Friday, April 2, 2021

Supergirl Show 601: Rebirth

The season premiere of Supergirl season 6 aired earlier this week, an episode titled 'Rebirth'.  We have learned that this will be the last season of the show as well as a shortened season as well. 

I am sure I will have a lot to say about Supergirl as the season and the show wraps up. But I will start out by saying that I am delighted that we got this. Supergirl became well-known, a household world, and was portrayed magnificently by Melissa Benoist. Sure things were clunky in places. But who cares? I got to see my favorite hero on the screen for 6 years. Not everyone can say that, even in this super-hero heavy day. 

This season also has the uphill task of wrapping up last season. The pandemic made season five rush to a conclusion, and maybe not the best one. So this premiere has a dual task. It has to finish last season and it has to start up the main storylines of this season.

In many ways this felt like more like a finale and not a premiere. The cliffhanger at the end of this episode would have been brilliant as a cliffhanger at the end of a season. I wonder how much of this was filmed last year. And a lot needs to happen in this episode. Much of the things which happen are given little explanation or maybe a hand wave. We get a lot of comic book science. I give credit to the writers for this whirlwind. And I give big credit to the stars for pulling it off while giving us some emotional character moments.

And get ready for many deus ex machina that keep things going. 

Buckle up!

You might remember that last season Brainiac 5 finally turned on Lex Luthor who he was reluctantly working with. Brainy bottled the Leviathan gods by shrinking them all but Gamamnae. Unfortunately Lex took the bottle for his own desires while leaving Brainy to die in a radiation drenched room in the Leviathan headquarters.

This episode starts when Dreamer shows up. From the other side of the glass, Brainy apologizes for lying to her.

And then the first deus ex machina. Dreamer for the first time (I think) releases an astral self which can interact with the physical world, opening up the door to the room. 

The talk of how much Brainy loves her while he is dying of radiation with Dreamer on the other side of the glass had a sort of Star Trek II feel.

The heroes show up but the radiation is effecting the non-invulnerable members who must be removed. Then Ganmemnae shows up ticked off. Hiding in the circuitry, she lashes out with lightning.

Meanwhile Alex's weapons gauntlet (remember that? A trinket that can create any weapon Alex thinks of?) becomes the ultimate deus ex machina. She uses the gauntlet to make a device to save Brainy from his radiation poisoning.

Once awake, Brainy realizes that the Anti-Life equation is the solution to kill the technology based Ganmemnae. Okay, that is news to me! 

Then Alex uses her gauntlet to create an Anti-Life thumb drive which Kara plugs into the Leviathan computer destroying Ganmemnae. Does that mean Kara just killed her?

Anyways, with that the Leviathan threat is over.

But there were a lot of plot points which felt a little magical and sudden. Ganmemnae says the cringe worthy line 'You cannot kill technology! But technology can kill you!' And I do wonder if much of this was supposed to be last year's finale.

Meanwhile, in his lair, Lex pumps himself full of Leviathan energy from the bottle he took from Brainy. He suddenly is immortal and all powerful. He can even wield the K-ray hand bands Leviathan members used.

But wait there's more.

Lex, using satellites programmed with Lena's mind control tech, has made everyone who went into the Obsidian VR love him. He'll be worshipped. And anyone who didn't go into the VR, about half the world, will be killed by his satellites weapons in about 5 hours.

Jon Cryer continues to kill it as Lex. He calls the program 'I love Lexy'.  He says a Luthor should be the savior of the world. And then once he has fixed Earth, he'll go full Anti-Monitor remaking the universe.

But the best part of this is Lillian who tells Lex he has to save Lena. Seeing Lillian be so loyal to Lena is a trip. She even slaps Lex telling him he must save her! Given the power and self-importance Lex has had, seeing him physically struck was jarring and shows Lillian still has some sway over him. (Cryer whining about saving his sister when she 'killed him first' is a great line too.)

There was just great chemistry between Cryer and Branda Strong throughout this scene..

The heroes regroup at their Hall of Justice. Lena is there and she has intuited Lex's plans from everything she has seen and knows of him. But this dream sequence by Dreamer where she sees Lex as the Anti-Monitor is a nice touch corroborating Lena's fear.

They have to stop Lex. But their plan to defeat Lex is a bit crazy. There are a lot of moving parts.

One, the 12 killer satellites need to be destroyed simultaneously. This can only be done by the deus ex machina of the Martian binding ritual the Dorkri Surth-Uh, a way for two Martians to synch their minds and use a psychic web to move many things at once. That is nutty.

Next, once the satellites are down, Lena and Brainy can use the Myriad mind control device to reverse engineer the 'I Love Lexy' programming. (This is a big character step with Supergirl trusting Lena with Myriad.)

Then, the heroes need to somehow depower the immortal and nigh-omnipotent Lex. Since he is using Leviathan powers, he also has their weakness. And that would be the deus ex machina of Jarhanpurium, radioactive bits from their home world, their version of Kryptonite. That has to be in the bottle of Leviathan Brainy made. Alex and Dreamer will fetch that so they can weaponize it.

But with all that they still need to keep Lex occupied so he won't stop all these moving parts. In the ultimate self-sacrifice, Kara says she will surrender to him. While she knows Lex might kill her, she says it is worth the risk to save half the planet. Now that is my Supergirl.

She contacts Lex and says to meet her in the Fortress with a way to stop his satellites and she'll surrender.

We then get some side plots which I am sure will aid the progress of this season.

Andrea has financially ruined Obsidian. She is being chastised by her father who says she has ruined the family legacy. Realizing she needs a new start, she uses her Nightshade-esque powers to shunt all the bum Obsidian stock to her dad, ruining him. 

Meanwhile, J'onn is nervous about linking so deeply with M'Gann. But Alex tells her it might lead to something more profound. 

Brainy continues to apologize to Dreamer. He will be more honest and they  may grow closer together.

And Kara and Lena continue to mend their relationship, so tested last season.


This Supergirl trip to the Fortress before Lex arrives includes Alex. 

There is a nice little scene where Kara and Alex goof around about borrowing things from each other and ends when they say they love each other. It felt like a bit of a goodbye, scary given this potential suicide run Kara is doing with Lex. 

I feel this relationship is really the backbone of the series and so seeing this small little interaction made me very happy.

And the writers really do a good job of building up that tension and concern about Supergirl potentially dying at Lex's hand.

Supergirl begins to record her last will and testament. She must be very scared of this upcoming battle with Lex. 

And then the plan begins.

First Lena and Brainy talk about how they both were walking a fine line last season, more villain that hero at times. It is great to see Lena come to recognize the blinding hubris of being a Luthor and appreciating her friends' patience. Again, a nice character moment amid this wacky plot.

But then we get things start to unfold.

J'onn and M'Gann are able to destroy the satellites with the binding.

Then Brainy and Lena use Myriad to erase the global love of Lex.

And then Alex and Dreamer attack Lillian and Otis (OTIS!) to get the bottled Leviathan. Nice electric nun-chuks there Alex. As a Legion fan, I love that Lillian calls Dreamer the name Dream Girl.

It looks like they might pull it off.

With Alex and Lena gone from the Fortress, Kara surrenders to Lex.

Using his powers and the K-Ray, Lex seemingly kills Kara. 

He leaves her pulseless body in the ice while he dances around the Fortress to Queen's 'We are the Champions.'

But it turns out Kara is only 'mostly' dead.

A Lena protocol activates and a drone bathes Kara in yellow sun rays and then puts the famous anti-K suit on Kara, reviving her.

I thought at first this was a bit of a cheat. But then I thought it was a nice feint. We kept hearing how this was a suicide mission. At least for a minute, it looked bad for Kara. Perhaps the writers wanted to shock us.

Then all the heroes gang up on Lex. But the villain still has the upper hand. In some ways I love that Alex shows up with a pistol! Yeah, lets shoot that popgun at the god! The CGI here of the heroes flying around like gnats attacking Lex were pretty good.

Finally Alex and Kara team up. Kara kicks the Jarhanpurium to Alex who uses her gauntlet to make a working weapon. Then Alex blasts Lex, stripping him of his powers. Even that explanation sounds like a deus ex machina. 

But before being blasted, Lex had grabbed a Phantom Zone projector and sends Kara away! Worse, he erases the history on the projector so the hero team doesn't know where Kara even is in the zone. They can't easily rescue her.

I really liked this cuboid deconstruction that Kara undergoes. Nice effects.

With Kara gone, there is nothing left but the wrap-up.

First Alex yells that they won't mourn Kara, they'll find her. Supergirl isn't dead.

Then Lex says if he is arrested, he'll blab Kara's secret identity to the world, endangering friends and family. That leads to another great moment - Lena slugging Lex, then apologizing to Alex for cutting in line before Alex. Funny. 

Back in the city, the team regroups.

J'onn wonders if his brother Male'fa'lak might be able to help find Kara given his history in the Zone.

Alex is warned by Lena that Alex Kelly needs to be told about Kara's secret identity. Alex is going to need to lean on her partner and the truth needs to be known.

Andrea, freed of Obsidian, decides to turn CatCo around into a respectable paper. As for Kara, an excuse that she is hanging with Cat Grant defuses any suspicion about the ace reporter's absence. 

In another nice move, we see Lena choosing her friends over family. She blips into Lillian and Lex's cell and uses Myriad to strip them of their knowledge that Kara is Supergirl. No more tension there. Now that is truly deus ex machina.

Lena's arc over these many seasons is one of the best things on this show. 

Alex is given the name super-hero name Sentinel by J'onn. That code name was used by J'onn's friend on Mars N'orr Cott, a warrior filled with patience, commitment, and courage.  

I love that Alex is now basically the Batman of this team.

But let's not bury the lede.

Kara is in the Phantom Zone! And so are some weird looking beings!

Given how important family and teamwork is to Supergirl, this idea of her being alone for a while should be good characterization fodder for her. And seeing how the world changes without her is also interesting. It's like Funeral For A Friend, all over again. 


Okay, there is a lot of stuff here which happens almost too quick and easily like the dismantling of Leviathan and the 'get out of plot point free' Alex gauntlet.  But the small moments between Alex/Kara, J'onn/Alex, Lena/Kara, Brainy/Dreamer etc. all build on their characters and their relationships. I watch this show as much for the character interplay as the action. So kudos to the writers to sneak these in while furiously pushing all of last season's plot threads to a close.
And yes, we needed to officially put season 5 in the books and look to the future. And this episode did just that. 

I am looking forward to seeing where this goes.


KET said...

"And then the first deus ex machina. Dreamer for the first time (I think) releases an astral self which can interact with the physical world, opening up the door to the room."

Nia did an astral self projection last season; this time, she was more self-assured about getting in that room. However, she have to learn how to reconnect physically on the fly, which seemed like a natural learning step for understanding her powers more. Suspect that Dreamer is going to develop her abilities more as this season progresses (since she'll want to step up now that Kara is MIA).


Anonymous said...

I was never so happy in all my life to see a show so rife with flaws, plot holes, breakneck pacing and as our host says "Deux et Machina"...I couldn't tell you what the hell was happening in the first ten minutes because the CW declined politely to rerun any of season five prior to this premiere.
Bad Form CW, Bad Form.
Who Cares?? She is Back, and if I grow weary of the Manhunter's Pain and the endless Alex Mongering and tedious Dreamer Hyping...Kara is still there at the Moral Center of the Berlantiverse, an AntiMatter detonation couldn't move her from spot.
"Sentinel" is a terrible codename for Alex and her shapeshifting...gun...they ought to call her "Ms. PlotHole" hell they should've called her that in the pilot. Her eye makeup is John Waters' ridiculous as well...who cares? Super girl is back!
They won't ever do it, because of the writer's state of toxic codependence with the supporting cast but I'd love if...Just for Once, Supergirl escaped the Phantom Zone unaided, that would really set her final season up as a thing of joy for me.
But then, here I am complaining about her supporting cast, she doesn't even Have One, in the Comics, Hell she doesn't even have a comic at the moment.
Who cares she is back...Me Am Happy,


Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan of supergirl,

I read somewhere that lex luthor was supposed to die at the end of season 5 but because the covid, he is still alive.

Thanks you for your review, i don't know when i could see the episode in my country.

Anj said...

Thanks for the comments.

Yes, it is great to see Melissa Benoist back on screen as our hero!

KET said...

"I read somewhere that lex luthor was supposed to die at the end of season 5 but because the covid, he is still alive."

Supposedly Lex got an extension on his 'sentence' comeuppance due to production shutting down too early last year. Based on the finished results, it seems like most scenes were already filmed, and some fancy editing changed his original outcome. Seems like the only thing that may have been filmed this year was the ending Phantom Zone scene with Kara.


Scrimmage said...

Under the circumstances, I'm willing to cut the Writers some slack for taking so many short cuts to wrap up the Leviathan storyline, and especially the “Bad Brainy” subplot, but will somebody PLEASE give Alex a mask, so we won't have to be subjected to that hideous eye makeup she's wearing.

Whose horrible idea was THAT??!! If Alex thinks that crap is going to hide her identity, like Kara's or Clark Kent's glasses, she's sorely mistaken. She still looks like herself, that is, if she was a cheap trollop, turning tricks on the street for drinking money. On the positive side, she could easily get the better of the Bad Guys, because after they get a load of her, they'll be laughing so hard, they'll be completely incapacitated. Maybe THAT could be Alex's new super-power.

As for Alex's Magic Gun, I haven't seen anything that solves so many problems so quickly since Felix the Cat, and his Bag of Tricks! Holy Bat-Shark Repellent!


For this shortened, final season, I would like to see a return of some of the more memorable villains from Supergirl's Rogues Gallery, like LiveWire, Psi, The Russian Supergirl, Indigo AKA Brainiac-8 (played by former Supergirl, Laura Vandervoort), Bizarro Supergirl, or her Greatest... Enemy... EVER! Reign! (Although Jon Cryer's Lex is a very close second)

I also wouldn't mind if Kara's old buddy, Winn came back from the future, to pay her a visit. Maybe Mon-El could tag along, and they could both persuade Kara to join them, and the Legion in the 31st(?) Century. Why not? With time-travel, she could spend YEARS there, and STILL return to the present, mere hours after she left.

Sadly, I doubt if we'll get to revisit ANY of those characters again, and that's a real shame. Too little time, and so many stories to tell!