Friday, April 23, 2021

Supergirl Show 604: Lost Souls

 Supergirl episode 604, titled 'Lost Souls', aired this week and was another fast paced, 'hold on I have a crazy comic book explanation' episode which already seemingly tied up one of the major plots of this young season, the plague of phantoms on Earth. Alas, I can't think of a movie title which ties into the episode title.

As I said, we wrap up the Prime Phantom plotline here but with the most insane science a Bronze Age writer could shake a pencil at. Whether it is soul percentages, Ghostbuster homages, mirror portals, soul chrysalis, or DNA sensors, you just have to roll with it. Astonishingly, it all works. I grew up on comic book science. It is fun to see it on the small screen.

Outside that, the strength really has been the character development we have seen in this handful of episodes. It is great to see Kara act the hero here, pulling her dad forward. And it great to see that inspiration still impacting her friends on Earth. In fact, like last week, Katie McGrath kills it as Lena Luthor with several excellent scenes. 

And it was great to see the old series opener again with Kara talking of being a refugee and referencing her saving Alex's plane! It made me nostalgic. 

On to the show.

We open in the Phantom Zone where Nyxly's magic has been able to teleport Kara, Zor-El, and the 5th dimensional imp to their destination.

There is the physical anchor of Fort Rozz to physical plane. You might recall that the Fort Rozz building made it to Earth here on the show in the first season. This sounds like a sort of depot, where the Rozz staff came and went, dropped off supplies, etc.

But between the icy feeling of phantoms nearby or the madness of the Zone, it is starting to effect Kara. She needs to get home.

The heroes welcome Lena into the fold, showing her the tower and congratulating her for joining the crew. There are small moments I like here. Lena has always been so confident so hearing say she felt like an awkward schoolgirl on her first day at a new place humanized her. And hearing J'onn and Brainy talking about her finally joining them in the trenches was also great.

But there is a task at hand. They have to defeat the growing phantom menace and they need to rescue Supergirl.

M'Gann has started to have visions of where the collected souls are, the lair of the Prime Phantom. Brainy thinks that the soul transfusion J'onn gave her only restored 82% of M'Gann. The other 18% is phantom, linking her to both the abducted souls and letting her scan the Zone for Kara. (I guess I'll roll with Brainy's soul percentage and the resulting powers.)

Moreover, the heroes know that if they can free the captured souls, they will return to their host bodies, restoring their humanity and weakening the Prime Phantom. So they will have M'Gann follow the next soul to the source.

As for the Phantoms, Lena has created a weapon to trap the phantoms made up of equal parts DEO and LCorp projects. It is so ghostbusters.


The heroes don't have much time to ponder more.

The alarm goes off. The phantoms are attacking the coffee show at Grand Central Station. 

While the LCorp 'prototrap' (essentially a Ghostbusters proton pack) is able to capture the phantom. But not before it scratches a victim.

We see the soul of the victim leave the body.

Dreamer suddenly has another vision, again of Midvale High and the two young Danvers sisters.

Unfortunately, M'Gann can't keep up with it.

At the same time, the Prime  Phantom arrives. It is now huge, bigger and stronger, bloated on the energy of all the souls. Lena's gun hurts it but cannot capture it. It is too powerful.

Back in the Zone, Kara, Nyxly, and Zor-El have made it into the barracks.

The portal home is supposed to look like a mirror. 

And there it is. except it is cracked, broken. There goes the way home.

Already a broken man, Zor-El gives up, saying they should just give up. 

It gives Melissa Benoist her strongest moment in the show. She gives a version of the hope speech to Zor-El. She reminds him that together they have made enemies like Nyxly into allies, they have found magic in this place, and they have made it this far. 

Bolstered by her words, Zor realizes that Alura would have left another portal in there for just such an emergency. Time to search.

Ready for more comic book science?

M'Gann again says she couldn't get close to the fleeing soul without weakening or even once again turning into phantom herself.

Brainy, stress eating donuts throughout the episode (a great character moment) calls it the 'double soul dilemma'. Because M'Gann's true soul is still captured. Her current soul is the transfusion from J'onn. Those two souls repel each other like magnets. Hmmm ... okay?

But things are getting worse. The Prime Phantom is so giant, Brainy deduces that it is almost fully powered, something which would make him unstoppable. The souls captured live in a chrysalis. Once that chrysalis hardens completely it is invulnerable and the Phantom can run roughshod. But if the chrysalis is broken, the souls will escape and return to their hosts, returning them to normal. 

They have one hour to find it and break it.

Where did all this knowledge of the chrysalis and double souls and all come from? I don't know. But it reads like a Bronze Age story with plot points just expositioned away.

I do worry that Lena is going to become an easy answer for any corner the writers get themselves in.

Here she tells Alex that she is going to use Q-waves to replicate M'Gann's soul-tracking powers and give them temporarily to Dreamer. Now, this makes no sense. Lena says she used Q-waves to replicate Malefic's powers explaining how it can copy M'Gann's. But I thought that Malefic's powers were q-wave based. Lena replicated his powers with q-waves in that way.

Anyways, Lena also comes up with another idea. She can create a Kara-specific tracker so the heroes can find Supergirl in the Zone. But she needs Kara's DNA to calibrate the device.

Back in the barracks, Kara, Nyxly, and Zor-El have split up to find the spare portal. Away from Supergirl, Zor-El says he was attacked by an inmate named Scar. It is weird that some prisoner was holed up in this building. But Zor has found the mirror.

Nxyly's magic has become depleted so she cannot fix the broken mirror or Zor-El's injured leg. How interesting that when the story needed Nyxly's magic to be back it was. When it needs it not to be active it isn't.

It would be impossible for Kara and Nyxly to get the mirror and the injured Zor-El back to the pad. Zor-El knows the right thing for his daughter to do is leave him and come back to rescue him later. Nyxly concurs.

It is only when Zor calls Kara daughter in Kryptonese does she acquiesce.

I must admit, it was around this time that I wondered if Nxyly was starting to turn.

Lena and Alex listen to Kara's will, hearing her speak about friends working together. Then, Alex makes
a big decision. She will give Lena this crystal which has Kara's DNA to make the tracker.

It is interesting to see Alex struggle with this decision. But she knows it is worth the risk. She trusts Lena. That is new.

Lena's other machines work and suddenly Dreamer can track the souls and astral project.

Suddenly she sees the chrysalis, a giant egg pulsing with soul energy. But the building is nondescript. She can't figure out where this is. And once again she gets a Midvale vision.

It is clear to Alex. If they wait an hour hundreds of thousands of people will suffer. Lena will need to recalibrate her tool, which was made to track Kara, to instead track the chrysalis. (How can it do both? But I guess it can!)

Unfortunately, to do that, the Kara crystal  and the recording will be lost.

Lena doesn't want to do it. The cost is too great. They won't be able to save Kara or save her will. 

But Alex knows that there always another way, a lesson Kara taught her. And Supergirl would always want to save others and her friends should do so as well.

Again, we see Katie McGrath kill it. Welling, she talks about how everything that is wrong right now is ultimately her fault. She has to save Supergirl to save herself. Just a powerful moment. And McGrath crushes it.

Alex says Lena needs to simply forgive herself as all of them have.

Nice opening shot to the scene showing physically that there is something large between the two.

With the portal up, Kara activates it and we see the Fortress. All they need now is to go back and bring Zor-El.

And now Nyxly's true colors come out. I get the sense this is all simple transference from how awful her father treated her, but the imp says Zor-El has mistreated Kara all her life. It is time for Kara to remove him from her life once and for all. In fact, it was Nyxly polymorphed into Scar that attacked Zor-El.

And now Nyxly thinks she'll head to Earth for some fun.

Ooooohh... can't trust those imps.

Using Lena's device, the heroes track the chrysalis to the sewers. But the place is crawling with phantoms. Soon the heroes fall to the onslaught.

J'onn gets scratched and becomes a phantom, as does Brainy.

Dreamer is the last to fall but before she is turned she creates a force field tunnel. 

This allows Alex to run up and pierce the chrysalis, releasing the souls which flood out and begin turning the phantoms back into their humans. With each soul gone, the Prime Phantom shrinks, his power dissipating. 

I do like that in action, Dreamer calls Alex 'Sentinel'. I think this is the first time we have heard her called that during a fight.

Depowered, the Phantom is no match for the combined powers of the heroes. He is captured and teleported to the holding cell. 

That ends that.

Amazing that this plot seems to have been wrapped up already.

Inside the Zone, Kara won't let Nyxly go through the portal to cause havoc on Earth.

During the fight, the self-destruct of the anchor is triggered.

And to stop Nyxly's escape once and for all, Kara smashes the portal herself.

Now that is a good turn!

It shows the selflessness of Kara that she'd rather continue to suffer in the Zone than bring pain to Earth. 

But maybe this was too selfless? Certainly once on Earth, she could trick Nyxly into saying 'Ylxyn'. 

Still, I thought this plot was going to end as well. But more time in Phantom Zone! I for one am happy. This has been pretty fascinating.

Nothing left but the wrap-up.

We get to see Alex drink her problems away again. But this time she has a partner, Lena. Lena thinks that she doesn't belong with the heroes because she couldn't make the tough decision Alex did. But Alex reassures her. Lena is getting the boatload of powerful character scenes this season.

Nia and Brainy tell each other they will lean on each other to help each other deal with problems.

And then, the last comic book science!

The Prime Phantom is trapped. But it can track people itself. Perhaps they can use the Phantom as a bloodhound to track Kara. (How the heck are they going to convince it or even trick it to do that?) Once more they'll need Kara's DNA. The only time they could get her DNA would be when she was depowered. Alex reminds us that way way back in Season 1, Kara solar flared against Red Tornado and became powerless.

But she also says there was another time when she was in high school. Suddenly, it all clicks! Dreamer's dreams mean that she is supposed to go back in time to Midvale High to get Kara's DNA. Okay, that seems like a bananas idea. But here we are.

Whew! Whew!

This season, every episode is a breathless sprint with some wonderful intermingled character moments. I don't know if I am following it all. But I like it! Insanity!

Nia and Btrainy

Phantom - track like a bloodhound 

Red Tornado /Midvale

Anchor blows up


KET said...

"And to stop Nyxly's escape once and for all, Kara smashes the portal herself.

Now that is a good turn!

It shows the selflessness of Kara that she'd rather continue to suffer in the Zone than bring pain to Earth.

But maybe this was too selfless?"

That aspect may be coming into play in future eps, since Kara offered to help Nyxly escape from being blown up. and the imp refused her help. Also, it's unclear whether Zor-El survived the explosion, so Kara may be totally alone in the Zone....thus sorely testing her usual optimistic resolve.


Anonymous said...

"I do worry that Lena is going to become an easy answer for any corner the writers get themselves in."
You mean she might usurp Alex's rightful place as sister deus et machina, since oh, the very first episode?
Heaven Forbid! To Quote the Late Alan Napier.
At at certain point with this stuff all you can do is shrug and just say "Supergirl gotta Supergirl", they aren't with sixteen episodes to go before the end gonna mend their plot hole dependent ways. Shockingly being marooned in the Phantom Zone has been a tour de force for MB and Kara Zor El, she has to recruit a new crew, play a bigger leadership role, step up even more as a leader, it's made me thing that in some ways her squad back on Earth was holding her back. I would love it, if somehow, she escaped the zone sans any help from her friends on Earth it'd be such an iconic moment.
Since Alex is bonding with Lena, maybe Lena can woman up and tell the Alex her Sentinel Eye Makeup is Clown Car Tragic, it'd really cement the relationship.
I'm wondering as well if Zor El was killed in the blast, weirdly I hope not, I wanna see his reaction when his beloved daughter tells him she was dating a Daxamite Princeling for two years. It's equivalent to a Radcliffe Girl telling her father she's dating the President of the Local Hell's Angels.