The message of “We Can Be Heroes” is that anyone can be a hero, which is an important takeaway in this day and age, when so many people are still fighting for basic rights.
There were a lot of revelations in “We Can Be Heroes”, but the big one is that Kara finally learned that James is Guardian. She was not too happy with this information, as she feels that James – and Winn – are needlessly putting their lives in danger. Kara claimed that only she and Mon-El, with their special abilities, should be fighting crime because it’s not as dangerous for them.
This is where the episode made its main point. Kara and James have two conversations that mirrored each other. In the first, when James was attempting to tell Kara that he was Guardian, he says that Mon-El isn’t a hero because he’s too selfish to be one. Kara tells him that it isn’t up to him to decide who gets to be a hero. Later, when Kara discovers the truth and suggests that James stop before he gets hurt, he parrots her previous line back at her.
It’s a vital discussion: what makes a hero. Mon-El endangers civilians because he ignores Kara’s orders and rushes to help her; it’s during this fight that James as Guardian is injured and Kara learns the truth. James later throws that at Kara as proof that Mon-El doesn’t have what it takes to be a hero, because he was too concerned with saving Kara than with protecting civilians. James thinks that because he really, truly wants to help people, he deserves to be a hero more than Mon-El.
I understand where James is coming from but honestly, questioning the motives of someone who says they want to help because their intentions may not be entirely pure is just ridiculous. Mon-El is selfish, yes, because up until this point he’s had an extremely privileged life. He’s only been on Earth a few months and is being exposed to a very different lifestyle than he had before. His wanting to spend more time with Kara doesn’t make him a bad person. Sometimes people do the right thing for the wrong reasons; it doesn’t make it any less the right thing to do. In these turbulent times, you can’t afford to wait for help from someone whose intentions are 100% pure and noble. Sometimes you just have to take the help that’s being offered right now. (P.S. That means that Kara should let James be Guardian. He knows the risks he’s taking, and he wants to do it. It isn’t up to her, either.)
Plus, the assumption that a person can’t change is a terrible assumption to make about someone, and while sometimes the assumption is accurate, in this case I don’t think it is. It all depends on where the writers go with Mon-El as a character. Right now, it could go any number of different ways. Considering this isn’t the first episode where they have questioned his motivations and intentions, I think it’s a possibility that he ends up sacrificing himself to save someone (other than Kara) in the future. Or he could go the other way and prove James right.
Something else important to take away from “We Can Be Heroes” is that sometimes, the bad guys are the victims. Livewire “escapes” from confinement and Kara spends most of the episode angry that everyone isn’t taking her disappearance seriously. When she learns that Livewire was in fact abducted, she is visibly chastened by her rush to judgment. She is even willing to let Livewire get a head start on running away in exchange for sparing the life of the man who kidnapped her. She later explains to Alex and Maggie that it’s because she hopes there is still good in her.
The same can be said for J’onn and M’gann. Early in the episode, M’gann suffers from a psychic attack that sends her to the infirmary and nearly kills her. For much of the episode, J’onn is unwilling to make a psychic link with her – despite the fact that it can save her life – because she is a White Martian and they slaughtered his people. It doesn’t matter that she helped his own kind at great risk to herself, he wants to punish M’gann for what her people did to him. Later, he changes his mind and decides to help her because it’s the right thing to do. During the link, he witnesses the moment she betrayed her people to help a Green Martian and realizes that she isn’t the evil being that he thought.
It’s amazing how an episode written and filmed weeks if not months ago manages to be so appropriate for what’s going on right now, but then, Supergirl is a show that always tries to be relevant.
- I wasn’t expecting Mon-El to confess his feelings so soon, but I am beyond thrilled that Kara turned him down. As I’ve said before, Kara needs to be her own person for a while. And hey, maybe Supergirl will surprise me and leave Mon-El’s feelings unrequited.
- Alex and Maggie’s interactions were extremely cute. Betting on what Kara would or wouldn’t do? They’re too adorable for words.
- The White Martians are coming. This can’t be good.
What did you guys think of “We Can Be Heroes”?
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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