Friday, April 9, 2021

Supergirl Show #602 Review: A Few Good Women

Supergirl episode 602 came out this week and was titled 'A Few Good Women'. My guess is the title is a bit of a riff on the movie 'A Few Good Men'. In that movie, Tom Cruise tricks Jack Nicholson into admitting his crimes and thus making sure some justice is meted out.  We'll see how that plays out here.

Basically, the episode has three plots running through it. 

One is the remaining heroes trying to rescue Supergirl out of the Phantom Zone by breaking into it. This is a solid plot showing how the loss of Supergirl has impacted all of these supporting characters. I think I said it here but my sense is this season will have a bit of a 'Funeral For A Friend' feel to it. We will learn what these characters feel as they cope with the loss of Supergirl.

The second plot is Supergirl adapting to the Phantom Zone and trying to figure out a way to break free. She meets someone close to her within the Zone in a twist that has a sort of comic relevance to it. Guess it isn't spoilers to say it here in the introduction. She meets Zor-El. And that is pretty cool.

But it is the last plot which I find truly fascinating. Lex Luthor is on trial. We see how Andrea, Lena, Lillian, and even Eve Tessmacher are dealing with this.  This is definitely setting up one of the major plots of the season. And given the political bent of this series, no surprise it has a Trumpian feel to the villains.

Before we get into details, I have to say the acting in this episode was brilliant. Melissa Benoist is just a superstar, showing great emotional depth. Chyler Leigh wears her heart on her sleeve when dealing with her sister's absence. But Branda Strong and Katie McGrath steal the show with their cunning Luthor-ness.

On to the details.

The episode starts with a Vampire breakign into a LuthorCorp Blood Bank. 

He is met by our heroes and stopped.

It turns out this is actually Silas, a Transilvane, a blood drinking alien. And the heroes don't care about the theft. They are after him because he broke into the Phantom Zone in the past and they want him to do it again for them so they can rescue Kara.

It is a decent fight sequence. Brainy steals the show with his effortless dodging of Silas' flurry of punches.

Luthor foundation blood bank.

Back at headquarters, Silas tells his story.

His husband Owen was wrongly accused of theft and put into the Zone. Silas broke into the Zone to find him. But when Silas found Owen, Owen had gone mad.

This Phantom Zone is patrolled by true phantoms who make a person relive their greatest fear over and over. In some ways they look and act like Dementors in Harry Potter.

While Silas thinks he can open a portal, he doesn't think the group understands the Zone and its perils. And as we learn, they don't.

One thing we do know, once inside the Zone, the heroes will need Dreamer to use her divination powers to find Kara. And that will take special training. At least this goes back to Dreamer's original ability.

Meanwhile, Lex being on trial is all over the news. It seems like a guilty verdict is a foregone conclusion. 

In prison, Lillian tells Lex about a deal she procured for him to get a 25 year sentence. After all, Eve Tessmacher has damning firsthand testimony.

But in a brilliant bit of ranting, Luthor says he won't be subjugated again. He is going to reject that plea. He'll never go to jail again.  

As usual, Jon Cryer nails Lex in both his narcissism, his insanity, and his malevolence

Now I don't talk about production as much as I should here. But the scenes in the Phantom Zone are really crafted well. The camera is constantly rotating, or moving around the characters giving it a surreal, Escher-esque, unsettling feel. The lens blurs and focus. Splice frames pop in and out. It does feel completely alien and oppressive.

Kara learns quickly that the environment and the Phantoms are incapacitating. 

But then she awakens in a cave, a safe haven, where who should she find ... her father Zor-El. 

Turns out he threw himself into the Zone to save himself before Krypton exploded. But it has been a fate worse than death. He is a shell of himself.

I talk (and talk and talk) about how great Melissa Benoist is, just the perfect Supergirl.

She just sells this scene where Kara talks about her vision of seeing her friends all dead. It is a small scene in this episode but just fantastic. 

But she has a plan. She knows that the Fort Rozz anchor goes out into the real universe. It might seem impossible to get there given the Phantoms but it is a way out. 

Unfortunately, Zor-El isn't on the same page. He knows that the Zone will destroy you.

At CatCo, Andrea wants to run every Lex-pose it can. That means Nia and William covering the trial and writing poison pen articles about Luthor whenever they can.

She even asks Lena to give CatCo an exclusive. What starts out as two friends catching up becomes a work proposition. 

Lena wants no part of it. She refuses to discuss her part in Lex's plans. And she won't be taken advantage of by a 'friend'.

In every scene she is in, Katie McGrath crushes it. But her sudden turn from smiling friend to cold acquaintance is perfect. Seriously, I wish McGrath would get an Emmy nod.

The rescue of Kara hits some snags as Silas struggles to get the portal working.

What is more concerning is how Kara's friends are dealing with it.

Alex seems like she is in a state of denial, thinking Kara will be back by sundown despite Silas saying it took him 6 months to test his portal last time.

And J'onn is just an angry mess, yelling at Silas to hurry up and fix it all. Even M'Gann knows that he is probably reeling from this. He has lost two daughters already. 

Neither seems like they are coping with this in a healthy way. 

When Silas withdraws after being yelled at, it is Kelly who talks to him about his trauma. My guess is other characters are going to need to lean on Kelly themselves.

The open and shut case takes a bad turn.

Despite turning over all evidence, Lex is able to make her seem weak and almost guilty herself. After all, didn't she love him? Didn't she have access to all the technology for all the terrible things that Lex is purported to have done? Couldn't she be guilty? Isn't she guilty???

And just like that the key witness is turned. 

Great to see Miss Tessmacher again though!

Then this great scene. 

Lillian shows up at Lena's. 

It is clear, once again, that Lillian is shrewd and calculating, She wants the Luthor name once again  to be prominent and above reproach. The best way to do that is for Lena to purchase Lillian's LCorp stock so Lex can never take over again. 

But Lena knows that she has to testify now. Without Eve, only Lena's involvement and testimony can sink Lex. And she knows how to make it happen.

Lillian knows that Lena was too close to it all. Her testimony will be just as damning. But Lena has to do what's right.

I'd watch a show that was just Lillian and Lena arguing. These two are tremendous.

Brainy has set up a sort of simulated Phantom Zone so Dreamer can learn to divine while in that harsh environment. 

Before a sim-Demon terrorizes her, she starts having a vision. It includes Midvale High School. But she doesn't know how to interpret it.

She actually has a sudden wave of doubt. Remember, she never got trained by her mother on how to solve her dream visions. She wonders if she can help Kara at all. 

Brainy gives her a nice 'pick me up' speech. We learn that the Legion was formed because of Supergirl's legend, her virtue, confidence, and drive. Dreamer has those too.

We know that there is a Midvale episode coming up. Maybe there is a phantom zone projector there?

Kara tries to escape but doesn't get 5 feet out of the cave before she drops.

When she again wakes up, Zor-El tells her she has to get used to sitting in this cave forever.

Instead, she berates him about Els are meant to do more. 

Poor guy has been in the Phantom Zone for 40 years being plagued by fear demons. Maybe Kara should have more compassion.

But she convinces him. They'll try again together.

As the world watches, Lena takes the stand.

She admits to making No Nocere. But Lex weaponized it.

When Lex cross-examines her, Lena tricks him into admitting that he changed No Nocere for his own gains because he is smarter than her and more powerful than her. In fact, he is being held back by bitter women.

Now this is just like 'A Few Good Men' when Cruise tricks Nicholson into admitting his guilt. Lena can't help but smile. 

Silas gets the portal to open but it isn't good news.

The Phantom Zone has been fractured into infinite dimensions. And Supergirl could be lost in any of them. This now becomes way more difficult.

And if that wasn't bad enough, some of the phantoms come through onto Earth. 

Luckily, after a battle, they are forced back through. But they seem tough!

Shockingly, Lex is found innocent on all counts.

The jury felt there was a lack of hard evidence and there was substantial reasonable doubt given the motives Eve and Lena might have to set him up. 

No one seems happy about this.

Our heroes reel when they learn about Lex's acquittal. But they still have the Kara mission as their primary mission.

And this set back has them shaken.

First off, J'Onn has decided that emotions got in the way of his being effective. From now on he will only think like a soldier. That doesn't sound healthy.

Alex actually thought Kara would be back in one day and has bought a ton of Chinese food.

She doesn't know how she can accept a world without Kara. 

She is devastated.

Worse, things are tightening around Lena as we hear that she might be indicted for her part in the No Nocere plot.

Remember when I talked about Lillian's shrewdness and her love of the family name?

Well, with Lex free she has decided to hitch her wagon to him again. 

Lex as a martyr is better than a wounded Lena.

And Lex begins all the Trumpian quotes you can imagine. People like someone who calls it like they see it. Lex can tell the truth because people want to hear it. But then he can bend the truth too. It all sounds like Trump. Why not cast Trump as Lex freaking Luthor!

Silas has seemingly become infected with a phantom. One of them is loose in the world.

And on the other side, Kara and Zor-El see that the phantoms can open portals on their own.


That is another busy episode.

Lex is free!

The Phantom Zone is fractured. 

Kara is lost!

Zor-El is alive!

And Lena is in trouble.

Now this is a premiere (even if it is the second episode).


Anonymous said...

Zor-El and Phantom Zone phantoms...

Oh, God... I had almost forgotten that terrible storyline.

KET said...

"People like someone who calls it like they see it. Lex can tell the truth because people want to hear it. But then he can bend the truth too. It all sounds like Trump. Why not cast Trump as Lex freaking Luthor!"

Not only that, but we also had a juror on camera after the trial spouting a bit of male privilege, like Brett Kavanaugh.

Episode was nailing the paternity angle throughout a number of character scenes, from Space Dad J'onn, to Zor-El, to Brainy, and even Lex's manipulation of Eve Teschmacher.


Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan of supergirl,

Thanks your for you review, I hope Kara leaves the phantom zone at the right time.

A little meeting with General Zod maybe ?

Anonymous said...

Yea, they both showed everyone how to get away with murder!

KET said...

"they both showed everyone how to get away with murder!"

Well, I don't think that Lena was expecting that the jury would side with Lex's pretend grievances, due to elite privilege. Now she's the one under criminal investigation.

In addition, Lex certainly didn't, but he'll likely play that up to public advantage in any future encounters with the Superfriends, who are no longer under any government authority.


Anonymous said...

Dr. Alexandra "Alex" Danvers is a bio-engineer and former director of the D.E.O. Seems like a really, really long time ago.

Anonymous said...

Busy episode but I enjoyed it, MB would've won an Emmy years ago for her work on this show, but for the fact that it's called "Supergirl" and I guess that engenders some sort of bias. But yeah this one is definitely on MB's "highlight reel", helluva shame she is bailing but she has her reasons. Meeting "Zor in the Zone" is also a nice little homage to the Supergirl '84 movie, as I recall Helen Slater had to persuade Zaltar her mentor to make an escape bid much as was the case in this ep. I would pay good money if after all the efforts of her friends to help her escape, Supergirl simply materialized in the corner of J'onn's office while everyone was bickering and carrying on. "Oh Hi, Dad and I built an Oscillation Overthruster, but we were stuck until I found some Trilithium Crystals on a Khundish Megalith...oh this is my Dad everyone..."