Thursday, October 14, 2021

Supergirl 615: Hope For Tomorrow

The latest episode of the Supergirl series, titled Hope For Tomorrow, aired this week. These episodes are getting to be a little bit tricky to break down and critique. 

It is my usual intro here. This is another fun episode for this back end of the final season with the Super Friends battling the 5th Dimensional Imp, Nyxly. There are super-heroics. Supergirl is at the center of the action. We see totems and gauntlets. And Alex and Kelly become moms. All of that works.

We get the further progression of Lena as a sorceress, something I am still getting used to. Her neophyte powers going toe to toe against a Mxyzptlk-ian level power isn't helping me get used to it. And we get a tactical decision by our heroes that is so bizarre that I am scratching my chin over it. 

But overall this felt like a super-hero show with Supergirl at the center and the good guys using their powers to hopefully save the world. Given some prior episodes and seasons, I have to be happy with that.

On to the particulars.
We start out with a tremendously cute scene where Alex and Kelly are welcoming Esme into their home.

One thing that comes out here is how our Super Friends really consider themselves family. We see Alex painting a classic Martian mural in Esme's room, a family tradition of J'onn's. Kara brings the stuffed animals she was given when she moved in with the Danvers.  J'onn is even introduced to Esme as Alex's father. There is just palpable familial love in this scene and it's wonderful. I love seeing everyone smiling with anticipation.

We then learn that Esme's powers are to mimic those she is near. We see her phase into the wall because she is near J'onn. Esme immediately thinks she is in trouble. But Alex and Kelly reassure it will all be okay.

One thing I do know, the super-hero and psychologist/social worker/scientist/whatever Kelly is gig pays well in National City. Alex and Kelly have a huge house!

Meanwhile on Mitch's ship, Nyxly is amazed that the heroes would let William Dey into their trust. She knows that people in power tell stories to make themselves look like the hero. She knows her father did the same thing.  It seems to me that the heroes, and in particular Supergirl, would try to get through to her when they run into the imp. These are clearly Daddy issues that maybe the heroes could get her to look past.

Mitch turns out to be quite the tinkerer. He is able to create a gauntlet that allows Nyxly access to her powers, but only regarding the courage totem she is in control of. 

With a little juice, she decides to head back to the Hague and try to get the Hope totem.
As new mothers, Alex and Kelly are trying to help Esme with her powers. 

But Alex grew up with Eliza caring for Kara. She is the right mom to help raise a kid with powers. But after holding on to this dream of having kids, you can see that Alex is nervous.

At the Watchtower, the rest of the family gets all tickled about Esme. William brings chocolate roulade, joffe cakes, and hobnobs, Brainy is busy trying to figure out which building block set he should buy Esme (funny to see Kara and Lena both tell him to get a train.

At the Hague, we hear that Kaznia and Corto Maltese are in the midst of a peace treaty.  And that's when Nyxly shows up. 
And at the Hague, we see that Nyxly does have some of her powers back. She can use the courage totem to sap them of bravery.

At the Watchtower, we hear that Esme is a Dyralian. Brainy has had some experience with them. We hear how once he had a Dyralian absorb a Winathian's gravity nullifying power. 

As usual, Jesse Rath does a great job. When he first meets Esme, he strikes a heroic 'hands on hip' pose. And he is so earnest in his speech, it is fantastic. 

Could that Winathian have been Ayla Ranzz?
Nyxly's powers didn't impact Kara enough so the imp disappears leaving Supergirl alone with the Totem statue.

When Kara grabs the flower on the statue, she is told the gauntlet. While seeing images of wars, protests, and homeless people, Kara hears that she must inspire hope that burns longer and brighter than the sun. Kara can't free the totem yet. 

While Nyxly's courage powers didn't effect J'onn or Kara too much, it did alter the minds of the Kaznian and Corto Maltese diplomats. Drained of courage, they have become fearful of each other. J'onn will stick around at the Hague and try to keep everyone calm.

Kara's whole thing is hope so this ssems like an easy thing for her to do. I do like J'onn deciding to lay back in hopes of stopping a nuclear strike.
When she doesn't know exactly what to do next, Kara goes to Lena for advice. We hear that Lena is working on some spell to make any magic item painful to touch. Again, it seems crazy for Lena to be able to do anything magical. But I guess I just have to roll with it.

Meanwhile Alex is pushing Esme to hard to get control of her powers. When the girl needs a break, Alex brings in Kara. Almost immediately on mimicking Kara's powers, Esme is able to figure out Kara is Supergirl. 

In what might be my favorite scene, we see Kara helping Esme learn how to use super-hearing. We see the tropes of Kryptonians weeding out the excess noise to only hear what they want. But no matter how she tries, Esme only hears the scary noises of sirens, guns, and crimes.

Even though she doesn't calm Esme, I liked the scene. It hearkens back to Snyder's Man of Steel and even this season of Superman and Lois.
Nyxly wonders what to do to about the gauntlet since Supergirl oozes hope. I love how Petra Sergeant always has the right body language. She looks like someone from the 5th dimension, impish, child-like as she squats on the chair. 

And then, Nyxly has a brainstorm. Why not kidnap William and then trade him for the humanity and the hope totems. This seems like a foolish plan. I'm not sure if it makes sense. But at this point, we'll go with it.
The Corto Maltese peace negotiations are failing and J'onn can't keep everyone calm. 

The secretery at the Hague asks J'onn to brainwash them all into signing the peace treaty. After all, maybe without Nyxly's nudge they'd do it. 

But J'onn refuses. 

As I have said before, I like how the show has been leaning into the show's history. The dangers of mind control and J'onn wiping people have been important themes in this show. I am glad to see J'onn refusing.
Things are getting ugly though. And Kara is getting impatient. She can barely inspire Esme to have hope.

Lean wonders if it wouldn't be better for Kara to just fly in and remove the countries nuclear weapons. Hey .. that sounds like Superman IV!

But Kara says that freedom and self-determination is what the heroes are fighting for. They can't just take over. Instead, maybe the right thing to do is try and inspire hope through Kara and the news instead of through Supergirl.

I do wonder how someone committed to truth will use the coverage of the news to inspire hope. Is that by airing the news in a subjectively hopeful way? Is that journalism?
As for Esme, she asks to be brought back to a group home before she can hurt anyone with her powers. 

You can feel the fear in Alex. This is her dream, to be a mother, and she can't help Esme. She has been acting like a DEO drill sergeant and not a mom. The history of Eliza and Kara is brought up again. It takes time. 

But it is clear that Esme is terrified that Alex and Kelly will abandon her as so many others have. How can they inspire hope in her so she will know that she is loved.

Nice shot here with the introspective Alex seen in a reflection.
At CatCo, Kara has written an article about J'onn's efforts at the Hague to try and bring some hope but Andrea wants no part of it. The Super Friends are William's beat.

But it gets worse. Andrea says that the world isn't good. The only thing to report is negative stories. Hard to believe that this terrible outlook on the world sounds strange from someone who a few episodes ago wanted articles on what board games and takeout the Super Friends like.

Before that article can go on, Nyxly comes and freezes William in her power. When Kara shows up as Supergirl, Nyxly teleports away with William in tow. An ultimatum has been set. Supergirl will bring her the totems or William will die.
That means Kara has to first pass the Hope gauntlet and then bring them to Nyxly. Desperate to inspire hope, Kara does the most banal things like saving an ice cream cone and super-helping an old man cross the street.

But it doesn't free the totem. 

And in orbit, Nyxly tells William that a newspaper cannot shine a light of truth on those in power. Instead, people in power become more corrupt. But William is still resolute. He wonders how Nyxly thinks all she is doing is bringing justice to the universe.
In this quest for hope, all seems hopeless. 
I love hearing the other things Kara has done. She has saved kittens. She has flown over Kaznia and Corto Maltese and told the people she will save them.

Benoist has really done a great job here, as usual, displaying all the emotions Kara is feeling. You can see the hope fading.
Alex and Kelly decide the best way to prove to Esme they won't abandon her is to expose her to our old friend the Truth Seeker. With those powers mimicked, Alex and Kelly tell her that they are now a family. They will never send her away. They will make mistakes for sure but they'll grow together as a unit.

The Truth Seeker!

Well, we sure are digging into the history books! That's old school.
The Hague talks have broken down and war seems inevitable. Kara herself seems broken. She can't figure out what to do next.

But she knows she won't let the nuclear missiles fly. She'll stop the missiles.

In the meantime, Lena keeps working on this protective charm she'll put on the totem. Right now it looks more like a static cling spark than a significant spell of some sort.
And so Supergirl heads off stopping the nukes in the air. The she takes Kaznia (she has a soft spot for it) and J'onn takes Corto Maltese. They hoard up all the nuclear weapons and hand them off to Brain to throw them into the sun.

I like that Kara's history with Kaznia is mentioned. Again, there is that continuity.

But I wonder what the world's response would be to this. What is to stop other countries from being worried that Supergirl might just swoop into their countries and steal their defense?
But Supergirl ridding the world of those pesky nukes is enough to inspire hope in the world. Perhaps throwing the missiles in the sun is the 'hope as bright and longlasting as the sun. 

But now she can grab the totem and free it.
And then the wackiest scene ... and that is saying something.

Nyxly heads back to CatCo with William. 

Supergirl tosses the totems to Nyxly but the Lena spell works and it shocks Nyxly.

And if that wasn't enough, William then decides to get down and dirty. He physically attacks Nyxly, kicking her legs out and grabbing the courage totem out of her wrist weapon!

Who knew the guy had it in him!
Nyxly tries to teleport away but Supergirl is able to super speed grab William and all the totems. Stymied, Nyxly teleports away.

With the totems reunited, the psychic link between Kara and Nyxly is broken. 
And then the bonehead decision.

To form the Allstone, Nyxly needs all seven totems.

The heroes have three.

Despite the deep connection the totems have with the feelings they are linked to, the heroes decide the best thing to do is destroy one of the totems.

Destroy a totem ... a mystic representation of an emotion that might impact all humanity.

That doesn't seem wise.

Having seen what happens when courage and humanity are drained, they decide hope should be destroyed.

Hope! Should be destroyed! 

Now I know Kara says that the heroes can reignite hope but this seems like a crazy plan. 
Sure enough, Kara flies into space and throws the totem into the sun.

Let's throw hope into the sun!
But it will have the desired effect. The Allstone can't be formed.

An angry Nyxly doesn't know what to do but she gets a gift from a secret admirer. A watch that becomes a Lex-o-suit. 

Now the totem storyline isn't going to go away because I am sure as I have been predicting, the heroes will 'become' the totems.  We'll see.

So overall this was a solid episode. It was good to see Alex be a little vulnerable and watch how her hope about her family was wavering now and then. It was good to see Supergirl so prominent. I have come to love Peta Sergeant's wild portrayal of Nyxly. And a Lex hint??

I guess I am happy!


SG Fan said...

I was really hoping this episode was going to turn out better than last week...and then the last fifteen mins happen.

All the stuff with Alex/Kelly/Esme was great. I too enjoyed the family aspects, Esme figuring out Kara is Supergirl, and Kara being all Super Aunt. That stuff was great. I've not enjoyed Nxyly as much, but I did like the bit where she can't wrap her head around William's reporting on how she's the 'villain' and Supergirl and the team are the heroes. She's just that broken/crazy, thinking she's in the right.

But then we get to the end and for me, the episode breaks even before the insane stuff with the Hope Totem at the end. So, we have Kara clearly state she can't just disarm Kasnia & Corte of their nukes. Sure, stop them if they're fired, but not just remove them.

And then...she just goes ahead and disarms them. So, Supergirl, imposing her will on these two nations, taking away their nukes without the permission or endorsement of their governments, or at the very least their people...that's what the Hope Totem wants? It wants the wielder to impose their will on others. Ummm, excuse me but...isn't that the thing, the villain does?

Like seriously? I was already annoyed by last weeks flip flop on the magical plan, where Lena's like, 'No! I won't do this!' then goes, 'okay I will!' But this is like, worse. Again, Kara and the team stopping the missiles after they've been launched, to prevent mass death...that's fine, that's saving lives. But clearly, after they stop those two missiles, they go and disarm the countries unilaterally. Something like Lex or Nyxly would do right?

And yeah, Supergirl, the 'Paragon of Hope' as outlined in Crisis...destroys an icon/totem/whatever...of hope? Does that make freaking sense to anyone? Again, the logic of it, I get. Break the macguffin thing so Nxyly can't use it, but choosing to have her destroy the 'hope' item after such a big deal of saying Supergirl inspires hope. I mean, what are the writers doing? Is this all set up for something? Because I doubt they can pull it off, whatever they're planning.

It's like they used up all their writing powers in Season 4 and with Season 5 and 6 here, they've just got nothing left. And another complaint of mine, like 5 episodes left...and it doesn't feel like at all they're treating this as the last season of the series, just going about as things are normal.

Ugh, I'm getting real disappointed here as the series comes to a close. IDK maybe it will get better when Lex shows up, since clearly the writers love writing Jon Cryer's Lex..but we'll see.

Sorry but I can't say I'm having fun with these last few episodes.

KET said...

"Lean wonders if it wouldn't be better for Kara to just fly in and remove the countries nuclear weapons. Hey .. that sounds like Superman IV!"

Yep, this part of the plotting was definitely an homage to Superman IV, plus the show was able to weave in a bit of warm -hearted nostalgia to the Red Daughter arc in Season Four.

"And yeah, Supergirl, the 'Paragon of Hope' as outlined in Crisis...destroys an icon/totem/whatever...of hope? Does that make freaking sense to anyone?"

Yep. Kara is betting on herself (and her Superfriends) to prevail as the physical embodiment of Earth's hope. Of course, that may mean she'll have to make a huge sacrifice for the better good on behalf of humanity.

"Now the totem storyline isn't going to go away because I am sure as I have been predicting, the heroes will 'become' the totems. We'll see."

Indeed we will. Seems to me that the totem chase is probably going to come to an early end with next week's installment....when Lex Luthor returns and throws all the game pieces up in the air. One should probably surmise that Lex had a contingency plan in place, since he was the one who freed Nyxly from the Phantom Zone by using Kara as his unwitting proxy. :)


Anonymous said...

"So, Supergirl, imposing her will on these two nations, taking away their nukes without the permission or endorsement of their governments, or at the very least their people."
This is very true, however there is an important distinction here to be made, the missiles were Fired. Remember that, The Missiles were in the Air when J'onn & Kara acted. At that point, Supergirl's deference to human self determination directly contradicts her commitment to protect humanity & prevent global radiological catastrophe, so she had a choice to make, she choose survival.
Thats how I see that scene, and as such it's a critical difference from "The Quest for Peace" (all the same it was a nice homage with vastly better SPFX :)
I'm gonna voice a controversial decision here, Alex was always a bad big sister to Kara, she wasn't abusive or toxic or anything but she was a martinet, bossy, prone to ruling via anger, a chronic "stifle-er", her "spiritual overlordship" over her foster sibling has blithely carried over into adulthood. Hopefully Kelly can defuse some of that as the two of them parent Esme' because otherwise Alex defaulted immediately to some of her worse tendencies this week. As far as I'm concerned, Alex is uniquely BAD at fostering an alien child, she made a botch of it the first time, she'll need help to do better in this go-around.
There I said it, I feel better.
Y'know, I think when you apply to be a writer on Supergirl, I think you are asked point blank if you are "haphazard. If you affirm that you are, you get the job, if not, you have to get by somehow by being concise, logical and internally consistent...Tossing the Hope Totem into the Sun? Lena becoming "ZatLena"? Alex climbing down from her High Horse? Its all the Dame Haphazard, in other words "Supergirl Gotta Supergirl".
Were are less than a month away from the end, hopefully the show ends on a high note, but if not, it's all "Ride or Die" at this point, the bar is set low, the way ahead is nonetheless obscure.


Gerry Beritela said...

I can't believe they made that INCREDIBLY stupid decision to destroy the hope totem. I am very afraid that the whole tone of the remaining episodes will turn very dark culminating in Kara sacrificing her life at the end.