There Are No Redshirts

Hey, it’s turning into Kevin Smith week for me, and I am so okay with that. I had forgotten “Supergirl Lives” (the Supergirl episode he directed) aired this week, but everyone was talking about it on my Twitter feed so I just got caught up. I’m going to refrain from doing an actual review or talking about my nitpicky complaints, and instead just focus on Winn. Spoilers ahead.

Ah, Winn. I go back and forth on whether I love or hate him. Today it’s love.

Winn’s dealing with some stuff. Being the brainy sidekick surrounded by a bunch of strong, combat-y hero-types, he’s not sure he really belongs in this world. He’s just gonna stay close to the tech and watch other people be heroes.

When he gets dragged into the action and then left alone, he repeats this phrase over and over: “I’m not a redshirt. I’m not a redshirt.”

In an episode full of wonderful geeky references, that caught my attention. Because it was also an episode full of the background characters, the nameless disposable people sharing the screen with the actual important people. And it was an episode where the superheroes have lost the super and it’s up to ordinary human background characters (and de-powered heroes, but still) to be brave and act without knowing they’re strong enough to win.

It’s easy to feel like we don’t matter, and it’s also easy to forget that all the nameless people we see in our lives are the leads in their own stories. There are no redshirts in real life. We all matter, every one of us is worth protecting and helping, and we can all make a difference. We don’t need special permission or status to be important.

You matter. I matter. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it and everything just seems too big, but we’re all “main characters,” and the things we do help shape the world. Let’s try to remember that and act on it.

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