Thursday, February 1, 2018

Supergirl Episode 312:For Good

Supergirl episode 312, titled 'For Good' came out this week and was a decent episode, nudging the Reign storyline forward and showcasing Lena Luthor in a very interesting way.

Ultimately though, I think I will sound rather blase about this episode. Not that this was a bad episode. But the prior two episodes were big screen thrillers, filled with comic book action and definitely building on the season theme of humanity and compassion being important for heroes. This episode did the same but writ small. So there was a bit of a let down feel. I suppose that's a good thing as it means the prior episodes shined so much.

And that's a shame because as a Lena episode this is fascinating. Remember last season where we all ruminated over her holding up a chess piece, wondering what that foreshadowed? Well, this episode gives us much more to chew over. The title 'For Good' probably was meant to assure us that Lena is now working for good permanently (or for good .... nice play on words). But, for me, it raised the specter of her going bad once more. Maybe season four?

Finally, I think it is a shame that Morgan Edge was taken off the board as a bad guy so quickly. There is a lot more story for someone like him in this season. He, and guest star Lillian Luthor, represent the inhuman human, the normal people who lack the compassion that Kara displays, that will win the day in the end.

I haven't even mentioned my favorite scene in the episode so I guess that's my cue to get down to it.

The episode opens with a killer shot of the World Killers floating in an orange sky that looks like it is on fire. We know Reign. We met Purity briefly last episode. The third's face is hidden. But that is a killer shot, showing us what Kara is up against. Could the third be someone we already know? Would it be wild if it was Ruby??

Turns out it is a dream. Reign and the World Killers are haunting Kara. She is frustrated that the DEO is just biding time for the Killers to reveal themselves. But they aren't easy to track. They aren't Kryptonian and can't be tracked that way. Mon-El says they are genetically modified beings, similar to others the Legion have fought. (For me, he has to be talking about the Dark Servant clones Darkseid made of heroes in The Great Darkness Saga.)

And then Mon-El comes up with a good idea. The Killers probably arrived when Kryptonite hit the Earth. So perhaps investigating those sites will lead to them. Mon-El says Brainy has tracked the K-storms that way when the Legion needed Kryptonite to fight General Zod. Winn says Superman killed Zod, which means (perhaps) the Man of Steel continuity is true on this Earth. And I hate that. So let's move on.

At first I wasn't sure if the math made sense. Could Reign arrive with the K-meteors when Superman did? I guess looks older than Kara. She could be Superman's age.

Cut to James and Lena heading to a fancy breakfast. They are debating how much of a presence Lena needs to be in simple staff meetings. The boss being present can make people nervous. And, to be honest, it does seem a bit like overkill for someone in Lena's title to be at daily meetings.

Outside the restaurant, the two run into Morgan Edge. He is at his 'evil, rich, misogynist, conservative male' peak here. He  is shocked the restaurant will let liberals in. He says that Lena isn't a powerful women. That Lena wants the 'gleam of liberal media' will rub on her. And that she is basically dead already, stuck at CatCo.

When he drives off, his car goes out of control. Edge needs to bail out the trunk of the speeding car before it explodes. Tattered, he confronts Lena at the CatCo offices, saying she was behind the hijacked car and vowing to get even. He tells Lena that she should 'man up' and finish the job, another veiled sexist comment. But it seems out of character for Edge to be so personal in front of so many people. He seems more calculating.

Meanwhile Alex is working up Sam, trying to diagnose why Sam is blacking out. Using the LCorp labs, Alex gets an MRI and sends off blood work. She even makes a funny comment about having a medical job in Seattle, a sneaky Grey's anatomy joke.

I was surprised to see that Alex is able to draw blood. It means that somehow Sam morphs into Reign to gain the powers she has. If not, the needle should just break off. That makes me think that she is two entities, perhaps setting up some sort of split is imminent in the ending?

Sam finally confesses that she is afraid to be a burden to people. She is used to standing up on her own two feet. Alex tells Sam that the right thing to do is open up to friends for help. She talks of Kara helping Alex through her breakup. To ease the pain, she gives Sam a lollipop for being a good patient. Sam's smile over a nickel candy reminds us that she isn't all-evil, all-unfeeling. That humanity is still there.

This ending interaction was a good way to build on this slowly building plot that Reign will be defeated by reaching out to Sam's human side. It is going to be this sympathy, this empathy, that will break through. I wonder if the Sam persona will somehow usurp control, making the body vulnerable, allowing the heroes to defeat her ... or maybe for Sam to sacrifice herself. How very Phoenix of her!

Back at the DEO, Lena wants to break the cycle of violence and retribution she sees in her feud with Edge. She wants to clear herself from taking control of Edge's car so he'll stop hunting her. You sense that she saw enough of revenge in her family. It also is a nice reverberation from Kara's complaint of not having any movement with the  World Killer mystery.

She downs her signature coffee only to collapse and froth at the mouth. She's been poisoned. Not wasting any time, Kara ... still in her civilian clothes ... flies Lena to the DEO.

Meanwhile, James chases the assassin barista from the coffee cart only to see the killer shot down by a sniper.

A few points. For one, Kara has super-speed. Take the one second to put on the Supergirl costume. Second, the coffee killer looked a little like Chris Wood making me do a double take that Mon-El poisoned Lena. Do all killers need to be brown-haired white males? Pick a different phenotype. Lastly, I wondered if the person killing the assassin was someone upset that he tried to kill Lena or the person who hired him to kill Lena, tying off a loose end. I wondered that for most of the episode.

At the DEO, I get to see Alex in action as an emergency medicine physician, running a code. I am more forgiving about medicine in these shows than in medical dramas. But using her wits and some physical exam cues, she diagnoses cyanide poisoning and correctly orders the right antidote sodium thiosulfate! She also asks for induced hypothermia which Kara supplies with super-breath. I'll roll with it!

Hooray medicine on Supergirl!

And then we get a Guardian sighting ... sigh. Still not 100% on board with this. But okay.

James confronts Morgan Edge, implicating him in the Lena poisoning.

The problem is Edge denies it, in a very believable way. He says he'd love Lena to be dead. But he had nothing to do with it. And, I guess blame Adrian Pasdar's acting, I believed him! It sounded like Edge didn't do it. 

We then get the best scene in the episode.

Out on the DEO balcony (the season three version of the season one CatCo balcony), Kara has a heart to heart with J'onn. He applauds her for bringing Lena in so quickly even if it endangered Kara's secret identity. And then he talks about how her willingness to take action, to protect Earth is worth applauding. The cynicism of the world, the sniping between lawmakers, the escalation of hostility, it reminds him of Mars and the civil wars. Supergirl is a beacon of hope, showing the way. She reminds us of what is best in ourselves. And she is an inspiration.

That is a great scene. It keeps that theme of Kara empathizing with people, reaching out and changing them. She did it with Livewire. I am sure she'll do it with Reign. And I liked that J'onn didn't seem to pick one side or the other. He talks about both sides of an argument escalating and not coming together.

Lena wakes up at CatCo. She dreamed of flying with Kara. She was poisoned and given an antidote by a paramedic who left her there (now that is medicine I can't roll with). And the barista was gunned down with a vanishing bullet. Perhaps the most chilling line is Lena thinking Reign might be right and certain people should be 'put down'. Those are heavy words lightly thrown by a Luthor.

That clue of the vanishing bullet leads Lena to an old LexCorp experiment which then leads her to an old warehouse where we see ... Lillian Luthor! Great to see Brenda Strong back. And nice shot showing the cold distance between these two.

I love Lena/Lillian scenes. Here Lillian says she returned to National City to kill Morgan Edge. How dare he try to kill her daughter.

Lillian's words are fascinating. All last season it was clear she favored Lex. Now, it seems, she is embracing Lena. She talks about how Lex was a hothead but Lena was just as 'fiendish' only savvier. She was more strategic, thinking of future moves. And frankly, Lillian thinks Lena is wasted at CatCo.

So does this make me more nervous of Lena turning dark. Lena seems to accept all that is being said. Lillian, like Edge, says Lena is 'bigger' than CatCo. At least Lena agrees that killing Edge to prove a mother's love is insanity. But Lena being strategic and fiendish? Delicious!

 Sam finally confesses to Kara and Lena that she is having blackouts. Everyone agrees that they will help Sam any way they can. But let's be honest, she should take a medical leave and stop being the CEO of LCorp.

Sam talks about how her biggest fear is not being there for Ruby in some way. And we saw that played out in the vision she got from Psi last episode. This also plays into the key theme again. Somehow Sam's love of Ruby is going to play into her rejection of Reign. It has to be.

Lena realizes she needs to count on her own cunning to both save Edge from Lillian and bring him down. She knows from the warehouse that Lillian will attack Edge at a Nature Conservation charity even. So with Kara's help, she sneaks in.

Lena tells Edge that Lillian will assassinate him and only Lena can save him. And she will if he confesses to all his crimes. He does just that, confessing to the lead poisonings and the murder attempts. I guess he did the coffee crime after all!

Lillian upset that he has survived decides to take matters into her own hands and puts on a classic Lexosuit battle armor complete with action Kryptonite-shiv. A brawl ensues in which both Edge and Lillian are taken down by Supergirl and her on scene allies Guardian and Mon-El.

I would like to comment on one side scene. To get Lillian in, Kara tries to rush a security guard who grabs her, stopping her from entering. She elbows him saying 'don't grab women sweetheart'. It is a good empowering moment, especially in these days. But this was a security guard trying to protect partygoers, not some creep on the street or a Hollywood agent in a casting room. Should he have let her go by without trying to stop her? What if she *was* dangerous? I'm all for appropriate messaging but let's make sure the villains are villains.

 There's nothing left but the wrapup.

Lena has to admit to her mother that she has woken up as a Luthor. She'll use her cunning and guile now more, to think ahead and make sure things happen the way she wants.

Sam's medical work-up is completely clear. Meaning something else is causing the blackouts.

Mon-El says he thought of using a drone as a weapon based on prior Legion battles with Computo! Cool!

And Winn may have tracked down candidates for the other World Killers.

I guess I'll say 'not bad'. Great Lena stuff. Embracing her Luthor-ness is a very intriguing turn, perhaps the best thing about this show.


Anonymous said...

I wasn't too excited about this episode, the start was snoreworthy. Morgan Edge however is always great and kept the pulse ticking. Then Lilian puts on the Lexosuit and I am finding myself squeeing with nerdhappiness. It really saved the episode. They should have let Kara handle this one though. Kara was powerless the last episode and she needed to be the heroine now. There was no reason for sending Mon-El to the rescue and there was no reason to resurrect Guardian to ruin James character even more by turning him into psycho-protective boyfriend. Both Kara and Lena can handle themselves.

Anonymous said...

As always, the timelines are somewhat problematic. Sam says that she's been on her own since she was 16--presumably when she had Ruby. Then she did the single mom/work her way through college thing. Ruby is how old now? 13? This would make Sam 29.

We know from the Supergirl storyline that Krypton exploded when Kara was 12, but that she was in the Phantom Zone for 24 years before she landed on Earth 38. 12 years passed before Season One. This would mean that Season Three Kara is chronologically in her 50s, though biologically she would be in her mid-to-late 20s.

Unless Reign's pod was also knocked off course, the timeline doesn't work.

I agree that it wasn't a great episode, but I thought it advanced the Lena Luthor storyline in an interesting way. I agree with Lillian: Lena isn't fulfilling her potential at CatCo, a company she bought to spite Morgan Edge. Having Lena return to L-Corp and focus on developing disruptive technology could provide for some interesting tensions between Lena's interest in the business applications and Kara's concern for the human implications.

Great stuff with Alex, but I rolled my eyes at the thought of paramedics leaving a poison victim to recover on her own.

My own interest is in Kara's dreams of Reign and the Worldkillers. I am not versed in all the Supergirl iterations, but I thought I'd read that in one version, Supergirl had some very limited psychic abilities. I could be very wrong here.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anj. Hope you got your batteries recharged fully yesterday :) In any case, an enjoyable episode overall, the less
said about the plot holes and "breakage of the suspension of disbelief meter," the better. Kudos to Lena and Lillian...
I swear, all Lillian's Come To The Dark Side, My Dear(TM) speech lacked was an offer of milk and cookies! BRILLIANTLY
SOLD! The Lex suit at the end was just icing, whipped cream and cherries on top!

I also have to give kudos to the Alex/Sam/Kara/Lena scenes and the theme of togetherness and mutual support... pretty
sure this passes the Bechdel test -- not a praise or judgement, just an observation.

Surprised you didn't note this, but Eve Tessmacher is back again(!)... and though she kinda got yelled at (again!), I have
to admit I love seeing her character onscreen as a nice sense of continuity at CatCo.

> We then get the best scene in the episode.

+9000 to this. Encapsulates everything I love about the Supers in one moment.

I agree with you about the Guardian scenes and the ease how Edge and Lillian were taken down -- I guess I can roll with
the contrast of the Batman-ish dark side being needed to deal with people like Edge -- but like any other good villan,
I doubt these two will be down for long.

I also wanted to put this out as I can't quite figure it out myself -- Mon-El was shown FLYING this episode! Now whether
that was due to the drone, the flight ring, or the writers have finally(!) figured out his power set... thoughts / comments?

@previous Anon re timeline : agreed, but it sounds like one of those things you just have to chalk up to clunky writing, unfortunately.


Anonymous said...

I don't think Man of Steel is meant to be in-continuity. Superman has killed Zod several times (In "The Supergirl Saga" and arguably Superman II), so it may be he also killed him in this universe. I'm not okay with it, but there's a precedent, sadly.

Decent episode but I agree. Not so good as the prior ones.

Anonymous said...

If only one word can describe this episode...FILLER.

I hate Morgan Edge as much as I do Black Siren or Damien Dahrk. Do appreciate Mr. Padner playing him though it's is a weapon of the leftist writers against Conservatives and Libertarians and those who believe in American sovereignty.

And that scene where Kara kicks that bulk of a security man was uncalled for...weaponized hyper-feminism!

"Meanwhile Alex is working up Sam, trying to diagnose why Sam is blacking out. Using the LCorp labs, Alex gets an MRI and sends off blood work. She even makes a funny comment about having a medical job in Seattle, a sneaky Grey's anatomy joke."

To me that was my favorite scene...showed the other side of Alex Danvers...physician, scientist (oops wrong comic company!). I must admit it was scary for Sam to undergo the MRI, but Alex's bedside manner made things work out...lollipop and all...can't resist a little junk food here and there.

"I was surprised to see that Alex is able to draw blood. It means that somehow Sam morphs into Reign to gain the powers she has. If not, the needle should just break off. That makes me think that she is two entities, perhaps setting up some sort of split is imminent in the ending?"

(SNIFF) Hmmm...I smell black kryptonite somewhere.

And I might be in the majority feeling sorry for Sam and wanting her side to win in this major war of attrition

Anonymous said...

The Lexsuit sold this ep for me, but alas they didn't give Supergirl triumphal closure over it and Lillian,on the other hand its grounds for a rematch as is also the case with the Reverse Flash from da crossover.
I'm pretty sold on the notion that Lena's descent into "Full Luthor" is gonna be a slow one over time with Lillian chewing away at her virtue incrementally....I['d prefer that Lena "stay good" but this is US TV and the storytelling possibilities are too tempting.
If stopping Reign requires Supergirl to re-embrace her humanity, then Reign's own arc requires a blood sacrifice to beat her...and that comes down to either Sam or Ruby. My money is on Sam, although if it is Ruby that's gonna short circuit Alex's fitful path to surrogate motherhood...and ignite a show down over her alcoholism maybe...but the over-under favors Sam.


KET said...

Lots of red herrings were bandied about in this episode, which may have frustrated some viewers, who may have been expecting real clues to the origins of the Worldkillers, or whether Lena Luthor can be completely trusted with intimate secrets.

"The Lexsuit sold this ep for me, but alas they didn't give Supergirl triumphal closure over it and Lillian,on the other hand its grounds for a rematch..."

....which I think is what this episode was setting up. However, who might be wearing it next remains a mystery, because I doubt that it will be Lillian next time it appears. I like how one of Kara's dialogue bits includes knowledge that Lena is a chess master, which hearkens back to last season's "Luthors" episode, and a long shot suspicion that agency with Checkmate might still be a possible outcome.

"If only one word can describe this episode...FILLER."

Nope....just a lot of deliberate misdirection, such as the MRI and Guardian scenes. In the beginning, there seemed to be some sort of psychic link being established between Kara and the some vision from the book of Revelation. Then the idea's conveniently dropped with the Sam/Alex MRI sequences (which some viewers online are already speculatively shipping in place of Sanvers)....then the vision returns when Kara recognizes one of the possible suspects as another Worldkiller (BTW, one of the suspects is an actual Marvel publicist, so unforeseen inter-company crossover!). trace of anything fishy going on with Sam's missing amount of time? Well, she fits right in with Kara herself, who monologues at the beginning of nearly every episode of Supergirl how she slept through a substantial amount of time while trapped in the Phantom Zone. To this date, what actually happened during that amount of time spent asleep has yet to be revealed.... :)

Seems to me that much of this episode was spent in lining up supporting players behind a trio of powerful females whose friendship will likely be torn apart once the trio's hidden secrets are finally revealed. And it seems like Lena might already know Kara's secret, and pretended that it was merely a dream she had.


Scrimmage said...

Excellent review, Anj. I agree with every point you made, and then some, as well as with the gist of every other comment I've read so far. For once, I think we all saw the same episode, which has already been accurately described as “filler,” “clunky,” and “a bit of a let down.” I would also add disjointed, and overwritten. There was a LOT going on, probably TOO much squeezed into one episode, and some of it wasn't resolved, at least not very clearly.

Like Anj, when the sadly underused Morgan Edge denied poisoning Lena, saying it wasn't his style, I believed him, and I don't think it was fair for Kara to simply assume that Edge was guilty, simply because of the lack of any other obvious suspects. At that point, she wasn't even aware that Lilian was back in town, but she DID know that whoever really DID try to kill Edge, using a suicidal self-driving car (a not-so-subtle warning about the Robot Apocalypse?), was still out there, and could've been targeting Lena as well.

Sherlock Holmes once said “Poison is a woman's weapon,” which is statistically true, and why I STILL think it's a good bet that Lilian poisoned her own daughter. If we know for a fact that Lilian used LexCorp Dissolving Bullets to kill the would-be assassin BEFORE he could be questioned, doesn't it stand to reason that she did it to cover up her own tracks? If she wasn't involved, how did she even know that Lena was poisoned? How was it that her drone "just happened to" be in a position to kill that guy. How did Lilian know why Jimmy was chasing him anyway? For all she supposedly knew, he could've been a pickpocket. Something stinks!

The problem is, even though Lena coerced Edge into confessing, I'm not sure if he was confessing to this recent attempt on her life, or to the time he locked her in a pilot-less plane (I'm sensing a theme here) that was about to crash. I'm pretty sure he also copped to setting her up for the phony lead poisoning scam too, but that whole denouement was rushed, confusing, and poorly written.

On the other hand, I also thought J'onn's “You're a Beacon of Hope” speech was VERY inspiring, and judging by the look on Kara's face at the end of it, she felt that way too. That may have been the most beautiful she's ever looked on the show... absolutely radiant... which is what you would expect from a Beacon!

Scrimmage said...

I didn't care for the fact that once again, it wasn't Supergirl who saved the day in the end, but her supporting cast – in this case Mon-El with a technical assist from Winn - whose timely intervention not only defeated the bad guy – or gal, the Lex-suited Lilian – but he also saved SUPERGIRL, like she was some helpless Damsel In Distress. I'm surprised she didn't bat her eyelashes at him, and coo “My Hero!” Men may be – in Livewire's words - “The Lesser Sex,” but this is two weeks in a row now that the boys have saved the girls' bacon. How chauvinistic of them!

Like Winn, I thought it was cool to see the Luthor Battle Armor in action, and I'm sure that it will solve the DEO's lack of kryptonite problem, even though they know its effect on Reign is minimal, but I was very disappointed that Supergirl – the Star of the show - couldn't even manage to get in more than a couple of shots, much less defeat a mere human woman in a tin suit, kryptonite switchblade or NO. The most “heroic” thing Kara did in the whole episode was fly Lena to the DEO, and freeze her with her Super-breath.

And yes, she could've AT LEAST taken off her glasses while she was flying with Lena. That's “Super Hero 101: Protect your Secret Identity at all costs!” but ESPECIALLY in front of a Luthor.

I usually enjoy seeing Kara, or Clark Kent, secretly using their superpowers in their civilian identities, but Kara was WAY out of line assaulting that security guard who was only doing his job. She could've easily walked away, and used her super speed to get past security, but instead, she had to make a “politically correct” point that missed the mark completely! On a practical note, her little stunt with the guard was bound to have been caught on the security video. How is Kara Danvers going to explain THAT?

Speaking of blowing your Secret Identity...

Morgan Edge is no fool. How long do you think it will take for him to ask himself why a six-foot four, athletic, muscular black man / street vigilante would be so concerned about the well-being of a mega-wealthy corporate icon like Lena Luthor? Why would “Guardian” seem to be so personally invested in keeping Lena safe? How long before Edge puts two-and-two together and comes up with “Guardian = Lena's new boyfriend = Superman's pal, Jimmy Olsen?” Frankly, I thought the whole Guardian subplot could've been dropped to give the rest of the episode more room to breathe. As it was, it felt rather cramped.

I liked seeing Alex in doctor mode. Of course, anything's preferable to her usual “pity party / pass the wine bottle” moods of recent episodes. Now that Dr Alex has eliminated any PHYSIOLOGICAL reasons for Sam's “blackouts” and her episodes of “lost time,” I wonder if anyone will dare to state the obvious... that Sam is displaying all the classic signs of Alien Abduction Syndrome, which is really not all that far from the truth. The only difference is, she was experimented on by aliens a long time ago, and by now she's probably more alien than she is human.

Anj said...

Thanks as usual for all the great comments. A couple more thoughts.

1) I wouldn't be surprised if Lena dons the Lex armor in the last big battle. I wouldn't be surprised if she quits CatCo to go back to LCorp when whatever happens to Sam happens. And I wouldn't be surprised if we get a cliffhanger where we don't know which way she will turn.

The idea of her heading up Checkmate is brilliant.

2) Who is the third worldkiller? Kara herself? Perhaps that is why she is getting visions?

Would it be bananas if it was Ruby?

3) The idea of Lillian poisoning Lena so Lena would be spurred to the dark side crossed my mind as well. But Lena came so close to death, I doubt even Lillian would take that chance. Especially if she returned so she could reconcile with her daughter. That whole side plot confused me.

4) Hope Edge comes back. That certainly could be considered a coerced confession.

Anonymous said...

Knowing Lillian she could have well have poisoned Lena to push her daughter into full "Anakin" mode...since its easier and less time consuming than cloning a more evil version of Lena...:)
I am sure Lillian has this option on the back burner as well


Curator said...

I just started watching Supergirl series last Thursday. I have just finished the first two seasons and reached s3e12. Never seen a consistent blog like this. Happy to see. :)