Welcome back all you Supergirl fans to a game changer episode! And by game changer, I mean, we finally have some dang answers for this season’s mysteries, just in time for the show to disappear into the four-part crossover next week. How this ties into that crossover I have no idea and neither do the writers I suspect. Either way, let’s get down to business as this was a packed one! And as always, some spoilers are ahead.
1. The Mon-El Shaped Elephant in the Room
So, as has been pretty apparent throughout my previous reviews, I’m not a huge fan of Mon-El’s character. He never seemed to grow much and they kept praising his character for doing things that, really, were kind of shitty. Instead of focusing solely on his growth as a hero and apprentice to Supergirl, he became Kara’s love interest and man was that just a whole lot of bad.
Still, it ended in the best of ways and Mon-El had a grand send off so, of course, the only right move was to follow the grand tradition of comics and have him return to Earth just as Kara is starting to truly get over, or at least deal with, his leaving Earth. Classic. I think I’d have been slightly less angry if his plot was handled with a little bit more grace than it was.
He literally spends the entire episode giving puppy-dog eyes, moping in his cell, and refusing to talk! I’ve seen way too many episodes of the shows that I like succumb to the easy easy plot of: character A doesn’t communicate with Character B for bullshit reasons which causes tension and conflict that could be solved by being as honest as possible and not hiding behind vague, two word sentences.
Mon-El probably has a decent reason for not wanting to say anything, due to the loads of information that he dumps upon us in the back quarter of the episode, but come on man. Just say, I need to get back to my ship to make sure that the life-support pods don’t fail. Or just tell Kara what happened! Jeez. Ask her to respect your privacy but give them something, anything to set their minds at ease.
Don’t try to steal a weapon from the armory and then stay silent like you’re guilty of something horrible or that you’re not truly Mon-El. Okay, I’ll leave this be but he better be more talkative next episode or I might just have a conniption.
Also, I called him being married and the time-distortion from the time we saw him return.
2. J’onn’s C’a’a’feh
I’ve missed the comedic stylings and sage wisdom of J’onn’s father. He was one of those plot points that seemed to have been shifted to the backburner in favor of Sam and Lena’s plots and I’m glad they brought him back to the forefront. While I love what David Harewood has done with this Martian Manhunter, Carl Lumbly’s voice brings back so many memories for me so having him act as a mentor to the DEO trapped Harewood is exactly what is needed.
He also got one of the best jokes of the night. That brown water, C’a’a’feh, truly is a wonderful drink.
3. Trapped in the DEO-thru
Okay, so this is a series wide problem that was really brought to light above and I hope that this is the start of a change of venue for our character. The DEO has been so stagnant, acting as a waystation for exposition and easy solutions, instead of feeling like the vibrant and large organization that it did during season one. Winn, J’onn, Alex, and even Kara don’t do anything with the DEO itself and really, the only two people we actually see do anything is J’onn and Alex. Where is the actual organization during these town-wide problems? Why aren’t there other DEO agents that are brought into the fold? The building just feels empty and uninhabited, even while the backgrounds are filled with extras. They’re just faceless henchmen and that’s a shame.
On a separate note, I know they won’t do this, but I really want Supergirl to lean into the supernatural more instead of the alien (I know, I know, off brand but hear me out). She’s presumably weak to magic, like her cousin, and the DEO in the comics is usually headed by Mr. Bones, a sadistic man who deals with extranormal operations (usually supernatural instead of interplanetary).Continued below
By having Bones appear as the head, we can give the DEO a new purpose, a new antagonist, as well as open the door for my favorite Bat to make her appearance in the show (and maybe adapt some of that early new 52 run of “Batwoman?” Hmmm? Okay, I know that won’t really happen, it’s just my pipe dream.)
Still, the DEO needs a new purpose and I think that if they won’t do that, getting J’onn out of there more is a good move for this stagnant cast. Also, do something interesting with Jimmy dammit!
4. Fortress of Ripoffs
I have no idea who Reign is, I’ll put that out there right now. Despite my rant above, I’ve never really read much of the Supergirl/Superman mythos beyond a few, various mini-series such as “Superman: Unchained” or “All-Star Superman.” I say this because I’m about to rag on all the easy, easy touchstones of the Super mythos that this portrayal of Reign is given and if this is true to the comics, I rescind my comments.
So, the Supers have a lot of trouble staying the last of their species, don’t they? Turns out there was another, another pod from Krypton that survived and also happened to land on Earth. Who knew? It was also the same reveal as Superman, barn and tarp and everything. I know I said I wanted more Smallville but this isn’t what I meant. Then we get a fortress so solitude in the desert? Made of dirt instead of ice?
It just feels all too easy to conjure up these images to make Reign a dark reflection of Superman (or, well, Supergirl but she never had any of these reveals since she already knew she was Kryptonian and doesn’t have a fortress of solitude). It was all too neat, to quick. I think that, because this was sandwiched in between so many other big reveals, it ended up feeling weaker than it should have. Still, I get what the writers were trying to do, having the same reveal for Sam as for Clark but because her family life was so different, she turns out differently and handles the admission from her mom differently.
Unfortunately, this is undercut by the creepy hooded hologram who basically tells Sam that she was genetically modified to be Doomsday, I mean Reign, and to be a planet killer and that her child is the only reason her Kryptonion powers didn’t awaken at 18? Sure, why not. It’s a lot to swallow and, while I’m glad we finally have the full reveal of Reign as a villain (I think), it was poorly handled. Especially since next week is presumably disconnected from this due to the big-ass crossover.
5. All Your Reveals Are Belong To Us
I’ve touched on this a bunch already but this was a reveal filled episode and it feels like the writers threw it all in here to set up and prep for after the crossover. The Legion of Superheroes is teased (who else would be from the 31st century in a pod that was buried for over 12,000 years?), we finally find out what actually happened to Mon-El (grr), Reign is officially unveiled and is evil (again, I think) and J’onn and his father are going to do….things. I’m pumped for what’s to come and how it will hopefully, hopefully, bring a new dynamic to the DEO and get Kara to develop some more. I’ll keep holding my breath for that second part.
So, who’s happy that Mon-El is back? Who’s excited for Reign and the Legion of Superheroes? Let me know in the comments and come back next week for the big, four show crossover. Chris and I will be collaborating to review all four parts (God help our souls) so be sure to check back in for that!