[Review] Supergirl Episode 2×11: “The Martian Chronicles”

written by Dayna Abel, Jason Froikin and Cara Russell

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

WOULD YOU JUST FUCKING SAY HOW YOU ACTUALLY FEEL INSTEAD OF TRYING TO PRETEND YOU’RE FINE: a summary of Supergirl, the TV show.

Seriously, this has been the emotional equivalent of fingernails screeching on a chalkboard for me. I’ve been told by several people, time and again, that the quality they admire most about me is my utter inability to not say how I’m thinking and feeling. Which is…it’s not always a positive trait, but not a single person who knows me for even a day can say they’ve had to read between the lines with me.

I am beyond tired of the constant, willful lack of honest communication between characters on Supergirl. I love this show like it’s a basket of tiny orange kittens but good lord, so many problems would be solved by just being honest about how you feel. Even if you don’t know how you feel! Say that instead! Alex initially ditched her sister for her girlfriend, which is common at the beginning of a new relationship, but not at all okay. Kara, the biggest serial offender here, naturally pretended everything was fine when she was obviously hurt. Which she does. A lot. Her fear of abandonment is perfectly valid – being shot into space by a family you’ll never see again’ll do that to you. And perhaps she tries to be perfect and sunny and happy all the time because she’s afraid negativity will push people away. That’s just armchair analysis though; I am not a psychiatrist, etc.

I’m glad that J’onn and M’gann finally admitted their (freaking obvious) feelings for one another, but I’m a little upset about M’gann being written off. I admire her character’s reason for leaving, but at the same time I find myself wishing that she’d stay and train to be a superhero alongside Kara and Yawn-El. (See what I mean about not holding back my feelings?) A character who wants to define herself rather than being defined by her entire race is a nice barely-veiled metaphor, and stresses the importance of judging individuals by their actions rather than an entire group of people. There’s a lot of meat to Miss Martian’s character, and I’m sad we’re not going to get a taste of it.

-Dayna

* * *

This week’s episode was essentially a continuation of last week’s, and not just because it lived up to M’gann’s prediction that the White Martians were coming. It also continued the theme of Supergirl learning to let go. Watching her sister spend more time with Maggie Sawyer – especially on Kara’s “Earth birthday” – and her former teammates James and Winn starting their own vigilante team. That subplot lead to a kind of pitiful-looking image of Kara at home by herself on her birthday. What were you thinking, guys? Of course Alex comes to her rescue with a large cupcake to wish her a happy Earth birthday.

I feel like the subplot with Mon-El and Kara is starting to get a little forced. Not through the fault of either one of them – it’s the timing that’s questionable. Fortunately, I feel like the writers sensed that, too, which is why it became something of a cat-and-mouse game. The timing is wrong, but they can’t quite let it burn out just yet, in case the timing becomes right later. Those writers are sneaky, though, so I feel like he has a purpose in the show beyond just as a potential romantic interest. It’s too early to marginalize him just yet.

The one thing that returned to status quo is that M’gann leaving Earth will leave the Martian Manhunter just as alone and cranky as he was at the beginning of the series. I’m hoping she comes back, though; she had a lot of potential as a permanent character on Supergirl.

-Jason

* * *

For such an uneven season, Supergirl definitely pulled it together this week. For what is largely a bottle episode in the labyrinth of the DEO base, extra cast and location budget was funnelled into special effects, and a glorious knock-down, drag-out battle royale between White Martians and our own Girl Of Steel over the fate of our favorite political dissident. It’s a conflict on the emotional and galactic scale I’ve come to expect from this show, and the return is enough to make me overlook the grossness of every single heterosexual relationship this show has to offer.

As it turns out, M’gann’s husband Armek is the one tasked with her capture, and every bit the sociopath J’onn believed all White Martians to be. It’s a wonderful display of Sharon Leal’s acting chops as she runs through stages of barganing and acceptance in the face of her worst-case scenario – and another one later, when she plays the part of her own shapeshifted doppelgänger when Armek attempts to infiltrate and destroy the entire Super-gang. It makes it painful to know there’ll be a lot less of her in upcoming episodes, as she returns to Mars to start a revolution. Our side plots revolve around Alex stepping back from Kara’s Earth-birthday celebration to join Maggie at a last-minute concert (which Alex ends up missing due to Martian interference). It still leads to Kara and an Alex-proxy to have an honest heart-to-heart about life, love, and the meaning of everything – one that actually feels a bit more genuine (with Kara’s abandonment issues addressed), and I’ll be disappointed if they repeat the same conversation before this season ends. We also have to deal with Mon-El’s confessions of love from last week, which are a complete and utter trainwreck on all counts. I almost wonder if this is an intentional plot to make the hetero relationships so terrible that Alex/Maggie dating is less objectionable just by proximity – there can’t be another reason for it. Things can’t be this bad by accident.

Overall, it’s still a refreshing change to see so much closure, and clean breaks to resettle the status quo. It feels like I’ve gotten a satisfying chapter of this saga, rather than an irritant that the season can’t be binged in a single sitting. I hope this carries forward, and with fewer open plots on the table, we can finally track back to ‘”what the hell is going on with Cadmus”. It’s been a while, guys.

-Cara

Supergirl airs Monday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Dayna can be reached on Twitter @queenanthai, Jason at @Mangacool, and Cara at @virtualcara.

Like our content? Please consider supporting us on Patreon!

Leave a Reply