written by Dayna Abel, Jason Froikin and Cara Russell
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been sick for three days or what, but I couldn’t really get into this episode of Supergirl. There were some really great spots, but I was already depressed and irritated and honestly all I could focus on were gaping plot holes. I also feel like crap right now as I’m typing this so I’m gonna just forgo the deep analysis and go with pros and cons. Sorry. Even website empresses have sick days.
THE GOOD: Cat’s inspirational speech to Kara. “You taught me that hope is stronger than fear.” Cat acknowledging the strength in optimism, kindness and letting people in is a great message, and one I firmly stand by, especially in today’s tumultuous American political climate which basically trades in fear. I enjoyed seeing Maxima, but wished she’d had more to her than a cool fight scene cameo. Indigo is scarier than Non at the moment and I’m willing to put money on her killing Non and taking over Myriad to deploy it across the universe.
THE BAD: Look, if you’re going to keep Superman out of the action outside of The Littlest Caped CGI Man, don’t use him at all. Kelex’s “Kal-El is off-planet right now” was a good enough excuse for me. The reasoning that Superman was affected by Myriad because “well he was raised by humans and it changed his brain” is pure BS, and I accept a lot of BS in comic book plots. Just keep him off-planet and be done with it. I’m also having a hard time wrapping my head around Non’s motives here. To save Earth? Why do you care, Non? I’m sorry, but Indigo’s motivations are far more realistic. Be worshipped as a god throughout the universe; I get that. That’s Villain 101. But “I’m gonna mind-control humanity so they can focus on saving the planet” is…well. It’s like, okay, then what? Why not just kill all humans? I mean, that’d do it too. I just don’t get why Non gives half a crap about Earth. Hopefully the season finale is better, because Kara deserves truly threatening villains.
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This week’s episode has the distinction of being both the beginning of the season finale, and also a good jumping-on point for new viewers who haven’t seen the series yet. It’s easy to tell, because there was a lot of exposition on things that “veteran” viewers already knew, and re-introduction to just about the entire cast. But then the vast majority of them had to be set aside as Project Myriad zombies, because the real fight is about just a few core characters.
Cat Grant, as usual, was part comic relief and part inspiration. Her not realizing her entire staff had become mindless, mistaking Supergirl for her assistant (yes, I thought her “realization” of her mistake was a little mocking of her belief that Kara Danvers and Supergirl aren’t the same person), and skillfully insulting Max Lord. And then her just-as-strong inspiration of a lost and frightened Supergirl, but without being too controlling. She simply gave Supergirl a nudge, convincing her that she could solve the problem – in contrast to Max Lord’s insistence that his way is the only way.
There are also some heavy topics in this two-episode plot: how far do we go to protect the environment? How much control is too much control? It’s creativity which solves these kinds of problems; the kind Cat Grant and Supergirl exhibited while their minds are free. Non is dooming his own overall objective to failure by exerting too much control. Hopefully he won’t realize that too late, because Kara is running out of Kryptonian family.
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I’m not sure if I should call this a “first of a two-parter”, as Supergirl episodes tend to bleed into the next (a very smart model for a weekly show, and contributor to binge watching). Regardless, we seem to have just half the story leading up to next week’s season finale. Myriad has been activated, turning the inhabitants of National City into mindless drones at the will of Non and Indigo, with the exceptions of Supergirl, Max Lord and Cat Grant (the latter two due to the use of a signal blocker designed by Max, who didn’t have the foresight to stockpile the devices, or try them on already-zombified citizens. Good job, Max). Our theme seems to be a recurring one, where Supergirl is challenged to break her moral code in various ways, but still justifies not following down those dark paths. I know it’s been said, often by me, the mere fact that there is a heroine on screen telling us to not give into fear and paranoia, to use force driven by those emotions, is absolutely phenomenal. Particularly since this world is so driven by fear and paranoia, and resorts to force to feel “safe”.
Things ultimately come to a head when Hank and Alex come back to town in the wake of Myriad, and Indigo severely injures Hank while forcing Alex to succumb to the effects of Myriad. On delivering Alex to Non, he decides to use her as a kryptonite-wielding weapon to coerce Kara to join him, instead of killing Alex as revenge for Astra’s death – he is still very visibly mourning. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait another week to see how this is or isn’t resolved, and what plan Kara had in mind that convinced Max to put down his really-big-bombs and join Cat to defeat Myriad.
I’d also like to give a nod to the opposition in-fighting – while Non is married to Astra’s plan to save Earth from itself, Indigo wishes to conquer the universe by eliminating its inhabitants. It lends a note of realism to their faction, as very rarely does an evil organization happen to be uniformly evil. It also lends a measure of humanity to Non himself, or Kryptonity, if you will. Helen Slater was also a welcome sight, appearing when Alex and Hank (disguised as a child) visit on their run away from National City. She really deserved to know what happened to her husband, and what her daughters are up to – another really nice precedent for this series to keep up. I also enjoy how Superman still seems to have a presence, while having almost no presence at all. It’s a nice shade thrown on comics, where earth-shattering events happen on a regular basis, but help is never mentioned or called upon.
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BONUS REVIEW: ADVENTURES OF SUPERGIRL #6 by Sterling Gates and Emmanuela Lupacchino
This is a great new chapter in the series, where we follow Kara through a tangled web of nightmares (“on El Street” – really, Sterling, really). Lupacchino’s art is lovely, with cool touches like jagged panel borders and effects that border on Jim Steranko-esque. Kara’s reveal that she can control her dreams promises to be fun and badass next issue, when she’ll go up against the enemy manipulating her mind. I love dream fights because anything can happen, and the comic won’t have the budget limitations of the show.
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