written by Dayna Abel, Jason Froikin and Cara Russell
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
Right off the bat, I have to state a disclaimer: I was at no point going to be unbiased about this episode:
Sterling has not only been on this podcast a couple of times, but he’s one of my good friends, so you might think this will be an unfair review. I will address that concern by simply stating that I am not an actual journalist and I don’t get paid for this so neener neener neener. I’m incredibly proud of my friend and you can’t stop me. So let’s get on with it, yes?
I’ve stated repeatedly that one of the major running themes on Supergirl is the importance of open, honest communication. Both Maggie and Kara laid down the law to their respective dates: listen to what I am saying and accept my feelings. With Kara, she refused to be patronized and was furious with Mon-El for not trusting her to handle things her way. For Maggie, it was more a matter of Alex completely disrespecting her wishes about not celebrating Valentine’s Day. On the other hand, neither Mon-El nor Alex had enough information to go on. Kara hadn’t really given Mon-El a solid answer about her feelings for him until now, and Alex didn’t know Maggie’s reason for hating the holiday. Basically, kids: talk to the people you care about, and be honest with your feelings. It always causes problems when you don’t.
On a darker note, we have Mxyzptlk embodying the worst of any potential date. Someone likes you, you don’t like them back. It happens. Normal people cut their losses and politely move on. But sometimes, people don’t take “no” for an answer. They’ll follow you around, insist that you belong with them, see other people you date as a threat to them, and sometimes ultimately they threaten you with violence. Imagine a stalker with godlike powers and it gets really creepy and serious really fast. Mxyzptlk might be quick with the humorous banter, but there’s nothing remotely funny about what he’s doing to Kara. Fortunately, she manages to defeat him after a seriously wicked cool fight scene in the Fortress Of Solitude. However, this is television and Supergirl is gonna super. If you find yourself being stalked in real life, there’s great advice online about handling it. Mxy’s a great character, but you find yourself really never wanting to see him again.
(I do hope we get to see Sterling’s name in the credits again. A lot. Watch the episode on the CW app as many times as possible, would you?)
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Usually I don’t like Valentine’s Day episodes of TV shows. They’re usually either eye-rolling exaggerated celebrations (I’m not singling out that particular day for that though – Christmas episodes are usually much of the same) or exaggerated peril peripherally linked to the one day. But it’s rare to have one where both the character and the viewer learn something.
I had low expectations for an episode surrounding the “fight of the week” being Mxyzptlk. He’s always been kind of a ridiculous and pointless villain whose very existence was simply to be someone Superman couldn’t punch into submission, and would have to use his brain to beat. The same formula held for Supergirl, but with the twist that she had to quickly learn to be many times more devious than Mxy himself in order to outsmart him, even tricking Mon-El to make her ruse more genuine.
And Alex is…Alex, proving once again why she’s one of my favorites on the show. Stubbornly digging into Maggie’s life and getting the truth out of her, so that Maggie can finally heal and form some lasting bonds. I don’t know if their relationship will last, but even if it doesn’t, their friendship certainly will.
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As with other holiday-themed episodes, this week’s Supergirl was definitely all about the Valentines. However, given every other episode this season, it’s not exactly a departure from the norm, aside from the delight that is Peter Gadiot as Mr. Mxyzptlk. While “creepy, all-powerful overbearing English guy trying to get the female lead” isn’t new (hello, Jessica Jones), the execution feels more like the familiar battle between Picard and Q, rather than high-octane nightmare fuel.
Unfortunately, this entertainment is just a device to further justify and advance the Mon-El/Kara romance plot. That’s it. It’s used to show how vey different Kara and Mon-El are, and the inherent conflict therein – with Mxy a dashing interloper who could give Kara whatever she wants, conflict-free. She chooses Mon-El, naturally, after tricking Mxy back to the fifth dimension, but it rings hollow. Or if you will, it rings “scripted”, as if this is another box on a checklist of items required for this season (granted, one we frequently benefit from), complete with a final “pan away, fade to black”.
Regardless, there is no adequate way to express just how much I adore this episode (excepting the Kara/Mon-El resolution). Mxy causes a delightful amount of chaos and a wealth of pop culture references, we learn more about Maggie even while she and Alex find more trust issues to stumble over, and even Winn manages to get a date without being creepy – although I cannot for the life of me figure out who the character or actress is, which is a pretty good indicator she won’t stick around. We also get to see some great special effects work, which has been a notable absence for much of this season. I’ve come around, and I’m still eager to see what awaits next week, even if I’m not fully on board with some of the creative direction.
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