written by Dayna Abel
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
Betrayal, forgiveness, how past wounds can influence your present…it’s like this episode was begging for me to review it.
J’onn and Lena get the spotlight this time around. J’onn finds that Malefic is still on Earth and being held prisoner (but doesn’t learn by whom…yet), and has to make a tough call: Either banish Malefic to the Phantom Zone for good, which would protect his loved ones; or try to reach his brother by opening his mind, heart, and soul completely, risking his life as he begs forgiveness.
It’s the same choice M’yrnn faced years ago on Mars, and so naturally J’onn communes with his father’s spirit for guidance on the matter. Sidebar, although it’s always great to see Carl Lumbly, it kind of cheapens the enormity of M’yrnn’s death if J’onn can just chat with his ghost whenever. Regardless, M’yrnn helps J’onn make his choice, and J’onn chooses to have faith in the better angels of Malefic’s nature. There will be much healing that needs to be done between the brothers, and there’s still the matter of Lena being able to mind-control Malefic. This is going to be a tough road for the two to travel.
While there’s no betrayal in the C-plot of Kelly and Alex’s relationship friction, it’s still an example of how past hurts inform who you are in the present. Kelly still has PTSD after losing her fiancée in combat, and it’s triggered after seeing another woman she loves repeatedly getting hurt in the line of duty. Initially, her reaction is to break up with Alex, but after the two of them talk things through like adults (on a CW show!), she realizes that she and Alex staying together to help heal one another’s hurts is the best thing to do. It’s the healthiest relationship I’ve seen in the whole Arrowverse thus far and I’m honestly stunned by it. It’s funny how I started shipping a Danvers with an Olsen at the beginning of the series, and now we have a canonical Danvers and Olsen pair to root for.
Finally, let’s get back to Lena. Katie McGrath is absolutely stellar in this episode as the toll of hiding her resentment towards Kara slowly chips away at her. There’s a very subtle kind of mania to her speech as she and Kara talk about how great it is that their friendship is better now that Lena knows Kara’s secret. You can hear Lena’s “this is fine” façade fraying at the edges, and poor Kara has no idea what’s about to happen.
After a fight with the Leviathan cave guy from last episode – Rama Khan – Kara finds Lena attempting to abscond with Season One’s Myriad unit. Melissa Benoist’s line delivery of “Why…do you have Myriad?” here is heartbreaking. You know what’s about to happen is going to crush her, and she still trusts Lena, trusts in their friendship, trusts that of course there’s another explanation for what she’s seeing.
There isn’t. Lena is betraying Kara. She tells her exactly what she’s been doing in a tone that’s cold and matter-of-fact at first before Lena drops all pretense of being emotionally invulnerable and ends up screaming her pain and hurt and anger. It’s an exceptional bit of acting on McGrath’s part and kudos to Benoist as well for making its effect clear on Kara’s face. Kara begs for Lena not to leave with Myriad as she turns the Fortress’ defense systems on Kara, trapping her in a Kryptonite-laced crystal. Kara looks at the woman whom she thought was her best friend and says, in a very small voice, “Are you going to try to kill me?”
“No,” Lena replies, emotionally exhausted. “I’m not a villain.” As she opens a portal to her lab, her last words to Kara are “You shouldn’t have treated me like one.”
…so is it time for the next episode yet? Because DAMN.
Supergirl airs Sunday nights at 9 Eastern/8 Central on the CW. Dayna can be found on Twitter @queenanthai.