Welcome back all you Supergirl fans! Whew, am I glad to be back to Sunday nights. Tuesdays had its perks but it just feels right to start the week off with Supergirl. Although, it is kind of quiet around here without the rest of the DCUniverse crew (sans Chris. . .sorry man.)
What’s the girl of steel got in store for us today anyway? Follow-up on her adventures elsewhere? More current events and the continuation of her last solo episode? . . .Oh. Welp. At least it feels more connected than Riverdale season 2’s mid-season return.
As always, spoilers ahead.
1. Supergirl: Red Daughter
I get it, I get it. Something’s fishy in Russia and somehow there are two Supergirls. Trotting this out at the start of the mid-season premiere was a move that could have worked but it backfired on them this time. We just came off a series of alternate worlds AND the resolution to the first 8 episodes of this season so it makes sense that they’d want to reference the thing they’ve been teasing throughout those episodes. Give some direction to the return and all.
BUT if you’re not going to deliver on ANYTHING except a small teaser that isn’t even nominally connected to the rest of the episode, then you’ve gotta make certain that the teaser is something special. If you couldn’t tell by my tone, it wasn’t. There was a nice fake-out, where they made it seem as if Russia Supergirl was the attacker of the ship, but beyond that, it felt like a cheap trick.
By positioning this storyline the way they have, they’ve set it up to be the “big” back-half plot or at least a smaller arc that will tide us over until the return of Agent Liberty. It’s such a minor gripe because it’s just a failure to effectively set-up a future plot line, and I should be grateful they’re even trying to do that, but it’s like Reign or Nora over in Flash, they’re taking way too long, with too few uninteresting details, and an unsubtle presentation, to set up something that has no ticking clock attached to it. I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can stop wondering why they keep referring back to it.
2. One Line to Rule Them All
In spite of the opening putting a sour mood on the episode, there were a lot of great one-liners and exchanges this week, both dramatic and comedic, from most of the cast. Brainy, obviously, came out on top but these moments helped move the episode along. There was a lot to juggle, in terms of smaller character plots being set up or acted upon, and it could have been easy to make an episode that was jumbled or overly-full, but the team managed to pull it off.
I wouldn’t go calling it a complete success, seeing as this was a return to the regular formula with a rather uninteresting monster of the week, but what they set in motion this week feels like it will pay off well down the line. I can accept a OK episode that’s trying to move pieces around so that there will be earned returns to it later on. I don’t love the clean break from everything surrounding Liberty. That cannot be brushed away for too long. However, the fallout from Supergirl’s leaving the DEO and Haley’s suspicions, which continue to drive the DEO plot forwards, are a direct result of Agent Liberty and that gives me confidence in the connectivity of the season.
3. Haley’s Comment
I knew Haley was going to be an antagonist but I was not prepared for her to swing all the way back to unsympathetic. I love her presence as an internal stressor for Alex, acting as an analogue to Agent Bones, albeit without the never-reveal past (I will never not be bitter, DC) or the supernatural leanings. She’s the perfect kind of villain but this episode didn’t treat her with the nuance that it really should have.
They try to inject some sympathy via her speech about how being a soldier means having to do things that go against your moral code which, while I do not buy into that, is her outlook and explanation. However, her going full J. Jonah Jameson on Supergirl felt out of character, even though I can see how their explanation works, and undermined any emotional weight that conversation might otherwise have carried.Continued below
She’s at risk of becoming just another, standard “evil” military officer and that’s uninteresting to watch. I hope they allow her to have more crisis of conscience, even if she still doubles down, because that’s the kind of character she seems to be. Why she’s obsessed with Supergirl’s identity is irrelevant to that aspect of her.
4. Dreams of Plums and Figs
Brainy. Oh Brainy. Poor dear. Dating is tricky and you seem to be having a particularly bad time of it. There is a great amount of tragedy in this one scene, which I don’t think has set in for him just yet. Nia likes him, and it’s hard to tell if she’s able to look past his mistakes to see if dating would be something that could work, but he’s not exactly the most considerate and that’s a great detriment. I said tragedy and the reason behind that choice of word comes down to the Brainy and Nia’s performances.
Both pay great attention to their physicality and the smaller gestures that convey conflicting emotions, which is absolutely necessary in a situation like this. Nia is clearly uncomfortable, guarded, but still willing to listen. She’s unsure as to how she should feel about the non-date that Brainy setup and all the cues he missed. The conversation never devolved into the kinds of melodrama that could have occurred though, and Brainy gave a fantastic small speech that simultaneously revealed more of his past and started Nia’s journey towards the costumed life. It’s a wonderful scene that continues to make Nia and Brainy the top two characters at the moment.
Also, I love that Brainy has a book of sketches and clothing swatches.
5. Yami Yugi vs Zatanna
Well, I put off talking about this long enough. The DC universe and mind wipes have a very rocky relationship so when they embarked on the “I’m going to find out Supergirl’s secret identity” plotline, I was worried as to how they were going to solve that issue. . .I just wasn’t expecting it to happen this week! Jeez! Haley finds out so Alex decks her (nice) and then they call in J’onn to perform a mind wipe, which he does.
What makes this work is that 1) the change is a small obfuscation for her and doesn’t change who she is and 2) J’onn acknowledges the violence of the action and when it comes time to mind wipe everyone else, it’s done with full consent. It also leads us into the saddest scene of the episode. Despite wishing for it to have been longer and done with less talking (this was a VERY talky episode), Alex and Kara’s despair over the loss of that aspect of their relationship was handled with care.
It also provided the perfect opportunity to connect the ‘Elseworlds’ crossover and the things Kara experienced there. That was a raw moment for her and they played it up beautifully. It was moving and this decision cannot end well. How will Alex explain why she went to work for the DEO? I foresee this being a central problem going at least into the next episode.
5.5. Cheating Because I’m a Thoughts Cheater
5 thoughts never seems to be enough for me but I’ll keep this collection short. First up is Jimmy, who got a lot of killer moments of introspection and adult-ness. He was so good this week! He and Lena didn’t have much to do but the steps to repairing their relationship but without completely removing the conflict makes me excited to see where this is going to end up. He truly is the most emotionally mature character of the cast, despite his many screw ups (see Children of Liberty.)
Also, John Jones, Private eye. ‘Nuff Said.
That about does it for now! What did you all think of the return? Was it what you were hoping for? Let me know down in the comments and then join me again next week for Alex’s crisis of mind and maybe some Jones detective work? Until then, stay super y’all.
Best Line(s) of the Night:
1) Lena: “But if he’s not.”
Kara: “I’ll beat him up for you.”
2) Supergirl: “Why do people cover things up? They know we’re gonna figure it out.”Continued below
3) Brainy: “I’m calling about food. . .And your interest in it.”
4) Brainy: “A. Super Friend.”