action/fantasy of every Supergirl episode, depicting everyday true life scenes like this only enhance the series.

The one area that I am finding myself more and more bored with is the Samantha and Ruby Arias storyline. In a past review, I explained a plot device that is often used that I like to call “Stupid Kid Syndrome”, or SKS. This is when a child is so completely clueless or self-involved that they do things normal rational persons would never do. Ruby has shown this trait consistently. In this episode, she goes to her mother’s high rise corporate office and sees first hand how busy her mother is with her fellow employees and work emergencies, but still manages to look dejected and hurt that her mother isn’t able to tell everyone to leave the room so that she can help her daughter with her homework. When I was Ruby’s age, I would’ve understood that while my parents were at work, I was to leave the grown-ups alone to do their adult duties. Actually, I think the majority of the audience viewers at that age would’ve understood this concept. For whatever reason, Ruby hasn’t seemed to grasp this bit of reality, and it’s getting to be a bit grating to watch time and again. This new bit of mystery to Samantha with the Kryptonian visions is making her character interesting again, but at this point, I’m really hoping that little Ruby gets written off to live with her grandmother already.

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