Supergirl season 6, episode 17 review: Love wins

Supergirl -- “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” -- Image Number: SPG617fg_0017r -- Pictured: Melissa Benoist as Supergirl -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Supergirl -- “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” -- Image Number: SPG617fg_0017r -- Pictured: Melissa Benoist as Supergirl -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Love was in the air in Supergirl season 6, episode 17. Did it enhance the show as it heads towards its finale?

Love is powerful. Love is eternal. And love is everywhere in National City.

The fourth-last episode of Supergirl‘s final season, the aptly titled “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”, was all about love. Why? Because the plot deemed that Nyxly was now after the love totem, that’s why. But why would it also conveniently turn up in National City? Well, because love is everywhere, remember?

With Kara having quit her job at CatCo, she now has more time than ever to ensure that Nyxly doesn’t obtain all of those totems, and so she and the Super Friends make it their mission to stop her. The only problem with that (well, aside from the gazaillion other ones they’ve faced this season) is that Lex Luthor is back because he is now – you guessed it! – in love with Nyxly.

Love was everywhere in Supergirl season 6, episode 17 and it resulted in an enjoyable and, at times, heartfelt adventure. Here’s what went down in “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”.

Supergirl season 6, episode 17 review: Lex Luthor returns

The episode wasted little time reminding us where last week’s left off as it picked right up with Lex Luthor manifesting himself before Nyxly. Jon Cryer is as deliciously villainous as ever and that is clear from his first few seconds on screen, but there is something different about Lex this time, and that’s the fact that he is in love with Nyxly.

Don’t ask me why because it’s all very confusing but apparently he’s from the future and he fell in love with her there and the two of them were amazing together and she died and now he’s back in this time to stop her from making the same mistakes. See, confusing, right?

It shouldn’t really work because it didn’t sound all that great on paper, but I’ll admit that I bought it pretty quickly. I’m not sure that’s as much down to the script as it is to Jon Cryer’s remarkable performance – a performance that continues to allow him to make his case as the greatest Lex Luthor of them all – but it’s very believable.

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Supergirl — “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” — Image Number: SPG617fg_0019r — Pictured (L-R): Peta Sergeant as Nyxly and Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Though Nyxly isn’t all that convinced and she refuses to trust a man who takes great pleasure in sending women to the Phantom Zone, he inevitably gets the chance to prove himself when he comes through for her on multiple occasions, finding and losing the Love Totem to prove his loyalty to her.

In the end, he comes clean about what happened to his Nyxly and it’s enough to make her see that, even though she initially hated him, she could use a friend who cares about her.

Again, I really like this duo. There’s an incredible dynamic between Peta Sergeant and Cryer that makes them so watchable. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re clearly having the time of their lives playing the campy scheming villains or maybe it’s just that their love story is surprisingly enjoyable, but whatever it is, I’m liking it very much.

What I love most about this is that Lex is being used to enhance Nyxly. Maybe it’s because Cryer is so excellent at what he does, but Lex has a way of overshadowing the characters around him whenever he gets the focus, pulling the focus away from everyone else, but here it’s all about Nyxly. And together, the two of them are a formidable team worthy of Supergirl‘s final season.

Supergirl season 6, episode 17: Setting the stage for a final showdown

The reintroduction of Lex Luthor worked really well for a number of reasons, but one of them was the fact that it makes it all more personal for all of the Super Friends, particularly Kara and Lena – both of whom he made suffer in the previous season.

As enjoyable a villain as Nyxly has been, it has never felt personal enough for the heroes taking her down. We know they’ll succeed in the end regardless of who they are facing, but being powerful and motivated didn’t exactly allow the Fifth-Dimensional Imp to stand out from previous Big Bads.

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Supergirl — “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” — Image Number: SPG617a_0144r — Pictured (L-R): Nicole Maines as Dreamer, Jesse Rath as Brainiac-5 and Melissa Benoist as Supergirl — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Not only does adding Lex to the equation add a personal touch to the battle, allowing the heroes to overcome inner demons as well as outer ones, it allows Nyxly to feel like much more of a threat – which was really needed given that they inexplicably depowered her midway through the season.

The opening battle of “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” highlighted that, as the showdown in which the team almost took Nyxly down (and the build-up to it) imbued the storyline with stakes we haven’t seen in some time. The look on Lena’s face when Lex showed up was a shining example of that. He made her angry and, by extension, gave her something to overcome. And the same could be said about Kara, whose desperate decision to use the totems against Nyxly resulted in her suffering from fear-induced visions of the Phantom Zone.

Supergirl is undoubtedly preparing to bow out in explosive fashion and this episode did a great job of upping the ante, increasing the stakes and setting the stage for a showdown with the weight of six seasons behind it… or at the very least, one with the weight of the past three seasons behind it.

Supergirl season 6, episode 17 review: Love wins

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Supergirl — “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” — Image Number: SPG617fg_0043r — Pictured (L-R): Azie Tesfai as Kelly Olsen and Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

We say that the center of “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” was Nyxly’s quest for the Love Totem, but that totem could only manifest itself before the most powerful force on Earth: Love.

Where better to do that than in Al’s Bar where Alex Danvers and Kelly Olsen were preparing to surprise each other with planned proposals in honor of the anniversary of the night that they both fell in love with each other?

Alex and Kelly’s romance has become a shining light this season (which has been especially nice after the previous season’s tendency to overlook them), so to place them at the center of a love-centric storyline didn’t just seem fitting, it felt right. The fact that it was their love that drew out the totem (and Nyxly and Lex as a result) was a real nice touch, and the beautiful proposal scene was just one of the many golden moments these two have given us over the years.

What’s also fitting (but in a completely unexpected kind of way) is the fact that the Love Totem has resurfaced on Esme, because where else would you expect to find love than in the middle of this warm, loving family?

Super Sentiments

  • With Brainy’s decision to call the future, the return of two original Super Friends (and current Legionnaires) has been set in motion.
  • It was nice to see J’onn pass the courage test. Not only did this feel important to his arc, it was just really nice to see him have something of substance given that he’s had little to do this season outside of being a superhero.
  • I do think this episode suffered a little from convoluted stories and underdeveloped explanations. From Lex’s complex return (is he the same Lex back from the future or a new version from the future?) to the team’s rather confusing plan to use the totem energy that then backfired on Kara, parts of it were hard to follow because they weren’t explained well enough.
  • On that note, the reference to Kara’s time in the Phantom Zone was appreciated because it showed that she still is suffering from her PTSD – something we have only occasionally seen when it feels like it should carry more weight after her explanation about those fears after her return.
  • Andrea playing the “insert obstacle here” role is getting really tiring now. She’s a walking plot device at this point. That said, it was nice to see her become Acrata again.
  • After last week’s episode took a risk, there was again an undercurrent of finality in “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” that benefited the show. From J’onn’s gauntlet to Dansen’s engagement, we need more of this wrapping up feeling that Supergirl is giving us. It is, after all, the final season.

Supergirl. S6E17. I Believe In A Thing Called Love. B. Love is strong in <em>Supergirl</em>‘s fourth-last episode, and even some minor issues aren’t enough to prevent it from giving us an enjoyable adventure and a warm heart.

Supergirl season 6 returns to The CW next Tuesday, November 2, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Watch the trailer for the next episode here.

What did you think of Supergirl season 6, episode 17? Are you looking forward to net week’s episode? Let us know in the comments below!