When Greg Berlanti and his fellow DCTV producers announced to the world at TCA over the summer that a major character on one of their four CW series would becoming out of the closet this season, they created a flurry of speculation as eagle-eyed fans watches Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow, hoping to catch any clues as to who the character in question might be. After weeks of subtle groundwork, tonight's episode of Supergirl effectively put an end to all the wonder as Alex (Chyler Leigh) admitted to her new friend (and obvious crush) Maggie (Floriana Lima) that there might be some truth to Maggie's idea that she's into women.
So, why Alex? And why now? And what's next? So many questions!
"It didn't start with, 'Oh we want one of the characters to come out. Which one should it be?'" executive producer Andrew Kreisberg told E! News. "It really came out of exploring Alex and finding out how we can go deeper with Alex this season, what makes her tick and what drives her. Why is she the person she is? It made sense for Alex, as opposed to this sort of mandate that we had to do this."
As Kreisberg explained, this revelation is going to allow for a happier, more fulfilled Alex—and that's a good thing. "I've always loved Alex as a character and part of that is there's always been this twinge of sadness about her, which I don't think I or anyone could ever quite put their finger on," he told us. "And this season, we're really getting at that. And the notion that Alex is going to be truer to herself and come out and be able to lead a full and complete and happy life, if you love Alex, then you love that this is happening for her because it means she's going to be happy in a way that she wasn't able to be before."
In doing his research for breaking ground on such a sensitive storyline, Kreisberg turned to his producing partner Berlanti and other friends who've gone through the coming out process for inspiration. "What was interesting talking to Greg and other friends, at least anecdotally—it feels like people who come out later in life tend to come out for someone because they've met someone specifically and they've developed feelings for them. So, having Maggie be the impetus for Alex to be exploring this about herself was always our path," he said. We just tried to be as true and respectful, while also being entertaining at the same time. No one's ever going to accuse us of being This Is Us, but we're so proud of this storyline. And we're so proud of the work Chyler and Floriana have done, and the work that the directors have done with them, because we really feel like we're proud that we're telling this tale as truthfully and honestly as we can."
So, what's next for Alex, aside from actually saying the words "I'm gay" out loud? It won't be a trip down easy street, of course, but Kriesberg assures that the people already in Alex's corner will remain there. "It will not be smooth because nothing ever is and it would be boring if it was smooth. But it will be honest, I can say that. She's going to come out to her sister in episode six," he teased. "We're just really excited about it. And everybody who loves Alex will continue to love Alex and continue to be supportive of her, which I don't think will come as any big surprise."
Of course, Alex's sexuality was hardly the only development this week. We got our first glimpse at James (Mehcad Brooks) as the proto-Guardian. (His Finn-assembled costume and his actual nickname are still to come.) We learned that that evil Cadmus doctor (Brenda Strong) is none other than Mama Luthor. And we saw the first sparks of something more than friendship between Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Mon-El (Chris Woods). We couldn't help but ask Kreisberg for a few quick teases.
Can we trust Lana (Katie McGrath) now that we know what her mama's up to?
"I want you to not be sure. I think that's what's most interesting, that you don't know where Lena stands or whose side is she on. She does have this very powerful name, and it's a name that connotes death and destruction and mistrust. We sort of say in a later episode, Kara was lucky enough to be adopted by the Danvers, this beautiful, loving family. And Lena was adopted by these monsters. How much is nature versus nurture makes up the suspense of these next few episodes. And the season."
What's going to happen when Kara and the DEO find out about James and his Guardian activities?
"Not everybody is going to find out at the same time, and some people's reactions are going to be…incredibly supportive and some people are going to be incredibly unsupportive. And who those people are and how they react is part of the emotional pull of the season."
So much cute between Kara and Mon-El! Are we crazy or might there be romance down the road for these two?
"There's definitely a bit of Sam and Diane about them. She's sort of the more put-together, smarter one and he's sort of the lovable rogue, a bit of a player. And Melissa and Chris have incredible chemistry. They're great comedic foils for each other. They're so incredibly talented, and we'll definitely be exploring their relationship moving forward."
What did you think about Alex's big reveal? Did you see it coming? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on the CW.