There has been a gallant effort to give the supporting cast meatier storylines, and boy, have the Supergirl actors run away with the opportunity.
J'onn watching his father fade away has been heartbreaking, and Winn's reunion with his mother was equally devastating.
But, on Supergirl Season 3 Episode 19 it was James' turn, and it may have been the most powerful performance yet.
Supergirl has never shied away from tackling politics and current events, and it's actually a little surprising it took this long for them to dive into what it means for James to be a black vigilante superhero.
While Kara and Clark both take measures to "disguise" themselves, they don't wear masks, but James always has. We've heard J'onn's experience living on Earth as a black man; for him, that was his disguise.
But it's different for James, and the look in Tonya's eyes, when she realized he was Guardian, will stick with him for a long time.
We live in a time now where we can watch heroes like Black Panther, Black Lightning, and Luke Cage, and now Supergirl is expressing the importance of everyone needing to see heroes who look like them.
James' debate over whether or not to reveal himself to the world was not only about saving Tonya and retrieving the rock. While it definitely could have been dangerous for him, it also could have been an inspiration for kids like Tonya.
James: Racism is the oldest form of bullying.
Lena: I'm so sorry that happened to you.
James: But when I became Guardian, and I put that mask on, it was strangely liberating. But it was the first time in my life that I had the opportunity to be judged on my actions and my heart, not how I look.
Lena: You shouldn't have to wear a mask to be seen as how you really are, James. It shouldn't be that way.
James: But it is.
His selfless decision did inspire her to stand up to Olivia and protect James' identity. She saw he didn't have any powers but chose to fight anyway, and that's exactly what Tonya did. He inspired her to face her fear and fight her own battle.
James describing his experience of being arrested at only seven years old was compelling and devastating. Mehcad Brooks knocked it out of the park, and I'm sure every viewer was hanging on to his every word.
I know most of us have felt that James has been left out in the cold as a character. He hasn't had much to do since he got dropped as Kara's love interest, and the Guardian gig has been more of a miss than a hit.
But, when given the opportunity and the right material, well, Brooks took full advantage to remind us why he's an integral part of this cast.
Of course, there's also James' relationship with Lena, which continues to grow stronger while Supergirl's relationship with Lena hangs by a thread.
Lena has made it clear she intends to keep their relationship strictly professional, and Kara is struggling to accept it.
If Kara had told Lena a long time ago that she was Supergirl, none of this would have happened. They would have had an honest and open relationship from the get-go, and Lena would have been immediately forthcoming about her intentions to manufacture Kryptonite.
But, that ship has sailed, and telling her now would only make things worse.
Mon-El: Well, I spoke to Imra, and it turns out despite all my attempts to bury my feelings, it was pretty transparent for her, so, she told me to come back here and sort it out. And all I want to do is just tell Kara exactly how I feel. "Cause I don't want to keep secrets.
J'onn: Telling her might make you feel better, but I think it would be selfish.
In most instances, honesty is the best policy, but both J'onn and Mon-El made some pretty convincing arguments that revealing certain secrets would be selfish.
Kara is one of Lena's two best friends, and the other one is currently trapped inside a mass murderer. Lena needs her best friend right now, and taking that away from her would be selfish on Kara's part.
Kara might feel better, but as she said herself, Lena would be devastated.
For the past two years, I've had to be dishonest with her while she's been opening up to me. Lillian Luthor said it, and she was right. If Lena ever found out that I was Supergirl, she would be devastated, and she would lump me in with every other person in her life that's betrayed her.Kara
The ideal solution would be for the Legion to go back in time and get Kara to tell Lena the truth before all of this, but that's obviously not going to happen.
So, the selfless move would be for Kara to keep it to herself and continue to support Lena and act like her best friend, but the ramifications are going to be so much worse if Lena discovers the secret on her own.
It's not the right time, but eventually, after Sam gets cured, she does have to tell her, right?
As for Mon-El's secret, well, it might be hard for him to bite his tongue now that they're alone in a car/spaceship on a mission to retrieve a rock.
J'onn might be right that telling Kara how he feels would be selfish, but Imra sent him back to sort out his feelings, so why did he come back if it wasn't to tell Kara how he feels?
If Mon-El still has doubts, then J'onn is right. He has to be entirely sure of how he feels before saying anything to Kara. He can't hurt her again, especially considering how long it took her to get over him the first time.
Whatever he decides, there will be no going back.
Some final thoughts:
- How cute was Ruby teaching M'yrnn how to play foosball? The only thing that would have made that better was if they'd continued to bond over a cup of "brown water" after the game.
- Was anyone else cracking up over Mon-El's undercover gig? I laughed out loud when he got punched in the face.
Did James' story have you in tears? Would telling the truth be selfish? Hit the comments with your thoughts and don't forget to watch Supergirl online!
Stacy Glanzman was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in March, 2019.