Welcome back all you Supergirl fans! It’s week three of TOTEM WATCH. Our intrepid reporters are out there scouring the globe for news on which totem will be found next, who will get there first, and why the humanity totem was caught making out with the hope totem in the back of a Dennys. More on this, at 11.
And as always, spoilers ahead.
1. Getting to Know You
Esme is here and ready to bring a little happiness and strife into the lives of Alex & Kelly. After last week’s absolute schmaltz-fest, I shouldn’t have been surprised by her appearance in “Hope for Tomorrow” but structuring one of the main plots of the episode around her did catch me off guard.
It’s a relatively straight-forward story that’s there to teach Alex not to be so damn insecure about her mothering skills, to teach Esme to trust Alex & Kelly after her thoroughly horrible track record of foster parents, and to teach Kelly, uh, to be a better therapist? Yeah, Kelly’s pretty much back to her role of “supporting Alex” and doesn’t get much to do this week. A shame.
Anyway, you can see exactly how things are going to go down with this from minute one so I checked-out hard every time we got Alex being way too pushy or the whole crew super-doting on Esme. To be fair, this is all very “realistic.” Swap out riding a bike or doing math homework for learning to control one’s alien mimic powers and you’ve got your simple conflict generator. It’s fine, it’s good, I was just bored by it.
2. A Puzzlement
Nyxly continues to confuse me. Sometimes she acts very smart and self-aware and other times she can be best described as a “silver age villain without the wackiness.” This week, she falls very much into the second category. She doesn’t do all that much beyond kidnapping William in order to get Kara to fork over the Hope totem but before that, she has this exchange with Mitch about how the powerful spin things in order to make themselves look good. Now, this seems like a fair criticism and in-line with her whole deal but it’s what she says beforehand that gets me.
You see, Nyxly, in an almost wink-and-nod sort of way, says to Mitch that if Supergirl would only stay out of her way, she wouldn’t have to do any of the things she’s done, implying that Supergirl is the real menace. I just…is Nyxly really that dense? Does she not realize how others see murder and betrayal as something to be opposed? Putting aside whether or not her anger at her father is justified (it is) or whether or not he deserves to be deposed (he does,) the incredulity in her voice just felt completely at odds with the rest of her actions.
Or maybe I’m just forgetting because she, and all the antagonists really, aren’t super well characterized this season.
3. Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?
Rojas continues to be one of the weakest parts of this half of the season and I cannot fathom why they keep forcing her to appear in every episode to do the exact same thing every single time. It’s maddening and baffling and honestly a waste of a character that could have been interesting but has never been written that way. She’s got shadow powers and it’s constantly ignored!
While I would love to see her transform and represent something other than a force to make Kara scrunch up her face in annoyance at another killed story, at this point, I much rather see her stop appearing than have to sit through another lecture scene that’s meant to be full of wisdom but comes off as condescension from a completely out of touch boss.
4. I Have Dreamed
I know I’ve made this comparison before but Supergirl really wants to be Superman IV: The Quest for Peace it seems. Not content with just cribbing the ridiculous powers of Nuclear Man, now they’re even bringing in the unilaterally destroying two countries’ nuclear weapons and that’s viewed as inspiring great hope for generations to come.Continued below
To be fair to “Hope for Tomorrow,” Corto Maltese and Kaznia both fired their weapons already and, you know, seeing nuclear war averted at 11:59 and 59 seconds can inspire a hope in the future that this moment will force people to realize the mistakes of nuclear posturing, but come on. They only got out of doing the hard and complicated thing by the writers deciding that the weapons would be fired right after Supergirl decided to take a potentially perilous action. Cheaping out on that moral choice is annoying but not unsurprising. At least Kara didn’t give a sanctimonious speech this time around.
With this episode over, we’ve reached the final five and it looks like the writers were starting to get as bored as I was with the fetch quest because in the last 5 minutes of “Hope for Tomorrow” they essentially flipped the board by destroying one of the totems, specifically the hope totem. We have yet to see what ramifications this will have but if I understood how these things worked, removing hope means they won’t be able to recover it. Like, when everyone was filled with courage, they didn’t suddenly stop being extra courageous once they figured it out.
Orlando & Tinto’s “Commanders in Crisis” did something similar to this and so I’m curious to see what direction Supergirl will take things. Will it grapple with the difficulties of a world without hope? Will it address all the damage that can be done when hope is suddenly gone? Will hope just be on the fritz? Or will destroying the totem just make a new one appear? I think these questions will be brushed away in favor of the mysterious Lex-o-suit Nyxly is sporting but I’ve been wrong before.
That about does it for now! What did you all think of this episode? Were you as mildly entertained as I was? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you all in a week for Supergirl giving a press conference and Nyxly standing on a table threatening a crowd…again. Until then, stay super y’all.
Best Line of the Night:
Esme: “You have the same powers as Kara. You’re the same person!”