Alex and Maggie's engagement is officially off. In "Damage," the latest episode of Supergirl, the fan-favorite couple ended their relationship when they realized they would never agree about having children. The move comes several months after Maggie Sawyer actor Floriana Lima stepped down from her series regular role on the show, which necessitated the breakup. Speaking to CBR and other reporters, Chyler Leigh -- who plays Alex -- weighed in on the breakup, its fallout and what it means for her character moving forward.
"It's a heavy episode," Leigh shared. "I mean there's no way around that, and just say what it is. It is a breakup. And honestly, in a lot of ways, it felt like a genuine breakup. I love Floriana [Lima] to pieces. She's amazing. What we were able to do together for the community, but also for just like our friendship and being able to establish such strong characters, I mean that goes beyond how many episodes we do together, you know what I mean? I'm incredibly grateful for that."
"So tonight's episode, yeah, it was heavy. The great thing was Kevin Smith kind of approached she and I. Initially, when we had the table read, we actually separated all of our stuff from the rest of the table read," she continued. "So didn't sit in that one. Kevin really liked to make sure that we do this really well, and so, he took Flo and I aside, and we did the table read just with us and Andrew Kreisberg and Jessica Queller. Wanted to make sure that the words were right, but the intention was right and the heart behind was right."
"Either way, any way you roll the dice, it's not going to be easy, and it's something that everybody felt. Not only that, but Kevin also said he thought it would be really great -- and I totally agreed -- to all of the scenes in one day. So it was a hell of a day. It really was. But I really feel like, you know, we can only do our best with what we're handed, right? And that goes with anything in life," she explained. "And in this case, because it was so deep and so heartfelt, the day, it was tough. It was. But it was also in a lot of ways, it's not like an absolutely closure because no one ever knows exactly what's going to happen."
"As of now, what we know is we got these five amazing episodes, based on availability," she added. "I know that just sounds like words, but it really does just come down to that. If she can come back, I know we would all love to have that happen. So if she's available, that would be fantastic. I don't know what that would look like. I don't know how that would incorporate, but that's not my job. My job is to do the best with what has been handed to me. I really feel like that was the best way to approach it was to have it all done in one heavy day, and I will not lie, I had a lot of wine by the end of the day, and I had a driver pick me up and take me home. So it was a long one, but I think it was all worth it."
Asked how Alex will fare in the aftermath of this breakup, Leigh said, "That was also kind of an interesting thing because, you know, because of the significance of it, it's not like you can sweep it under the rug, you know what I mean, and just try to be chipper and move on. At the same time, Alex has a very hard time of really dealing with things. So the episode that we see after [the breakup]'s episode is when Kara and Alex go back to Midvale, and it's a really, really cool flashback episode where you see kind of the initial dynamic between Kara and Alex and how that was really difficult for them in the beginning and sort of what the catalyst was for the turn in their relationship."
"With that, you kind of see Alex going back and really having to figure some stuff out. But that's just the beginning of it. From there, I think in some ways we try to busy ourselves, right, and you sort of put things off a little bit. I think there was a fine line, I think there was a balance that we really had to establish in kind of saying, 'Okay, we don't want to be Debbie Downers all the time. But at the same time, there's a reality of that's an incredibly significant relationship,'" she shared. "I mean, this is the first time Alex ever really said 'I love you' to anybody, let alone get engaged and have wedding talking and all that stuff. So you see her sort of like go forward and go back, and then go forward and go back. I think there's a pretty good balance with that. We had a lot conversations about saying that and keeping that authentic, and what that would look like in reality."
Leigh also addressed how she discovered Maggie and Alex would break up in the wake of Lima's departure from the show: "I found out about it during the hiatus. I had a conversation with Andrew and really broke down a lot of what was going to be happening in the season. And obviously that being a big part of it, there's so much that needed to go into it to be done as delicately as Alex's story coming out story was. You had to approach it with the same delicacy to sort of end this particular chapter in Alex's life."
"It doesn't mean that Alex isn't still a lesbian," she ensured. "It doesn't mean that Alex's journey ends there. It means that this is a loss, but also a gain for herself and understanding who she is. And no relationship is ever going to be guaranteed. They're a hell of a lot of hard work. And regardless, there's ups and downs."
"Again, I've been with my husband for 18 years, married for 15. We have three kids. There's no way around that things come to the bitter end or that close to it, you know, or they're fantastic. So in this case, for the two of them, I really feel like what we were able to do with the Sanvers story, how much awareness we were able to -- and still are -- we can't talk about it like now it's gone," she explained. "There's still going to be remnants of that. There's still so much positivity, and there's still so much growth and so much freedom for so many people that came from this, that it's going to continue on. But with the ending of this particular place in their lives."
"They did come to an impasse. There are certain things that you're either always going to want or you're never going to want. In this case with kids, that's a pretty big deal. It's not getting a dog, it's not getting a pet, it's not fighting over what bird you want to have. This is a life-changing thing one way or another," she said. "When you have decisions like that, when you come across obstacles that are that big, you really have to choose what's going to be best for you, individually."
"Alex would never wish anything but the absolute best for Maggie and vice versa. That's really where, I think, you kind of see what is most heartbreaking about the ending of their relationship is how much they love each other and how much they want the best for each other," she continued. "It's not like you have this screaming, you're throwing vases around the room. It's like you really see that the intention there is to allow them to be their best selves no matter what. I feel like we did a really good job with that."
"I've kind of, sorta been avoiding social media today only because I'm still trying to figure out how to really answer this for a lot of fans that I know personally and that I've come across that might not totally understand it, and I want to make sure that people know that regardless they're loved and that they matter and that the story that they have to tell is just as important as the story we told on the show and that that continues for them as well," she shared. "Nothing ends tonight. And that's the biggest thing that I've been so worried about is that I don't want people to think that this is the end of something really, really significant and important. It is really just the beginning in a lot of ways. I hope people can really latch onto to that and hang onto that. Almost like Alex in this situation, you can't ask people to sweep it under the rug because what we did, I feel -- maybe I'm biased -- but what we did, I feel was pretty groundbreaking, and to have such a strong relationship, I feel, portrayed as well as we did, I think we did a very great justice to that storyline and for the community. The hope, honestly, is just that people can see what it was and celebrate that just as much as I do and I know Flo does, and really be able to grow from here and just see what comes next for Alex. That's my hope."
Naturally, Alex's sister Kara -- who also recently lost the love of life -- will commiserate. "It is interesting because in the very first few episodes when Kara's really dealing with the loss of Mon-El, Alex has sort of been the one saying, 'Hey, it's been six months. We need to kind of help you move on a bit.' So it's interesting because of how the tables have turned in that way, but it's not like now Kara is all happy and fine and walking," she explained. "They're really kind of in the mud together."
"The great thing about the sister dynamic is that regardless of what circumstance they're facing, they're always going to be each other's champion," she added. "They're always going to be the one that's like, '...We're going to walk through this together.' You really see that true dynamic. And that was a big part of what [executive producer] Andrew [Kreisberg] talked to me initially about before we started the season is we really want to see that relationship come back as the heartbeat of the show. So you do get to see a lot of that really, really sweet scenes with Melissa [Benoist] that I'm just gratefully appreciative of. She's a sister. So it's great. We always have fun regardless, whether we're crying, laughing, or whatever it is."
Airing Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, Supergirl stars Melissa Benoist as the Girl of Steel, David Harewood as Martian Manhunter, Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen, Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers and Jeremy Jordan as Winn Schott, with appearances by Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant and Tyler Hoechlin as Superman.