written by Dayna Abel, Jason Froikin and Cara Russell
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
This was a densely-packed episode that put me in mind of Buffy Season Four. While not exactly as harsh as everyone splitting up to do their own thing as on BtVS, we do see our main characters beginning to keep secrets from one another. So far on Supergirl, secrets have been presented as having negative consequences, so I’m surprised to see them cropping up, apparently with no logical justifications to boot.
James’ secret is the most egregiously awful. There is no reason whatsoever for him to be keeping this from Kara and the rest of the team, and since Kara is the one who hates lies of omission the most, she’s the one who’s going to be the most hurt because of it. It’s not as though anyone can stop James from being the Guardian – god knows Winn tried repeatedly – but looping in his friends would have spared James all the trouble he had this episode. It was worth seeing Alex smack Winn upside the head once he told her Guardian’s identity, but it’s out of character for her to not out him to Kara.
Another person who’s going to make things worse for himself is J’onn. Not only is he going to have to explain why he’s keeping M’gann locked up at the DEO, he’s going to have to face turning into the thing he hates the most. His racism is obviously based on justifiable fear and rage, but M’gann seems to be telling him the truth. Hopefully she’ll finally agree to take the Martian bond with J’onn to prove it to him so he can begin the arduous task of reconciling his prejudices against someone he had considered a friend.
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This episode of Supergirl heavily featured its newest character, the Guardian, an armored suit piloted/worn by James Olsen. His first scene in the show gave me a laugh with its very strong and obvious parallels to Batman – including the music – and then following into the subplot of him being framed for murder and chased by the police. I suppose that’s a bit above the disaster I predicted for him last week, because he was actually doing decently until someone decided to frame him. Also, Winn is once again really bad at keeping secrets, but at least he’s ruining James’ secret now instead of Kara’s.
One of Supergirl’s character flaws is that she always expects people to behave honorably, even if they don’t have the best of intentions. She was surprised by Cadmus because they don’t behave honorably. They led her along a path of promises which were broken one by one. It took someone honorable operating within them – Jeremiah Danvers – to finally break her and Mon-El free. The segment was sure to separate out the more cynical viewers, who were probably shouting at the TV for Kara not to trust Lillian Luthor’s promises. Although Kara worried about Alex being upset with her for leaving Jeremiah behind, for me her actual response – launching a raid against Cadmus’ last known location – was more predictable.
Martian Manhunter’s reaction was just plain wrong. I wouldn’t call it racism, or even misplaced trauma. It’s the reaction a person who fought their way to getting their life in complete control having that control taken away again. He’s panicking. Until he figures out a way to let go of that fear, he’s not going to listen to a word M’gann says. Fortunately, he knows someone who, in the same episode, also had all control taken from her, so this subplot may be closing in on a positive conclusion.
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Things go horribly wrong this week, as a life-saving blood transfusion from Megan to Hank causes him to start having hallucinations of his dead family, and a copycat vigilante inspired by Guardian pins a straight-up execution on James’ new evening job. To make matters worse, Kara joins Mon-El in Cadmus’ custody, where he is used as leverage to get Supergirl to burn out her powers and let Cadmus take her blood.
However, just as things come to the lowest point, we finally get some satisfaction. Alex, already laid emotionally bare, stands up for herself against Maggie, and is rewarded when Maggie admits that she cares about Alex too. Jeremiah “definitely not dead” Danvers mounts a successful jailbreak from Cadmus, although he stays behind. It’s enough to give some much needed hope to Kara and Alex. Finally, and perhaps most delightfully, Mon-El queries James and Winn over Kara’s relationship status. Whether his clumsy teach-me-the-ways-of-your-people cover managed to hide his interest from them has yet to be seen, but it remains charming all the same.
It’s an episode that, while not one of the most notable, is solid and much needed. Everyone’s emotional drive and motivation rings true without being drawn out to the point of being pulled thin. And most importantly, it is not devoid of hope, something we can all do with more of when everything is going straight to pot.
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