Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Supergirl 417: All About Eve

Supergirl episode 417, titled All About Eve, aired this week and was another solid episode, tying all the plots from the early portion of the season tighter, showing us how deep Lex's scheme has infiltrated America, and best of all, shed some more light on Miss Tessmacher. Add to that one dandy of an ending and this show is riding high after what might be considered a bumpy early start.

Last episode we saw how Lex Luthor was manipulating just about everyone to bring about his nefarious plot. Now that we know the plot, we get to see it progress. While Lex isn't in this episode, his presence is everywhere.

Throughout the episode we also get a sense of the stress that each character is feeling as a burden and how eventually it might break them. From Lena's guilt for working with Lex, to Jonn's guilt for not living up to the standards of his father Myr'nn, to Kara's feeling she needs to protect everyone from everything, to James recovering from the stress of his recent attack, each character learns to lean on someone for support. There is more to come for all of these but the seeds have been planted.

Lastly, the reveal about Miss Tessmacher and Andrea Brooks layered performance of her has made Eve a new favorite for me. Of course, the movie All About Eve is about a young sycophantic and manipulative young woman living the life of a lie and taking down those around her who trusted her. Nice call back. On to the show.

The episode starts with the DEO finding Lena trussed up in the LCorp office and the letter from Lex there.

Alex opens it and reads how Lex found it oh so easy to manipulate Lena and to be cured. And while he left her alive this time, if she chases him, he won't be so sentimental.

He ends the letter with a quote from Shylock ' The villainy you teach me I will execute - and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.'  In other words, anything you try to do to me, I will learn from and do back to you worse.

Ah, those loving Luthors!

Now Alex knows about Miss Tessmacher working for Lena. But she doesn't know about Lex and Lena working together.

As Lena awakens from the chloroform, she keeps trying to tell Alex about Lex. I am pretty sure she is trying to own up to working with her evil brother. But Alex won't let her get a word in edgewise. She wants Lena to rest and recover. Ironically, she tells Lena that Lena has nothing to apologize for.

Hmmm ... I wonder how everyone will feel when the truth does come out.

As for Supergirl, she and Martian Manhunter are in the skies, patrolling the entire Earth hoping to find Lex but coming up empty.

You start to hear some of the stress that Kara is feeling. She failed in stopping Lex when they fought. Moving forward, anything that Lex does is because she failed. That is a pretty high bar to set for herself. And we see just how crushing feeling that way can be later.

As for J'onn, he reaches out with his telepathy trying to scan for Lex but as he does so, he hears his father's voice. Clutching his head in agony, he loses consciousness and plummets from the skies only to be saved by Supergirl. Nice shot here.

Back at his house, J'onn talks about the identity crisis he is facing. He has no sense of who he is as a person. He is certainly not a man of peace. He tells Kara about a planet of shape-shifters who were forced to constantly change their form to survive until finally they forgot what they truly looked like. They forgot their history and culture and sense of self. With all the uncertainty in his life, he is worried the same will happen to him.

When he says he will still help try and find Lex, Kara stops him. It is time for him to help himself. He decides to use the Staff of K'hollar to try and commune directly with his father.

Now for comic fans, this planet of shape-shifters, dealing with a horrible environment by constantly changing form, has to be Durla, homeworld of Chameleon Boy of the Legion.

Back at the hospital, James has signed himself out. Jenny warns him that he might have lingering PTSD but he tries to dismiss the whole idea. Still, when a tray falls making a bang, James does indeed seem triggered, clutching his head and having the world around him blur out. I wonder if this is some burgeoning super-power?

So we have seen stress in Lena, Kara, J'onn, and now James.

Realizing she needs help tp track Lex, Supergirl heads to the DEO. It is hysterical to see the troops mobilize for an incoming Luthor attack only to de-escalate when Kara shows up with donuts.

While every other branch of the military has been charged with finding Lex, the DEO has been tasked with patrolling Washington DC. With the amnesty act up for possible repeal, there is concern for violence.

Once again showing that there is more to her than just being a lackey for the President, Colonel Haley allows Alex to join Supergirl in the hunt for Lex. We also learn Haley is a fan of cinnamon crullers.

Alex knows the weak link in Lex's gang is Eve Tessmacher. And she knows that no one knows more about Eve than Lena. LCorp will be her first stop. But given the rocky relationship between Supergirl and Lena these days, Alex says she'll head there alone first.

Before leaving, Supergirl returns Brainy's Legion ring to him.

Perhaps Manchester really is dead? Nah.

Back in his house, J'onn is surprised when Myr'nn shows up at his door.

Overwhelmed with happiness to see his father as well as needing Myr'nn's wisdom, J'onn nearly breaks down. J'onn has tried to follow his father's ways but he is lost and needs guidance.

Rather than supporting his son, Myr'nn pushes him down more. J'onn has failed. J'onn can no longer be the repository for the Martians's sacred symbols. J'onn isn't a man of peace.

Myr'nn grabs the artifact holding the symbols and leaves. Distraught, J'onn passes out.

This episode was a particularly strong one for David Harewood who really runs the emotional spectrum in these scenes with his father. Sad, angry, disappointed, briefly happy ... it is all there and well done. You really feel his pain.

Before Alex can get to her, Lena begins her own investigation. Who better to ask about Lex than mommy dearest Lillian! It is always great to see Brenda Strong as Lilian Luthor.

And she is filled with disdain for her daughter. Lillian thinks Lena thinks with her heart, like the 'simpering' Eve Tessmacher. Lena isn't on the side of the Luthors, instead on the side of her friends. And Lilian says the very thing Lena is worried about. Once the Danvers sisters see that Lillian was working with Lex all along, they will leave her. Lena will be alone.

God, Lilian is so deliciously evil and cold.

Heading back to LCorp, Lena is surprised to see Alex there. Alex says she trusts Lena and so the two grab Supergirl and decide to investigate the real weak link, Miss Tessmacher. They head to her aunt's house in the suburbs.

I love how Supergirl calls Eve a 'Crazy Lex-girlfriend'. Perfect for the CW.

Meanwhile, Ben Lockwood is trying to organize enough votes from Congress to repeal the Alien Amnesty Act.

Senator Granberry, who leads a block of 8 votes, says she won't vote to repeal. This could lead to even worse violence and riots. And she tells Lockwood that the populist drivel of Agent Liberty won't work in the halls of Washington.


When J'onn wakes up, he is happy to see Myr'nn still there.

Every scene with J'onn is great. I have to keep propping up David Harewood's performance. Here you see how the weight of his world is on his shoulders. Everything about Green Martian culture is in his hands. He is the last of his race. If he can't be peaceful, if he can't be like Myr'nn, he won't be able to maintain the sacred symbols, the race's history, and all will be lost.

That can't be an easy burden.

So it seems a little frivolous that Myr'nn thinks all they need is coffee. Still, it is a nice callback to last season.

As great as the Harewood scenes were, the best scenes of the episode where when the Trinity of Lena, Alex, and Supergirl were all working together.

They confront Bitsie Tessmacher, Eve's cousin. Lena knew that Eve had a cousin dying of cancer who fit the description of Bitsie. Initially, this Miss Tessmacher denies seeing Eve recently. But she ends up tipping her hand by grabbing a cake pan right out of the over without being burned. She was cured of her cancer with the Harun-El and now has powers.

Scared our heroes will remove the cure, Bitsie threatens them. But in a nice Supergirl moment, Kara talks her down. Eve did a good thing. But the longer Eve is with Lex, the more Eve is in danger. They want to help both Miss Tessmachers.

Hearing this, Bitsie calms down and tells them that Eve had a secret lab at National City University, another secret.

And then, finally, we actually see Eve. Dressed in commando gear, she and Red Daughter seem to be in some tunnel system. Eve tells Red Daughter to go to the designated spot and get into the new clothes. It is clear that Red Daughter is going to impersonate Supergirl.

What I thought funny here was how Eve spoke to Red Daughter. It was like Red Daughter was a pre-schooler. Even Red Daughter almost laughs about it.

At Eve's lab, the three uncover some Harun-El Eve was using in her side experiments. This is the first time Kara realizes that Harun-El is on Earth. Remember, at the end of last season, Lena was supposed to give it all back to Alura. And now the Harun-El has been used to give Lex powers. That is the basis of Lena's cure.

It again seems to restart the rift between Kara and Lena. Kara is upset that Lena secreted some Harun-El away. Lena is upset that Kara 'sees red' whenever she is made vulnerable. They are both about to explode when Alex steps in.

Alex reminds Kara how much good has come from Lena. The Harun-El helped Argo. It helped James. Kara needs to see that.

Finally we get to the bottom of what is plaguing Supergirl. Just like J'onn has the weight of his world on his shoulders, Kara is carrying the weight of this world. With Superman gone, she feels it even more. She says she cannot lose. Any time anything weakens her or strengthens her enemies, it makes it more likely she will lose.

That is a very heavy burden. But put in the way Alex did, she recognizes the good Lena has done. She apologizes. Both agree to let bygones be bygones.

Again, huge moment for Kara. But I wonder how this will play out when she hears about Lena helping Lex. Is that a step too far.

Just as the scene with Kara was something of a catharsis for her burden, we head back to J'onn who finally has his own revelation.

Myr'nn brings up all of J'onn's failings - the mindwipes, the attack on Manchester that allowed Black to counter attack, allowing Manchester to defile Myr'nn's grave, and the murdering Manchester. None of these are ways of peace.

Again, there is this tremendous moment of emotional release. J'onn screams at his father. He has been protecting Earth so it wouldn't be like Mars. He couldn't sit back and let a planet burn the way Myr'nn did. He is not a man of peace. He is the Martian Manhunter.

Finally accepting who he is, the whole scene changes. We now see this entire debate with his father was in J'onn's mind. He isn't worthy of the sacred symbols. But he can take them to the desert of T'ozz on Mars and hope someone worthy will come. He leaves Earth.

Back at the lab, they find a gun which is the same type which shot James. Then, Eve's defenses kick in and a primitive Metallo comes out to fight. It turns out that Metallo protocols have been used to resurrect Otis. (Otis was trial 5 which means more Metallo's are out there.)

The three women have to team up to defeat him. It is Lena who makes a chemical grenade which blows this thing up. I just love ... I mean LOOOOVVEE ... how Lena calls Metallo Frankenberry before she tosses the grenade.

But the plot thickens. Otis is connected to Ben Lockwood. Maybe Lex and Eve have a connection to Agent Liberty. The web is even larger.

I also have to laugh at Eve's password - ILoveLex. Hysterical.

James has been trying to tell Kelly that he is fine and that he has no PTSD because his killer, Manchester Black, is gone. But when Kara returns to National City she tells him it was Eve who shot him. Suddenly James' alleged killer is free. He seems to struggle.

And then we see in Washington that the Alien Amnesty act has been repealed. Senator Granberry who had been opposed to the repeal ended up voting for it. In the crowd, we see Eve present, albeit only when her image inducer blinks on and off. She is there in disguise (although everyone on the planet must have seen that on the news. James and Kara saw it.)

With all these threads winding tighter around a Lex plot, Lena tries to get information out of Lillian.

It seems to work when Lena shows Lilian something they found. It is a map of the prison denoting where Lilian's cell is. Written in red ink in Lex's handwriting is Lillian's name. Lex was going to kill his mother. Given the murderous intent in the Lena note from before, I wouldn't put it past him.

Lillian seems to break but we aren't privy to what she told Lena.

With Eve spotted in D.C., Supergirl heads down to investigate.

Lockwood asks the Senator why she changed her mind but she doesn't divulge. Instead she gives the woman we know is Eve an odd look. Eve must either be threatening or blackmailing Granberry.

There is a nice scene where James confronts Lockwood about the Otis connection.

But the big moment happens outside the White House. Supergirl seems to find Miss Tessmacher in an SUV. But it turns out to be a hologram. Activated by Supergirl, a Lex's Battle Armor  attaches itself to Kara, trapping her temporarily in a Kryptonite infused suit.

Eve tells Supergirl to sit back and enjoy the show.

And what a show.

The Red Daughter flies into the Oval Office dressed as Supergirl.
She blasts the place, killing people as wonderfully evil music plays over the scene.

Then she says 'let them hate so long as they fear.' Okay, this should be a tip off. I don't think Supergirl is one to quote Caligula.

But after killing people and setting the White House ablaze, she flies off. And the real Kara, despite breaking out of the Lex suit,  is too late to see what happened.

All the Lex pieces are coming together.

Thinking Supergirl attacked the government in retaliation for the Amnesty repeal, President Baker doubles down on his pro-human stance. He declares martial law. And he names Supergirl public enemy number one.

Alex knows Supergirl couldn't have done this.
And even Colonel Haley knows Supergirl couldn't do it.

In the end, I think Haley is supposed to be the viewers point of view. The Colonel knows there are real alien threats out there. But she knows most aliens just want to live their lives. And she recognizes the good in others. Haley is the needed centrist in this show.

There is nothing left of the wrapup.

After being triggered in the White House attack, James asks Kelly to stay and help him,

And then Lena and Alex hit the signal watch. They believe Supergirl. They are going to prove she is innocent ... together!


What can I say, these last three episodes have been incredible. I can only hope the show maintains this quality the rest of the way!


Nutation said...

I have one complaint about this otherwise fine episode that I also direct at Batman vs. Superman. In that movie, after the courthouse attack, Superman should have stayed to rescue people. That would have mitigated, perhaps prevented, the silly plot complications that ensued.

Here, outside the White House, after Kara freed herself from the Lex suit, there was a moment when she could have flown up and confronted Red Daughter. Seeing two Supergirls in the sky would have given the entire game away.

Now, that was just how the scene was portrayed to us as a director's choice. Maybe there wasn't such a moment in reality. In that case, Supergirl should have been at the disaster, putting out fires, lifting rubble, and otherwise helping the survivors. Compare that to the excessive cruelty and flamboyance of the attack. The Secret Service might have listened to her claim of another Bizarro out there.

On another topic, I still think Manchester Black survived or perhaps got sucked into the staff. I mainly think this because he was wearing Brainiac 5's force field belt, and that plot point has to be resolved. But, if so, this episode did nothing to support my belief.

KET said...

"Here, outside the White House, after Kara freed herself from the Lex suit, there was a moment when she could have flown up and confronted Red Daughter."

Kara was still weakened from the Green K in the Lexosuit, so no. And considering that the crowd outside the WH also saw what had happened, seeing two would have just added more panic and confusion to the mob scene. And third, Kara was likely still reeling from the initial impact that there was somebody else who looked and had powers just like her...first impressions. Finally, quoting Gaius Caligula to those still alive inside the Oval.

In other words, any semantic rationalizations are merely self-denial. Kara became perfectly played by Lex and Eve's setup merely in the act of just showing up.


Anonymous said...

The weakness in the plot I saw was the whole "vote for the repeal of the Alien Amnesty Act;" I thought
they'd dealt with that already a couple weeks ago, or am I remembering wrong? That being said, I TOTALLY
agree them being able to bring back Brenda Strong and Carl Lumby were TOTALLY GREAT moments; I loved how
they even dropped in a "ku-off-ee" line for Carl! And I TOTALLY loved how natural Kara looked using her
superpowers this episode : her able to listen to Bitsie's heartrate, to casually tearing off the safe door
in Eve's lab, to Xraying all over Washington, DC... I get it for dramatics sometimes you have to "dumb down"
the power levels, but on the other, artificially limiting them for dramatics' sakes irks the heck out ofme.

Interesting theory about Jimmy possibly getting powers; I think earlier some posters were speculating
about Turtle Boy. Personally I hope not as I think we can all agree the whole superhero / Guardian
bit has worn out its welcome.

And let me repeat again : PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let Lena remain on Team Supergirl! Was some GREAT moments
between her, Alex and Supergirl working together this episode!

...I don't know if I'll be able to wait the 3 weeks to see where things go from here...!


Nutation said...

> Kara was still weakened from the Green K in the Lexosuit, so no. And considering that the crowd outside the WH also saw what had happened, seeing two would have just added more panic and confusion to the mob scene. And third, Kara was likely still reeling from the initial impact that there was somebody else who looked and had powers just like her...first impressions.

Those are all reasonable arguments against confronting the imposter. But, no freeze breath on the fires? No lifting aside rubble for survivors? Unacceptable.

As you said, though, Kara got really, really played.

Anonymous said...

I'm still wrapping my mind around the fact that on homicidal iteration #9, THEN Jimmy Olsen gets PTSD....well he hung in there a good long time I'd say


Yeah this is one of Lex's better plots, beats the daylights out of that meshugginah scheme in Batman v Superman. I never understood it, and neither did Lex...:)


Scrimmage said...

Despite the title of this week's show, Eve and Red Daughter weren't on screen for very much of this episode, but the comedic banter between them provided a stark contrast to the dark, and truly frightening conclusion, with RD seemingly murdering a number of politicians and security people inside the Oval Office in cold blood, and she did it all with a crooked little SMILE on her face! WOW!

At the end of that scene, I was surprised we weren't shown what Red Daughter was doing when she was burning something into the roof of the White House with her Heat Vision... an “S” symbol perhaps?

After that, how is Supergirl going to convince anyone to ever trust her again? Even after her imposter is exposed, Supergirl still can't deny that, if not for her presence on Earth, and the introduction of an alien substance, Harun-El into the eco-system, Red Daughter would've never existed. How many of these potentially Extinction Level Events that the world has experienced over the last four years would've never happened if Kara's pod had never made it to Earth, or if she had never revealed herself? In the midst of all of her second guessing, and soul searching, these are the hard questions that Kara's eventually going to have to ask herself. Is her presence on Earth responsible for ATTRACTING some of these alien menaces, even indirectly? I think the answer is undoubtedly “Yes.”

Between giving Lena and Alex a Signal Watch, and returning Brainy's Legion Ring, Supergirl's main function in this episode seemed to be handing out jewelry! The DEO's investigation into Eve's family was ridiculous in the sense that Alex should've known going in that Eve's cousin, Bitsie had been diagnosed with cancer, but now appeared to be completely healthy. That would've been suspicious enough for them to want to question her. The way she “accidentally” revealed her powers was VERY clumsy, both literally and figuratively. That entire scene should've been rewritten.

I find the idea that Lena's Harun-El can cure cancer by granting super powers to humans rather disturbing. Unless the show intends to revolutionize medicine in the DC Universe, they're going to have to show that Lena's cure is only temporary, and / or that it has some deadly, unintended side-effects that will make the “cure” even worse than the disease, otherwise EVERYONE will want it, whether they have cancer or not! Lena, Kara, and Alex should've discovered that the cure was killing Bitsie, which would've meant that Lex might be dying too! That would've been a good twist! It's hard to imagine Lena trying to save her brother AGAIN, while everyone else was focused on capturing him, but I wouldn't put it past Mama Luthor to try to save her bald baby boy, even if he WAS planning on killing her.

I can't imagine that the deliciously evil Lillian is going to sit out this entire confrontation between her children from the inside a prison cell. I want to see the Luthor Family reunited, just to see what that dynamic would be like. Would they team up, or turn on each other? Or would they simply try to “out Evil” each other?

If Lillian starts making trouble, would it be asking too much to have Helen Slater punch her in the nose? Eliza owes Lillian at least that much for what she did to Jeremiah a couple of seasons ago!

Scrimmage said...

Supergirl saving J'onn from a free fall was a nice payback to an earlier episode where he did the same for her, which I believe was the time when the atmosphere was seeded with Kryptonite. Since we learned later that M'rynn was just a projection of J'onn's subconscious memories of his father, it's hard to understand how something like that could've incapacitated him to the point where it almost killed him. You'd think his self-preservation instinct would be stronger than that.

Projection or not, it was so wonderful to see the Martian Manfather back on the show, I even made up a joke about it...

J'onn (to M'yrnn): “How do you like your coffee?”

M'yrnn: “With TWO apostrophes, please!”

I loved the way M'rynn wasn't cutting his son any slack at all. I assumed he was giving J'onn all that attitude because he was employing a particularly harsh version of “Tough Love Parenting” Martian style, to straighten out his son's confusion, and to clarify some of his misconceptions about what is expected of the Last of the Green Martians.

Of course, that really shouldn't be too hard to figure out. If J'onn really IS the last of his kind, then he'd better hunt down Ms Martian ASAP, and get busy making a bunch of NEW Green Martians! I know she's technically a White Martian, but how much difference does that really make for a race of shape shifters? At least she's from the old neighborhood! That should be close enough.

I thought J'onn's cautionary tale about a planet of shape shifters who adapted and changed so often in response to various threats over the millennia that they forgot what their original, natural form was, was a fascinating, and terrifying concept right out of the Twilight Zone. Someone (not this show) should explore that idea, if it hasn't been done already. It could be an allegory for those people who over-indulge in cosmetic surgery so much that some of them are no longer recognizable as themselves, while others don't even appear to be HUMAN!


If James (Don't call me “Jimmy”) Olsen gets PTSD just from getting shot, he's in the wrong business, and he's not NEARLY tough enough to be “Superman's Pal.” If this poorly re-imagined character was magically erased from every episode, the show wouldn't be substantially changed at all, mainly because he contributes little to nothing to the overall narrative. Let's face it, he's NO Cat Grant! Bringing in his never-before-mentioned sister to prop him up isn't going to help.

Anonymous said...

"In other words, any semantic rationalizations are merely self-denial."

Semantic rationalizations? Self-denial? What are you talking about? That person was merely bringing up a possible plothole was bothering him.

Martin Gray said...

Fun episode. With the title implying more big revelations about Eve, I thought we were going to find she was someone a triple agent who, like Hulk in that daft story from a few years back, did calculations subconsciously to make sure she never actually killed anyone. No such luck!

On the one hand, I love Carl Lumbly’s performance; on the other, all the angst is sooooo wearying. As someone said previously, he’s hundreds of years old and really should have got his Chocos together.