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Why Smallville’s Supergirl Could Fly Before Superman

Smallville’s Superman wasn’t able to fly until the end of the series, but Supergirl mastered it as soon as she gained her powers. But how?

Supergirl (Laura Vandervoort), who didn’t appear on Smallville until season 7, figured out how to fly long before Clark (Tom Welling) did. Clark learned most of his abilities when he was still in high school, but didn’t pick up this particular power until the Smallville series finale.

Because of the show’s strict “No Flights, No Tights” policy, Clark, unfortunately, didn’t get to suit up or fly throughout his journey to becoming the Man of Steel. However, he did reach a point where he was aware of his potential to fly. Seeing other Kryptonians pull it off made him realize it was possible, but he didn’t know how to do it himself. Even though Clark eventually received training from Jor-El at the Fortress of Solitude, this power continued to elude him for years. Characters like Chloe (Allison Mack) even ribbed Clark for not flying.

His cousin, Kara, didn’t experience nearly as much difficulty with it as he did. In fact, she displayed this capability as early as her first-ever appearance on the show, which was the season 7 premiere. While she didn’t have immediate control over her X-ray vision and heat vision, she mastered flying right away. In a season 10 episode, she attempted to teach this skill to Clark, but to no avail. She explained that the reason for his own struggles was his lack of confidence and understanding of his own powers, his frustration, and failure to focus. Apparently, Supergirl didn’t share these inhibitions, and never did. She told Clark that when she flies, she could do it without thinking of anything else. Clark, on the other hand, didn’t understand how to do that.

It is a bit surprising – and definitely unconventional for a Superman story – for Kara to beat Clark to flying. After all, Clark grew up with his Kryptonian abilities, whereas Kara didn’t get them until she had already reached adulthood. But this wasn’t the only milestone she reached before Clark. She also adopted her civilian alter ego, as well as her Supergirl codename and costume ahead of his Superman transformation. Clark’s Smallville journey took ten seasons, but Kara fulfilled her destiny in three years (with a large portion of her experiences taking place off-screen).

Supergirl learning how to fly before Superman is indicative of the underlying issue that he had in Smallville. Throughout the series (but particularly in the later seasons), Clark was reminded by people like Lana (Kristin Kreuk) and Oliver (Justin Hartley) that he wasn’t making the most out of what he had. It took a long time for Clark to make progress in becoming a full-fledged superhero, and quite a few obstacles held him back along the way, with one of the biggest being his own self-doubts (as pointed out by Kara). However, the extremely long wait made the moment when he finally did take flight in the Smallville finale even more meaningful.

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