What is it about heroes that make them want to fight? What is the spark inspiring people to help others? The quality isn't something we can throw a scientific label on and dose humanity with (though, boy, wouldn't that be great?). "Changing" looks at both sides of the coin.
On one side, you have Mon-El. As a Daxamite, he has powers similar to Kara's. Given that he has the ability to help and to protect humanity, Kara assumes Mon-El wants to pursue a path similar to hers. She recently realized he wasn't going to be her carbon copy, but she still thought he wanted to serve the greater good. Her disappointment in his decisions is palpable.
I get where Kara's coming from. She sees the hurt and pain in National City firsthand. She's compassionate and feels the city's troubles acutely, and to some degree, I think she takes responsibility for all that goes wrong. Since she's embraced her life as Supergirl, which, by the way, wasn't very long ago, she's found purpose. She's making a difference.
Mon-El isn't there yet. He only just arrived on the planet, and he has a lot to learn about the basics of human nature. It doesn't seem fair for Supergirl to shame him into helping. If you look at it in black and white, things come out in Supergirl's favor. I admit that. Ideally, the more powerful should help those less privileged. But she should let Mon-El get there on his own instead of pushing him to be like her. I'm not positive whether his encounter with Parasite encouraged or discouraged him to keep playing a hero.
Now, on the other side of the coin, you have James Olsen. He has no super powers or wealth to afford him access to expensive tech and gadgets. He does, however, have a smart friend who's willing to help him. And speaking of, huge kudos to Winn for putting his foot down with James. I like seeing him display some backbone and fire. But anyway, James. Despite the odds being stacked against him, he wants to be a hero.
James isn't seeking the role for glory or fame. He's simply tired of being in the wings watching others doing the fighting. While it might seem like his path is moving too fast, think about what it's like to find your path and purpose. Once you figure it out, you want to start being who you think you're meant to be as quickly as possible. I admire James for pursuing what he wants aggressively.
As for making the choice to be a vigilante... that's a whole other column.
Let's address the #DCTV Secret in the room: Guardian.
James announced his new name to Mon-El and Kara after he jumped into the fight against Parasite. In the comics, James "Jim" Harper became Guardian and first appeared in STAR-SPANGLED COMICS #7. Harper worked the streets of Metropolis as a cop by day, then he donned the Guardian costume in his off hours. Joe Morgan trained him, so he was in tip-top condition and ready to fight. He eventually joined the All-Star Squadron.
In later years, clones of the dead Harper were made by Project Cadmus and they served as chiefs of security for the organization.
And how about Parasite? When a pink blob comes to your town to cause trouble, look out. He got his start as Raymond Maxwell Jenson in ACTION COMICS #340, but the Rudy Jones version arrived years later in FIRESTORM #58. That Jones wasn't a doctor. He was a janitor at S.T.A.R. Labs. Darkseid manipulated him into poking into a waste container holding the radiation necessary to make him transform. He had to absorb life energy from other humans to survive.
One more quick secret. Winn called himself and James “Super Friends.” They are indeed (except maybe the part where they're keeping secrets from Kara, that's not so super), and they share the name with a title of a famous animated series from the '70s and '80s. Super Friends was based on characters belonging to the Justice League of America.
Back to the story of "Changing," for a minute. I focused on the decisions James and Mon-El made, but I can't wrap without discussing Alex. She's transforming too, and she's being brave as anything. All of her scenes yanked at my heart (and tear ducts). In case you didn't fully understand what a huge change it is for her to process, she missed work over it. Alex. Missed. Work.
Don't forget to hop to the comments to tell me about the #DCTV Secrets you noticed in the episode and how you reacted to "Changing."