Kara grapples with religion in Supergirl episode 304: 'The Faithful'

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Oct 31, 2017

Two years ago, there was a man named Thomas Coville who was aboard Alex's crashing plane when Kara became Supergirl and saved them. Now Coville has started the Cult of Rao, a "religion" that worships Supergirl as their god. Believers are brought in when they have been saved by Supergirl.

Kara visits a meeting and is horrified. She has been deified, and Rao was a real god who was worshipped on Krypton. Coville has perverted the beliefs of Rao and now seems to advocate people putting themselves into precarious positions so they can be saved by Supergirl and "reborn," or whatever religious people believe. In one instance, Supergirl rushes out to save a young man from a burning building. It turns out that he set the fire so that his "god" could save him. Kara confronts him, and Coville recognizes her as Supergirl, but promises not to tell.

Coville has a bigger plan: a mass murder/suicide plot with a betahedron pod that he plans on detonating in the basement of a hockey arena during a sold-out game. Supergirl flies in to get rid of the bomb, but as soon as she gets close, she collapses. It turns out the betahedron is powered by Kryptonite. Upon seeing their "god" weakened to a mere mortal, they run. Even Coville seems apologetic and tries to disarm the bomb. It doesn't work. Alex rushes in and removes the Kryptonite, which allows Supergirl enough strength to burn a hole in the floor, deep enough for Alex and Coville to drop the bomb in without repercussion.

Well, there is one repercussion. The bomb seems to have awakened some sort of spaceship buried deep within the earth that contains a human-sized test tube with a human hand that seemed to want out. This may or may not be related to Samantha's sudden vision of strange markings all over her skin, followed by a visit from a hooded monstery humanoid who says that she was born from Rao and one day soon will reign. May or may not be related ... but most definitely is.

Coville is a great villain, because he is not really villainous. Honestly, he doesn't seem much different from, say, L. Ron Hubbard. They both worship aliens, and they both believe they are running religions that are in fact cults. Hubbard just managed to convince the government that he should get tax-exempt status for his cult. But Coville's intentions seem to be good. He isn't trying to take money from his parishioners or anything like that.

It is interesting watching Kara grapple with her religion. Religion was never something that was a "thing" with Kara, so it seemed odd for her to suddenly reveal how important religion was to her at home. I didn't really see Coville as advocating for people to try to kill themselves in order to be saved by Supergirl, and frankly, Coville's religious blather didn't sound much different than other religious blather. Full disclosure: I am an atheist, so all religions seem like cults to me.

At the end of the episode, Coville is in prison, and Kara goes to visit. He is optimistic, because he believes that he is there to bring Supergirl back to clarity and purpose and help her find peace. "I will pray to you, but I will also pray for you," he tells her through the thick glass divider. Kara doesn't know how she feels about that, but she does return to prayer. Maybe Kara will start to buy into the Cult of Rao and believe that she is a god of some sort. I just really hope Coville comes back. He is a good, multi-layered villain. Between him and Reign, we could have some really great villains this season.

On the other side of the spectrum, there was a lot of mom stuff in this week's episode. Girls' night with Kara, Alex, Maggie, Lena, and Sam provided a true bonding experience where they all shared magic pants or something. (Just kidding.) But seriously, they all became BFFs and vowed to be Ruby's cool aunts. This was just a way to bring up the whole "Alex wants babies, Maggie does not" conflict, which is really upsetting. You can't just let the cute lesbians get married? How often do we get to see a lesbian marriage on television? Off the top of my head, I can't think of one, at least not between two leading characters. Alex seems to know she is going to have to break up with Maggie because she really wants kids, and spends the last few scenes crying because she knows what she has to do. I cannot empathizes with this because I don't have kids, I don't want kids, and do not regret my decision at all.

Let's hear from you guys. Is Coville a cult leader or a religious figure? Do you think there is any way for Alex and Maggie to make their relationship work?