[Review] Supergirl Episode 4×13: “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?”

written by Cara Russell


The majority of this episode involves Manchester Black breaking out of prison with the aid of his teleporting buddy, Hat (Louis Ozawa Changchien), who has a 5th-dimensional aubergine bowler hat that was conspicuously missing from “Mr. & Mrs. Mxyzptlk” in Season Three. Together with Menagerie and a Morae alien, they form the Elite – a ragtag group of vigilantes hellbent on taking out bigots and other ne’er-do-wells who wish to do harm to aliens who aren’t able to defend themselves.

Meanwhile, Lena settles into the DEO and flirts with Alex using SCIENCE!, revealing that she’s only using the DEO’s resources for a promise of products that won’t materialize. This turns out to be Lena’s strongest romantic game yet, as Alex becomes disillusioned with the DEO’s underhanded actions and agrees to help with Lena’s deceptions and research. Unfortunately, James isn’t in on this plot, and he’s in a position to undermine the entire operation with some investigative reporting, while believing Lena’s aiding the government.

Nia Nal gets her training montage with Brainiac 5 and some help from Kelex in the Fortress of Solitude. It proves to be quite successful, as she goes from being fairly useless to a very effective combatant by the end of the episode. She uses her powers to anticipate opponents, as well as hard-projecting raw dream energy out from her new Brainy-designed gloves.

Elsewhere, Ben Lockwood is released from prison due to a technicality absolving him of the crimes that landed him there. A subsequent photo op with the president, along with a job offer to head up the Alien Affairs department, causes a rift between Ben and an Agent of Liberty who stepped into his leadership role while in prison. In short, Ben has become “the man” instead of a blue-collar working fellow protecting the interests of others of his own social rank. This is a fairly interesting character piece, as this is pretty much the same argument used against Ben when he chose to go into academia instead of the family steelworks. However, it goes poorly for all involved, as Ben ends up using an Agent Liberty mask to beat the guy up as a show of force to regain authority over the other members. It seems to shut the door on Ben changing his trajectory, even though he’d been doubting his actions.

Supergirl and company face off against the Elite, who have taken control of a U.S. government orbital weapon designed to shoot alien spacecraft approaching Earth, with the intent to use it on the White House. While Supergirl saves the day, the arguments against and by the President for her meddling don’t include a mention of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 (in which all parties are prohibited from putting weapons in orbit or on other celestial bodies, including the U.S. government). Perhaps the treaty doesn’t exist on Earth-38, or maybe it’s a setup for the President to get into international hot water, but it mostly feels like another event that brings more questions than it answers, and I’m looking forward to another clip with the Russian Kara to remind us that the U.S. is not the only inhabited place on Earth.

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

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