While James Olsen was first introduced as Kara’s eventual love interest on Supergirl, the show has since moved away from (and pretty much disavowed) all acknowledgement of that relationship. The chances of Kara and James ever rekindling their romance have fizzled to almost complete non-existence.
However, just because there’s no romantic future with Kara doesn’t mean that James will be alone forever. It was heavily hinted in the Lena Luthor-centric episode “Damage” that romantic sparks might be flying between Kara’s two bosses, James and Lena Luthor. While the connection exists just as an implication, for now, it’s certainly worth exploring.
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James has become Supergirl‘s most troubled character, not in the sense that his storylines are the most intense or dramatic. James doesn’t really have storylines. The show has just struggled to do anything with James once it was decided that a romance between him and Kara did not work. James became the vigilante Guardian in season 2 but that’s also seemingly been abandoned by the show, outside of passing references. While throwing James into another romance with a side character might not be the ideal option for the character it’s an idea with at least some story potential.
The best moments of James on Supergirl, which have been sadly few and far between, have been when the show’s focused on him as journalist and truth-seeker. James’ position as the acting CEO of CatCo has been ripe for story mining but has gone relatively unused. Now, however, there’s a chance for this job to become a real part of James’ story, especially if a romance with Lena is pursued.
Lena is now, effectively, James’ boss as she has bought out CatCo. The most frequent use of James in Supergirl season 3 has been seeing him butt heads with Lena over editorial matters. While these moments have been brief they’ve also been some of the most exciting James material in a long time. They truly give James a sense of personality and unique identity on the show that’s been neglected. Having more scenes with Lena and James expands on that concept for the character. It gives James more of an important stake on the show and if that antagonism ends up bleeding into romance, it certainly wouldn’t be a new trope for TV.
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Supergirl is fully invested in Lena as a character but she really does need someone like James to balance her out. The Kara and Lena friendship is wonderful but Kara rarely ever challenges Lena, the two think too similarly. James is a steady and reliable voice of reason on Supergirl. Lena is highly ambitious and driven. Whether it’s in a romantic capacity or not, Lena could use much more of James being around and keeping her grounded.
James’ steadiness has allowed Supergirl to brush his character off to the side but that undermines the uses he could have as a character. Just because James is one of the most “normal” characters on Supergirl doesn’t mean he’s boring or useless. By pairing him up with Lena, the show can truly use James and his criminally underutilized actor Mechad Brooks to his full potential.
It also doesn’t hurt that in their few scenes together, especially their ending moment in “Damage,” Brooks and Katie McGrath had some of the best romantic chemistry that Supergirl has seen in quite a while. Although, to be fair, Supergirl has yet to find a scene partner that Katie McGrath doesn’t have some type of chemistry with so far.
Do you agree? Would you like to see a romance kindled between James and Lena? Are there romantic sparks between Lena and James or is it just friendly courtesy now? How do you think Supergirl should use James?
Supergirl season 3 airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Supergirl Facebook page.
(Images courtesy of The CW)