(contains Supergirl Season 1-5 spoilers)
Following previous week’s spotlight on DCTV women, this week’s highlight is on Melissa Benoist, currently playing the beacon of hope, Supergirl/Kara Danvers, in the CW’s TV show Supergirl.
According to Benoist, when Supergirl first came on TV in 2015, she became the first female superhero leading her own show since Lynda Carter’s portrayal of Wonder Woman in the 70s. The show is currently on season 5, with Benoist at its helm since it first got ordered.
In the Pilot episode, we see Benoist’s character, Kara Danvers, using her abilities for the first time in years to save her sister, Alex Danvers (played by Chyler Leigh). The Kryptonian was taught to disguise herself as a human, keeping her powers a secret on Earth in order to protect herself. Thankfully right off the bat in the first episode, we see Kara embracing her powers and coming out as Supergirl, even though it took some fights, reassurances, and pep talks.
Benoist’s convincing acting allows her to correctly portray both the awkward and insecure reporter Kara Danvers as well as the confident and powerful Kryptonian.
This ability to play two contrasting characters made the speech that Supergirl gave in Season 1 Episode 20, in hope that National City will no longer be mind-controlled by Myriad, extremely persuasive to the viewers. The audience could see the difference between the Supergirl who fidgets nervously at the start of the speech, and the Supergirl who got rapidly more confident, for what she was saying was what she believed in.
“I need you to hope. Hope, that you will remember that you can all be heroes. Hope, that when faced with an enemy determined to destroy your spirit, you will fight back and thrive. Hope, that those who once may have shunned you will, in a moment of crisis, come to your aid. Hope, that you will see again the faces of those you love. And perhaps even those you’ve lost.”
It is hence, no wonder that Supergirl gets to be coined the Paragon of Hope in the 2019/2020 Arrowverse crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Viewers that had been following the show since its pilot could see how Benoist’s acting matured, giving even more credibility to the development of Supergirl, both as a superhero growing into her skin, and Kara Danvers, who went from an unsure reporter to one being awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
Receiving a costume upgrade in Season 5, Supergirl went from her iconic red skirt, which is honestly impractical both for flying as Supergirl and all the cold outdoors shoots in Vancouver that Benoist had to endure, to the awe-inspiring blue pants outfit. Definitely the glo-up she deserves!
Befriending Lena Luthor (played by Katie McGrath) in Season 2 as Kara Danvers the reporter, pathed a unique friendship between a Kryptonian and a Luthor, inevitably leading to Season 5 Episode 1’s emotional and heart-wrenching confession from Benoist’s Kara. After years of friendship, unknown to Kara that Lex Luthor (played by Jon Cryer) had told Lena about her secret identity, Kara confessed that she is Supergirl before she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
“I’m Supergirl. I’ve always been Supergirl. I should’ve told you so long ago, I know that. I just kept making excuses because you’ve been hurt so many times. And, I convinced myself that I was protecting you and then one day you were so angry with me, with Supergirl, but you still loved Kara. And I just kept thinking, if I could be Kara, just Kara, then I could keep you as a friend. I was selfish and scared and I didn’t want to lose you.”
Nailing the heavy emotions in the confession, Benoist’s act of being both audibly and visibly distraught throughout the conversation made the viewers ached with her. Her alluring yet heartbreaking portrayal of Kara, giving all she had got in coming clean with her identity to her best friend, deserves an Emmy.
A real-life Supergirl, Benoist opened up in a 14-minute Instagram video that she is a domestic violence survivor.
In the difficult video, she shared the abuse that her ex had inflicted on her, including “what it felt like to be pinned down and slapped repeatedly, punched so hard I felt the wind go out of me, dragged by my hair across pavement”. Benoist hoped that by sharing her story, she “will prevent more stories like this from happening.” A campaign led by @lostariels on Twitter, donating all proceeds from their charity sales, raised over $5,500 for Futures Without Violence, a charity that works towards preventing violence against women and children.
Benoist had recently announced in an Instagram post that she is expecting her first child with husband, Chris Wood. Congratulations!
As Supergirl moves to the latter half of Season 5, we can’t wait to see more of Benoist’s captivating acting and what’s in store for Supergirl!
Supergirl Season 1 Episode 20
Supergirl Season 5 Episode 1