That was… different. I mean that in the best way possible. This week’s Supergirl, “The Faithful”, deals with a cult of people who Kara has saved over the years, worshiping the Girl of Steel as a god, led by a passenger on the flight Kara saved all the way back in episode one, season one of our show. The scene of the crash, this time playing out from inside the plane, was a fantastic way to set this whole cult up. Very well executed and with the cult leader played by Chad Lowe.
So no big fights or even a real “bad guy,” this was refreshingly different and exactly along the lines of what I’ve been asking for. For a second early on, Kara asks Winn to look deeper and find the cult leader’s true motives. This really had me worried. I thought he would find the cult was a moneymaking scheme or some other nefarious motives, but no! This guy is a true, though severely misguided, believer.
Chad Lowe plays things so earnestly, he truly looks at Kara as a god. Something he demonstrated after Kara goes to talk to him as a reporter and he immediately sees through her alter ego. He doesn’t threaten to use this info or try to hurt her in any way, in fact he promises not to say a word, even after she demands he disband the “religion.”
Things take a darker turn when someone tries to become a member of Lowe’s “Children of Rao” by setting a fire to be rescued by Supergirl. This leads to the one really hammy moment I could have done without, a pretentious speech by Maggie to Kara about freedom of speech and religion. Moments like this where Kara, a reporter and college grad presumably, becomes a complete dullard and must be reminded of basic rights and laws that govern us, feel preachy and oddly unnatural.
The whole thing culminates in Lowe taking the source of his Kryptonian knowledge, a pod from Krypton, and turning it into a bomb, a final test of faith and way to induct many new members by threatening a stadium of people. This plan is another of the very few weak points this episode. The way the bomb is secretly hidden beneath the stadium and his plan for Supergirl to easily stop it begs the question, How would the stadium above ever know they were in danger and therefore become part of his flock? Now if he had announced the threat publicly, held the stadium in fear like a classic old school villain, then maybe it would work but it would also undermine his image. Just a sloppy plan.
But of course there’s Kryptonite on the pod crippling Kara and breaking the cult’s faith in her, seeing her be so human, even bleeding. I loved the way they did the effect on Kara for the Kryptonite’s effects. Much different from what I remember in the past and very effective. Even once Alex arrives and tosses the Kryptonite aside they take an alternate approach to ending the threat. Instead of Kara flying it away, she’s “too weak” and instead melts a hole with her heat vision. Very cool visuals and something different from what we’ve seen over and over again.
They even manage to tie the explosion and resulting pulse in with Reign’s further path towards villainy and a mysterious newly awoken alien that I’m sure will come into play soon.
So even after he’s sent to prison, we see Lowe’s character is still a believer and promises not only to keep Kara’s secret but to pray for her and help put her back on the path. Just so refreshing to have an antagonist who remains consistent and isn’t necessarily evil or motivated by selfishness, just severely misdirected enthusiasm and obsession. I look forward to the next time we get to see his character and would love to see the writers use him in even more interesting ways down the line.
Jimmy even does a decent job as a supporting player this week! While not heavily featured, his stories about meeting Superman and Clark are well written and delivered. Maybe they found a good niche for him finally, as a lite duty sidekick who disappears once his job is done. Some nice flashbacks to Kara’s mom provide a bridge to her past and even ends up reconnecting her to her religion. This scene of Kara and her hologram mother praying, plus J’onn and his father with “Hallelujah” playing was just a tad heavy handed but it didn’t feel out of place, it was a nice quiet moment.
So we got a great episode that also felt very different from the norm while also delivering some great character development. Kara shows growth and change, Alex struggles with desires for a child and her love for Maggie, and Samantha / Reign and her daughter show the difficulties of single motherhood. The only character who feels like they are getting the short end of the stick now is Lena Luthor. While included in the girls night and Samantha’s daughter’s recital, she’s just sort of there with very little to add right now. So not without a few tiny missteps, “The Faithful” was a fantastic and entertaining episode!
Supergirl airs Monday at 8:00 PM on The CW.
What did you think of this episode? Tell us in the comments below.