Thursday, November 14, 2019

Supergirl Show 503: Blurred Lines

I continue my 'late to the game' reviews of Supergirl season five. I have now reached the third episode, Blurred Lines.

Taking a step back as I think about the episode, it does a good job of moving the underlying plots along, almost at a breakneck speed in comparison to prior seasons. Things are moving quickly for Brainy and J'onn and Kelly and Jimmy.

There are some slower burns. In particular Lena and her relationship with her AI Hope is one that is still simmering although maybe a couple of bubbles are starting to hit the surface.

But ultimately, this show is called Supergirl and frankly our hero didn't get a lot of heroic moments here. She is taken out by the villain. Other characters fare better. She gets semi-duped by Lena. She doesn't get the big moments. It is still something of an ongoing theme of the show that the supporting characters sometimes outshine our star.

Still, overall, this feels like one of the stronger starts of a Supergirl season.

We start in a bar with the song 'Safe and Sound' pounding in the background. It is an interesting song given the danger that unfolds.

In side, our 'how evil is he' reporter William Dey approaches someone named Jarrod. It is clear that Dey has asked Jarrod to join some group. When Jarrod refuses, Dey says it will all end badly.

I wonder what group Dey is working for. I suppose given later scenes on park benches with unknown whispering folks, Leviathan is the main suspect.

On cue, a beautiful woman covered in spider tattoos woos Jarrod into a bathroom for a little shagging. But before things can get too hot, one of the spider tattoos comes to life and burrows into Jarrod's chest, killing him.

The super crew all are about their business the next day, including Kara who is having lunch with Lena for the first time.

In her lab, we see that Lena can't use Obsidian Tech to rewrite human minds, only to look into thoughts. She can make zombies. But that is not the goal. The goal is to eliminate bad behaviors.

We see that Hope is now running Eve's body. The AI tries to hug Lena but gets spurned. It is a small moment but you know this is a plotline that will grow. Hope will feel unloved by Lena, because she is an immature intelligence, and will ultimately lash out.

But there is hope for Lena. Lex wrote about Qwave technology in his journals which are locked up. Perhaps Lena can use Kara to purloin them.

The death of Jarrod turns out the be a possible news story.

At CatCo, we learn this was Niles Jarrod a health tech billionaire who was involved in gene therapy. He was healthy and in his 30s but died of a heart attack, one of several similar victims.

Unfortunately, it isn't sexy enough for the new CatCo. Despite Kara's protests, the story is squelched when Dey says he reviewed the facts and found nothing worth reporting.

Using some old school Daredevil tricks, Kara can tell he is lying. A new mystery is evolving. And luckily, James has a friend in the ME's office. Some further investigation will happen.

Meanwhile, Nia continues to struggle with Brainy overdoing everything in their relationship, this time poetry.

She heads to J'onn's. There we learn that J'onn hopes her dream powers will be able to unlock his lost memories. After all, Malefic (thank you producers for making a writable version of the name) said there was more to the story.

As for Malefic, he is hoping to reignite lost powers. The best way seems to be through the Obsidian Tech (is there nothing this device can't do?).

He assumes the form of Pete Andrews, a soldier Kelly knew in Afghanistan. And as this old friend, he asks Kelly for help!

How cool is it that Sean Astin plays Pete. Astin has just accrued major geek thread these days! Goonies, Rudy, Samwise, Bob from Stranger Things, and now a role on Supergirl? Incredible casting!

As for Kara, she (sort of like Brainy) goes overboard for her lunch with Lena, flying to Europe for Eclairs and Cappucchinos. This was cute ... a very Kara thing to do.

Here Lena springs her trap. She talks of having severe PTSD from her time fighitng Lex. The only  thing that calms her is reading Lex's journals which demystify him for her.

The last journals have been impounded by the government. Seeing an opportunity to make amends, Supergirl says she get them for Lena, even though that means breaking into Federal property and stealing evidence.

Masterful manipulation by Lena. I guess she is a Luthor after all.

Later, Kara checks in on the corpse of Niles Jarrod. Using Xray vision, she sees a spider tattoo on his heart,  a major clue.

I thought this was a cool scene and a nice use of Kara's powers.

Later, Nia bonds with J'onn in his dreams.

We see a young J'onn and Malefic playing on Mars. (We see them as humans which Nia explains is her subconscious making sense of things. I liked that reasoning behind not using effects. I will say the youth-ing of both J'onn and M'yrnn in these flashbacks was very good!)

We see Malefic getting teased for being unable to read or link to the Martian hive mind. But he has a different power. He can project psychic pain. With this 'evil', M'yrnn locks Malefic away. After years of prayer, Malefic was lured to the White Martian side of the war. Why wouldn't he be, imprisoned in his own home.

J'onn assumes M'yrnn did the worst sin, mindwiping Malefic from all memories. That is hypocritical for the planet's biggest holy person.

One of the things I have always loved about this show are scenes of the Danvers sisters in Kara's apartment. And we finally got one.

Kara comes clean to Alex about thinking of stealing Lex's journals, rationalizing it by pointing out how vigilantism is, in essence breaking the law. Alex keeps going to the underlying goal. All the heroics are in the quest of justice. This is simply to help a friend.

It is a fine line.

But how great to see Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh in a scene alone. I need one of these a week.

While there, they see new footage of the club from the opening scene. Now Kara knows Dey was there.

That footage leads to the break.

The tattooed woman is Caroline O'Connor, a special ops soldier, a sniper. The tattoos are an Aurafacian, an alien who bonds to a host. Think of it like a tattoo Venom.

The Aurafacian was released by Lex. So why link to this agent?

They find O'Connor's apartment and Kara heads to attack. Within seconds she is webbed and gagged to the wall. The inky spiders crawl towards Supergirl. She is helpless.

Luckily Guardian shows up, wielding some device that nullifies the webs (huh?) and fights the alien, getting in a few licks before a spider tattoo attaches to his face.

Still, a bummer that Supergirl was eliminated in 3 seconds while Guardian got a big brawl in.
Luckily, back in the DEO, we learn magnetic beams can remove the tattoos. James is saved.

And then, a great wrinkle.

Nia tells J'onn that she did not show him all his memories. And she has to, even though it will hurt him.

She then shows that it was J'onn who mindwiped himself and M'yrnn. Seeing his father's anguish over Malefic and knowing that M'yrnn couldn't move on as a leader, J'onn took matters into his own hands.

This mindwipe is considered the biggest sin in Martian culture. And how J'onn has to deal with his betrayal.

Throughout the episode we see Malefic (as Pete) manipulating Kelly until finally he is in Obsidian getting QWave therapy.

And, in a nice resonance, we see that Kara has been manipulated by Lena and has stolen Lex's journals as well as one of his teleporting watches.

As for the Aurafacian, a thumbdrive found in the apartment has been decrypted showing the next target is another physician, Dr. Stern. (Could this be a nod to Roger Stern who helped the Matrix Supergirl character so much?)

The team arrives to battle. At least this time we get a good old fashioned slugfest between Supergirl and the villain, well choreographed with wide shots.

And in Obsidian, the QWave tech does indeed fix Malefic's mind. His 'inception' power, a sort of mind control, kicks back on.

Ultimately, the Aurafacian gets the upper hand on Supergirl ... again.

This time it is Alex with a magnetic gun, who captures the alien. Once again, Supergirl doesn't get the win.

But before the host O'Connor can say who she was working for, a black shadowy form appears and kills her.

Hmmm ... a new villain!

Still, can't Supergirl win one?

As for Malefic, he know glows gold and is eager to use his power to make Kelly kill herself.

Luckily, Kelly's anguish is felt by Nia. (Don't know how that works.)

J'onn arrives to fight his brother. Hronmeer's curse makes it impossible for them to fight each other.

So we get a great scene of Sean Astin and David Harewood hissing in Martian at each other.Love it.

But, as a side effect of the QWave, Kelly can see Malefic even when he has shifted. She sees that aura. Suddenly she is an effective weapon against him. Which also makes her a target.

With Malefic running away and the tattoed alien defeated, nothing left but the wrap up.

After another aggravating week, Nia tells Brainy he is doing too much. He admits he can only go 100%. If it is too much, he shouldn't be with her. He walks out. An early season break up!

William Dey gets a payoff from someone for all his doings.

Kara gives Lena the journals. This isn't good.

James takes Kelly away, not telling anyone where they are going. She will be in hiding.

And Kara slips James the Lex watch.

As for the journals, Hope is able to easily decipher Lex's journals. And he did indeed look at Qwaves as a method of mind control.

This can't be good either.

So take away Supergirl getting jobbed, this was a very good episode. The movement on the plots was pretty heavy for a third episode. And I am interested in all the plots.

What did you guys think?


Anonymous said...

This ep was a good precis of what the show gets wrong about Supergirl...casually jobbing her out to a no-rep villain, made a perfect patsy by Lena, committing a crime to prove friendship and the rest of cast just crammed in there to fill up time.

Is it me or is Lena's plan this season very very reminiscent of Non's plan in Season One?
Just saying thats all...
I'm starting to wonder that if, in the end, Jimmy Olson proved a superfluous character (mostly there as a training wheels on Kara's bicycle) how long before J'onn is written out of continuity? If Supergirl is now Earth's Apex Defender in succession to her Cousin, then The Martian Manhunter's Mentorship is over...
I'm not sure how I feel about that, while I like David Harewood's performance, I also think the writers have to go to convoluted lengths to take his omnipotent mind-control/mind reading powers off the board. Any good sic fi script writer will tell you "telepathy is impossible to write"....
I'm thinking all this because the supporting cast is getting awfully big and I think it crowds out Supergirl, who is after all, the reason we tune in.


Martin Gray said...

I just can’t get used to Supergirl being quite this stupid, Season One naive - trusting is one thing, but shouldn’t her super-hearing be able to tell Lena is lying from her heartbeat, whether she’s actively listening for fibs or not?

And again, I just don’t care about J’onn and his Martian family nonsense, or wet Nia and Brainy, and always dull Jimmy. Put Supergirl to the forefront, and remember that she’s meant to be smart.