[Review] Supergirl Episode 4×04: “Ahimsa”

written by Cara Russell


This week on Supergirl, we are given the gift of Manchester Black. This is a re-imagining of a newer character from the “edgy” and nihilistic shores of Britain, originally cast from the mold of other antiheroes. However, instead of some punk wannabe, we receive the glory that is David Ajala playing an English ex-hooligan who had reformed via the power of love, thanks to the same Fiona J’onn is searching for.

If we get nothing else this season aside from Manchester Black going all Punisher on everyone involved with Mercy Graves’ operation, I will consider all transgressions so far paid for in full.

J’onn and Manchester team up to find Fiona, who it turns out is not actually dead. We learn that she and Manchester had escaped rising anti-alien tensions in the UK. Manchester follows J’onn’s footsteps, hosting a fake pity party with another blue-collar drinker for losing a job he didn’t have to an alien. This is wonderfully hilarious when juxtaposed with our present day, as Manchester’s about as American as Marmite. Laugh so you don’t cry! Manchester gets a lead on Mercy’s next caper and tips off the DEO.

Meanwhile, Supergirl is still stuck in her armor while the atmosphere is flooded with kryptonite, but the day still needs saving. This causes conflict between the Danvers sisters, as the suit only has enough power to filter the atmosphere for Kara to either live or fight, and Alex went through a lot to keep her from dying already. The limitation doesn’t stop Supergirl – because what does? – but it also causes James to leap back into the fray as Guardian despite the judicial threats.

Brainiac 5 and Lena Luthor team up to tackle the Kryptonite problem. Naturally, they figure out the solution…but even better than that, they bond. Brainy shows emotion despite being only partially humanoid, and Lena, ever the cool cucumber, teaches him to use little mental boxes to separate and suppress such feelings so he can function without emotional reactions and related hormonal releases getting in the way.

Back with my new favorite dad/ex-hooligan duo, J’onn uses Manchester’s promise ring to contact and locate Fiona through telepathy. They mount a rescue as Mercy uses Fiona to stage an alien attack on the local fair. Supergirl rides shotgun along with them, and even Guardian crashes the party. Of course, this goes poorly with Supergirl outnumbered by mind-controlled aliens and Fiona unable to survive getting disconnected from the parasite used to control her. Manchester gets in one last farewell to his love, but it doesn’t leave him in a positive mental state.

Unfortunately for James, Guardian’s involvement is spun on social media as a rallying cry for humans to take violent action against aliens. If he had a shred of common sense, he would have seen that coming and listened to Nia’s (or anyone else’s) advice.

Although Mercy and Otis seem to be down for the count, thanks to a parting shot from one of the other aliens they enslaved, it’s not looking great for our heroes. By episode’s end, we get confirmation that Supergirl’s Russian doppelgänger survived the atmospheric Kryptonite infusion, and Agent Liberty is now inserting a probably-alien parasite into other humans.

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

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