The thirteenth episode of Supergirl aired this week and was titled 'For the Girl Who Has Everything". Comic fans will know that title from Superman Annual #11, the famous Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons story where Superman falls victim of the Black Mercy and has visions of a life on Krypton. Advance pictures of the episode showed Kara with the Black Mercy flower so we knew we were getting a version of that tale.
But it could have been titled 'for the fans who want everything'. Because this was the best episode of the series by far. Before the show aired, Jeremy Jordan tweeted that this episode was going to be the finale of the season until a second half was picked up. And this felt like a season finale. There were great action sequences. There were a few surprises. There were truly emotional, heartfelt character scenes. And for me, those were the best moments.
Everybody shines in this episode which focuses of family, love, and loyalty. Melissa Benoist, as always, shows incredible range. From the happy girl back on Krypton, to the distraught one yanked from that fantasy, to channeling Hank Henshaw in some scenes, Benoist is a marvel. This is as much an Alex episode as it is a Kara one and Chyler Leigh also shines. Flipping from bad ass to desperate, Chyler Leigh really shines. But everyone has a moment at some point. This cast is so strong.
And so we have this mid-season finale.
The show starts out on a supreme high note. Kara awakens on Krypton. She is being cared for by a medical robot named Kelex. She has been suffering from Argo Fever, a disease which may have given her fever dreams. Alura is there, by her side. And we pull back from the room to see the magnificence of Krypton.
Immediately, Supergirl recognizes this as some sort of trick. She knows it isn't real. She doesn't understand why she doesn't have her powers. She wonders who could have done this to her.
Okay, so they had me at Kelex and Argo Fever. But what I love is that Kara immediately knows something is amiss. I promise I won't compare and contrast this episode to the Superman comic too much. But it did take Kal most of the issue to shake things off.
And then we see just how upset Alex is. She immediately assumes that Maxwell Lord is behind the Mercy attack. She heads into his fishbowl and thrashes him. In fact, she might've crossed some line if Hank didn't intercede.
So here is the action side of Alex, ready to bloody her hands to save her family.
There is a rather heated encounter with Cat. Cat derides Kara for recent events, her disappearances from work, and her lack of execution. Initially Hank/Kara fires back saying better instructions might lead to better execution (such a Hank thing to say) but Cat wants none of it.
Later in the episode, to buy more time, Hank/Kara sheds tears, painfully obvious fake tears to get the afternoon off. Cat calls the tears a 'Catskills summer stock performance' but allows Kara to leave. Things won't be easy when real life resumes.
But these scenes again showed how great Benoist is. These were almost comical.
Alex sort of pleads with the computer for anything that can help. She talks about how Kara has always relied on her, how she wishes she was a better sister at the beginning of their lives together, how she used to resent Kara. But in the end, Kara is her sister. She needs to save her.
There is some serious emotion here. I almost welled. The actual welling comes later.
Alex heads back to Kara's apartment. Suddenly, Astra shows up. Earlier, Astra learned that Non sent the Black Mercy.
Astra is clearly conflicted in her loyalties. She wants to save Kara from this fate and gives Alex the key information. Kara has to reject the false reality completely to free herself. (I guess Kara's earlier questioning of the Krypton reality wasn't enough?)
This is a tight, tense scene. Alex reminds Astra that their last encounter led to dead DEO agents. And yet, Astra, who could vaporize Alex, isn't lashing out here. She tells Alex to trust the information. In fact, Astra seems to warm up to Alex. When Alex calls Kara her sister, Astra wonders what relationship they have now. But Alex coldly says Astra is 'nothing'.
I just have to point out, that is a lot of Kryptonians. Too many? Why wouldn't this army just take over? Why scheme?
During the episode, we see snippets of Kara's fantasy life. Slowly she accepts this reality. She forgets about Earth. She cares for Kal. She has a boyfriend.
Alex realizes that she needs to enter this fantasy world to convince Kara to come home. Using some comic book science, Max Lord rigs up some of the DEO's VR equipment to synch Alex's mind with Kara. Alex convinces Max to help because there are lots of Kryptonians out there preparing to attack. Astra and her forces are a bigger enemy.
That said, Max is a known serial killer with no problem killing. It would be a big step for me to trust him.
The VR works and Alex heads into Kara's mind. Initially overpowered, Alex faces imprisonment in the Phantom Zone when she pleads with Kara to wake up. It is a great speech, talking about how Kara is a hero because she struggles to spare other people the pain and loss that Kara has felt. Alex knows how much Kara has suffered, how much pain she has felt, but it is that pain that makes us human. Alex needs her sister and Supergirl.
Those last words snap Kara back. While the Krypton behind them rumbles with impending destruction, Kara has to say goodbye Alura one last time.
It was during this speech by Alex that I welled ... a little ... maybe it was dusty in the room.
So much is said in the look on her face. Sadness. Pain. Almost nausea. Leaving that Krypton was like ripping her heart around. And Benoist hits every single note of that without saying a word.
This was superb.
Kara pretty much beats the tar out of Non. But it is her words that hit me like a hammer.
She screams about having to leave her family again. She vows that Non won't take another world from her. She has known pain. But she chooses her family. She chooses Earth.
Non hates the hubris of the House of El and is able to escape. He basically has to flee before Supergirl completely defeats him.
At another site, Alex and J'Onn (in full Martian mode) fight Astra. She plants whatever tech she was supposed to during the fight.
Initially, Alex again seems to try to convince Astra to join the DEO. She points out that Astra has had plenty of chances to kill Alex or Kara and hasn't.
Shockingly, despite that plea, Alex ends up skewering Astra with a K-tana. It is true that Astra was about to kill J'onn. But that seemed harsh for a possible ally. Couldn't Alex have just wounded her?
Astra dies. I was *NOT* expecting that.This is the one part that seemed to come out of left field. Maybe that is why the writers put it in here. This is a war. There need to be casualties.
When Kara arrives, Hank says he killed Astra. (Later Hank says Alex is Supergirl's hero. He took the blame so Kara wouldn't look at Alex differently. This has to come up later.)
In her last moments, Astra and Kara seem to forgive each other. That concept of family again bubbling up.
The episode ends with the super-friends together again. Kara says she dreamed of Krypton because she was feeling lost the last couple of weeks but her love of her family and friends brought her back. Winn mends their relationship, calling himself Kara's friend to which she responds 'best friend'. James breaks out the pot stickers, ice cream, and booze. It is an upbeat ending to a gut-wrenching episode. And it would have been a decent moment to end a season on.
There are a lot of other moments emphasizing family. Hank considers Alex and Kara to be family. James stops Hank from prematurely yanking Alex out of the VR because Alex wouldn't forgive Hank if he did. Winn laments not being in Kara's life when she is under the mercy, fearing he won't be able to be friends with her again. There is a lot to love.
Lord has his usual snarky moments, asking for Dr. Pepper and his Netflix. Asking for popcorn when guns are drawn in the DEO.
And Cat is the classic tough boss making Hank/Kara 'miss his alien prison'.
There is so much to love about this episode. Which might be why this review is so long.
But this one was for the fans. It has everything.