[Review] Supergirl Episode 4×01: “American Alien”

written by Cara Russell


Hey, it’s that time of year again when I completely miss the premiere of Supergirl. This time, it’s exacerbated by a fourth-season move to Sunday night, which I thought was reserved for Game of Thrones and sportsball. That is a huge shame, since if you were slow to catch on, you missed a pretty good episode.

Kara finally has her house in order, without the angst of the last two seasons of relationship drama. Sam and Ruby Arias are squared away with a newly rebuilt life, still in the L-Corp family in Metropolis. Even Alex is back in the dating game (although with no long-term prospects), and in a solid groove as director of the DEO. While James is under the threat of indictment for his escapades as Guardian, he’s as cool-headed as ever, with Lena the supportive (and willing to do evil for good) girlfriend-slash-boss lady.

Of course, you can’t have a superhero drama without some dramatics, and you can’t have drama in Supergirl without a direct parallel to our real-world issues. President Marsdin (Lynda Carter) returns as a backlash against “illegal aliens” takes center stage. Racially-motivated hate crimes are being perpetuated against persons originating off-world, two of them done on-screen by siblings Mercy and Otis Graves. We see a number of scenes taken from today’s headlines, including Supergirl’s reluctance to accept that some of these crimes were hate-related, as she (a humanoid-passing alien) does not experience the same racial profiling as others. The episode also gets in some choice prods at the current U.S. administration.

In the end, Kara echoes several of the same feelings she voiced while combatting Thomas Coville, the Supergirl cult leader – she doesn’t know how to fight against feelings. Ideas, after all, lack a face she can punch. It’ll be an interesting ride as we wait to see if she does come to a conclusion about this, or if we’ll be left hanging and hope another villain du jour takes out the antagonist (Agent Liberty in this season) for her. In either case, the series is back in stride, teaching us lessons we didn’t know we needed.

Supergirl airs Sunday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Cara can be found on Twitter @virtualcara.

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