written by Cara Russell
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
After the high the last crossover left us on, I had hoped that we’d have a respite from the sheer WTFery that Season Four has been to date. But no, oh my god, what did I just watch.
Supergirl is still fired from the DEO, but she gets wrapped into the latest mission when both she and the DEO run to the rescue of a SEAL team who had been attacked by mysterious creatures. The sheer annoyance of Supergirl’s existence causes Colonel Haley to triple down on learning Supergirl’s secret identity, and for Supergirl to continue investigating the SEAL team’s attack independently.
It doesn’t take Haley long to figure out that Alex has been double-crossing the DEO and sheltering Kara. Alex then knocks out Haley, and then the Scoobies ask J’onn to wipe her mind. Which he does willingly without hesitation, immediately after saying it’s an act of violence that he shouldn’t be doing. To a black woman. While he has pledged himself to non-violence.
This doesn’t even stop Haley as, while she does forget that Kara is Supergirl, it doesn’t change her drive to solve this mystery in new and terrifying ways. As a result, J’onn wipes the memory of Supergirl’s identity from Alex and all other DEO agents who were aware (which they volunteer for) of it. Fortunately, this is the last scene of the episode, so we don’t have to watch this ill-conceived plan FUBAR any further. It took all of ten minutes for alternate-reality Alex to realize Supergirl is her sister; I’m not sure how we’re supposed to buy the opposite connection being avoided in the universe where they grew up together.
In the slightly less(?) horrifying plot, it turns out the SEAL attackers were a bunch of alien child soldiers the U.S. government abused, used as assassins, and then marked for liquidation under the new president’s orders to end relations with alien assets. I legitimately enjoyed seeing this, as everyone was genuinely horrified that it happened. No one bought Haley’s Nuremberg-esque justification for the program, and it makes one wonder how President Marsdin could have been involved (similarly to how President Obama was involved in overseas operations while maintaining a fairly sterling reputation).
It’s also a stunning display of how easily “othering” is used to devalue people and enforce slavery. Unfortunately it gets buried under the “secret identity” plot, and I’m concerned it’ll be forgotten just as quickly as it appeared. I’d pay several dollars to see Ben Lockwood try to rail against aliens taking good assassination jobs from perfectly capable human children, and he’s still someone I’d appreciate never seeing again.
This episode is also stuffed with wonderful character moments between most of the cast, including development for Lena, James, and Nia Nal. We also get to see a little bit of Supergirl’s Russian twin at work, and Jesse Rath is ever a delight. But I’m still hoping the season gets to a conclusion quickly, because for every stride forward in terms of casting, characters and social themes, there’s some very unfortunate framing and highly questionable choices from our heroes.
Supergirl airs Sunday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Cara can be found on Twitter @virtualcara.