Welcome back all you Supergirl fans! While there was no Nuclear Man in sight, “The Quest for Peace” was an episode filled with stupidity, strange twists, and was, ultimately, a bore. I’m not gonna bury the lede, this was a mediocre finale for a season that started off strong but lost its way somewhere. Let’s get into it so I can speculate on Crisis and the next season.
As always, spoilers ahead.
1. Episode of Bore
I’m still fuming from the stupid, stupid, stupid way they brought Supergirl back from the dead last episode and this episode did nothing to alleviate that. In fact, there was a throwaway line in the middle, when Lex is asking, incredulously how she survived, and she just replies, “I’m Supergirl,” which should be a “YEAHHHHHH” moment but instead just gets a hearty middle finger because it’s lazy. It’s lazy hand-waving and instead of trying to at least make something up, they just gloss over the fact that Supergirl can pull sunlight from the Earth now. Is that a new power? Will it ever be used again? Is it like the solar flare at the end of the New 52 for Superman? Who knows! Not I.
Beyond that, however, there were a lot of decisions in this finale that were just frustrating to watch because the tone of this season was decidedly not ironic and yet, Lex flying around, blowing up the invading army that he set up to invade while “My Way” plays is decidedly not earnest. It was silly and got a small chuckle before my face went back to rolling, dead eyes but it felt so out of place. In fact, the whole opening was out of place and uninteresting.
Did we need to see Lex messing with his battery factory? No. Did we need to see Lex siccing Red Daughter on Kara’s mom? No. It fills a “plot hole” that really wasn’t much of one and, honestly, makes me retroactively think its stupid because the prior explanation — that of she knows who the mom is and threatens her to get to Kara because she’s been spying on her — made a lot more sense from a character stand point.
Plus! Red Daughter is so wasted! Her arc would have been much more interesting to follow as set up in “House of L,” questioning her place, trying to figure out why Kara does what she does and growing from that while still seeing the problems with the USA that manifests thanks to her working with Lex. But instead, just like Eve, she’s a tool and a pawn with little internal motivation and little screen time to develop, instead being a pawn to sacrifice for the pathos and to keep Kara in danger but with the means to get her out of it.
Yeah, after “dying” last week (you can’t trust these fucking cliffhangers,) she came back only to die again, but this time heroically and then is absorbed(?) into Supergirl. Or she just poofed. I might have blinked at the end of that scene. Either way, it didn’t manage to emotionally connect and left me bored, bored, bored.
Most of the episode left me feeling that way, with fight scenes that heavily relied on slow motion for no reason, CGI that wasn’t used or integrated well (Jon Cryer’s head at the end on the Lex-O-Suit was really bad,) and dialog that, on the whole, was serviceable but not particularly engaging. I left this season finale with a feeling of emptiness and boredom because it was also so predictable but not in a fun way; the silly parts weren’t silly enough to have fun with them and the earnest parts were too unearned to find engaging. It’s a shame but, hey, it could always be worse.
2. Kryptonite but for the Villains
You know who else has descended into silly and non-threatening? Lockwood. His arc and subsequent descent has been. . .weird. On the one hand, this is a good way to show the fall of the fanatic, the way they cling to power and violence as they lose their grip on the fear of the public, growing more manic and desperate. You see them for what they are, and what they are is pathetic. At the same time, it takes all the teeth out of him as a villain because he is now powerless, in an institutional sense.Continued below
In the finale, Lockwood has gone from a man who uses his words to infect and spread hate, leading an organization that hunts aliens and has the broad support of a lot of “regular” people to a dude in military gear who can punch real hard and has angry face. He’s not threatening, we’ve seen worse and Lex is far more dangerous, so his continued presence is a nuisance rather than a threat that just keeps coming back, worse and more devious than before. He’s a simplified evil that is easy to defeat and, because they positioned Lex, the TRANSPARENT EVIL SUPER-VILLAIN, as the mastermind, taking down all the corrupt people in the government and elsewhere is easy.
I think I’m angry that Supergirl chose to give into the standards of network television stakes because it was doing a good job of tackling analogs to current events in this universe in ways that weren’t too simplified. Yes, this is ultimately a show about hope and the hero must prevail, but it doesn’t have to have wrapped up so neatly. Instead, we get a lot of generic speeches and a few fight scenes with a couple cool moments to wrap up a season filled with tough questions about the necessity of violence, how to deal with hate, and the systemic problems that enable and fail those who give into hate and those who are targeted by it.
3. Tropes III
Not all is bad, however. Brainy’s realignment was handled in a clever, albeit predictable, way and anytime Jesse Rath gets to act & overact is a treat. While I do wish it had lasted longer, as Brainiac is a very threatening force to be reckoned with, having his mind reconnect thanks to the illogicity of J’onn and Nia’s decision, and his worry over Nia possibly not making it, was a good call. It was true to the character without feeling too pulled out of thin air *cough* fucking *cough* Supergirl running on the power of plant Sunny-D *cough*.
It also means that we get our old Brainy back AND he confessed his feelings to Nia, who reciprocated! YAY! Characters actually communicated! If only Kara and Lena did that instead of staying quiet because we need manufactured tension and Lena to, once a-fucking-gain, not trust Kara/Supergirl now that Lex has spilled the beans right before dying. Kinda. We’ll get to that in a sec.
Can you tell I hate that trope and that I knew, I KNEW, this is what would happen? It was the same with Barry Allen in The Flash and it’s the same here. It’s stupid and annoying and even though they set it up correctly, with arguments that were mildly (very mildly) persuasive, it’s still going to be a pain to sit through next season. Plus, it means Lena is probably going to become evil or something. Uch, I’m not looking forward to that.
4. The Wasted II
There was a LOT that happened in this episode, mostly with small bits and bobs, wrapping up arcs and setting up new ones but it all felt rushed and empty. Even all the actors’ dialog had this fast, almost breathless delivery to it, like they needed to fit 60 pages of script into a 44 minute episode, and needed to close the book on a few plots so that Crisis can happen the way they want it to. It’s kind of annoying. The worst offenders of this are Kelley Olson and Eve Tessmacher.
Kelley has had exactly zero minutes of screentime away from Alex or her brother. While they did take the time to establish how she’s opened up to Alex and how she was there for her during the adoption process and subsequent falling through of the adoption, it’s a shallow bit of connection that, once again, feels so forced. These two have very little chemistry as compared to Alex & Renee, sorry, Maggie and it feels like a disservice to both characters to rush into the relationship. Although, there was that whole thing with Mon-El so. . .I guess this is better than that at least.
As far as Eve is concerned, the stinger about Leviathan and her involvement is nonsense but OK, whatever gets her to stick around for next season is fine by me, so long as it gives us a reason to care about her character again. They really dropped the ball on setting up, not only more depth to her character, but her betrayals and allegiances all throughout the season. Now, in the final episode, we get a “reason” for why she was so intent on being next to Lex that isn’t “Lex is sexy and I will do anything for him,” which was stupid and I never really bought — she’s working for Leviathan.Continued below
You know, Leviathan? The thing Brian Michael Bendis is making an event for right now in the Superman books? The organization The Silencer from Arrow is supposed to be a part of but wasn’t for some reason? The one run by Talia Al Ghul who doesn’t(?) exist on this earth and kills lots of people? That one. Why they’re bringing them in and having Eve be a part of it, I don’t know. There was zero indication she was anything but a Lex fangirl just as there was zero indication that she was a Lex fangirl in the first place. But, it recontextualizes her actions and, perhaps, makes her a more sympathetic and three dimensional character if they play this right. If not, it’ll just mean more of the same.
Oh, and Jimmy now has a sweet eyepatch. Glad his whole PTSD/trauma subplot has be fully resolved in a clean and easy and quick way. . . . . . . .
5. Monitor Returns
And thus, the season wraps up but lo! There is still much to be set up! For beyond yonder horizon is a Crisis the likes of which have never been seen before, for which a Monitor is here to fuck things up and bring back the dead.
. . .Yeah, so, the Monitor shows up, bringing back J’onn’s brother from. . .somewhere and then going to where Luthor’s cold, dead corpse lay and stealing him? It was quite the teaser and while I can’t say I have any idea what’s going on, I’m tentatively excited. I’m actually more excited for Nia Nahl & Brainy but with “Crisis” looming, I gotta say, it’s gotten me excited. For once, the crossovers feel built into the shows instead of an interruption and I’ve got a feeling Supergirl might actually play a bigger part this time around.
If not, well, I’ll be pretty miffed.
Thank you all for getting through this article, and this season, with me. It’s been a long with, with a few ups and, unfortunately, more downs BUT I have hope that next season will be a bit better, although I have no data to back that up. It will have intrigue, wonder, and some really stupid tropes to fight through and I for one, cannot wait to watch it, even if it will probably make me groan angrily a lot.
Join me again in, presumably, September for the return of Supergirl as it leads up to a true “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Until then, stay super y’all.
Best Lines of the Night:
1. Lillian: “Try not to quote Hitler in public. It’ll hurt the brand.”
2. Lena: “You’re not buying this mother?”
Lillian: “Of course not. I already poisoned his tea. If he’d shut his big mouth long enough to take a sip, he’d be dead already.”