Friday, April 30, 2021

Supergirl Show 605: Prom Night

Supergirl episode 605, titled Prom Night (another movie title!), aired earlier this week. This series has veered towards overly serious and overly topical at times. So I was thrilled to watch this episode as it was one of the most entertaining episodes I have seen in a long time.

Yes, it is a time travel episode and with that it is filled with the usual timey-wimey conundrums. And we already had an 'Arrowverse' time travel episode this season on The Flash.

This one rewards long time viewers of the show by leaning into the history of the characters. Obviously, it harkens back to Midvale from way back in season 3. It shows us some of the early moments of Kara as she tries to figure out her place in the world. But this is a post-Crisis history and so there are new elements to this history, changes, 

But it is the actors that make this episode as special as it is. Jesse Rath gets to let it all hang out, cut free of any reins he has had on him. Eliza Helm channels  Calista Flickhart as a young Cat Grant. And the absolutely uncanny performances by Olivia Nikkanen as young Alex and Izabela Vidovic as young Kara that makes this a delight. Seriously, Nikkanen does such a spot on Chyler Leigh, down to expressions and speech emphasis that I felt like I was watching Leigh. 

There will need to be some explanations about how this current history jibes with what we know to be true (Kara hiding her powers, Alex losing her way and getting recruited by the DEO, etc. But that can be worked out later. For now I'll just enjoy it.

On to the details.

In the present, our heroes are reminded of the date when Kara's DNA can get extracted. At least we understand why this is the time travel destination. They want to pick up Kara's DNA without interacting with anyone.  You know, preserve the timeline. And because they don't want anyone running into themselves, only Brainy and Nia can go.

The night on the paper, Kara flies and punches a meteor which is going to flatten Midvale. It has Kryptonite in it so it bloodies here knuckles. She passes out and falls through the gym roof, luckily under construction. Her blood will be in the baseball field. Brainy can head there, grab it, and the two can get out.

But there is more on this page than just the meteor shower news.

That 'luckiest town' headline is because Kara has been acting like a guardian angel to the town, a nod to her earliest 'secret weapon' days in the comics. Or maybe it is like the Blur in Smallville. But either way, she is doing it with Kenny, the boy who died in the Midvale episode. In the post-Crisis world he is alive.

In some ways, it is a shame because Kenny's death is what brought Alex and Kara together at the end of that episode. Kenny living has major ripples to Kara and Alex's timeline.

So Brainy and Nia don prom gear and jump into the Legion time ship.

Juts prior to going, Alex tells Brainy not to mess up. In a moment of brilliance, Jesse Rath in his tux and with his bag of chips yells 'does this look messed up'!

Yes it does! But he says it with such confidence!

You might remember that way back when Mon-El first arrived, he was in a ship that was buried under the ground, having landed 12,000 years too early to meet Supergirl. Nia reminds Brainy of that which is a nice nod for old time viewers.

To keep their identities secret should there be a run in with the Danvers, they don 'the ultimate optical illusion' - eyeglasses. Ha! 

In Midvale, Kenny, Kara, and Alex are at a local shake shop. Alex is home from Stanford, having given up a plan to tramp Europe for the summer.

While Kenny gets the drinks, Kara admits that she and Kenny originally planned to go to Midvale College but now Kara wants to go to National City University. 

Just then, her super-hearing picks up the Legion ship coming in hot. Initially Alex is against investigating but then she goes along hoping to keep things as hidden as possible.

Meanwhile, a young journalist named Cat Grant shows up. She doesn't believe that Midvale is lucky. She is convinced that there is a super-hero in town.

Unfortunately time travel isn't an exact science. The ship arrives a day before the prom. This isn't going to be a 'swab the blood and go' mission. 

It gets worse. The time relay box of the ship is broken. There is no going back. They need dysprosium to power the time relay box. 

And even worse, Alex, Kara, and Kenny arrive. These were the very people they weren't supposed to run into. The two make up a story about being telepathic aliens from Psycon. With the cops coming, Brainy and Nia use their powers to bury the Legion ship. 

I do like that Kara introduces herself as Kara Zor-El a fellow alien and someone who wants to help.

Luckily, there is dysprosium at an exhibit at Midvale College where Eliza is a professor.

All this will need to happen the next day. Until then, Nia will stay at the Danvers and Brainy will stay with Kenny. This seems like a crazy idea, especially if Brainy and Nia are trying to hide. 

And I do wonder if there are any limits at all to Dreamer's powers. 

To add even more fun, an alien hunter comes to capture the hidden Kryptonian in Midvale to force to work in his circus.

The 'slumber party' moments are fun.

Brainy and Kenny talk technology. Brainy will need to cobble together a 3D printer at the high school the next day.

The big win is Nia talking to Kara. Nia had said that Psycon was a dying planet and she lost her mother.  She is honestly talking about her relationship with her mother who has died and who she wishes she was around.

This allows Kara to empathize. The scene plays out nicely with Kara saying that she understands what it is like to not be with people who really understand you. Could this be a foreshadow to the end of this season? Will Kara go to Argo to be with her mother and her people?

Nia then talks of what her power can do. A new thing is indestructible bubbles. How many powers does she have?

She has a dream premonition of a pink cougar.

Now it is obvious to me this is a Cat Grant dream. Doesn't Nia remember the big pink cat statue at CatCorp?

Instead, Nia is perplexed by what it could mean. If only her mother was around to teach her. 
Of course, this being 2009, Nia's mother is alive and just a phone call away. Nia is truly tempted.

While Brainy is all too conspicuous at the High School being mistaken for a student and forced to join the Glee Club, Cat begins haunting the city.

We hear her talking to Perry White.

She talks about wanting to rise about being a gossip columnist. (We know she does.)
She says she wants to find the superhero acting in Midvale and name them. (Of course, she gave Supergirl the moniker Supergirl in season one. So nice nod.)
And she wants to blow Lois Lane into the classified showing us a nice early look into their rivalry.

But there is no clues in the college where Alex is able to deflect Cat's questions about some giant column falling inside a building with no one being injured.

Elsewhere, Dreamer uses her powers to pick the lock of the dysprosium exhibit. 

She picks locks with her dream powers.

Seriously, someone needs to tell the writers that you can't just use Dreamer like an omni-gadget.

I told you that Jesse Rath is cut loose this episode.

Here it is crazy. In one day he has joined the glee club, the math club, the baseball team, and he is already complaining about detention.

He also shows mad baseball bat skills, flipping and twirling it incredibly!

Seriously, I laughed out loud a bunch at Rath's performance this episode.

Driving back from the college, Alex, Kara, and Nia see a gas truck careening out of control. There is no driver. It is being driven remotely by the alien hunter who wants to lure the do-gooder Kryptonian out of hiding.

And it works, Kara jumps out of the truck and flies into the carriage. Somehow Nia is able to use her powers to spring her way into the truck too. (Seriously? Look at how far away this truck is. Dreamer's powers are out of control.)

The brakes seem cut so Kara needs to use her superbreath to freeze the axels before the truck careens into a school bus.

When the alien hunters realize a Coluan and Naltorian are there, they retreat.

I like how when  Brainy arrives and even he gets superhero landing.

But when Cat happens by the iced up truck, she knows that there is more to Midvale than luck.

Nia again has the pink panther dream. 

But again she can't piece it together. I mean .,, she worked in CatCo, walking by that giant statue every day!

Like last week, she laments not getting the training she needed from her mother. Desperate she calls her mother but only gets the voice mail.

Now that would have been a space/time continuum kerfuffle, no doubt.

Now if there is one scene to watch to see just how amazing Olivia Nikkanen channels Chyler Leigh it is this scene. This is pure Alex being Alex as she chastises Kara for ruining everyone's life. Again, in the pre-Crisis Arrowverse, these two came to an understanding after Kenny's death. So this did feel a bit like a retread.

But she is brutal. How can Kara fix all this super-heroing she is doing. There are aliens after her. There is a reporter digging through things. This could ruin Eliza's life. It has ruined Alex's who gave up her Europe trip at Eliza's request. As crazy as it sounds, Alex says that her two years of college has given her 'life experience' that makes her wiser.

You can see how all that would lead to Kara giving up all the heroics and just becoming a gopher at CatCo.

But Nikkanen's body language, her expressions, her inflections. It is all unbelievably consistent with Leigh's portrayal of the character.

Brainy can tell that the cloaked ship tracking them had Bismollian technology.

That leads to two suspects given the DEO files on board.

The culprit is Naxim Tork from an unknown planet. He keeps a menagerie that travels the galaxy. It is amusing that on this page is a comment on his penchant for sequin shirts.

Alas, this page changes from a Tork being captured to Tork being at large and having kidnapped, you guessed it, a Kryptonian, a Naltorian, and a Coluan.

A change in the timeline. And a doozy!

Things are picking up for Cat.

In looking at her pictures of the truck site, she sees that a shadow is seen on the road. It must be a spaceship.

Eliza Helm brings that mix of energy and aloofness that you need in playing Cat.

To prove Alex's claim of immaturity is wrong, Kara prepares to tell Kenny that she is going to National City University rather than Midvale College. 

But before she can drop the bomb, Kenny brings her to his 'gift' to her, a base of operations in an old barn. 

If anything is supposed to resonate with Smallville, it has to be this set. And Kenny does all the things a smitten person would do. From the icicle lights to dragging the log where they had their first kiss into this place, it screams love. 

I do like that he calls it 'our future, our fortress'. Supergirl with a Midvale fortress!!

And then, the cliffhanger.

Brainy is stress eating, stress pushup-ing, stress singing, etc. He can't come to grips with how stressed he is with everything that has happened.

And Nia is just as stressed. She can't interpret dreams. She almost called her mom.

When asked, she reveals the way she lets off steam is to sing her favorite song. She breaks into a rendition of '9 to 5'. It seems to break the tension. 

And, as if, on cue, Brainy picks up Tork's ship. 
When they head over, he easily captures them in a force field.

I guarantee you that next week there will be some fight sequence where the actual '9 to 5' is played in the background.

Anyways, this was a silly episode. It was a fun episode. We needed to get a post-Crisis Midvale origin story. I wonder how Kenny gets out alive. Or is he still living and is aware of Supergirl's secret identity? 

But it is the acting that got me here. From Rath's lunacy to the channeling of Benoist/Leigh/Flockhart by Vidovic, Nikkanen, and Helm. Just fantastic!

What did you all think?


Anonymous said...

I liked the episode, tho it had a few weak tech points:

1. when they buried the ship, it seemed to have only a
few inches of grass/dirt on top. How is this supposed to
support people standing, walking, and running on it (a
baseball field)? I suppose that Dreamer could have put in
some type of support structure, and hope it was never found?

2. if dysprosium is a new element/compound, I doubt it
would be in a museum. There would be massive research
by many people, even in 2009.

Ah well. Minor, but still annoying.

KET said...

"Nia again has the pink panther dream.

But again she can't piece it together. I mean .,, she worked in CatCo, walking by that giant statue every day!"

Maybe not. Didn't Andrea take over CatCo and refurbish the office with her hi-tech Obsidian North stuff, right about the time Nia joined the staff? Nia certainly wouldn't recognize Cat, as she never met her in person.

"if dysprosium is a new element/compound, I doubt it
would be in a museum."

Ohhh, I dunno...the facility still needed people with proper credentials in order to be let in (hence Alex with her mom's ID). That bit kind of reminded me of Return Of The Pink Panther, with a priceless object on display in plain sight in a museum, just waiting to be stolen.


Mary said...

Lena Luthor bought Catco in season 3 to keep Morgan Edge from getting it. She sold it to Andrea in between season 4 and 5 after Lex had told her about Kara being Supergirl.

Nicole Maines joined Supergirl at the beginning of season 4 as Nia Nal. She had been recommended by Cat, I believe to specifically to be Kara's assistant. So she possibly met Cat at some point.

I really enjoyed the episode. Kara and Nia having fun with their powers was a favorite moment.

Jesse says he carried a bat around everywhere for about two weeks or so practicing with it.

Looking forward to the next part, which was directed by Chyler Leigh.

Anonymous said...

"if dysprosium is a new element/compound, I doubt it
would be in a museum."

Perhaps half is in the museum, to inspire others to
try to explain it? Aren't some of the the Apollo moon
rocks available to the public, albeit not a new element?

Anonymous said...

Wow "Young Alex" is a belligerent toxic sister isn't she? Ferociously unlikeable in this episode, young Ms. Nikkanen is playing the hell out of it, but the character as written is becoming borderline hateful.
If Alex and Kara were "real sisters" they'd a stopped interacting years ago...Alex's constant recourse to emotional blackmail would virtually compel it.
There has been feckless talk on twitter of a "Midvale" spinoff of Supergirl featuring Isabela Vidovic, but if all they are gonna go is shackle a cape-less Kara between Alex and Kenny I say forget it. I like everything Ms. Vidovic does in these eps, but she'll just end up being a supporting player on a spin off where she is allegedly the key lead. Now, Kara being solo mentored by Eliza...who brokers her "graduation" to a cape and costume etc...that would be worth watching.


KET said...

"Young Alex" is a belligerent toxic sister isn't she?"

Not really any different than the overprotective sister in the Supergirl pilot episode, who scolds Kara for saving her plane from crashing. In this flashback ep, it's pretty obvious that Alex feels a lot of pressure from her mom to keep Kara sheltered, lest she gets taken away by Cadmus (like her dad did).


Anonymous said...

And who does Alex blame for Dad's disappearance? Kara of course. If these were real people they'd be shunning one another by now. I'm starting to develop a bad case of "Alex Fatigue", I really wish the writers would "permit" Supergirl to tell off her sister, just once.


KET said...

" I really wish the writers would "permit" Supergirl to tell off her sister, just once."

Actually, she already "Falling", from Season One. :)


Anonymous said...

CBS isn't in continuity anymore, but then again, nothing else is either.

Anyway she should tell Alex off again...just to make sure.