Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Supergirl Episode 518: The Missing Link

Supergirl episode #518, 'The Missing Link', aired this week and it is the penultimate episode of season five of this show. Between the COVID pandemic and Melissa Benoist's pregnancy it seems the show has had to truncate itself by a couple of episodes.

As a result the last 2 episodes, last week's Deus Lex Machina, and this episode move at a brisk pace with a lot of exposition. It just feels that some things come out of nowhere without the buildup that I would expect. Whether by design or with unanticipated, creative editing, the season seems set up for a finale.

This episode does a great job of bringing us to the final conflagration of Lex/Leviathan/Heroes by wrapping up and pushing forward a number of plots. Non Nocere. Brainy's duplicity. Alex's identity crisis. Supergirl and Lena's feud. All are finished or pushed to the finish line here.

Moreover, this episode continues one of the themes that has made me smile this season, the recognition of the show's internal continuity. Here, we see a couple of minor characters again show up.

But some subplots, like the unanticipated return of M'Gann, seem like they came out of nowhere and that felt a bit strange.

Still, this season has been one solid story despite or because of the universe-shattering Crisis which bisected it.

On to the details.

We start out during the sun eater attack which we saw last episode.

Within a prison, we see lovable crook Steve running a yoga class for the Non Nocere prisoners. Everyone is calm, centered, and thankful that Lena Luthor removed fear, anger, and pain.

When the sun eater threat unfolds, the prisoners try to head to a shelter. Inside an elevator, one of the Non Nocere inmates becomes unhinged. His underlying claustrophobia seems to override his Non Nocere rewiring. He goes beserk and attacks the other prisoner in the elevator.

Maybe Non Nocere isn't a perfect solution.

 In the DEO, Brainiac 5 continues to press Luthor for information.

It seems oddly strange that Leviathan somehow was able to release a sun eater. Brainy wonders if Lex is behind everything, including endangering Brainy's friends and the world.

Lex coolly reminds Brainy that Leviathan is the bigger threat and that his Coluan friend needs to respect the process. A war is brewing between Leviathan and the Super-heroes. Brainy needs to get on board.

I do feel for Brainy here. His character has basically been a dupe the entire season. He hasn't been likable. Will he be around for season six? Will he need a redemption arc when this is all over? How does he recover from working with Lex?

In the tower, our super friends regroup. I love seeing this quartet of female heroes discuss how they need to save the world.

Unfortunately they think Leviathan was behind the Sun Eater attack, albeit through Lex. Leviathan is the biggest threat on the board so they need to figure out where the new Leviathan headquarters is hidden.

M'Gann will try to psychically find them. Dreamer will dream. And Alex and Kara will use good old fashioned research through a friend of Kelly's who is a historian and linguist in the Library of Congress.

Loved this scene just for seeing this group together.

Meanwhile, Lena struggles to 'fix' her Non Nocere programming in this inmate. Nothing she can do seems to quell his rage. She needs to readjust the transmission in hopes of finding the right frequency.

There is Steve, so happy in his new peaceful life hoping that all will be well.

Remember that Leviathan's plan is to unplug the millions of people tuned into Obsidian VR, thus helping Earth's overpopulation problem. It doesn't help that the Obsidian Worldwide Unity Festival remains on time. Everyone will be plugged in, the perfect time for Leviathan to strike.

When Kelly reminds Andrea that there remains a potential glitch in the system where people can't leave, she is shut down by the CEO. Andrea wants this business move to proceed. That glitch has been fixed.

I have to say, Andrea's character is a hard one to pin down. At times a super-powered assassin. At times worried about hurting people. At times ruthless business woman. I don't know if she is a good guy or a bad guy or just someone on the fringes.

 The linguist Kara and Alex seek out is Pete Andrews, an ex-military friend of Kelly. You might remember him as a form Malefic took early in the season. (Man, that storyline feels like years ago!)

What I like is that Andrews says he is a fan of Kara's writing, noting that her use of language means she must have grown up out of the states. Nice little touch of dialogue.

And I also love that Kara immediately starts to quote My Fair Lady. I wonder where Kara's character ends and Melissa Benoist's personality begins. We know Kara loves old movies so why not musicals too!

Pete will begin scouring the Library for Leviathan symbols and words.

We see the classic Leviathan/Manhunter symbol, a good starting point. I know that might be Rama Khan. But maybe it is a sly Brian Michael Bendis cameo??

Hooray #EventLeviathan!

 Not everything is peaches in cream within Leviathan.

Rama Khan is still upset at being usurped by Gamenae. He chides her for fitting in so well with humanity and not ruling the world more openly.

But she decides to bring him back into the fold. Lex has given her a weapon found in the Fortress of Solitude, one that will allow him to battle Supergirl more effectively. It is time to put Rama Khan back on the chessboard.

The staff seems a little deus ex machina for me. We never heard of it before. I wonder if this was one of those plot points whose buildup was shortened/rushed.

No surprise, Pete comes up with the usual list of disasters which are preceded by the appearance of the Leviathan symbol. But the main Library only has so much. He wonders if there might be more information in the private hidden collections, a place he has access to. He'll try to get visitor privileges for the Danvers.

With Pete gone for the moment, Kara says she is sick of the reality they are living and finally sees the allure of VR escapism.

Lena arriving at the Fortress when she was using Myriad. The sting of Lena calling her a hypocrite. The fact that Lena and Lex seem to be in cahoots with Leviathan. It all is stinging.

Throughout the season, Kara has been talking about how real interactions are what grounds us and unites us. So I thought this slight waver was a good one, adding some humanity to her character. She still struggles at this stuff like all of us.

As for Lena, she knows what happened. When the survival instinct kicked into this patient, it overrode her Non Nocere and that 'fight or flight' mode has remained kicked in and overactive.

No matter how much she can implant peace and tranquility, the need to live will always push that aside. Unfortunately when it does, if you are conditioned by Non Nocere, it returns in a terrible manner.

Poor Lena. She did have good intentions even if the means were wrong. And any researcher knows that unintended consequences often mar results.

 Kelly and William continue their research into Obsidian to try to slow down the Unity Day.

It turns out that the Margot Manifesto shows that she was wearing an image inducer. We know it was Miss Tessmacher. Now they will investigate.

Why has no one else seen this?? It reminds me of when we saw President Marston's alien eyes. How did no one else see that??

As I said before, the M'Gann subplot came out of nowhere. It is nice to see her and J'onn interact. And nice to hear that Malefic has actually put Mars on the path of peace.

We needed a little closure to that storyline from the beginning of the season.

 In the prison, Lex and Lena see that once one prisoner overrides the Non Nocere, if they attack another, it is like a line of dominos. Soon the entire prison is rioting.

Non Nocere is a failure. It cannot undo evolution's survival instinct.

Only a last ditch reboot from Lena's lab on the other side of the prison can possibly stop all this.

 I have never really liked Dreamer's 'dream energy' powers. I don't even know what they are.

So I was thrilled to see her actually fall asleep and dream some information.

In her dream a rather demonic Brainiac 5 is playing solitaire with a Leviathan themed deck. The symbol on the cards point her to the Oregon Geological Monitoring Station as Leviathan's next attack.

Finally, Dreamer using her dream powers!

At CatCo, William shows that Margot interacted with an unknown Obsidian employee #873. Perhaps that is the link to Leviathan?

Before they can research more, Kara is called away to the Oregon.

Super Friends unite!!!

Love it!

Despite wielding this new weapon, a nifty staff, Rama Khan is put down pretty easily by our heroes.

Nice shot here of Khan literally under Kara's boot.

But then Brainy shows up with the DEO. Even though Lex told him not to interfere, Brainy has to help his friends.

However, since he has been so remote and not part of the team, there is a lot of awkward interactions. Especially when he says that Rama Khan is DEO business and he is taking Khan into custody. The heroes can't even ask him any questions. Stymied, Supergirl and Dreamer insist on joining Brainy.

Back in the library, Pete is surprised when he is denied access to the private collections he usually can view. He wonders if his mentioning Leviathan closed the doors.

When Alex convinces him to break into the collection with her, they find themselves under attack. Snipers fire at them as they scramble to leave the building.

Nothing says action hero like a good car hood slide.

I love Alex Danvers.

At the DEO, Supergirl and Dreamer are starting to feel like Brainy is throwing up walls to block them.

He won't let them in the interrogation room with Rama Khan. He gives them reasons to explain his decision but it seems all too convenient. Why is he pushing them away?

I do have to say they haven't exactly been extending their hand to him. But he hasn't been too forthcoming either.

This rift has to be healed and I don't want it swept under the rug or solved next week. This is going to take time.

 Luckily Pete and Alex escape unscathed.

But he warns Alex that she hasn't really left behind her military training. She still thinks she is in charge with back up. It isn't safe for her and she needs to decide where she will go in her life.

It is true that we have seen Alex struggle to find herself throughout this season. Hmmm ...

No big surprise. William and Kelly learn that Employee #873 us actually Eve Tessmacher.

Kelly knows all of Tessmacher's sordid past on the pre-Crisis world. But there is nothing on this new world to implicate her for bad deeds or an evil persona.

In the DEO, Brainy makes his move. Maybe if he gets invited on the Leviathan ship maybe he can remove Lex from the equation.

He tells Rama Khan, in a language only they understand .. furthering Kara and Nia's suspicions, that he can release Rama if he'll take Brainy to the Leviathan lair.

But then Khan plays his trump card.

He snaps his chains, calls the staff to him, and begins an assault from within the DEO.

He wanted to be brought there!

And in quick fashion he uses the staff to batter the heroes, call all the Kryptonite in the DEO to him and ...

 Demolish the DEO headquarters.

The heroes escape with the help of the timely arrival of J'onn and M'gann.

But the DEO is no more.

And Khan escapes with bricks of K in his possession.

What a low point for our heroes!!

And what a brilliant move by Leviathan!

In the prison, Lena is able to use Q-waves to suppress the violence in the inmates. But in doing so she removes the original Non Nocere program.

Poor Steve. He is back to being afraid.

In the wreckage of the DEO, Dreamer finally calls out Brainy.

She can't trust him.

For all she knows, he is a villain.

It's about time.

 Meanwhile Andrea rebuffs Kelly and William.

Eve is spotless. She was hired by Gemma Cooper herself.

If Kelly and William try to stall Unity Day again, they're fired.

Suddenly Andrea is a purely for profit businesswoman.

It is finally time to call Non Nocere a failure.

Lena smashes her technology admitting that there is no way that she could ever rewrite the emotions that are hard wired in humans.

Lex calmly tells her that the time is right for the Luthors to remove the superheroes and Leviathan from the board simultaneously and take their place as humanity's savior.

He wants Lena to join him.

But when she pauses, we see the real Lex.

He screams how he knew Non Nocere was going to fail but he helped her anyway. She needed to see that she was foolish. His way is the only way. He can only hold her hand so much. She has to join him.

To see the normally cool Lex suddenly get enraged and maniacal was pretty scary! As always, Jon Cryer really brings it to this performance!

Good for Lena though. She isn't buying what he is selling.

He might be a monster. That doesn't mean she has to be.

I am all #TeamLena.

Finally, she sees how wrong she has been acting this season.

Nothing left but to wrap up all the disparate plot threads.

 J'onn and M'gann kiss.

Again, this all seems shoehorned in.

 Kelly and Alex exchange how close they came to ruin and injury.

Kelly wonders if Alex shouldn't don a mask and go full on vigilante.

Let's take guesses now.

I hope she doesn't just take up the moniker Guardian.
Maybe Nightwing? Flamebird?

Lex giving Gemma the staff and helping to eliminate the DEO has finally got him in good graces with Leviathan.

She invites him on to the Leviathan ship, his goal all along.

To erase the trail of his working with Lena, he has the prison blown up, killing all the Non Nocere study patients.


Lex knew Brainy would defy his orders of noninterference.

He knew Brainy would bring Rama Khan to the DEO. He was counting on it.

But it also led to the invite to the ship.

Are these ends justified? When will Brainy see he is being played!!

And then the scene we have all been waiting for.

Lena shows up at Kara's loft.

Nice opening shot showing physically how far apart these two have grown, how much work will be needed to mend this chasm.

And good for Lena.

Earlier this season we have seen Kara apologize for hiding her identity all that time.

Now it is Lena's turn. She apologizes for blaming Kara, for going down a dark path, for becoming a villain, and for helping Lex.

But now is the time to put that behind them and to work together to stop Lex and Leviathan.

The Supergirl/Lena team is mending. Now it's time to roll up their sleeves and get to work against an entity that seems to hold every advantage.


A lot happened there and a lot happened quickly. But I think we are in a place now where the finale has some room to breathe and to let things unfold at a more normal pace.

I truly loved that last scene. There was strong work by Katie McGrath who basically monologues all her sins. Brilliant.

This has been a weird season both internally with the Crisis and externally with the pandemic. But it feels like one of the strongest seasons ever.

What did you guys think?


Bostondreams said...

Really loved this episode. Man, Cryer is just fantastic as Lex.

Anonymous said...

Geez Brainiac 5 could screw up a two car funeral, even a jobber like Mon-El could Lex is a chronic schemer and utterly untrustworthy. Oh and Lex has killed Steve...I'd find it hilarious if Steve kept somehow surviving these horrific fates and came back next season as rabbity as ever.
I dunno I'm pretty much stuck in the house until further notice, I may spend the summer being a supercorp shipper, I mean there is nothing else to do...
The thing that makes the McGrath/Benoist scenes click is the they are both actresses with strong technique, in other words they can elevate mediocre material. In this case Lena digitized Eve earlier this year quite coldly (I guess that was rewritten by The Crisis, or was it?) and has shown a chilly preference for using human subjects in her experiments like a Dr. Mengele in Manolo Blahniks. But her vibe with Kara is so strong, we tend to forget and forgive all that...
On the other hand her brother could well end up depopulating the planet to become immortal, his anti Leviathan agenda seems like more a classic grab for power and advantages. Agree with above, Jon Cryer is a bargain at double his current price, all his scenes just sizzle. I hope he can come back next year...assuming there is a next year.
Anyway, I have a feeling the season finale is gonna be a chaotic mess par excellence, this is mostly driven my circumstances beyond everyone's control, just thought I'd put that out there. Who knows when the show will return to production anyway? Benoist's Blessed Event and Covid19 notwithstanding.
My point is, Sunday night might be the last Supergirl we see for a while, lets try and enjoy it however we must.


Ja50n1c said...

Ever since Lena found out that Supergirl has been her best friend all this time I was eager to see how things would play out.

I think Lena as a character has been great for the series being someone who's complex because your not really sure of her motives at times while at the same developing what could seem like an unlikely friendship with our heroine's alter ego and now being an anti villain this season.

I like how Kara was on her guard in the last scene as Lena has been so convincing feigning friendship it was almost tragic in the earlier episodes Lena saying the things you would expect her to say to Kara all the while it was a pretense.

Both Beniost and McGrath performances have been spectacular.

KET said...

"Kelly wonders if Alex shouldn't don a mask and go full on vigilante.

Let's take guesses now.

I hope she doesn't just take up the moniker Guardian.
Maybe Nightwing? Flamebird?"

Have to wait and see. Chyler is currently playing coy on where this development is going. However, I think it would be kind of cool if Kara gets to name Alex's new ID.

"We see the classic Leviathan/Manhunter symbol, a good starting point. I know that might be Rama Khan. But maybe it is a sly Brian Michael Bendis cameo??"

Probably, since the series has nodded towards comic book creators in subtle ways like this in past seasons. :)

Seems to me that everybody brought their A-game into this episode. Stellar performances all around.