Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Supergirl Episode 315: In Search Of Lost Time

"In Search of Lost Time", the fifteenth episode of this third season of Supergirl, aired earlier this week and was one of the more emotionally heavy episodes for this title. At time it was heartbreaking.

Of course, I have been watching this whole season trying to figure out how each episode ties into the major theme of Supergirl rediscovering her humanity while Sam loses hers to Reign. I have said from the beginning that it will somehow tie into Sam's love for Ruby that will ultimately lead to Reign's defeat.

The title here tells us what we are dealing with. The main plot is on M'yrnn J'onzz suffering from dementia. He is slowly losing himself, losing the experience of his life. Meanwhile, J'onn knows that he and his father need to accept this even though they have just been reunited. They are searching for time, but they have lost the future.

But that isn't the only play on the title. Sam, under Lena's care, learns she is Reign. She learns what she has been doing during her blackouts, her lost time. But more importantly, she knows, for safety reasons, she cannot be with Ruby until she is rid of the Reign persona. She is losing time with her family.

And lastly, there is a scene which Mon-El haters will love where Kara finally confronts him about how awful he actually was last season. She realizes that she has romanticized their relationship in her mind, forgetting the bad when thinking about him through the haze of grief. Maybe she wants to go back to that lost time but she can't. She sheds herself of romantic feelings for him. And he acknowledges that the Mon-El from seven years ago (his time) was as awful as she says and apologizes for his actions.

All these show people either sacrificing part of themselves for the good of others or recognizing when they have hurt someone else and asking for forgiveness. It all fits the theme. And it is this slowly building premise that has made this the strongest season for me so far.

On to the show.

Transforming into the ‘other’, medically induced coma.Ending sedation to get conscious. Sam/Ruby picture.

The show opens with Lena caring for Sam who is in a medically induced coma to stop her from mutating into 'the Other'. But Lena knows she needs to confront her friend. She turns off the drip.

Meanwhile, the rest of the gang, including M'yrnn, are at game night at Kara's playing charades. There are some nice barbs here. Winn calls M'yrnn the Martian Manfather. J'onn talks of his imaginary 5th dimensional imp friend Zook (a deep DC cut).

But the game is interrupted by an alert. Kara needs to spring into action. She slowly unbuttons her top rather than rip it off drawing odd looks from her pals. She retorts that she likes that shirt. That is a great line.

At the alien bar, a Kalnorian woman named Finhead has gone berserk and tosses patrons and Kara around. (Of course, Despero from the comics is from Kalanor, so nice pull there as well.)

The fight smashes a video game (one Kara had the high score on). The fight ends when Supergirl drags her opponent into a photobooth leading the funny moment above. Reminds me of a classic riff in Superman III as well as Batgirl #14. This whole opening is pretty funny, a stark contrast to much of the rest of the show.

At the DEO Supergirl wonders why Finhead went 'Roadhouse'Bar on her and J'onn wonders if since Kalanorians are psychics that she was effected by some astronomical configuration or other psychic attack.

Meanwhile Sam wakes up to find herself trapped in this medical bay, a force field keeping her trapped.

Lena has figured out that Sam is Reign, putting together a timeline of Sam's blackouts and Reign's attacks. Moreover, Lena says Sam mutates into Reign. Reign is a separate entity, a separate form. That's why Sam can get hurt and is kind. It is only when Reign manifests/mutates that she is in control.

This does open the door for some sort of splitting of the character. Perhaps Sam isn't going to die but somehow, instead, shed herself of Reign.

Meanwhile, Mon-El begins training Kara looking at how Reign attacks and how that style opens her up to attackes.

I do like how Reign is described as all power and all aggression, brute force with no finesse. Again, this makes her sound monstrous, like a force of nature, rather than a human being. It emphasizes that.

At their home, M'yrnn is using a Martian game to focus his thoughts and try to preserve his memory. But this takes a tremendous amount of psionic energy. J'onn wonders if M'yrnn and this meditation is what triggered Finhead to go mad.

You can see that both of them are dancing around the topic a bit. At some point, M'yrnn and J'onn need to accept what is happening and figure out how to move on rather than deny it or cling to some false hopes. In particular, David Harewood is amazing this episode. You can see the pain on his face when he thinks about this but also the love and respect he has for his father. It is amazing.

Sam can't believe she is Reign and certainly doesn't believe she has DNA that rewrites itself. In a cutting barb, she says 'Ask a Luthor (about your problem), and they say you're a supervillain.'

Lena here is actually losing time as well. She has dedicated herself to Sam's care to the point of foresaking the rest of her life. And James won't let that happen coming to LCorp to check in.

Lena confesses that she is helping a 'friend' who won't acknowledge they have a problem. James gives an anecdote about a troubled person in his past who eventually had to confront by 'holding up a mirror'.

I am very impressed with Lena here. She is sacrificing her time and life for a friend. Even the Luthor has humanity.

At the DEO, Mon-El dons his old costume which has been repaired by Winn. He shows off his cape, a form of Kryptonian smart cloth. He tries to train Kara but she can't get it.

Meanwhile, M'yrrn begins meditating again and the waves of telepathic power buffet the DEO, making everyone angry. Kara lays into Mon-El. And Winn and a DEO agent turn on each violently. The agent thinks Winn is a 'son of a serial killer' who only got where he is because he is friends with Kara. Winn pulls a gun on this guy.

Things are about to get really ugly when M'yrnn stops praying and everyone calms down.
Alex and Kara head to check on Finhead, walking through the DEO prison where we see prior bad guys from earlier episodes like Draaga and Mandrax and even a white Martian. In her cell, Finhead is seizing, gibbering in Martian. The two have a clue.

This confirmed the dramatic rule of 'Chekov's prison walk'. If you see super-villains in cells in act one, you can be sure they will break free in act three.

Back at LCorp, Lena does provoke Sam into becoming Reign. She is outright mean to hear, talking about how Sam must have loved ripping apart the bodies of drug dealers. How Lena could never let a monster like Reign be near Ruby. How Sam will never see Ruby again.

Sam's eyes go read and she sinks into a dream state. Initially it is idyllic, like the dream Kara had about Mon-El in the first episode. But then that world fades into one of ash.

When we next see Sam, the room has been battered and she sees film of her shooting heat vision and ripping the place apart. She is baffled and sad.

Again, in a great moment, Lena drops the force field and goes in and hugs Sam. That takes serious guts! And we learn that Lena has a sample of Reign's DNA now. Hmmm ... how will she use that?

J'onn finally admits to Alex and Kara about M'yrnn. His father has been moving memories from one area of his mind to another to preserve them but that takes tremendous energy and is no doubt why people lost their minds.

He could dampen his father's telepathic abilities to help everyone else but it would doom his father to a more rapid decline. Moreover, it would rob his father of the one thing which kept him sane during his time of torture on Mars. There is some tough talk here, between family, about living with dignity and how initially becoming 'the parent' is hard. J'onn cries about how he just got his father back, that implied lost time between them.

But he has to protect everyone. So J'onn tells his father he has to be put on dampeners. His father, despite these efforts, continues to lose his memory. Angrily, M'yrnn lashes out saying J'onn hopes to cage him.  The psychic storm is even more powerful.

Kudos again to David Harewood. Unbelievable stuff.

And that psychic storm effects everyone there.

It is here that Kara finally unloads on Mon-El calling him out for being a womanizer, a slacker, a vain Prince, and just about everything else that was wrong with him last season.

It ignores the meager growth he had as a character. He was different in the finale than he was at first. But all the warts that anger people about him so much are voiced by her.

And he appropriately takes it. His Legion ring protects him from the telepathic attack. But he knows he can't defend himself from this.

This is a brilliant move by the writing staff acknowledging the 300lb elephant in the fandom's room and moving past it. Brilliant.

But she isn't the only one effected. M'yrnn is powerful enough to overpower J'onn. The blasts from his mind blow open the doors of the cells (see I told you) and the aliens rush out. Meanwhile, like a bad Star Trek episode, the DEO agents are all attacking each other. Luckily, Alex is there wearing the psionic shield they used against Psi and handing out more to anyone near her.

In the midst of the battle, I had to chuckle when Winn is singled out by Pam from HR. (Pam from HR is a callback to a line from last season I believe.)

During the fight, Mon-El catches and RPG in his cape. Kara masters a cape trick. And J'onn leaves his father briefly to fight a White Martian.

So it is up to Supergirl to talk down M'yrnn who finally relents and lets J'onn put a psionic dampener on him. This set up of him realizing the damage he is doing is well shot. We get shaking cameras and dutch angles and extreme closeups of M'yrnn. But this is a sad moment, not a victory. M'yrnn has accepted he will soon lose himself.

There is nothing left but the wrap-up.

Sam calls Ruby and says she is sick with something contagious so they have to stay apart. And Sam tells Lena not to let her know where Ruby is. She wants Ruby to be completely safe.

Meanwhile M'yrnn apologizes to the DEO staff.

And James brings Lena dinner. She has been wrapped up with her 'friend'. In a nice nod, James talks about how he knows friends who work so hard to save the world they forget to take care of themselves. I actually like Lena a lot here. Nothing nefarious at all. Although hiding Sam from everyone else could be a problem.

But moreover, I am actually starting to like James and Lena as a couple. Their interactions this episode are much more natural. There is more chemistry.

And Kara and Mon-El head out on patrol.

She admits that  she romanticized their relationship, making it bigger and better than it was. She only remembered the good parts. She says now that she knows it, there is a weight off her. I suppose that means she has no feelings of love for him anymore. Ouch, that stung even me. But their romance did seem overly fast and somewhat simplistic last season so it was a decent line which made sense story-wise.

And he, much like he just took her hard words, acknowledges her feelings. He says it isn't news that he was a jerk when he was with her back then. He apologizes. 

As they fly on patrol, birds begin to drop from the sky.

Pestilence has arrived.

Nice hook. 

So lots of emotional hooks here. This was, in many ways, a sad episode exploring loss. But now that the post-hiatus table has been set with these last two episodes, time to bring back the World Killers.


Anonymous said...

This was such a fantastic episode- I am sad that the ratings don't show it (damn you live elimination of American idol).

J'onn and his father's story almost made me cry. It was certainly very very emotional and also very well done. Having the themes of a martian's psychic powers connect with dementia makes for some good storytelling. I loved it when Kara voiced Brando jor-el's words- 'the son becomes the father, the father the son.'

Alex beating up people will always be my favorite things. Especially when she went to break up the fight between winn and his coworker and ended up fighting instead.

As for the Mon el and Kara thing, I felt it will calm down the fandom and we can all move forward in peace. I can appreciate Mon el's character development but for me he was never right for Kara. Someone as amazing as Kara, deserves someone equally amazing, someone she shouldn't have to mentor or teach to be better. She deserves better and with this pairing out of the way, we have finally a opening for brainy to come in and show that he is a much more mature man. But I sure am glad, that they ended up as friends rather than completely breaking everything off. I appreciate that. It's a bit realistic and doesn't reek of CW drama.

This season has been firing on all cylinders and I can't wait to see what happens next. I wish it was on Netflix so that all the episode would be released at once. Thats how impatient I am to see what will happen next. But no matter what happens, the writing is very strong this season and I am all along for the journey.

Anonymous said...

It was a slow(er) episode for me personally, but still enjoyable. My kudos definitely goes out to Carl Lumby
and Odette Annabelle the most for the things they had to portray their characters feeling; Carl for how it must
feel to age and become so helpless, and Odette for finally working through the realization of what she is. Also
liked Lena's "Inner Evil B*tch" mode to bring Reign out to show Samantha the truth! Powerful acting there...
and we get a taste of just HOW great an evil Lena would be, if TPTB go down that route, but I'm still hoping
Lena will remain on the side of the angels and Team Supergirl.

I also like they FINALLY explain the whole Samantha / Reign more -- the DNA/cellular change bit is definitely
out there, but opens the door for how to save Reign in the end.

As for Mon-El, he's FINALLY shown just how far he is from what he was last season, topped off with Melissa B's
"Do you want to be heroes?" and her million watt smile, and the GREAT shot of of the two flying over National

Regarding Donner-verse references, besides the priceless bar scene, surprised you didn't mention the Jor-El line
"The son becomes the father, the father becomes the son" there Anj. :) LOVE little tip of the hats like that...
and I personally can think of no higher compliment to pay!


Anonymous said...

Good ep, violent, comic and tragic...pertty much Supegirl at peak game. I didn't quite grok J'onn going after the White Martian that seems like "A Job for Supergirl", but thats a small criticism indeed. The photobooth sequence alone should be on the "Season Three Highlight Reel" just starting with the question "who the hell has photo booths in a world of smartphones and selfies??" :)
My main question is, does Lena go dark or not, the indicators both within the storyline and out in the meta context, seem to point towards Lena going full villain at some point. Likely to set her up the Big Bad in Season Four...or maybe they'll be content to put on the slow road to villainy, which is a pity since the departure of Cat Grant Lena Luthor incredibly is one of Kara's most fully realized female friendships (at least until Batgirl shows up....:)


Anonymous said...

"She retorts that she likes that shirt. That is a great line."
That's our Kara. I felt another season 1 jolt here.

I have read rumors that black kryptonite might be used to split Reign and Sam. Could Lena be using Reign's DNA to form it?

Anonymous said...

Good episode, full of emotional moments.

The "I like this shirt" line and the photobooth sequence were great.

I expect we've seen the Karamel ship sunk for good. I'm not a Supercorp or Mon-El hater, but I'm tired of that drama. Now, if only the rumors stating Mon can go back to the future but Brainy is staying...

Nutation said...

I think this is the first time Uncle Jor-El has been mentioned.

With respect to the iconic shirt-rip, I've always assumed that Kara (and Clark) use snap-button shirts. After all, they have to get back into civilian garb at some point. Apparently not here, even though (for production reasons alone) we never see buttons flying off.

Scrimmage said...

Now we're TALKING! This episode had EVERYTHING you could ask for in a show named “Supergirl!”

Super Charades! (SO much better than karaoke)

Kara saving the day, AND the buttons on her shirt.

A Luthor spouting scientific technobabble to a captive Super Baddie about “Monsters of the ID.” Where's Leslie Nielsen and Robby the Robot when you need them?

Kryptonian Cape Kung-fu, with Meta-material, AKA “smart cloth.” Who says you can't teach an old uniform new tricks? Speaking of old uniforms...

Mon-El in his “reverse Superman colors! I thought it was one of the simplest, most practical, and therefore one of the best live action superhero costumes I've ever seen on the big screen OR small! It's certainly one of the best looking, and judging by the way it took Kara's super-breath away, I'd say she agrees with me. The long, almost floor length cape really gave Mon-El a regal look, very appropriate for a Daxamite Prince.

The Martian Man-father (!!!) putting out some seriously “Bad Vibes,” and harshing everybody's buzz to the point of causing an all-out brawl reminiscent of the end of “Blazing Saddles” (1974). I posted last week that it seemed unlikely that an advanced, telepathic race like the Martians wouldn't have come up with some technique to deal with the Martian version of Alzheimer's, and M'yrnn was trying to do just that. Unfortunately, his efforts to reorganize his mind triggered everybody else's rage impulses. Winn should design a shielded room, where M'yrnn could meditate without fear of affecting innocent – or not-so innocent bystanders.

ALIENS on the rampage! HOSTILE Aliens, including a CGI White Martian throwing down with a CGI Martian Manhunter. I thought it looked pretty damn good for television Special Effects.

I even enjoyed the simple pleasure of James and Lena sitting down and talking, like two mature adults. No yelling, no confrontations, and no “misunderstandings” that are usually the rule, rather than the exception for relationships on this show. And they also avoided the cliché of ending their scene sucking each other's faces. It was nice for a change to see two attractive people, talking and actually COMMUNICATING, and enjoying each other's company.

The bottom line on this week's episode of Supergirl? After last week's unfortunate misstep, the show has regained its footing with one of the strongest episodes of the season, filled with good stuff from start to finish, leaving me anxiously awaiting the next installment.

Now that Sam is aware of her own secret identity, it's time to get back to the main story arc of this season, the Worldkillers. I'm not really looking forward to Pestillence (does anybody?) but I AM eagerly awaiting a more detailed explanation regarding Imra and the Legion's connection to her, and the REAL reason why they returned Mon-El to our era. I hope it's a very “timey-wimey” explanation about alternate realities, and changing future history. Coincidentally, they're dealing with a similar situation on the trippiest show on the air, FX's “Legion” (no relation) and I can't get enough of it.

KET said...

"I didn't quite grok J'onn going after the White Martian that seems like "A Job for Supergirl"..."

Could have been, but since the White was frightening M'yrnn, Kara seemed to understand that she should let J'onn act as protector in this case...which probably helped when the time finally came for that 'tough love' scenario afterward.

"This is a brilliant move by the writing staff acknowledging the 300lb elephant in the fandom's room and moving past it. Brilliant."

I think the Karamel pairing, break-up, and re-pairing was always meant to be a slow evolutionary process designed to frustrate the shipper cults intentionally at times. Seems to me the show still isn't done toying with that contingent yet... :)

"Meanwhile, like a bad Star Trek episode, the DEO agents are all attacking each other."

Actually, I thought the Supergirl stunt team pulled off the mental and physical chaos at the DEO pretty well...and a neat 'blink and you'll miss it' cameo appearance during that scene. :)


Anj said...

Thanks for comments. Seems this one was universally liked!

Not disparaging the stunt work in the internal DEO battle, more the trope of crews attacking each other. I’ve seen it on Trek so many times.

Suoergirl was definitely front center. But M’rynn and Lena we’re big stars here too.

Anonymous said...

Just coming here to join the chorus. I loved the episode! Not everyone liked it though: Jawiin was roasting Supergirl as usual, but they were always obsessed with looking for the negatives in the show. It's good we have you to bring us an indepth review but from the positive side, one that embraces the fun and crazy silverage weirdness.

Thank you for all your work, enthusiasm and finding all the deep cuts for us.

Martin Gray said...

Thanks for the great review, and some fine comments.

I loved the bit about Zook being J’onn’s imaginary friend. Sometimes I think that’s also Imra’s status - she’s always meant to be around, Mon speaks of her constantly...but we rarely see her!

Lena is being a great friend to Sam; I was wondering why she doesn’t bring the DEO in, OK, she doesn’t have the closeness to Supergirl that some characters do but knows Kara and James can contact her. Drama, I suppose. Oh the irony of James being OK with her having secrets... I could easily see the triumph of ending the Worldkiller threat coming alongside Lena finally learning Kara is Supergirl and being rather annoyed... but she’s been portrayed as far too level-headed to turn villain. Maybe if she loses her hair... I just want want Kara to tell Lena the secret, and for their friendship to deepen.

That bit about Sam not being Reign physically... what about that scene in which she discovered she couldn’t scald herself. The occasional bouts of super strength?

Silly putty cape, how I hate thee. Super-expandable or shrinkable, yes, but able to make hands?