written by Dayna Abel, Jason Froikin and Cara Russell
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
“Exodus” is a magnificently refreshing return to form for Supergirl. It’s almost like having action in a superhero series makes it watchable. Who knew? Honestly, I don’t know what the showrunners were thinking, because taking such a long break from finding Cadmus and Jeremiah in order to focus on Mon-El was…well. Let us say ill-conceived, to be polite.
There are a lot of “wrong things done for the right reasons,” as Best Character Ever Alex Danvers says in this episode. Sometimes the morally right thing to do is at odds with the logically right thing to do, and there are consequences for each choice. J’onn justifiably tests Alex’s loyalty to the DEO out of concern for her mental state regarding Jeremiah. Alex and Maggie (GIRLFRIENDS WITH GUNS. I WILL WATCH AN ENTIRE SERIES OF THIS. MAKE IT HAPPEN, BERLANTI.) track down Cadmus so Alex can free Jeremiah, who reveals that Cadmus forced him to work for them or they’d kill his whole family. Jeremiah at last makes the choice to turn on Cadmus for his daughters’ sake (SERIOUSLY ALEX IS BASICALLY THE LEAD AT THIS POINT). And Kara, against Snapper’s orders, publishes a story about Cadmus abducting aliens, which gets her fired.
It’s logic vs. emotion in this episode, and sometimes one wins and sometimes it’s the other. To the show’s credit, it gives equal weight to the importance of each – although emotion tends to win out in the end, logic is given time to explain itself, letting our characters make those emotional choices without being ignorant of the logical alternatives. Jeremiah puts his family at risk (albeit at Alex’s urging – Alex was able to give Jeremiah an informed choice) when he turns on Cadmus, Alex is suspended from active duty for choosing her father over the DEO, and Kara is fired from her job for ethical breaches and subordination. No choice is free from consequence, and it’s great to see Supergirl getting back to what makes it great instead of being all about The Love Lives Of the Danvers Sisters.
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The irrepressible Alex Danvers strikes again, this time teaching both Cadmus and Martian Manhunter a lesson at the same time. The amusing part is that, in the end, the Manhunter actually admitted that trying to get Alex to stop was a huge waste of effort, and actually made things worse. The fact that she went so over the top this time also leads me to believe the writers of the show realize that the viewers really love her character.
I had an strange kind of déjà vu from a subplot in this week’s episode. I said in an earlier review that in this day and age, Kara Danvers doesn’t really need to hide out with a civilian identity and job to appear more honest and down-to-earth. That nowadays people would accept her if she makes a living documenting Supergirl’s life on YouTube. In this week’s episode, she writes a blog, and gets fired from her job. Obviously my previous review had no effect on this week’s episode – Episode 15 was written well before Episode 9 ever aired – but it’s strange to consider I might be starting to think like the show’s writers.
And that’s related to my last point of the episode. Mon-El is actually starting to become an interesting character. The funny part is it’s because he’s doing less. I suppose what worked was that he needed to explore what kind of person he wanted to be instead of simply being around to brag and do things which frustrate everyone else. He wouldn’t have lasted as a comedic screwup, so this change of purpose might be good for him becoming a lasting character.
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This week continues the upward trend on Supergirl, with plot development and resolutions continuing in a rapid pace. Our heroes pick up where we left off, with Cadmus using their newly-procured list of resident aliens to round them up and forcibly expel them from Earth. Alex’s loyalties are tested, causing her to temporarily lose her job with the DEO during the conflict, and Kara is forced to once again have the “with great power…” lesson, this time with Snapper Carr and the responsibility of the press. In the end, Alex is reinstated, while repairing her paternal relationship with J’onn (something I’d sorely missed), and Kara loses her job at CatCo as she fails to learn that doing the wrong thing for the right reason doesn’t always land one ahead.
The romance plots take the backseat, with Maggie acting as a steady backup to Alex’s machinations, and Mon-El acting as a facilitator for Kara’s more reckless impulses. I think this is the first time we really see how much the two contrast in their parings with the Danvers girls – and a very good frame of reference to see what Kara is missing in her relationship with Mon-El, whether she has accepted that loss or not. I also found it striking that Mon-El seems more in love with Supergirl – or the idea of Supergirl – than he is with Kara Danvers. Whether that is a projection of his own desperate attempt to be a better, more moral person, or just a slip of the writer’s pen has yet to be seen, but I think this will ultimately be the undoing for this ill-fated pair – and not the ominous arrival of more Daxamites.
This episode also has the dubious distinction of being a return to direct modern real-life parallels. Whether intentional or not, several lines felt as though they were pulled straight from the newspaper headlines, and the responsibility Kara failed to demonstrate in her dealings as a reporter are a lasting lesson to anyone trying to follow this career path, as a reporter or as an observer. I can’t help but wonder how this episode will be viewed years from now – if this context and the weight of it will be lost as we now look back on older media bereft of all the context which brought it to be, or if Snapper’s words on the responsibility to the truth will still ring as true.
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