Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Supergirl Episode 209: Supergirl Lives
There were plenty of reasons why I was pumped to watch Supergirl Episode 209: Supergirl Lives. It was the first since the midseason break so I was clamoring for a new episode. Second it was directed by Kevin Smith and so I knew that there would be plenty of comic sensibilities and references. Third, we knew this episode was going to a red sun world. And everyone involved seemed to be buzzing about it on social media.
I was ready.
And I have to say, it didn't disappoint. There is plenty to like here as almost every character has some story progression. There is plenty of action. And Kara, as well as Mon-El, have plenty of inspiring moments. As anticipated, there is plenty of comic and pop culture references that made me smile. And the scope of this was grand, worthy of a superhero epic.
There are some quibbles, of course. The plot seems to resolve almost too easily. There are a couple of deus ex machina moments. And because every character gets some growth, Supergirl isn't the focal point. While I understand this is an ensemble show, I'd love to have just a bit more Kara.
But the wait was over. The season's stories moved forward. And I was entertained. On to the details!
One thing I liked about this episode is that it acknowledged that there currently is no big bad on the show. Lillian Luthor left in cuffs last episode. And the Cyborg Superman ran off. We don't have an end game yet. And without that threat, everyone is reacting to the idleness of peace.
The episode starts with an action sequence of Supergirl engaging with crooks in a getaway van. It is a nice action sequence with heat vision and explosion. And it culminates with the Guardian trashing some of the criminals escaping on foot. When one runs by the Guardian van, Winn tries to stop him only to get battered and almost shot.
But I like how Supergirl voices how she is bored because she is foiling jewel thieves and bank robbers. She wants to do more than protect precious gems and cash. She wants to protect people.
Meanwhile, without a major threat, Alex has the time to deepen her relationship with Maggie. And James seems quite thrilled to continue to be the Guardian. There is no common enemy to focus on.
At CatCo, Kara and Snapper are approached by a mother whose daughter Izzy has gone missing after an argument. This is just the sort of human story that Kara and Supergirl have been craving. She promises the mother that she will find Izzy.
I enjoyed Snapper this episode as he continues to lay down some harsh 'real life' truths. Runaways aren't news. And how could Kara promise this mother she would find her daughter. Even I cringed a bit knowing there are too many tragic ways that promise could end.
But Kara is undeterred.
This isn't exactly the Cat/Kara relationship. I feel like Snapper is truly trying to guide Kara into being a good reporter, even if his advice is often grumbled.
Kara decides to delve into the mystery. She asks Maggie for information on Izzy. She is warned by Mon-El not to go looking for trouble. And she ends up leaning on the DEO for help. It turns there has been an uptick in missing persons and all had blood work done at a local clinic. That is a good enough clue to move forward.
The scene at the DEO is interesting to dissect. Winn is nursing his wounds (he makes a 'future so bright I gotta wear shades' reference to explain his hiding his shiner).
Meanwhile Alex is downright giddy. We had seen earlier how Maggie had spent the night. The two were all fresh in love, threatening to call in sick so they could canoodle more. How often have we seen Alex smile that widely. She seemed due for a break given everything that has happened to her. And Chyler Leigh really shined, showing us just how fun a happy Alex can be.
Mon-El and Kara investigate the clinic. The scene is playful as they act like a couple trying to join an experiment to make money. Mon-El reads a Highlights magazine in the waiting room. They do have a nice chemistry.
The workers turn out to be disguised aliens who try to escape through a portal. Knowing Izzy is most likely on the other side, Kara jumps through telling Mon-El to call the DEO so Alex can bring an assault team.
The planet on the other side is a red sun planet so even though Kara's hand to hand skills are enough to beat up an attacker, she is powerless. And Mon-El (who had one job) follows her there and helps fight off another alien.
Unfortunately, the portal closes marooning them there.
One theme to this issue is to again contrast Kara and Mon-El. Without a thought she jumps through the portal. It is the right thing to do. And maybe some of that is rubbing off on Mon who followed her. She is looking for trouble. He, I think, is just looking out for her.
The DEO is backtracks to the clinic's transmatter portal (or as Winn says a 'Stargate') and able to trace the path to Maaldoria, the Slaver's moon, a planet in a red sun system whose atmosphere is toxic to Martians (too convenient?). It is clear that Supergirl is trapped there and will need to be rescued.
After seeing happy Alex for all of five minutes, we see her fall into guilt and despair. She realizes that her relationship with Maggie made her lose sight of Kara. She breaks off the relationship. You have to feel for Alex who for the first time was feeling pretty good about life only to have the crushing weight of Kara's safety put back onto her shoulders.
Meanwhile, on Slaver's Moon (which Mon-El knows of because the Daxamites bought their slaves from their ... icky), Kara and Mon are befriended by an alien named Jogunraf (sp?)who points them to the fortress where the humans are being held captive. (Ruff is cooking a Thanagarian Snare Beast, an inside joke for Kevin Smith fans.) Despite being outgunned and non-powered, Kara rallies the slaves saying she will save them. And when she submits to torture to try to stop the slaves from being shipped away, the group rise up and overthrow the guards.
Again, I like the character growth here. Kara's immutable heroism and sacrifice even when faced with overwhelming odds is great. She says that heroes never give up, that she was spared from Krypton's fate for a reason. Mon-El initially wants to not be proactive but is spurred into action by her. And the humans rallying to help her was a nice touch. Even without her powers she's a hero.
But it does seem weird that only two soldiers were nearby. It made the escape a little too easy.
During the escape, a Dominator on board stops Mon-El from being shot by a Maaldorian. The Dominator bows and says nothing can happen to Mon-El. It is now clear that Mon-El is the Daxamite Prince, not the security guard.
Just like that a piece of the puzzle is put into place.
Meanwhile, Winn is still dealing with his fear of nearly being killed. He told James earlier he wasn't going to help the Guardian anymore. But Alex makes him join the away mission. On Maaldoria, Winn refuses to be a 'Red Shirt' and stops an alien from shooting him from much the same positioning and angle as that first attack.
I think Winn has grown tremendously as a character this season. He certainly seems like a better fit as the tech guy at the DEO. But I don't want him in the field too often. That should be a last resort.
The DEO helps gather to kidnapped human, Mon-El, and even Jogunraf. As for Kara, she gets a little boost from a yellow sun grenade (also convenient) and gets enough power to blast a Dominator ship out of the sky. Hope there wasn't a crew on board because they probably didn't make it!
The Winn smacks the portal control and magically it turns back on (also convenient).
The team gets back to Earth and destroys the portal, sealing things off.
There's nothing left to do but wrap things up for all the characters.
Izzy is reunited with her mother.
Kara submits here piece on the alien slavery ring to Snapper Carr declaring she will always follow her heart in her writing. She even calls him Chief! In a nice moment, he smiles and says 'Atta girl Danvers' once she has left the room. No breaking character!
Alex begs for Maggie's forgiveness and they patch things up. Maggie has figured out that Supergirl is Kara and that is what led to Alex's freakout. Glad that Maggie, the detective saw through the disguise. But I also like that Maggie said that Alex can't continually get irrational or she's out. Alex agrees. She wants to be happy and that is a new feeling for her.
And Winn feels comfortable to work with Guardian again, dubbing himself Protector of the Stars.
So everyone gets a nice moment.
I also like ... make that LOVE ... that Kara was watching The Big Sleep! As many know, I am an amateur film buff and love the classics. I can't help but think this is intentional given that in this scene Dorothy Malone plays a bespectacled book store clerk who removes her glasses, lets down her hair, and becomes a 'new woman' in front of Humphrey Bogart's eyes. That mirrors Kara's character and the secret identity. There is even a resemblance between Benoist and Malone.
I have always loved the character of Supergirl. To think she watches old movies only makes me love her more.
But not everything is okay. The masked women aliens are still searching for Mon-El and willing to kill to find him.
I have a couple of theories. Mon-El being the Prince of Daxam is a given. But my guess is Daxam didn't get destroyed when Krypton exploded. I also think that he was supposed to marry one of these masked women in an arranged marriage and ran off in a stolen Kryptonian ship before the wedding. That is why they are tracking him! And I also bet under those veils are female Dominators! That is my guess and I am sticking to it.
So overall a very good episode. I think it gets nudged up a bit because I missed the show a ton. But the action, snappy dialogue, and character progression were all right on target here.