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Supergirl: Bridges to Burn

Supergirl: Bridges to Burn

By Meg Downey Monday, October 23rd, 2017

The #DCTV Couch Club is a team of DC fans dedicated to exploring the shared universe of The CW’s Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Look for new Couch Club posts here on after every new episode!

Hey there, Couch Clubbers. Meg here, back again in National City and, man oh man, talk about an emotional week for Supergirl.

I hope you don’t mind, but I’m actually going to do things a little bit differently this week. To start things off, let me tell you a little about myself.

My mom has a lot in common with Eliza Danvers. She’s not a scientist or a member of some covert military organization, and she didn’t adopt me from an alien planet (as far as I know), but in terms of the way she handled my coming out, and the way she’s continued to support me as I’ve grown up? There’s a lot of common ground.

I mean, I’ve never been married, but I’m pretty confident my mom would be championing the idea of drudging up as many old and embarrassing photos as possible for the bridal shower, too. She and Eliza would probably compare notes on that one.

What I’m saying here is that I’m lucky. I was lucky as a kid trying to figure herself out and I’m lucky now as an adult who is fortunate enough to have parents who support her without addendum or qualifier. I never really had to worry when I was realizing that I’m queer, if my parents would end up in my corner or not.

But here’s the thing—the thing nobody likes talking about—when you’re a kid and you’re first starting to realize that you’re “different” from the people around you; from stories you see and read and listen to, even if you know the people you care about will probably be’s still terrifying. There’s just no getting around it. We can romanticize outsiders and outcasts all day long but the reality is that no one likes to feel like they don’t belong.

Which is why for a long, long time, stories like Maggie’s were basically my nightmare scenario. It didn’t matter how illogical it was for me given my circumstances, the thought of being rejected by my family still made me lose sleep.

It wasn’t even really the rejection part that scared me the most—it was what came after. The fact that those stories kept going after the big fights, after the initial betrayal and hurt. How was anyone supposed to just keep going after that had happened to them? Could I have, if it were me? Could anyone?

All of this is to say that it meant a lot to me to see Maggie on screen tonight doing just that.

Don’t get me wrong, I was as hopeful as the next person for her and her father to magically reconcile, but there was probably a bigger part of me that was looking for… well... Listen, there’s a lot to be said for forgiving and forgetting, but there’s also some things to be said for the burning of bridges that connect you to places you don’t want to go.

Fighting with family is never going to be easy, that’s what makes it such an easy thing to fear. The villains in your life will always believe themselves to be the hero of their own story and no one will ever be able to perfectly undo mistakes made in the past. People rarely have sudden changes of heart, even when you desperately wish they would.

Growing up, wrapped in my completely illogical, totally unfounded anxiety about whether or not people would accept me, I focused all my attention on what the people who weren’t me would do or think. They had all the control over the situation, even in my totally made up hypotheticals. My entire basis for success or failure was wrapped up in things that were outside of myself.

I wish I would have a story to see myself in where a woman like Maggie takes control back from the people who hurt her and then goes on to live a happy and fulfilled life—not in spite of her past, but because of her future, on her own terms.

I know Supergirl is a show about Kara Danvers and that Maggie Sawyer, technically, isn’t a super hero. It’s a show about saving cities and planets. It’s a show about shape-shifting aliens and telepathy and running faster than speeding bullets. But it’s also a show about normal people—it’s a show about people like me—and I hope that somewhere out there a teenage girl who can’t sleep because the wheels in her head are cranking out nightmare scenario after nightmare scenario saw this episode and realized that, even when things seem like they’re impossibly bad, even when your brain is telling you the only way to win is to hope that other people “forgive” you for being who you are, there can still be a happy ending.

So, no, Maggie might not be someone who puts on a costume and flies from city to city—but I think that’s a pretty heroic message to send.

Guest writer Meg Downey covers DC's Legends of Tomorrow as a part of the #DCTV Couch Club. Look for Meg on Twitter at @rustypolished. Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW.