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Supergirl Completely Screwed James Olsen

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Photo: The CW

James “Jimmy” Olsen got a raw deal. The character found on Supergirl was never the character from the comic books, and often never the same character from season to season of Supergirl. He was a soft and sweet love interest who wanted to keep Kara safe, until suddenly he was a grim vigilante or a weird duo with Lena Luthor or just a guy trying to do some good journalism in between superheroic costume changes.

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And now he’s gone, off to work for a small-town local paper investigating corruption and the prison industrial complex until the Arrowverse equivalent of Gannett buys the paper and dismantles it, leaving the Pulitzer Prize-winning superfriend jobless. Again.

In case you didn’t get it from the maudlin graphs above, Jimmy Olsen is no longer in Supergirl. Mehcad Brooks announced his departure back at San Diego Comic-Con and there were concerns he might get killed off or yeeted into the future like previous regulars. Instead, James and his sister Kelly returned to their hometown of Calvintown to hide from J’onn’s evil brother. While there, Jimmy—who has felt lost ever since he and Lena broke up last season—rediscovered his passion for journalism and doing good.


It was a welcome moment of character growth even if it came in his last episode of the show. James was originally intended to be Kara’s love interest—a big handsome guy for her to be pining for. Then abruptly in season two Kara dumped James so she could pine all season for Mon-El (it was maybe one of the worst creative decisions the showrunners have ever made). This left James with...fuck all to do. So naturally, he got a costume and became a vigilante.

And it was a terrible choice on the show’s part. Supergirl (and Superman) are superheroes because they can do things the rest of us cannot. In the first season, it was James Olsen who sat Kara down and told her she couldn’t just be a vigilante—taking the law into her own hands and doing what she feels is right. He noted vigilantism was different and dangerous and very wrong for someone so powerful to engage in.

Then the next year Kara broke up with him and he started dressing like Captain America and fighting crime. It was weird! And out of character! And the poor guy has been weird ever since. The smart and capable journalist who moved to National City to watch out for his best friend’s little cousin hasn’t done a whole lot besides sort of run a newsroom (not well) and have an ill-fated and awkward romance.

It’s a damn shame that he only started to feel like himself again in these final few episodes of his final season.


Assorted Musings

  • Besides James leaving, this week also saw Kara destroy another innocent door when a window was RIGHT THERE.
  • Next week io9 investigates: Why Does Supergirl Hate Doors?
  • J’onn’s mindwipe crimes are now out in the open.
  • Just in time for her ex’s departure, Lena has gone full evil and used the Phantom Zone project to kidnap J’onn’s brother so they can have a super evil team-up.
  • Like Lena, we all get upset when friends lie, especially when they do so for years. But notice how the rest of us are not plotting deadly revenge or making new friends out of computers?
  • Brainiac and Nia finally talked about his issues with emotions.
  • Alex is fully into Kelly and I need them to pump the breaks just a little bit.
  • Kelly also clearly has no idea Kara is Supergirl. With James gone that means Alex will now get 100 percent of the angst storyline about telling her Kara’s secret.

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