Supergirl season 6 saw Kara Danvers returning to her job at CatCo and the series handles her absence in a way The Flash never did for Barry Allen.
Supergirl season 6 addresses a superhero plot hole ignored by The Flash. When it comes to being a superhero, Kara Danvers has had to live a double life, balancing her work life with that of her superpowered extracurricular activities. It’s a gargantuan effort that also requires tons of excuses whenever an emergency requires Supergirl to fly off and away from her daily journalistic responsibilities at CatCo. It’s become a bit of a joke across the Arrowverse regarding how the superheroes have neglected their jobs over time, but Supergirl finally confronts the elephant in the room.
After a confrontation with Lex Luthor, Supergirl was zapped to the Phantom Zone and she was gone for a while. It was long enough for her absence at CatCo, where she works as a journalist, to be noticed by her boss Andrea Rojas. While Nia made an excuse to cover for her friend — albeit an unrealistic one that saw Kara on an assignment that hadn’t been approved — the Girl of Steel was a bundle of nerves when approaching Andrea about her leave. Kara was rather surprised she still had a job at all and wound up bumbling her through an excuse for why she didn’t have the story Andrea was waiting for. It was shocking that Andrea only showed a bit of skepticism before moving on, but the fact Kara was nervous about returning to work after being away from National City actually managed to address the superhero-regular job balance that so often gets swept under the rug.
Kara was worried for good reason. In real life, she likely would have been fired after such an absence. Over on The Flash, however, Barry Allen is the only CSI working for the Central City Police Department so his disappearance would be even more noticeable than Kara’s. But when he left into the speed force at the end of The Flash season 3 and was gone for months, Barry returned to his place of work in season 4 with nary a care in the world, confident that things would be the same as the way he left them. The excuse he gave his boss at the time — that he’d gone on a six-month sabbatical — was even less reasonable and believable than Supergirl being on assignment (for work-related reasons).
Barry inarguably disappears more often than his super friend does, but there has never been a moment of concern for his job. To be sure, every character’s job, and the way they’re approached, is unrealistic in the Arrowverse. But Supergirl at least managed to make the emotion attached to Kara possibly being fired or worried about the state of her job relatable. At the very least, it means Supergirl cares about her job and making amends for her unexplained absence.
Meanwhile, The Flash has always glossed over Barry’s CSI job duties or ignored his sudden disappearances and lengthy absences altogether. Superhero shows are not aiming for realism or anything, but accepting that there are consequences to leading a double life means that jobs, and the characters’ reactions to them, could be at risk. Supergirl season 6 confronting the outcome her life has on her job is something The Flash can learn from moving forward.