• Supergirl s5 ep4 - Featured Television 

    Five Thoughts on Supergirl‘s “In Plain Sight”

    By | October 28th, 2019
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    Welcome back all you Supergirl fans! Did you all see the villain of the week? I think I missed her. There was a lot of Ma’ala’fek though and I think I’ve finally placed his voice! It’s John Stewart from the old Justice League cartoon.

    What’s that? If I’d googled the name, I’d have figured that out? Psssh, where’s the fun in that? And I gotta find my fun anywhere I can with this season of Supergirl because so far, it’s not giving me a lot to enjoy.

    As always, spoilers ahead.

    1. O Brother, Where Art Thou?

    I don’t know why Ma’ala’fek’s plot and fight with J’onn bores me. It should be engaging, which it isn’t, providing fertile ground for some character work, which it is, and creating a noticeable threat for our characters to chase and fight so that Rojas can be the civilian villain and Lena the shadow villain. In writing that sentence, however, I think I’ve hit upon why I don’t care: he’s just something to justify the DEO’s presence in the season, which just goes to show how little the organization matters to the show at this point.

    Why did the Monitor free him? Is there a Crisis reason or was that just the excuse needed to kick the plot off? Why didn’t he hide in the shadows for a few episodes, slowly plotting so we weren’t overloaded with stories? Why haven’t we spent any time getting to know him, getting to see him outside of the context of angry villain man who spends every waking moment trying to get revenge on J’onn? He’s not a very compelling or interesting villain and the best parts of him are wasted wrapping his plot up so he can be Lena’s prisoner.

    They’ve introduced so many concurrent plot threads that I think we’re starting to have an Amazing Spider-Man 2 problem on our hands. There are ways to have done this well, to make the stakes feel high, but with the world they’ve established, we know there’s no consequences to these kinds of peril and there will be no fallout beyond, at best, next episode, in regards to Alex get mind-controlled. J’onn may feel it longer but I have a feeling it’ll be pushed aside rather soon.

    OH, and until Intercepted Alex laid into J’onn about the erasing him from the thought stream, I was lost as to what the distance between the two were, knowledge wise. It’s made a big impact, hasn’t it?

    2. Raising Vocalizations

    I know this is a big TV thing, and an even bigger CW thing, but why, oh why, is Alex’s dialog so damn bad? Most of the time it’s fine, it’s nothing special and when you have 22 episodes, 42 minutes each, and you have to speak so much technical jargon, every line can’t be a gem, but she’s the queen of spelling shit out and it’s getting really tiring. It’s clear the writers don’t trust their audience, or their own writing prowess, to let them come to their own conclusions about why a character takes certain actions, why they say the things they do, or to have them emote throughout the episode instead of in highly regimented sections.

    I don’t need to hear about how Alex is worried about Kelly or how that’s why she’s so cross and testy, especially not multiple times in multiple “outbursts” because it’s clear that something is bothering her. Her fear can be layered in her interactions, her eagerness to get things wrapped up so Kelly can come back, can be safe. It’s clumsy writing and it’s a pretty big distraction.

    3. Inside J’onn Jones

    I know I said that the Ma’ala’fek plot line bores me but the one aspect of it that I really love is the way David Harewood handles J’onn throughout all these revelations about himself. He’s been through a lot these last couple seasons: finding his Dad, only to lose him again, failing to keep the path he promised his father and falling to anger before finding himself again, and then failing Manchester Black, allowing him to be swallowed by hatred. Now he finds out that he committed the worst crime in Martian culture against his own brother? Oof.

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    Harewood sells it all, most especially during the scene where Interceptor Alex is just flaying him with her words like a particularly vicious inquisitor. The choice to hold on his face was great and I don’t know why it worked so much better for me than last week’s. My only issue is that Harewood has a very stiff face and it’s hurt some of his acting in the past. It’s noticeable here, though he is giving it his all, and so the emotions don’t hit as hard, though they do hit pretty hard.

    4. Burn After Reading

    Well, it seems that William Day is, in fact, doing some undercover journalism on Rojas and her shady connections. Do I buy it? Well, kinda sorta. The show has gone out of its way to show Day in some pretty compromising positions — get your head out of the gutter, this isn’t Riverdale, no one has sex on Supergirl — so his explanation feels like it could be a cover-up. That said, he’s definitely investigating Rojas and he has a conscience so it could very well be the truth. I’m glad they’re making him less of a one-note asshat but I worry they’re going to swing the other way and have him be this secret, righteous justice dude and end up going the full Mon-El circa season 3.

    I also have more issues with this such as how Kara was going to explain being down in Mexico so suddenly to Day should she be seen but that’s a minor gripe. My other going theory is that Rojas is somehow involved with Leviathan which reminds me how much I HATE the mind-wiped, HOPE infected Eve because of how it just kinda throws that thread under the bus and also takes Eve off the board so we can’t explore that any more.

    OH I JUST HAD A THOUGHT. If they’re doing intergang, Bruno Manheim might show up and if we can get a werewolf and the Question I would flip. . .Too silly? Yeah, you’re right. The show with Spider-Tattoos that come to life is too serious to play around with the supernatural like Werewolves and masks that make your face disappear with a gas.

    5. Crimewave

    I was wrong about Kelly being sidelined and I’m very glad about that. It wouldn’t have done the show much good since, well, she was just starting to get more developed. That said, she didn’t really do all that much except support James and show him where his place should be and then have visions about Ma’ala’fek which came into play. . .only at the very end. It’s a step forward but eh, this was still mostly about James. Speaking of. . .

    I don’t know if this is James’ last episode on the show as a regular but I know he’s leaving at some point and, tying into the theme of journalism’s modern struggles, him going back to basics at a local, independent paper makes sense. Now, is it a false positive? I dunno but I would argue that it’s a bit of a honey pot, nostalgia trap on the part of the writers and the network while also being a good counterpoint to the current CatCo stuff. Media corporations have the benefit of being large enough to not be at the same whims as a small, independent paper. It is also here that I remind you that the CW is owned by AT&T/Time/Warner Bros/Am I forgetting any other old corporations owned by them, and as such this is us seeing through the lense of a giant mega corporation’s approval.

    . . .Ahem. What I was getting at is that James going to his hometown paper to be the fighter for justice that he is, is the perfect place for his character and is meant to show the power of the press and the importance of local journalism because it is right there on the ground instead of hundreds of stories up and can address concerns that aren’t visible to the large companies. But it’s also a simplification and that’s OK.

    That about does it for now! Somehow, I failed to talk about Nia and Brainy two weeks in a row despite the two of them having some pretty big relationship and personal challenges. Also, Nia’s still stuck at CatCo instead of doing superhero stuff because. . .they need to keep the DEO and CatCo stuff very separate? I dunno.

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    Anyway! What did you all think of the episode? Did I miss something? Was there a villain of the week that was somehow even more forgettable than previous because she was on screen for 30 seconds? Let me know in the comments and I will see you again next week for some possible revelations about what Day has been up to. Until then, stay super y’all.

    Best Line of the Night:

    Brainy: “My feelings are springing out and I can’t find a little box to contain them.”

    //TAGS | supergirl

    Elias Rosner

    Elias is a lover of stories who, when he isn't writing reviews for Mulitversity, is hiding in the stacks of his library. He can be found on twitter (for mostly comics stuff) here and has finally updated his photo to be a hair nicer than before.


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