[Review] Supergirl Episode 4×21: “Red Dawn”

written by Dayna Abel


KARA: “Hope, help, and compassion for all – that’s what I stand for.”

There were so many perfect moments in “Red Dawn” that it comes close to making up for the entirety of Season Four. First off, there’s Lena, who 1) buys an entire prison to get unfettered access to her mother; 2) has somehow convinced the DEO to loan her their baby truth-seeker in order to prevent Lillian from lying to her; and 3) straight-up poisons Lillian, then gives her twenty-four hours to create a cure for the Harun-el. Like. A. Boss.

Lena is also the one who tells Ben Lockwood that Lex has been his puppeteer since the beginning. Ben is hesitant to believe it at first until Otis confirms it. Even though Ben believed that his actions were for the betterment of humanity, it turns out that every morally repugnant act he committed was for the betterment of Lex Luthor. Enraged, he yanks Otis’ Kryptonite heart from his chest, killing him. Ben then takes another dose of untested Harun-el. This should end well.

Kara escapes Red Daughter, who’s dressed up in her Linda Lee identity, and we find that the government has scrubbed CatCo’s databases to destroy all evidence of collusion between President Baker and Lex. Calling BS on this one because Kara frickin’ Danvers is not so stupid as to not have made a backup of something that important. Come on now.

Nia has a vision of imminent danger, and she, J’onn and Brainy team up in an effort to infiltrate the place where the Children of Liberty are corralling alien prisoners. Nia suggests “the Wookiee gambit,” and we’re treated to Sam Witwer acting like Brainy acting like Ben Lockwood. It’s a great bit of deliberately bad acting on Witwer’s part. The guards see through the obvious ploy and take Nia and Brainy into custody for some good old-fashioned American torture.

Brainy and Nia are separated, and as they continually shock Brainy, they tell him that they’re going to treat Dreamer even worse. This, combined with the high voltage shot through his body, causes a catastrophic collapse in his synthetic brain. I don’t want to spoil this moment for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but it’s Jesse Rath’s finest moment. He cycles through emotions in greater and greater speeds, babbling nonsense and reminding the guards that he comes from a race of synthetic beings who were cold, calculating, and cruel, and he possesses every one of those memories. At the end, Brainiac 5 tells them that they’ve rebooted his brain. “And that was a calamitous mistake,” he says dispassionately, before taking out each guard with as much emotion as you would display while swatting a fly.

J’onn, who had been in stealth mode, appears before Brainiac 5 (I can’t call him “Brainy” while he’s in full Coluan mode like this) and asks where Nia is. Brainiac 5 replies that he is going to let her be sent through the transmatter portal so she can astral-project the location of the alien prison to him. J’onn is outraged, and Brainiac 5 decides that the odds of survival would be doubled with J’onn there. He performs a five-point strike on J’onn’s pressure points, temporarily paralyzing him, and walks off.

Meanwhile, Supergirl and Alex have teamed up to “find” Kara as well as Red Daughter. Alex is growing increasingly panicked that something bad has happened to her sister, and I’m crossing my fingers that this is the beginning of the end of the insipid “mind-wipe” subplot, which never made a lick of sense to me.

Alex gets a call from Eliza informing her that Kara is at the house, safe and sound. Supergirl hears this and tells Alex to get to Eliza as fast as she can, because that’s not Kara. Without explaining further, Kara flies off at super-speed to save Eliza from Red Daughter. Alex ends up having to ride her motorcycle there, confused, her thoughts beginning to jumble.

Kara gets Red away from her mother and into the nearby woods, where it’s time for a little smack-talk before the throwdown. Kara tries to get Red to listen to reason, informing her that everything Lex has done, he’s done for himself. “Not everyone is as selfish as you!” Red snarls at Kara, who counters with…




Oh, and then Red Daughter starts channeling purple lightning and kills Kara, then flies off.


Meanwhile, Alex has arrived just as the battle has reached its climax. As Kara falls to the ground and her heart beats its last, Alex’s memories finally kick in. She relives every moment with her sister where Kara is using her powers, and it all finally clicks. “Kara,” Alex breathes, racing to her sister’s side, begging for her not to go, she just got her back, she can’t be dead.

Theorizing that Kara needs sunlight, Alex begins to ramble that even at night, there should still be sunlight in the surrounding flora, because sure, why not. Alex specs into Resto Druid, shoving plants into her dead sister’s hands and crying “Just take it! Take the grass, Kara!”

…welp. There it is. The single most ridiculous line of dialogue in Supergirl history. And before anyone “well, actually”s at me, I am well aware that the whole bit here is based on a scene from Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns”. I don’t care. It’s an awful line. Who can take that seriously? You can’t. I can’t. Even stoners going “LOL yeah take the grass, Supergirl, blaze it” probably can’t. It lands with a clank in the middle of a deeply emotional scene and kills the mood. Fortunately, the SFX kick in and we get a spectacular Danvers sisters reunion that made me tear up, moving me right along, nothing to see here, this scene is fine, we’re all fine here, how are you?

With Kara and Alex together again at last, they recuperate at Eliza’s house, only to turn on the TV to see that the Kaznians have invaded America, Lex Luthor has fought them off (well, that was quick), and oh by the way, he killed Public Enemy Number One Supergirl. Red Daughter lays in his arms, supposedly dead.

I suspect this is a fake-out on her and Lex’s part in order to hinder Supergirl’s movements somehow, but if Red legit got killed off-screen, I am going to be furious, because there 100% has to be a reckoning between her and Lex.

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

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