Supergirl typically trades blows with her main adversaries, who can often take a licking and keep on ticking. Reign, Rhea, Metallo, and Cyborg Superman certainly come to mind. However, Supergirl Season 4's charismatic and ruthless Agent Liberty is more brains than brawn. He leads an anti-alien movement, the Children of Liberty, that despises extra-terrestrials; he preys on people’s deepest fears and then calls his troops to action.
In this week’s episode, "Rather the Fallen Angel," Manchester Black betrayed the team by essentially handing Supergirl over to the Children of Liberty in exchange for a meeting with Agent Liberty (one that never happened). As a result, James Olsen was almost tricked into destroying a building that contained a powerless Supergirl.
Agent Liberty and his faction’s tactics seem to be escalating, with Supergirl as a primary target. Furthermore, Kara’s friend Lena Luthor appears to be up to no good with experiments that require human subjects as guinea pigs.
On the Vancouver set of Supergirl, Supergirl herself, Melissa Benoist, sat down with SYFY WIRE and other members of the press to discuss the Children of Liberty, how they reflect the real-world climate, Supergirl’s doppelganger Overgirl, and the coming of Lex Luthor.
How is Kara continuing to deal with this ugly side of humanity and hatred of the Children of Liberty?
Melissa Benoist: She's embodying what I think a lot of Americans feel right now, that helplessness and a really very hopeful and optimistic soul being tried, that her feelings of hope and positivity waning and she has to grasp exactly what she believes in to overcome it. And I think fear more than anything.
Agent Liberty is our big bad of the season, but fear as an entity is more of our villain this season. We'll continue to explore stories like that throughout Season 4 and how Kara will deal with it.
In the real world, freedom of the press continues to be under attack. With so many journalist characters on this show, is that a responsibility you feel to tell that story?
Yeah, absolutely. I think it's something we're all passionate about here, staying true to that and fighting against what we think is wrong, and really supporting the power of the press and showing people that it's for the good. You can really make lasting change by how you report to people.
Kara, luckily, is always reporting from a very genuine and caring and hopeful place, and always trying to find the facts and report responsibly. That's also something that we're trying to show.
James is going down a dark path this season with the Children of Liberty — How is Kara handling that?
She is aware that his intentions are always the best. I think she knows James well enough to know that he's a risk taker and that he's going to do what he needs to do to tell the story he wants to tell as a journalist. There is a conflict of interest there, too, because he's dating her best friend and he knows Kara's secret of Supergirl and Lena doesn't. So, those are complicated waters to tread. But I do think their friendship prevails over everything.
How is Kara going to manage the new leadership at the DEO?
So, Colonel Haley is here. There is some drama in the DEO. It was hard enough for Kara and Alex to figure out that new dynamic because we've seen Alex really feeling vulnerable with this new leadership. Haley does not have the same ideals as our Danvers sisters, or J'onn J'onzz for that matter. There is navigating some rough waters there.
What do you think of the philosophical differences Kara and J'onn have? Do you like it?
I do. I think they're the most interesting stories to tell, the ones where there are obstacles and challenges and conflict to face.
But what I love the most about this particular conflict between the two of them philosophically is that there is an immense load of respect there between the two of them. I think that J'onn J'onzz is the wisest character in this universe, so Kara really respects his opinion and his choices and what he wants to do in terms of being a pacifist. That really resonates with her. But I don't know if she's able to be that. There is a lot of interesting scenes. And it's so familial, that relationship, too, that it's only ever constructive when they disagree.
What's it like being a mentor this season?
To Nia Nal? I have to say, I'm so impressed by Nicole Maines. Her poise. She's so wise beyond her years. She is just an amazing human. I feel like me, as Melissa, I'm learning from Nicole.
But those scenes are particularly my favorite this season. It's fun to reverse the role and be in Cat Grant's chair.
Will we see more of Kara hiding her identity from Lena, and Lena maybe starting to suspect her?
I don't think it would be a Kryptonian story without stories like that. That's just the nature of Clark Kent and Kara Danvers that they have to toe that line. That was the decision Kara made at the end of Season 3, that she wanted to embrace her life. Messy as it could be with two identities, she didn't have to choose. So, I think she's always going to be juggling both of those things.
Lena is keeping a pretty big secret with the hearts and experiments.
It's a very Luthor secret to keep.
How soon will that come to a head?
I think what's so fun about exploring a Luthor and a “Super” relationship is the slow burn of it. I love that we're telling it in the way that Lex Luthor and Clark Kent were friends before they were enemies. I love that we're telling that story, too. I would expect that it will be a really slow burn, that realization, that reveal.
With Red Daughter, how are you separating this particular version of the character?
It's all about the circumstance. Someone with the powers that Kara Zor-El has, you have to really think about the way they were nurtured essentially and where they came from and their circumstances of becoming a superhero. Overgirl was obviously in a Third Reich-type scenario, so she was not using her powers for good.
And we all know Kara Zor-El, the Kara Danvers iteration, very well and that is who she is. But Red Daughter, it's really fun to play with this because we're seeing her, the way we're developing her this season is we're seeing how she's nurtured and how she becomes who she is. I get to discover it as we go this season, which is fun. I've not been able to do that outside of doing it with Kara Danvers.
It might be too early, but is there anything you can tell us about Supergirl's meeting or interaction with Lex Luthor?
I absolutely have no idea the parameters of how he's going to come into the world. But, I'm so excited that he is. I think most of his story, I would guess, would be with Lena. Of course, he's going to interact with Supergirl, too. It would only be fitting.