written by Cara Russell
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
Eight episodes in and we finally start getting to the reason for this whole convoluted season’s setup. But it ain’t good, folks.
Most of this episode revolves around Nia Nal, with a quality cameo from the delightful Roxy Wood as Nia’s long-suffering roommate. Again, Roxy’s character doesn’t get named, which seems to be a theme this season with guest appearances, and not one I’m particularly fond of.
Kara stages an intervention after Brainiac 5 reveals Nia has the key to their current issues. Nia reveals she’s actually an alien, specifying that some women of her people develop prophetic dreams. (Side note: it’s neat to see that trans persons aren’t only found among humans, but I could’ve done without the back-handed implication that someone could go through gender reassignment with the intent to get these powers. Thanks writers!) With Nia’s consent, Brainiac helps her explore some of her visions for more information, leading the trio to a neighborhood where they intentionally get kidnapped by the Agents of Liberty, and are held hostage in the Lockwood Steel mill.
Manchester Black finds his way to Ben Lockwood’s house, posing as a college friend to Ben’s unsuspecting wife Lydia. What quickly follows is a hostage situation that Manchester drags out in an effort to humiliate Ben in every way possible before killing him, including making Ben suit up as Agent Liberty. J’onn tries to telepathically appeal to Manchester, but fails. However, it causes enough of a distraction for Ben to attack and escape to the Lockwood steel mill, with Manchester and Supergirl hot on his heels.
Supergirl stops Manchester from attacking Ben, leading into a painful ideological exchange with Supergirl delivering her typical “we must be better than this!” spiel, and Manchester claiming the title of “Intolerant Left”. I feel like this may illustrate the moral lesson they’ve been trying to get across – that we must all strive for centrism, despite the cost, because of the moral platitude we may enjoy on that particular hill. However, it’s still pretty ineffective in execution and a very clumsy attempt at expressing anything except “lefties are murderous black people, and also English”, which is not a sentiment I particularly enjoy seeing on display, as it tends to rile up feelings contrary to “hope, help and compassion for all”.
Supergirl ends up trapped in Nth Metal as Manchester and an armed Lydia Lockwood face off, only for Manchester to be knocked out by Nia acting on her visions. Ben takes the opportunity to try and shoot Manchester point blank. He’s thwarted by Supergirl, who lifts the entire factory to free herself and saves Lydia from a nasty fall. As a result, both Ben and Manchester are arrested, though Ben manages to throw another media Hail Mary and casts doubt on Supergirl by throwing shade on a heroine who doesn’t wear a mask “hiding” who she truly is.
To make a mockery of this, President Baker chooses this moment to fire Supergirl from the DEO unless she reveals her secret identity. I remind you that Supergirl is a hero who, along with Superman, never made an effort to hide that they were from Krypton, wear masks in public, or go without offering up their Kryptonian names.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the story Kara sticks to, and she just quits the DEO under the pretense that she can’t endanger her family (who, as far as anyone knows, is comprised of Superman and some people on an asteroid far, far away). Ben wins again, as not only does he divide the DEO from one of its greatest assets, he manages to get himself a new fanbase and his wife becomes a true believer, even while he’s stuck in jail for the moment next to Manchester.
This episode also has a teaser for next week’s “Elseworlds” crossover (while this episode is not officially part of the crossover). Hopefully this means we get a week’s respite from all of the other stuff going on, because it’s still a quagmire of WTFery and “who seriously thought any of this was a good idea” amid some really nice guest stars and supporting cast members.
Supergirl airs Sunday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Cara can be found on Twitter @virtualcara.