With all that’s been happening on Supergirl recently, small scenarios and interactions can quickly get lost in the shuffle. The dominance of one particular character especially has taken focus away from minor characters. One such character I think has gotten overlooked is Winn’s new girlfriend, Lyra Strayd. And that’s who I want to talk about, because I (and one of my friends) get some fascinating subtext from her character that no one else is talking about.
Who is Lyra Strayd?
What do we know about her? Lyra (played by Tamzin Merchant) is an alien from Starhaven
, a planet with connections to the Anasazi culture in the post-Crisis comics. They also have wings and can survive in space without oxygen in the comics (due to genetic engineering), though none of these aspects seem to have made it into the Supergirl adaptation. Not that this lack of tie in to the comics
is entirely new for the show, given that Alex doesn’t exist in the comics nor are Kara’s parents scientists and engineers. Just because something doesn’t make it from comic to screen doesn’t mean it’s an intentional slight. Supergirl the show ≠ the comics in more ways than it actually resembles them.
Anyway, Lyra as we see her on screen has escaped a planetary crises on Starhaven and found a home as a refugee on Earth. She’s skilled in hand-to-hand combat, forthright in her sexual and romantic preferences, not at all ashamed to take the lead in a relationship, and also a huge nerd.
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I love these two as a couple just for this joke. But also, they're adorable.[/caption]
All that’s pretty clear just from her on screen presence.
After talking with Kylie, one of my fellow editors over at The Fandomentals, it seems more and more clear that Mon El takes after Mako from Legend of Korra, especially after the so-called 'bickering' we saw between Mon El and Kara on last night's episode. She's covered Mako's castration anxiety pretty well on her blog (go read the post, it's an excellent analysis), so I'll mostly just be drawing parallels.
Mon El's Protectiveness & Castration Anxiety
Despite being raised in a privileged position, Mon El seems to have the same need to act as Kara's protector and be useful to her that way as Mako does Korra. Last night wasn't the first time Mon El has asserted his need to protect her against her will. He chose to 'protect' her in "We Can Be Heroes", which put civilians at risk. Because unlike her, humans are squishy and can actually be hurt or killed by bullets and electricity. She calls him on his needless (and idiotic) protective urge, but it doesn't stop him from trying to take out Livewire for her later that same episode.
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What 'honor' of hers was in need of protecting?[/caption]
Last night was just more of the same. Mon El believes Kara is in need of his protection and guidance. She doesn't know what's good for her. He knows best how to take out Mr. Mxyzptlk (or, Mxy) and when Kara gives him a direct order to let her handle it, Mon El ignores it (much like he did in "We Can Be Heroes"). Just about all of his attempts to protect her end in utter failure. The times Mon El does succeed in being a useful partner are when he's just that, a partner. Not a protector. When he fights with
her, and follows her directions, they can do teamwork well.
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Or, Why The Guardian Leaves Me Cold. And Frustrated.
When the news first leaked that James Olsen would be taking up a superhero mantle, I was excited. There was so much narrative potential. Kara and James teaming up as a way to work through any lingering frustration over the breakup, or a renewed kindling of their relationship seemed likely trajectories. That and James getting a chance to be more than a sidekick while also keeping his day job at CatCo. He and Kara could talk about work-life balance; they would use their superhero identities to fight crime both the streets and in the media. Epic Team Up. A literal Super-Power(ed) Couple. I was so ready.
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Pictured: me right now.[/caption]
But what we got paled in comparison to my expectations. James hid his identity from the one person who might understand. He lies to her face and roped in one of her best friends to aid him. He is more concerned with his own ego than using his new job at CatCo for good. And somehow we're supposed to be cheering for him. At least I think we are. But why?