this isn’t awkward at all
We kick things off with a round table discussion of National City’s Hero That Nobody Asked For: Guardian. James and Winn are practicing self-love by fanboy-ing over themselves through Guardian’s accomplishments, while Kara, like many of us, remains unimpressed.
Alex seems more interested in keeping the flow of alcohol going, and then she chokes, mid-gulp, at the sound of Maggie’s voice.
Maggie: Danvers! Hey, it’s been a hot minute. How are ya?
Alex then kind of stumbles off her chair, while trying to look cool and in-control, and is all, “Good. Yeah. Yep.” While trying not to fall over.
She proceeds to introduce Maggie to everyone, including Kara, who is hiding murderous thoughts behind an amused grin.
Maggie: Oh, the sister! I’ve heard so much about you from Alex.
Kara: And I’ve heard all about you.
That is about as close to threatening as Kara Danvers gets, and it’s pretty effective. And terrifying. And awkward. And I love it.
Maggie’s like, “Oooookay.” And asks if she can talk to Alex for a minute.
To nobody’s surprise, Alex hasn’t been returning any of Maggie’s calls.
Maggie: I’ve been worried about you.
Alex says she’s just been busy with work, and Maggie knows that’s a lie, but she goes with it anyway because pushing Alex doesn’t seem like a great idea right then.
Maggie: Listen, um, I just wanted to make sure everything was okay with us because the last time we saw each other things got a little, um, complicated.
Alex: I don’t know. I thought they were pretty straight forward. You know, I’m fresh off the boat. That’s not your thing. It’s no big deal.
We all know Alex is dying inside, but apparently, she’s done humiliating herself in front of pretty girls. And maybe, just maybe, if she pretends not to care for long enough, she’ll eventually convince herself it’s true. Either way, she’s not giving Maggie anything else.
Maggie: I like you, Alex. It’s just… the situation. It’s nothing personal.
Whenever anyone says that something isn’t personal, the first thing I think of is this:
It was personal to Alex, too, but she’s gone full Elsa at this point.
Alex: Nah, I didn’t think it was.
Maggie probably senses, deep down, that things are not okay between them, but she doesn’t really know what to do with this sort of cold, emotionally distant Alex, and she’s probably terrified of this cold, emotionally distant Alex, so she’s doing her best to pretend that everything’s back to normal, because maybe if they just pretend everything’s back to normal, then everything will be.
But also, this entire time that Maggie’s been saying all the wrong things, she’s been looking at Alex like this:
Maggie: Okay. Good. Still friends?
Alex: Of course.
And then Alex walks away because keeping up this appearance of not caring is killing her. And looking at Maggie is killing her. And all of this is killing her. And it’s killing all of us, because damnit.
Meanwhile, Maggie continues to look at Alex like this:
I interpret this look to mean that Maggie sometimes catches herself scribbling “Maggie Danvers” on the margins of her case reports.
have some plot with your angst
Maggie is on the news, a fact that Alex does her best to ignore because it’s really hard to get over someone when they are everywhere. Winn, on the other hand, can’t ignore Maggie, because Maggie’s trying to catch Guardian, and that’s kind of inconvenient. He tells Alex to tell her friend Maggie to lay off Guardian, which makes Alex both annoyed and suspicious because why would Winn not want the police to catch a suspected murderer?
Alex: Do you know something about Guardian, Winn?
Winn is the world’s worst liar, and Alex isn’t in the mood to play games, especially after Winn refers to Maggie as Alex’s friend one too many times.
Alex: I know six different, very painful ways to get you to tell me who Guardian is using my index finger, and before I–
Winn: It’s-it’s James–It’s James. Guardian is James.
Unfortunately, Winn crumbles before we get to learn more about what exactly it is Alex can do with her fingers. She’s not happy about this revelation. At all. But she agrees not to tell Kara that Guardian is James, and smacks Winn over the head before storming off to talk to Maggie.
when i said we were friends, i meant we’re not
Alex catches Maggie on her way out of the precinct, and Maggie greets her by saying she was just texting her. Alex, however, is tired of playing the “everything’s fine” game, and cuts right to business.
Alex: I need you to lay off Guardian.
Maggie: You mean National City’s mass serial killer? No way.
Alex: He’s not a killer, Maggie. You’re targeting the wrong guy.
Maggie: Okay. I’m listening.
Alex: No, that’s it.
Maggie: You want me to drop my prime murder suspect, you’ve got to give me more than that.
Alex: I can’t, it’s classified.
Maggie: C’mon, Alex. We’re friends.
Alex: No, Maggie. We’re not friends.
And oooh boy, this is about to get hella awkward and uncomfortable.
Maggie responds by looking both hurt and confused because she thought they’d already processed this, but apparently not.
Maggie: I’m lost. What happened?
And then Alex tells her all the things.
Alex: We hung out, we got close, then you called me out for liking you and then I had the guts to admit, “Yes, it’s true.” And you told me that my feelings were real, and that I deserved to be happy, and so I thought you meant that I deserved to be happy with you.
Maggie: Alex, I–
Alex: No, I-I’m not done, because then you convinced me to come out to my sister, and I did, because I was sure of one thing, and that was my feelings for you. Initially, I was terrified, but ultimately, I was proud to come out because it wasn’t just some concept. It was about my feelings for this … amazing woman, but now I don’t feel liberated, or like I’m on some great journey. All I feel is pain, because you don’t want me.
Maggie: No, Alex, that’s not why I w–
Alex: Just, you know what? Save it, okay? That’s not what’s important right now. What’s important is that you back off Guardian.
Oof, okay. There is so much here, and I am of two minds about this scene.
First of all, holy crap, Alex. I think my jaw was open for most of that exchange because as brave as Alex has proven herself to be since the start of this show, she continues to surprise me in the most delightful ways. I mean, that took guts, and I am so impressed by her willingness to just lay it all out there.
On the other hand, I feel like she’s being really unfair to Maggie, and while I totally understand why she’s being unfair, I think it’s important to call it out. We’ve not gotten to see much of Maggie’s perspective yet, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Let’s remember, Maggie just got dumped, and while I don’t buy the idea that she was madly in love with her ex, I do buy that she was really affected by the breakup. And this is something that Alex didn’t seem to grasp or fully respect. She was way too preoccupied with her own feelings, and her own realizations, and her own desires.
Maggie told Alex all the horrible things her ex said to her, and Alex was too caught up in thinking that all of it was ridiculous to take any of it seriously. She didn’t stop to consider that Maggie might actually believe those things about herself; that perhaps it’s not the first time she’s been dumped in such a fashion.
Alex laughed at the idea of Maggie getting dumped, because to her it’s crazy that anyone would leave Maggie, but to Maggie, it’s yet another failed relationship for which she’s to blame. And I think that’s really what Maggie was bummed about most: this belief that maybe she’s not good enough for anyone. That any relationship she enters is automatically doomed.
So, when Alex says, “It was about my feelings for this amazing woman,” Maggie reacts like this:
That’s not the face of someone who’s flattered about being called amazing. That’s the face of someone who doesn’t believe that they’re amazing. That’s someone who’s thinking, “You only think that because you don’t know me. If you really knew me, you’d realize it isn’t true.” And that’s probably not something Maggie is willing to risk: the possibility of Alex realizing that Maggie isn’t good enough.
This is not a thought that would ever occur to Alex, though. Alex would never think that Maggie doesn’t know she’s amazing. Clearly, her ex is ridiculous, and none of what she said should be taken seriously. Maggie knows better. Maggie’s tough.
Maggie’s toughness is a quality Alex has brought up a couple of times now.
And yeah, Maggie’s tough, but she’s also human, and probably more lonely and broken than she’s willing to let Alex see. Maybe even more lonely and broken than she’s willing to admit. And I think that’s part of the issue between them, that Maggie’s not allowing herself be truly vulnerable with Alex yet.
Meanwhile, here’s Alex not holding back. Here’s Alex not being afraid to spell out her feelings. Here’s Alex not hiding behind pretend feelings, or a faux exterior. Alex owns her anger, and she owns her pain, and that’s pretty amazing.
I’m pretty sure Maggie thinks it’s pretty amazing, too.
But I also don’t think Maggie had any idea Alex felt this strongly about her.
so what will it be?
Back to this Guardian sideplot: Alex asking Maggie to compromise the integrity of her murder investigation on her word alone is a pretty big deal. She gives her no evidence, no concrete proof that Guardian isn’t a serial murderer. Alex is essentially saying, “I want you to not do your job properly because I say so.” And as far as we know, there’s nothing Maggie cares about more than doing her job properly. Backing off a potential serial murderer just on someone’s say-so is a pretty big leap of faith, no matter who’s doing the asking. It could cost Maggie her job, or at the very least, her reputation. Maggie was just on TV telling the entire city that she was going to catch Guardian. So, this is not a small request. If Alex’s information is wrong, it’s Maggie’s ass on the line.
And let’s remember that Alex isn’t even asking this as a DEO agent, which is what Maggie assumes and Alex implies when she says, “It’s classified.” This is a personal request on behalf of Alex’s friends. So she’s actually lying to Maggie.
It’s one thing for Alex to be mad at Maggie because she’s hurt, but to then use their personal relationship to try and influence how Maggie does her job, that’s something else entirely. Because what Alex is truly asking for, even if she’s not fully aware of it, is Maggie’s complete and total trust, stripped of any safety nets whatsoever. And that’s inherently unfair, but it’s also what makes the next scene so pivotal.
So, here we are. Maggie and Alex arrive first at the scene and have Guardian cornered. There are police sirens drawing ever closer, which means the clock is ticking.
Alex doesn’t ask Maggie to let him go. It’s up to Maggie to make a decision, and it’s clear that neither one of them knows what Maggie is about to choose.
Will she pick her job? Or will she pick Alex?
Because that’s really what’s on the line here, and it’s a clear, and visible struggle. Does she risk her career and everything she’s worked for because she trusts the woman standing next to her? Or does she do her job, take Guardian in, potentially get a murderer off the streets, but risk losing Alex forever?
What is Maggie most willing to live without?
Alex: Those sirens are getting louder.
Time’s up, Maggie. What will it be?
Maggie: Well, he better get out of here while he can.
This was actually my favorite part of the episode, and it lasted almost no time at all, but it said so much about the relationship between these two.
Maggie has now shown that she will pick Alex over pretty much anything; that she trusts her above anything, and has her back, even under the worst of circumstances. And I think that says more about how Maggie feels about Alex than any words she’s actually spoken.
you’re such a big mess, and i love you
Such are the lyrics playing in the background as Alex opens the door to Kara’s apartment to find Maggie Sawyer standing in the doorway.
The obvious question is how did Maggie know where Alex was? And the obvious answer is that this is television, and we’re not supposed to ask these kinds of questions. The important thing is that Maggie is there, looking about as soft and vulnerable as we’ve never seen her.
Meanwhile, Alex is back to pretending she’s unaffected by Maggie’s dimples, which we all know is a lie.
Alex: Hey. Um, what are you, uh, what are you doing here?
Maggie: I really need to talk to you, and if you just give me two minutes of your time, I promise I’ll be out of your hair.
Maggie has turned the power of cuteness up to about a thousand, and Alex’s brain is probably short-circuiting, but she counters with her “I Will Resist the Power of Your Dimples and Sparkling Eyes” face:
It lasts like half a second, and then Alex is looking at the door because she knows Kara is probably listening to all of this, and she has no idea what Maggie’s about to say. But she really wants to hear it. So…
Alex: Two minutes.
Maggie: I heard everything you said. I get it. And if you never want to talk to me again, I’ll respect that. I’ll disappear. But I don’t meet many people that I care about, and I care about you, a lot.
I’m not sure what kind of willpower it takes to keep up this poker face, but it’s impressive. I’m confident that this face does not match what is actually happening inside Alex’s head, though.
Maggie: You’ve become really important to me, and … um … I hope that one day you and I can be friends. (pause) Because I don’t want to imagine my life without you in it.
I swear fealty to you, Alex kom DEOkru…but as a friend.
And for a second it kind of seems like Alex is going to walk back into the apartment and close the door in Maggie’s face without saying another word, which would be heartbreaking. Maggie’s trying to be brave, like Alex was, and put some of her feelings out there. It’s too soon to put all of her feelings out there, but it’s important that Alex knows she cares — a lot. And I’m pretty sure Maggie doesn’t do this, ever, with anyone. Ever.
And maybe Alex recognizes that, or maybe she’s grown tired of fighting the power of the dimples, but she stops at the door and turns back.
Alex: Pool. Tomorrow night.
Maggie: Wouldn’t miss it.
And then Alex disappears into the apartment, and Maggie walks off with a smile because she took a risk and it paid off.
And that’s how it works. That’s how you get the gir—gal pal.
LESBIHONEST, exactly zero things Maggie said or did in this episode imply platonic feelings. She was okay to let Alex blurt out all her feels without interrupting, until Alex dared suggest that Maggie didn’t want her, at which point she tried to say that wasn’t why. And it’s funny and tragic that Alex is so wrapped up in her own hurt feelings that she doesn’t listen when Maggie basically tells her that she does, in fact, want her.
So it’s not lack of feelings, and it’s not lack of attraction. I think Maggie recognizes that Alex is special, and she’s not willing to jeopardize what they have. If her choice to let Guardian go is anything to go by, then Maggie’s priorities are pretty clear. The one thing she’s not willing to lose is Alex, and I think she’s convinced herself that dating Alex is the number one guaranteed way she’s going to lose her. Friendship is safer, and Alex needs time. They both need time.
Friendship will have to be enough.
Until it isn’t.
Continue reading: Supergirl 2.08: Alex/Maggie Recap