written by Dayna Abel and Cara Russell
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
I don’t know how, but I kept giving up on this episode harder and harder with each successive moment. Eight minutes in and it was already a terrible episode. Bad writing, bad direction, just…bad everything. There is a ton of “telling, not showing” in this ep and I hated it.
Every character is holding an idiot ball at one point or another. Alex tells Lena that they need some of Kara’s DNA to track her in the Phantom Zone, so their solution is…to use the hologram she recorded at the Fortress as a “digital life force.” Alex. Alex. YOU ARE A BIOLOGIST HOLY SHIT. Even Nia, who’s ordinarily a perfect queen, has visions of Kara and Alex in high school and complains to Brainy that she can’t interpret their meaning…when Alex is literally right there. Just ask her.
*sigh* I can’t. Cara, you deal with this.
While I’m sure sending Supergirl into the Phantom Zone was always the plan for Season Six, this storyline feels more and more like a series of bottle episodes doing everything possible to prolong it into a bottle season. As this is still a pandemic, I expect some of this is a result of British Columbia’s COVID-compliant filming guidelines. So good on them for following health and safety protocols…but this is almost worse than incorporating COVID-19 itself as the setting for fictional shows, as it has characters doing dumb things to fill time so we can get to the next episode. There are sixteen more COVID-filmed episodes yet to go, and if they’re all going to be like this, I almost wish they’d waited. It’s the age of Netflix; I’m good with waiting two years between seasons.
On Earth, Lena is adopted into the Scoobies and comes with a housewarming gift: a Ghostbuster trap to detain the Phantom Zone phantoms, one of which escaped from the Zone and is now creating more phantoms, and stealing souls to feed on their life energy. This is all a setup to force Lena and Alex to have to decide between defeating the phantoms, or using M’gann’s connection to their hivemind to locate Kara in the Phantom Zone while letting the phantoms overtake the earth. Lena is Team Let It Burn As Long As I Get My Girlfriend Back. Alex chooses defeating the phantoms, as she correctly determines that bringing Kara back to a desolate earth is not something Kara would appreciate. They go after the Psychic Energy chrysalis, destroying a portal to the Phantom Zone, and returning the souls to their original owners. All at the cost of that particular plan to bring Kara back.
Meanwhile, in the Phantom Zone: Kara, Zor-El, and Princess Nxylgsptinz find the guard room with a portal back to Earth-Prime. The portal’s mirror is broken, causing Zor-El to go in a hopeless spiral until Kara reminds him that Alura ran on contingency plans and there’d be a backup somewhere in storage. To cover more ground, they split up, when Zor-El gets injured (an affliction that won’t heal within the Phantom Zone). Nyxly and Kara have to abandon him so they can carry the replacement mirror back to the guard room. After installing it, Nyxly reveals that she injured Zor-El and wants Kara to abandon him, as Nyxly projects her own paternal issues onto Zor-El. Kara doesn’t buy it, but in the scuffle the guard room explodes, taking Nyxly, Zor-El, and the portal with it. A waste of a perfectly good misfit anti-heroine, and I sincerely hope it’s a fake-out.
So in summary, here’s an entire episode where we are back to where we’re further behind than where we started, which may or may not have been some 5th-dimensional chess-level foreshadowing, as the next episode is time travel back to Kara and Alex’s high school days. Why? Because they need Kara’s DNA. As if Bizarrogirl isn’t in DEO custody, Cadmus didn’t take samples of it, and Kaznia didn’t treat Red Daughter like a lab rat and take blood and tissue samples while exposing her to all sorts of Kryptonite.
Who knows what’s coming next, but it’s a-comin’.
Supergirl airs Tuesday nights at 9 Eastern/8 Central on the CW. Dayna can be found on Twitter @queenanthai, and Cara @virtualcara.