Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Supergirl Show 504: In Plain Sight

I continue my 'better late than never' review of Supergirl episodes, today covering Supergirl Episode 504: In Plain Sight.

One thing that is clear about this season, at least for the episodes that I have watched is that plots move pretty quickly now. Secrets and plots that would linger forever in prior seasons are now being moved forward, and in some instances wrapped up, already. It has made these episodes very enjoyable so far. Things are moving at a good clip. I'm happy.

And there are a lot of plots right now. J'onn and Malefic. Lena, villain, and mind control. William Dey and Catco. Brainy and Nia. Alex and Kelly. And while Supergirl is involved in all of them, the only one she seems inextricably linked to is the Lena one.

But I am sort of burying the lede here. We had heard that Mehcad Brooks was wrapping up his time on the show and this episode closes his story for now. It is a satisfying ending for the character and really brings him back to his roots. I feel like the show never really knew what to do with James, so while I will miss Brooks, I think this was the right choice.

On to the show!

We learned last episode that Kelly is somehow linked to Malefic now thanks to the Obsidian Q waves. She can see him in any form. And, we learn, she gets visions of him in her mind. Think of it like Harry Potter's connection to Voldemort.

We open with Kelly walking around the city, looking around for potential threats. Malefic arrives to confront her.

But in a turnabout is fair play, this whole thing is a trap. Kelly is a shape-shifted J'onn. A nearby construction worker is Kara. Even Alex and Brainy are around.

They uncloak but despite psychic shields, Malefic takes over a nearby DEO agent. Kara has to leap in and bullet grab to save Alex and Brainy. And, it turns out, that the Phantom Zone projector as currently phased can't lock on Malefic. He calls J'onn 'Synd'a'rk' and escapes.

This was a very good opening scene, action for everyone.

The DEO is in lockdown, checking all agents to see if they are Malefic in disguise.

But this seems futile. Malefic fried the psychic shields. The Phantom Zone Projector didn't work. And Alex is worried about Kelly, to the point of being almost too emotional.

She asks that the DEO uses the Verdex Blaster, a weapon made by the original Hank Henshaw to kill Green Martians. And while it could be used against J'onn, Alex thinks it is the best solution.

For the time being, she'll have Brainy try to reconfigure the Projector, but the specific frequency of Malefic's body and telepathy is unknown. He is going to try to figure it out ... but he is unsure. So Lena is called in for backup.

Meanwhile, at CatCo, Nia is investigating William Dey. She has discovered he isn't married like he said.

Now I  think the writers room is using Nia's power like a Swiss Army knife. She can manifest dream whips. She can see the future. Here she 'dream walks' to tail Dey, seeing that he is going to Mexico on some clandestine trip to meet someone named Elena Torres.

Nia and Kara are worried Dey is going there to assassinate Torres.

As for Lena, she gladly says that she will help the DEO.

Lex's Q-wave experiments were unsuccessful in figuring out mind control. But now Lena can work from the inside to gather data on Malefic since she knows he can use his powers to take over a person.

Let's face it, this is Lena on the dark side.

The Dey mystery deepens.

Kara arrives only to see Elena Torres' dead body pulled from her crashed car. Torres' was Obsidian's top accountant. And worse, Dey is seen fleeing the scene in a car driven by a known Intergang member.

What does it all mean?

I do like Kara as investigator. Since she hasn't had much to do with her powers so far, seeing this side of her makes me happy.

At the DEO, J'onn allows himself to be used as a test subject on Brainy's re-jiggered Phantom Zone Projector even though it causes him great pain.

When it is clear Brainy can't do it quickly, Alex decides to get the Verdex blaster. Moreover, she can't understand why J'onn is defending Malefic. After all, Malefic is a traitor, responsible for the deaths of numerous Green Martians. She says J'onn isn't to blame for his brother ... even though we know he is.

This series certainly has been weighed down by many 'secret' plots which went on too long. Seeing this one played out made me worried. More on this later.

I do love that Brainy uses the Legion curse word 'sprock'.

 As for James and Kelly, they head to Calvinville, the small town where they lived when their father died. Driving through the town, they see that things have changed. It is the rust belt. Soup kitchen lines are long. And the only thing new and shiny is a prison.

They head to their Aunt Vi's house only to find a teen squatting there.

Later, in town, James sees the Calvintown Gazette, the first paper he worked for and where he learned about journalistic integrity.

They also see the teen again trying to shoplift some food from the general store. Kelly pays for it before the cops are called. He introduces himself as Simon Kirby (perhaps a nod to Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, the creators of the original Guardian?). And he knows James.

In a nice gesture, James invites Simon over for dinner.

Now, I will point out, the kid was shoplifting. That is a crime. I am glad the Olsens were there to help him.

In Mexico, Kara heads to Elena Torres' apartment to look for clues. She is confronted by a super-powered assassin who tried to kill her with wind/air blasts. We have seen this Kara survive in outer space so it is weird when the woman sucks the air from Kara's lungs, hurting her. I don't think Kara does need to breathe.

Luckily, Supergirl is able to knock the woman out by throwing a table at her. It is a pure abdomen shot that bends the woman in half. Brutal!

Then in the DEO, the worst outcome comes to pass.

Malefic has sneaked in and takes over Alex, telling her all about J'onn and setting her up to be his brother's assassin, using the blaster she was warned not to use.

Back in Calvinville, James learns more.

The town is filled with corruption. Small crimes garner long prison sentences. Simon's mother was given 30 years for stealing a space heater. But police/courts/prison all seem to be in on the scheme.

Of course, the prison is probably the one thriving business in town.

But James knows that people have to stand up and fight injustice. When Simon's faith in trying to fight the system wanes, James is there to talk about how people need to rise up.

It's clear that Brainy is distracted by his issues with Nia so Lena is able to take control of the situation. She helps him with the projector. But we also see her sneak a piece of tech into the device. She isn't being magnanimous here.

I did like the call back to Brainy's 'little boxes' defense around emotions which was an epic failure last season. It shows nice continuity.

Meanwhile James confronts his old mentor Nelson Stewart at the town newspaper.

James wonders why the paper hasn't fought the corruption. But Stewart seems more tied to real world issues. The Gazette doesn't have CatCo's deep pockets. If he fights the prison, the one business in town succeeding, his advertisers will pull their ads. The paper will go under. And his 30 employees will be out of a job. He can't do it.

I do like that he seems happy that James made it out of the little town.

And at CatCo, the Elena Torres murder becomes murkier. That was not her in the car. Clues in her apartment are off shore bank accounts. Hmmm ...

But the big story unfolds in National City.

Alex confronts J'onn about his secret. She really lays into him. Calling him a monster. Saying he betrayed his brother. Chastising him for endangering all the DEO and Kelly with his secret.

It is withering and it really affects J'onn, as it should. Alex  then storms off.

When Supergirl arrives, he comes clean with her.

Kara being Kara, full of hope, help, and compassion tells him that now that the truth is out, he can make a difference. Just like that she forgives him.

But then they wonder how Alex learned. It couldn't be from Nia who was with Kara. So it must be that Malefic has incepted her.

And in Calvintown, Kelly flashes a vision of the controlled Alex and pleads with Jimmy to use his teleporting watch to bring them home.

How great that this secret plot is already out in the open and being dealt with!

J'onn is able to telepathically find Malefic who tells J'onn to show up at the planetarium. When they arrive, people are watching a movie about Mars with a ridiculous voice over calling J'onn a villain.

Then Alex comes out with the blaster.

Knowing Malefic is listening through Alex, J'onn pleads his case. He betrayed Malefic and wants forgiveness. Perhaps his inability to find peace is because of this prior sin. He accepts Malefic now and wants to move forward.

It all cuts through the incept, freeing Alex.

And then everyone else arrives - Supergirl, Guardian, the whole team.

 Malefic isn't one to only have one plan.

When Alex frees herself, the movie goers stand, enslaved and begin shooting. The roof threatens to collapse. Supergirl has to fuse a beam before she disarms the crowd. Guardian batters a few mind controlled civilians.

But there is even more. Alex has a bomb strapped to hert!

Luckily, J'onn is able to phase Alex out of the bomb vest and Supergirl is able to shield everyone from the blast in her cape.

With the external threats done, the turn the new Phantom Zone Projector on Malefic and this time it works.

I was amazed that this Malefic plotline is already done!

Or is it ....

 Nothing left but the wrap-up.

Alex also forgives J'onn and talks about the lessons he taught her, including growing through hardship.

 Kara is giddy that Lena helped out, calling Lena a superfriend.

But Lena won't head out for a bar trip to celebrate. Instead, she takes her little device and slinks off.

In the bar, Brainy and Nia make up. Kelly and Alex breathe a sigh of relief Malefic is gone.

And James drops the bomb, he is buying the Calvintown Gazette to take on the corruption. Later we see that he has hired Simon Kirby to be his new photographer. He even gives Simon his father's camera. (But wait, wasn't that destroyed 2 seasons ago??)

This is a nice way to write James off the show. He is back to being Mr. Action, in the field and publishing his own paper.

And then Kara confronts William Dey and things take a turn.

He is undercover for the London Times, investigating Obsidian. The Intergang member is undercover Interpol. They faked the Torres death to get the accountant out to safety. And he has hated who he has pretended to be in CatCo. He, in fact, thinks Kara is a great reporter. He has craft. She has art.

It seems like there is something seedy happening with Andrea Rojas. Maybe it is time for the two reporters to team up.

And if that wasn't enough, there was one more twist.

Malefic wasn't sent to the Phantom Zone. He was sent to LexCorp where Lena can study him to help her with her mind control experiments. That is a big villainous turn. Hoo boy! I do wonder if Kelly will still get visions.

But how great that the J'onn secret plot is already done. How great that the Dey arc moved forward. How great that the Lena plot keeps chugging along.

So fat the pacing of this season is impeccable.

No complaints so far.


Anonymous said...

Yeah it was James' time to go, the relationship with Kara didn't gel, The Guardian never took root & CEO James was a pretty desperate ploy. I'm starting the feel the same vibe off of J'onn he is mentoring characters that don't need guidance anymore, Kara is hardly the CBS season one semi-teen tyro heroine anymore.
I suspect this is a 100% irrevocable "heel turn" for Lena, which makes me wistful since Lena ought to be proof that the Angels of Supergirl's Best Nature are sufficient to help people change for the better. On the other hand, Lena is possibly Supergirl's best foe in decades and while she is as resentful & determined as Lex, her path to the dark side is entirely her own and unique.
On the other hand, this is the Berlantiverse sudden last minute plot changes can happen at the drop of a fedora hat...


Martin Gray said...

Still catching up. That was the best episode so far in this season. Lots to like, especially the fact James is off, I agree, they never found a way to make him work. Now he’s back to a semblance of the actual Jimmy Olsen character, right down to asking to be called Jimmy, not James.

‘Simon Kirby’ has to be a nod to Simon and Kirby... maybe this kid could start a Newsboy Legion!

And don’t believe every US film and TV show ever, there’s no such animal as the London Times, it’s just The Times. I know they don’t want viewers believing it’s the Times of Paris, Texas or wherever, but they should just say The Times of Britain - it’s not a city paper, it’s a national.