Supergirl episode 216, titled 'Star Crossed' aired earlier this week and finally revealed just who Mon-El is. It also made him a more sympathetic character when you see just what Daxam was like and who his parents are. Any time you name something 'Star Crossed', you are aiming for a Romeo and Juliet feel. And that means doomed lovers. Certainly, Krypton and Daxam could be the planetary equivalent of the Montagues and the Capulets. And Mon-El hiding his real identity for this long certainly isn't a good foundation for a long standing relationship. So I wasn't surprised just how this all played out.
This also was a similar 'crossover' episode with the Flash. We knew the musical episode of the Flash was happening the night after this aired. The teaser at the end of Supergirl is the bridge of her joining the crossover, much as the show proceeded in the Invasion crossover.
Lastly, since Melissa Benoist was probably busy filming Flash at the same time, much of this episode is focused on Winn and his relationship with Lyra. To the surprise of no one, she turns out to be a bit more nefarious. She's a villain of sorts, but the kind with a sympathetic background that makes you end up rooting for her even if she almost ruined Winn's life. Maybe this relationship was also star-crossed in nature.
As usual, Benoist really brings it this episode. She is emotionally devastated for much of this episode and she brings that sort of weight to the proceedings. Her expressions, her dialogue, her body language all screams her pain.
I'll be concentrating mostly on the Supergirl/Mon-El plot in this review. Settle in.
For me, the stage was set before this episode started. We had last week's cliffhanger with the arrival of Mon-El's parents. We knew the name of this episode was 'Star Crossed'. I had the sense that this episode was going to be a breaking point for the Kara/Mon-El relationship. The clues were there.
So I applaud the writers for starting the show with a happy scene between the couple. We need to acknowledge their bliss first before we can see it ripped apart. These two haven't been smooth sailing all along so it was good to establish that they were clicking again.
So the show opening with Kara enjoying her fun-employment and watching old movies with Mon was a slick beginning. Kara is 'dopey smiles, butterflies in the stomach' happy with Mon-El. And she is thrilled when he asks to watch a musical. (This, of course, endears her to me even more.) She clearly loves musicals although her 'go to' musical is Funny Face. I would have put money down on Singing in the Rain or Meet Me in St. Louis.
And Mon-El wearing an old school calculator watch is just a brilliant little touch.
Their fun is interrupted by the classic static-filled TV screen message from above. A ship has arrived and demands that Mon-El be turned over to them. Why would they want a palace guard? Everyone, even the members of the DEO, don't understand why.
I'll end up covering the Winn/Lyra plot at the end of this review.
But the premise is that Lyra convinces Winn to break them into the National City Art Gallery after hours for 'divine museum sex'. And he complies.
She is a bit physically dominant over him. He calls her a She-Hulk.
In the end, she turns out the be an art thief and used Winn to get her into the museum. She then steals Van Gogh's Starry Night and frames him.
I might come off as a prude her but I wish she didn't say the sex line. As an adult, she could have simply said 'what I am going to do to you in there' and I would know what she meant. But I am watching this show with my young daughters. This is supposed to be an empowering show that young girls can watch with their family. I think some of these shenanigans could be a bit more understated so I don't have to explain things or pretend I didn't here it. I felt a bit similarly earlier in the season when we saw Miss Tessmacher with her skirt hiked up in a supply closet. Maybe just not so obvious. Trust the audience to fill in the blanks.
Supergirl decides she needs to greet the ship Supergirl style. She says she is always careful but Mon-El says he respectfully disagrees that is true.
The ship immediately fires on her. She even gets placed in some sort of force field bubble she needs to break out of. I would have been gobsmacked if somehow it was called a Coluan force missile or something like that.
The fact that the Daxamites immediately fired on her shows their approach to problems.
Can I just say I am still floored sometimes that this show exists. Even just 3 years ago, if you told me that I would see a shot like this in a live action Supergirl show I would have said you were crazy.
Mon-El calls off Supergirl's attack saying he will turn himself in. He asks to go alone. But as the beam begins to teleport him, Kara jumps in to join him. It is risky and impetuous and it is her not listening to him ... a sort of reversal of these characters. She recently just complained about him not listening to her. I don't know if this is to show they are more similar, or maybe to spin him in a more positive light.
On board, the crew bows and Queen Rhea and King Lar Gand (!!!) introduce themselves and welcome home their son the prince of Daxam. Benoist gives the perfect visual response to the reveal. Look at that expression of shock, disbelief, but also almost contemplation as she runs facts through her head. Wonderful.
But there is more to love than just a Lar Gand name drop and Benoist's acting. The King apologizes for attacking Supergirl but they were just defending themselves. Supergirl reminds them that it was the ship that shot first. It is another way of cluing us into Daxam and their culture.
The group sits for a meal and the Queen says that Daxam was devastated by Krypton's explosion but the atmosphere is better. It is time for all Daxamites to return home and rebuild. She says the royalty needs to 'make Daxam great again'. Mon-El shows that he isn't going to just fall back into his old feelings. He says that Daxam was never great.
He then retells how he survived. It is a nice snapshot of what life on Daxam was like for him. On the day that Krypton exploded, Mon-El was in bed with some nameless girl. The real palace guard grabs Mon-El and rushes him out. Despite the girl's pleads for him to stay or take her with him, despite Mon-El stepping over dying citizens reaching for him, he makes his was to escape. The guard heads to the Kryptonian pod and kills the Krypton delegate so Mon-el can use it to leave the planet. I couldn't help but notice that the delegate has an S-shield on his suit. Was he a family member of Kara's??
The whole thing shows just how self-centered Mon's life was. He cared for no one but himself.
Mon-El asks that he and Kara get sent back to Earth. There he tries to explain why he lied. But he tries to turn things around to make it Kara's fault. It was her bias towards Daxamites and the prince that made him hide his identity. That is a pretty awful approach. He should have just apologized.
Thankfully, Kara calls him on it, saying he led a cruel world and lied to here. She can't even look at him.
Rhea arrives on Earth to talk to Kara alone.
Initially she thanks Kara for saving Mon-El. But it is clear that she has clear disdain for Kryptonians. Earlier Rhea defended Daxam's use of slaves saying that they were taking the slaves away from a worse fate. Here she blames Krypton for Daxam's problems (at least that is true). She wants Mon-El to return home to be the youthful face of Daxam's future.
I love how in this exchange Kara says that Krypton wasn't perfect but she can admit to them. She can acknowledge the issues her planet had. It seems like Daxam doesn't see their own flaws.
Throughout the episode, Mon-El keeps hoping that Kara will simply look past this mountain of an issue. He hopes she'll see the best in him and forgive him.
She tells him of the conversation with Queen Rhea. She says that he has a second chance that she didn't have. He can go back to a world and a people that he thought was gone. Obviously, this is a personal issue for her as well. This was a great exchange.
I am thankful that she didn't simply forgive him. He had lots of time, lots of time, to explain himself. He has something of a sympathetic backstory, realizing what he was and what he wants to be. But the time to have said all that was a while back.
The Lyra/Winn plot ends with Winn and Lyra exonerated. Winn ends up forgiving Lyra and it is something Kara has a hard time believing. Lyra lied to him, hurt him. How could he just forgive her.
He says that she was doing what she did to save someone she loves (her brother) and was willing to sacrifice herself for that. She didn't do it to hurt him. She did it to save someone else. She is worth forgiving. He wonders if Mon-El had similar reasons.
Earlier, Alex wondered if Mon-El lied because he was hoping for a fresh start.
I am kind of surprised that these folks are defending him. Maybe they have seen some good in what Mon-El has done over the time he has been on Earth.
In the end though, it is too big a deal for Kara.
Mon-El is waiting for her in her apartment. He empties his soul to her. He sees he was a spoiled, useless person that he didn't know. He loves how Kara is honest to a fault and fights for those she cares for. She deserves someone who isn't a liar. He loves her.
But she can't accept it. Being a hero and falling in love isn't easy. He wants things easy. She shows him the door. It clearly hurts her. Who wouldn't be hurt.
He isn't reverting though. He heads to the Daxam ship and dresses down his mother. He won't return to Daxam. He realizes how ignorant he was, how he propped himself up at the expense of others. Supergirl is the best thing he knows and makes him want to elevate himself. He asks to be sent back to Earth.
There are subtle things I loved in his argument with his parents. Rhea keeps calling Kara 'that Kryptonian girl'. Mon-El calls her a woman. Rhea says that he sounds like a Kryptonian, another shot at that way of life.
I do like that even though he isn't with Supergirl romantically, he returns to the DEO. He has grown.
The episode ends with Kara mesmerized at the DEO by the Music Meister who then slips back to Earth-1 to fight the Flash. Kara awakens to find herself at a jazz club and told to sing on stage. Now that is a hook.
I glossed over Winn's plot. Briefly, Lyra's brother joined a mob specializing in art theft. But when her brother couldn't supply enough merchandise, he was held against his will. It was up to Lyra to supply the pieces in exchange for her brother's freedom. Knowing Valerians don't show up on film, she would lure men into museums and then purloin the pieces. Luckily, Winn decides to forgive her and sets up a sting with the DEO and the police that reunites Lyra and her brother.
There are a bunch of nice things about this plot too. Winn's discomfort being questioned by Maggie is great. He mentions his father's experience with police as part of his feelings. Alex learns about the art ring by promising an informant Hamilton tickets. She can get them because King George is played by someone from Rimbor (!!!) who owes her a favor.
But the big thing was Lyra's heart-wrenching story about being a refugee from Star Haven and what she had to see. Her parents starved to death. She stayed below deck on a ship for 6 weeks. She resorted to stealing to stay alive. It made her a much more complex character than the typical 'bad girl using the nice guy' you see. She does admit that she had real feelings for Winn.
Overall, this pushed the Mon-El plot line far forward and that made me happy. I really loved Supergirl throughout the episode. She is confident and strong, facing off against a spaceship, Daxamite royalty, and Mon-El. This is a different Kara than last season. She showed her internal fortitude here.