Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Supergirl Episode 316: Of Two Minds

Supergirl episode 316, 'Of Two Minds; aired this week and pushed forward the overarching plot of the World Killers, introducing us to the third and giving us plenty of new information about their abilities. We needed to get back to this story to make sure all the pieces are in order for the finale.

One of the things I have liked about this season has been the idea that Kara needs to embrace her humanity to be the hero she wants to be. At the beginning, she swears off being a human and dedicates herself to being unfeeling and alien. Over the course of this season we have not only seen Kara need to get in touch with her feelings and think about sacrifice for the good, we have seen it in those around her. Whether it is Livewire or Psi or Mon-El or J'onn or Alex or Winn, everyone has had to come to grips with caring about others more than themselves, about forgiveness and redemption. I am sure that all of these stories are building up to a climax where the humanity of the World Killers is going to be leveraged to defeat them.

This episode we see that it is Saturn Girl's turn to learn the lesson. Or maybe it is Kara's turn to question the lesson and relearn it. We also see that Pestilence has not only turned away from humanity but has embraced her evil side.

It all leads to heavy action sequences and plot progression. But beside that, there are tremendous character moments which explore the themes above. This felt like an hors d'oeuvre before the real deal.

On to the show

 The plummeting birds from last episode foretold the coming of Pestilence, the world killer who eventually becomes The Blight, a killer of billions in the Legion's future.

The Legion's true mission, the one withheld from Mon-El was to come to the past and stop Blight from ever happening. I was also reminded that the cure for the Blight is encoded in the Legion's DNA, a fact dropped earlier this season which I had forgotten. (Curse that hiatus!)

But then things get interesting. Alex has examined one of the dead birds and there is no active infection. That means it died from direct contact with Pestilence. Seems weird that a World Killer would fly around touching birds, but okay.

But more importantly, Imra comes right out and says she is there to kill Pestilence. The time has come to end the threat before she can become The Blight. It is a hard line, one which Supergirl refuses to take. Kara is positive she can get through to the human side of whoever Pestilence is.

Who is right? Kara is the idealist here.

Also, Brainy now looks human thanks to an image projector. I guess this is better than the Doc Brown wig look. But he just isn't Brainy ... is he.

 Meanwhile the Pestilence Plague has arrived, specifically at the Mayor's office. People are suffering from what looks like a hemorrhagic fever of some sort, with difficulty breathing and nosebleeds. It becomes clear that victims need to be inoculated, specifically by this tell tale scratch. The plague isn't airborne. You need direct contact again. Not the most efficient way to kill a world, one by one. But okay.

With the transmission mode figured out, the emergency physician lifts the quarantine off the building. People should be transported to the hospital.

But Imra isn't happy. If Pestilence needs to contact people to afflict them then maybe she is still in the building. She uses her telekinesis to put up a mental force field. The result panics the citizens until Supergirl demands she drop it.

I like how both of these powerful women have different opinions and are willing to stand up for their beliefs. In the end, Imra drops the field so the ill can get care. After all, those innocents shouldn't die so Imra can go hunting. At least the heroes agree on that.

Now I'm not sure that is how telekinesis works ... but I guess I'll roll with it. Unless it is a belt-driven force field and I missed something.

 This difference of opinion isn't just Kara and Imra, it's Mon-El and Imra too. This doesn't seem like the coziest of marriages.

While they are getting the Blight cure extracted, he calls her out on her desire to kill Pestilence. That isn't what the Legion is about, they were founded and built on the morality of Supergirl. (Nice wrinkle since in the comics it is Superman who is the inspiration for the LSH.) He can't compromise his morality.

In the meantime, she speaks about how she is level-headed in her thinking. It is Mon's personal feelings which are making him take his stand.

Now the Legion Constitution in the comics is clear. No killing. I find it interesting that Imra is the foil here, thinking logically about the needs of the many.

 That cuts immediately to Alex and Kara having a similar discussion. Now it is Kara questioning her morals. Kara wonders if she is wrong and they should kill Pestilence.

It is Alex who says Kara is right. Alex is the one who says she knows Supergirl can reach the human inside the world killer. Alex is inspired and believes Supergirl can do it. I do like how Kara at least questioned herself for a second. You need to have conflict to keep the story moving.

The DEO thinks they have tracked down Pestilence, an aide in the Mayor's office who we saw handing out cookies before. When Supergirl streaks to the woman's office, she finds the woman dead and Imra there. Imra had been tipped off by Brainy.

Initially I thought Imra had killed the woman but it turns out the aide was dead already, scratched and a victim. But it kicked up this friction between Imra and Kara nicely. Imra is willing to go around the DEO for her results.

 Back at the DEO, Winn begins to succumb to the sickness. That means he has been in touch with Pestilence.

When Brainy asks who it could be who scratched him, Winn begins to describe Freddy Krueger. I like Winn can drop pop culture references even when ill. And Brainy is the perfect straight man. I love the bemused look on the sisters in the background.

 It ultimately leads to a confrontation between Imra and Kara.

It is Imra who has seen the mass graves in the future, who has witnessed billions die. She needs to end Pestilence before she can become Blight. After all, history says Supergirl fails.

It is a simple trick but filming the scene this way shows how far apart the two are ideologically. Place them physically apart. And put the edges of a door jamb between them like walls. Neither seems likely to budge. Very well composed.

 Throughout the episode we see Lena experimenting on Sam. Lena needs to study Reign and the best way to do that is to provoke Reign to manifest in Sam. She does that by torturing Sam by shocking her with higher and higher amps of electricity.

Each time, Sam heads to a 'dark valley' where Reign taunts her. It turns out this is a 'parallel dimension'. That Sam heads there when Reign takes over and vice versa. It almost has a Billy Batson/Captain Marvel feel to it.

And Reign keeps talking about how Sam can be free if she lets Reign take over. Power over everyone. Able to do whatever she wants. But Sam won't give in.

In a nice line, Reign says she is surprised by how resilient Sam is. That love for Ruby, that humanity must be the core.

Valley - Sam is strong. Give in. Trapped. Reign seductive. Power and control.
Lena is hard core, kinda Luthor.

 Again, Kara questions whether or not she should work with Imra to stop Pestilence.

This time she gets advice from J'onn. He has been struggling with his father, trying to break through to his father every day for a moment of clarity. It is hard but not impossible.

Kara has to take the same mindset, try the impossible and get through to the humanity of the World Killer hosts.

Again, this theme is just highlighted here.

 And that emotion is definitely different than the calculated approach the Legion takes.

Here Brainy says killing Pestilence will decrease the chance of Blight happening by over 98%. If Kara tries to talk her down, that goes down to  52%.

But Mon-El knows that you can't figure out ethics with math.

Love Mon-El or hate him, he has grown as a character since last season.

 Things unfortunately take a turn for the worse. The Legion cure works on the Blight virus from the future, not the current Pestilence version. They need DNA to rewrite the medicine. Winn worsens. And Alex also shows symptoms.

For the first time this episode, we see emotion come over Imra. When she sees Kara at Alex's bedside she begins to cry. Maybe Saturn Girl isn't thinking coldly about this. Maybe she is just hiding her feelings and true motivations.

Winn worsens and thinks he is going to die.

I like how this season we have seen that James and Winn are true friends, supporting each other. Winn gives a sort of eulogy for himself. He patched things up with his mother. He never realized how much that weighed on him. And he was ready to really reach for the stars.

It is a little sappy. And both guys seem to force the tears. But I like how that enriches Winn's character. He isn't just the guy who builds the magic device now. He has a very deep back story.

 I will say that Lena is her most Luthor-y this episode.

She insists she is the only one who can save Sam. If she turns Sam over to others, they'll dissect her friend. It is only by continuing to hurt Sam can she save her.

Sounds like the warped, narcissistic rants of a Luthor, no?

Meanwhile, back in the 'Dark Valley', Reign tells Sam that when she eventually breaks loose from this prison she is going to kill Ruby first, violently.

It makes me wonder ... why keep provoking Sam? Why try to bring this monster out? Seems very risky.

 Finally, the DEO is able to put the clues together to discover that the only person who could have inflicted everyone is the trauma doctor from the first scene.

She heads into her hospital's board meeting and turns, talking about how she can't wait to kill these people who decide who should live her die based on profit. (As an aside, can I tell you how awful medical professionals are treated these days on television. We aren't all money-grubbing people haters!)

Everyone arrives to fight her. Supergirl tries to talk her down but for once she runs into someone who is quite happy to be evil. This doctor thinks there is no reward for doing good. She now can choose who dies, not who lives. And then she completely rips of Alec Baldwin's tremendous speech from Malice saying that she doesn't have a god complex, she is god.

It leads to a great fight between the Legion and Pestilence. In it, Supergirl is scratched.

Imra isn't standing down from her beliefs. She shoots Pestilence with a poison dart. And then she traps her in a 'Violet from the Incredibles' force field. It looks like Pestilence is actually going to die.

But then Purity arrives. When the two are together, they are suddenly stronger. They fly off.

At least the dart remains and it has Pestilence's DNA. There can be cure.

Everyone is cured.

J'onn has a nice moment with Alex, thankful she is around to help him.

And Imra talks about how her sister died from the Blight. She needed to stop Pestilence to save her sister. That was the fear image Psi showed her. But imagine if Alex died, how torn up Supergirl would be. So maybe these two are more alike than they think.

Before too much can be hashed out, the DEO tracks Purity's signal to LCorp. The group heads there only to see Purity and Pestilence break Sam out. And with the three together, Reign manifests and the three batter the heroes and fly off.
On the way out, Reign says El Mayarah, the El family motto which means 'Stronger Toegether'. Sick burn. It also seems true. When the three are together, they are actually stronger. That means we will get a 'split them up to weaken them' plan in the end.
I'm calling it here.
Brainy/Winn/Imra vs Pestilence.
J'onn/Mon/Alex vs Purity.
Supergirl/Lena vs Reign.

Let's get ready to rumble!!!!!!!!!!

I guess Lena will have to answer for hiding Sam and probably figure into the ending.And since the three pretended they were sisters earlier this season, that Trinity will be a nice foil. 

Maybe Lena makes the Luthor decision and kills Sam when the human side manifests, thus causing a rift between those two friends?? Perfect!

This was a nice episode. I don't know if Pestilence is as terrible as we were led to believe with a poor distribution method and a cure already made. After the two character driven episodes preceding it, it was great to see that the creators jump started the main plot again.


Anonymous said...

Just for once, can't Supergirl be immune to SOMETHING? I mean she was nearly suffocated by polyurethene two weeks ago....
I can't quite figure out Lena's plan here, if she can somehow induce "Reign" then how the hell does she keep her contained? Seems like a slightly shortsighted scheme.
Still hoping Lena doesn't go full villain but it's obsessive shortfalls like this that point the way to a fall into darkness.
Is there something I am missing here (likely I am) but why are the worldkillers on this planet? To clear the way for a colonization? If so, by who? Krypton went kablooey years ago. Or is the colonization protocol "running on automatic" like some 1960's Doomsday Machine?


Anonymous said...

Flawed episode, but overall decent.

Human-looking Brainy looks even weirder than blue-skinned, white-haired Brainy, but if it means he's staying and he and Kara may become the official couple, I'll take it.

Loona Singh said...

Hey everyone a realy sensational episode right the its kinda light compared to the previous episode. by the way I didn't see any sign of love interest between Brainy and Kara, so might as well let that ship sink. And yeah pestilence sorta embraces the thought killing people(as human and worldkiller) so maybe she is going to be the only world killer that dies at the end of the season unless a change of mind. Hearing some of the backstory of imra change the way I think of her. Karamel is kinda dead a little, if ever they will ever come back together, its gonna take alot of episodes (next season?).It would be a good part of the plot if at the end season, leena finaly discovers kara danvers is supergirl (or that she would of known all along). yeah that would be lit.
(sorry for the mistakes)
btw, good review i read it each week

Pix-El said...

Nice episode, realy love it like Loona Singh said, brainiac and Kara?Meh...
Also, did Sam give in to reign? hope not.
We didn't get enough of the human side of pestilance.
but hey don't judge until you've seen the next one.
this was my interpratation

Scrimmage said...

Anj is right. For a so-called “WorldKiller,” Pestilence doesn't seem very efficient, or even particularly scary. They should've named her “Nosebleeder” instead. I thought they did the pandemic thing better in the first half of that episode where Lena thought she was responsible for inadvertently poisoning all the children in the city with lead. Now, THAT was scary!

As for Pesty, I couldn't help but think that the Toyman's Apprentice's Giant Action Figure Sealer gadget would've been just the thing to contain her infectious self. If it could hold Supergirl, why not a tiny little doctor with a REALLY bad manicure? At least SOMETHING good would've come out of that awful episode. Oh, well. Chalk it up to a missed opportunity.

Lena's conclusions seem to contradict what we were told earlier about Sam and Reign. If Reign is a separate entity, when and how did Sam become “infected” with her? I thought Sam/Reign arrived in a “space pod,” like Kara, Mon-El, and that OTHER Kryptonian, who has inexplicably gone unmentioned throughout all this. How did Purity and Pestilence get here? Did they have their own pods too, or did they all ride-share? I guess they're saying that Uncle Jor-El wasn't as clever of a rocket scientist as he's always been cracked up to be. Probably because he was “just a man.”

There was also something that the Kryptonian priestess mentioned in an earlier episode about Sam's pregnancy interfering with Reign's development, but I'm not clear on the specifics. Maybe that's why Reign isn't any more of a fan of Ruby's than I am.

So apparently, Supergirl's plan is find the WorldKillers, restrain, and confine them somehow (??), and hope that she can talk them out of being evil. Good luck with all that, but at the risk of stating the obvious, “Hope” is NOT a strategy. I just “hope” Kara has a Plan B in mind, because I'm pretty sure that Imra does.

Anj wrote: “The Legion's true mission, the one withheld from Mon-El was to come to the past and stop Blight from ever happening.”

That seems to violate an even BIGGER Legion principle than the prohibition against killing. Last week, Kara quoted Marlon Brando's Jor-El from “Superman: The Movie” (1978)...

Kara: “Uncle Jor-El said 'The son becomes the father, and the father the son,'”

… so I'M going to quote him too, just to illustrate the biggest problem I have with the Legion's plan...

Jor-El: “It is FORBIDDEN for you to interfere with human history.”

I think that's pretty clear. Obviously, Jor-El's warning has to do with the so-called “Butterfly Effect,” and the very real possibility of causing all kinds of unforeseen and unintended consequences that can result from mucking around with the timeline. Even so, if what Imra said is true, and BILLIONS of lives were lost, is that even a future worth preserving? I can understand how Imra might think it would be worth taking the risk, even if she HADN'T lost a sister among Blight's victims. Ethics be damned.

The truth is, I could listen to the honey-sweet voice of the achingly beautiful Imra talking about moral dilemmas (or anything else) for HOURS! The fact that she was featured so heavily was the best part of this whole episode. Force fields? Telekinesis? Preemptive Murder?

This sure isn't your father's Saturn Girl!

Scrimmage said...

It's a small thing, but it strikes me as odd that Reign is the only WorldKiller who wears a mask. It would make more sense, not to mention LOOK a lot cooler, if Purity and Pesty had masks of their own, instead of those weird contact lenses. Of course, their human identities haven't been developed beyond a thumbnail character sketch, but supposedly, they've ALL been living as humans on Earth for quite some time. You'd think if one WK hides her secret identity, then they ALL should. I'm just looking for a little consistency, that's all.


I hope that Imra is generating her own force fields, and that it's not yet ANOTHER function of the increasingly versatile Legion Flight Ring. I always thought its function was limited to flight - which would be plenty - but last week, Mon-El said the ring somehow protected him from M'yrnn's accidental psychic attack. That's just a little TOO contrived, for my tastes. It's a Flight Ring, not a Green Lantern Power Ring.


Is it wrong of me to want Lena to lose her hair in battle, and irrationally blame Supergirl? Heck, I'd settle for her shaving her head symbolically, as she embraces her dark side. I'll bet Lena would look badass that way, and she'd STILL be all kinds of HAWT!!

Hmmm... I wonder if James has ever kissed someone as bald as he is?


While I'm on the shallow subject of hair...

Supergirl's hair has never looked better! Maybe I'm just imagining it, but it looks a lot more blonde than it has in previous seasons, which always kinda bugged me. This season, the lovely Melissa Benoist looks more like her iconic, blonde haired, blue eyed comicbook counterpart, Supergirl than ever!

Mary said...

I think that Pestilence's ability would evolve over time. They did say she became stronger the moment Julia/Purity arrived, so now that all three are together they should all become even stronger.

One thing though, the victims weren't scratched. They noted that the "scratch" on Winn's hand didn't appear until after he became ill.

Also, Mon-el did say a few episodes back (before that long break) that they had a cure for the Blight encoded into their DNA that needed to be taken back to the future. I do like though that what they had didn't work, so there wasn't too quick a fix for Alex and Winn.

Anonymous said...

"by the way I didn't see any sign of love interest between Brainy and Kara, so might as well let that ship sink."

"Nice episode, realy love it like Loona Singh said, brainiac and Kara?Meh..."

We might not.

I know what I want, regardless what the screenwriters do.

We'll see, I guess, but CW thrives on romantic drama and loves their love triangles, so I wouldn't count it out.

Anonymous said...

I like the episode more for the action myself, especially with Imra large and incharge with her powers...
Finally got Mon-El in his suit and using his abilities more the last couple episodes, so now we get to see
what Imra can do with the gloves off. NICE! But still I'm glad they found time for nice interpersonal
character moments as well -- Brainac has a "personal imager" to help with dealing with his Coulian self,
Winn recognizes him without it, and Team Supergirl trolling Brainiac, James is delegating at Catco giving
him time to support Team Supergirl, especially right when Winn gets infected by Pestilence and is confined
to the DEO medical bay, and J'onn and Alex in regards to M'yrnn's condition.

Also have to give kudos to Odette Annabelle acting against herself in the "dark forest" scene... that's now
3 actresses in the Berlanti-verse I'm aware of that have done that besides Danielle Panabaker / Caitlin
Snow / Killer Frost, and Melissa Benoist / Supergirl / Overgirl. Also had to enjoy Reign's "Come To the Dark
Side" speech... no milk and cookies offer, but still...

As for any fallout between the secrets Lena's been keeping about Reign vs Kara / Supergirl herself... MAYBE
that's an opening for Lena to go dark, but I'll voice for the side that it only strengthens their friendship
and leads to Lena becoming a part of Team Supergirl -- that's just me :)


Martin Gray said...

Fun episode, and yeah, Pestilence was a bit rubbish... she was scarier as Mean Doctor (I’d assumed she was going to be a new girlfriend for Winn). She should have been able to cause disease simply by waving her hands... and the Blight should’ve manifested in an ickier way, remember how scary it looked under Olivier Coipel?

Aw Anj, I found Winn’s sad scene really affecting. Jeremy Jordan is such a good actor.

Boo on the image inducer, is it a case of cheapness or another actor - see the Marvel movies - who doesn’t want their lovely face go unseen. Probably not the latter, Jesse Rath seems to love parts in which he’s unrecognisable.

Now, who wants to join me in Praying For Ruby? Scrimmage?