written by Cara Russell
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
Shadow and Bone recently hit Netflix with a notable difference from the novel: The main character gained an in-world biracial background in a series where xenophobia is the base setting. This upset many viewers, as multiple instances of racism were depicted or alluded to in the first few minutes, and it was now another piece of media where escapism from their day-to-day lives wasn’t possible.
Why folks would turn to a series rife with racism along territorial and ethnicity lines, “magic vs. human” witch hunting, and an endless forever war was beyond me…until this week’s episode of Supergirl, where such themes are absolutely and completely absent. No “alien registry,” no “COVID by proxy,” no sniping at tech for separating people, none of the attempts at referencing real-world political issues that keep coming up in this series. Just plain ol’ time-traveling shenanigans and a side of “hey we’re extraterrestrial aliens and can’t tell other people.” It was awesome. I want this every day of the week and twice on Sundays. I want this feeling for people who tried Shadow and Bone hoping for something else.
Where last we left off, the Scoobies were trying to find another DNA sample from Kara to use to find her in the Phantom Zone, determining they had to return to Kara’s high school days where she was injured by a falling comet. Brainiac, with his immense media knowledge and advanced degree in Back to the Future, convinces the team that only he and Dreamer could safely travel back in time without causing damage to the timestream. He wins his case, and the duo use the Legion ship to travel back to attend Kara’s senior prom incognito. Of course, Young!Kara spots their arrival and pegs them for extraterrestrials immediately (and with much enthusiasm), with Young!Alex and a Crisis-resurrected Kenny Li (complete with new actor) close behind. This marks the return of Izabela Vidovic and Olivia Nikkanen as young Kara and Alex, otherwise known as the best young!casting in the history of de-aged counterpart casting. The Legion ship is damaged in the crash, forcing a team-up as the group works together to get more dysprosium (coincidentally being studied by Eliza Danvers) and mitigate the damage their encounter caused.
The trials of Kara and Alex play out as we remember, with Alex being overbearing and intent on keeping Kara safe at all costs. This causes stress, as Kara and Kenny are a romantic couple as well as a team acting as local heroes on the down-low without considering possible consequences – a pastime very much against Alex’s goals. A younger Cat “CJ” Grant is also on the scene, investigating weirdness in small-town America with all the swagger we expect to see from Calista Flockhart, but this time from the wonderful Eliza Helm. Brainiac had an emotional breakthrough in the previous episode, but continues to try and eat his feelings to try to exert some control on his surroundings, even if they’re to his own detriment. Nia, with the opportunity to reach out to her still-living mother and ask for help, has her own struggles, but she and Brainy do come to a compromise and lean on each other instead of continuing their respective self-destructive spirals.
Unfortunately, this happens just in time for the B-plot, which is a pair of blue alien zoo-animal hunters who were after Kara, but were keen on the sudden appearance of a Naltorian (Dreamer) and a Coluan (Brainiac 5). Their involvement changes the timeline (the thing Brainy was trying to avoid), and as Nia and Brainy attempt to fix it, they’re captured by the hunters and we have to wait until next episode to see how things turn out.
Supergirl airs Tuesday nights at 9 Eastern/8 Central on the CW. Cara can be found on Twitter @virtualcara.