Friday, May 14, 2021

Supergirl Show 607: Fear Knot

The mid-season finale of Supergirl season six, titled 'Fear Knot' aired earlier this week and I have to say I was pretty entertained by the episode.

First things first, for a midseason finale, our title character Supergirl  is barely in the episode. Like, barely. 

Now it is hard to know just how much of this was dictated by Melissa Benoist's limited availability. But after the two flashback episodes of Midvale, 2 episodes I thoroughly enjoyed, I was hoping for some Supergirl time.

All that said, this was a very solid episode for the rest of the team as they embark on a very dangerous mission into the Phantom Zone and face down their greatest fears. There is some callbacks to prior plots and character histories. There are some possible callbacks to prior episode moments. There is even an obvious monster movie homage.  And it laid out in an innovative way with a nice swerve that set up things up nicely. 

I have to point out the solid performances by old friends David Harewood and Chyler Leigh. Each have very great moments. 

And lastly, we have a nice cliffhanger to bring us into the back half of the show. 

Now we only have to wait until August!!

On to the show.

We start out in the Phantom Zone. 

With the Anchor destroyed by Kara blocking the imp Nyxly from entering our dimension, the entire section of the Phantom Zone has become destabilized.

Kara and Zor-El try to figure out the best way to keep moving. But they aren't alone.

A whole squad of Phantoms shows up. I love how Kara just rolls up her sleeves and gets ready to fight.

But she is injured, the telltale scratch on the neck noted. And the side effect of fear and despair sets in. She says that if her friends try to save her, they are all going to die.

That is not the Supergirl we know so you can tell that this place and the phantom illness is significant and powerful.

Back in National City, we learn that Brainy and Dreamer were gone for three days. But during that time, the team was prepping. 

I love how this mini Justice League is together. And the whole tower turns out to be a ship. It has shields and cloaking from the Phantoms. The QWave homing beacon to Kara is built and active on the Phantom.  Lena has built a yellow sun grenade that will simultaneously destroy any nearby Phantom and repower Kara. 

But they can't dawdle. At best, the shields last 2 hours.

I love how Brainy says 'you guys did all this science stuff without me'! Jesse Rath is killing it this season.

As the shields breakdown, the effects of the Zone will start to impact the heroes. They will begin to feel immense fear, even having visions of those fears. Kelly, going along despite her lack of powers, teaches them a simple technique to ground themselves and look past the illusions.

When they reach the Zone, it is J'onn who will go out to get Kara. She might be addled by the Zone. The Zone itself is dangerous. J'onn won't let Alex risk herself.

Okay, let's go through some of the stuff here.

One, the science babble of shields, qwaves, and sun grenades is pretty much consistent with the insanity of this season.

Two, I do like that Kelly insists on going on the mission despite her lack of powers. She loves Alex and needs to be there for her. But the grounding technique of randomly reciting items nearby to take hold of reality seems odd. 

 Three, I can't believe that J'Onn actually thought that Alex would go along and stay in the ship to rescue Kara.

But most importantly, the crew actually hang a lantern on what we all have been saying this season. They call the Phantoms several names: Dementor, Boggart, and Dementor Boggarts. Because that is basically what they are.

The ship enters the Phantom Zone and we finally get a bit of a decent visual. The place is like a series of floating desolate islands. Pretty cool.

And as anticipated, Alex protests with J'onn, appropriately. Alex IS the best touchstone to rouse Kara out of whatever fugue she is in. While it is dangerous for Alex to head out there, they 'can't afford to play it safe'.

The trip is already dangerous as the ship is buffeted and shaken by turbulence and feedback.


The turbulence gets worse and suddenly the ship is engulfed in a white flash.

When it fades, Alex sees on the monitor that the captured Phantom is not in its cage.

J'onn goes down to confront it. Alex joins. 

While Alex is able to hold her own and get the Phantom imprisoned again, she is scratched in the process. 

Infected, she'll become a Phantom herself unless she is put in stasis. But rather than miss out on saving Kara, she pushes J'onn into the cage instead.

Pretty impressive fight sequence with Alex here. But it shows how despite her being hard, Kara is a weak spot. She becomes overly emotional.

As a fledgling Phantom, Alex becomes a lure for those living in the Zone. They swarm the ship.

Alex suddenly realizes how she has jeopardized everything. She puts herself in the airlock with the plan to jettison herself. She'll be trapped in the Zone but Kara at least can be saved.

Alex says she thought she was the most important in the rescue mission but she was the opposite.

But out of the commercial we see the clock go back and we are back to right before the flash that started all the Alex mess. We are into a flashback, this time looking at what Lena and Dreamer were doing while J'onn and Alex went after the Phantom.

There is a great conversation between Lena and Nia, discussing how the loss of their mothers has effected their respective lives. Both are happy they have this new 'family'.

It is a great scene, really leaning into the history of these two characters. And it makes me think that the storyline of Nia wishing she had more time with her mother and trying to learn her powers is going to be a big part of the rest of this season. I like these two together.

Then we get the flash again. 

Lena goes to investigate some issue in the ship and is confronted by a weird water-based tentacle monster. She sees most of the crew dead, drowned in the middle of the room. 

And she talks about a Kelpie, a mythological demon who drowns people. And she reminds us how her mother died by drowning, all while Lena watched from the shore. Lena has always blamed herself.

 About here I realized that these are fear visions. That means Alex's predicament is a vision too. And so the cadence of the show is established. We will see how each character deals with their worst fear.

For Alex, it is being weak and not being able to protect Kara. For Lena, it is not saving her friends from drowning.

Dreamer joins Lena to help but she too is overwhelmed.

This is a nice horror sequence with a great musical score and this obvious Alien 3 homage. And despite trying to ground herself with Kelly's technique (saying things like 'motor oil'), it looks bad for our Luthor ally.

Back from a commercial, we roll back the ten minutes and this time concentrate on Kelly.

Brainy thanks her for being there and helping the team. But Kelly admits she feels out of her depth.

And then the 'fear flash'.

Kelly is suddenly in the prison room. And Dreamer, Lena, and Alex are all taken over by the Phantom. 

Chyler Leigh is sufficiently creepy in this scene, tilting her head like an animal when talking to Kelly. And Alex is cruel talking about how Kelly will never be the equal of these heroes. She is powerless and meaningless.

Instead of being crestfallen, Kelly decides to try and turn Alex back. We get a loving speech about their relationship. And we learn that Alex likes morning hikes, knock knock jokes, dumplings, and lavendar soaps. What? No hard liquor in that list of her favorite things?

It turns Alex but there is no way both of them will survive against their turned friend and the alien. Alex tells Kelly to escape in an escape pod. 

Kelly's fear is not being powerful enough to be a factor. 

Out of the break we turn back the clock and focus in on Dreamer.

She has a dream vision of a thimble with a picture of the ship on it, one with a crack in it.

She breaks from the reverie and tells Brainy that she isn't sure what the dream meant. Brainy really puts her down saying she will never be able to use her powers well. 

Then Phantoms attack and the hull is breached. The meaning of the cracked ship on the thimble is made clear. She can't close the breach. Brainy is in danger of being sucked out into the Zone.

These are her fears. Being unable to interpret her dreams. Letting her friends down. Being unable to save her friends. 

Once you get the rhythm of the episode, these mini-episodes are quite well executed.

And then another swerve.

We see the fear flash but J'onn is able to break free. 10 minutes has elapsed. But he has broken free of whatever had him. He sees the others still trapped in their fear dreams.

Brainy is also lucid; he has compartmentalized his own fear of balloons. I love the reason why, they are under pressure and can easily explode. Like Brainy himself I suppose.

The Phantom has indeed broken loose and his fear powers have effected everyone. If J'onn can get the Phantom back in his cell, the others will be able to work out their own fears.

And then a great moment from J'onn.

He basically steps up against the Phantom, the two psionically attacking each other.

But J'onn won't let it happen. He yells 'not today'. He'll show the Phantom what it means to be afraid and basically lets loose with a withering mental blast, shoving the Phantom back in the cell. 

With the Phantom trapped, we see the others stories play out until they are back and lucid. Alex shoots the back glass and gets sucked out of the airlock. Brainy gets sucked out. Alex manifests the Guardian shield. Lena's monster dissolves into her mother.

When Alex puts her hand against the glass to say goodbye to Kelly, I was reminded of this emotional scene in Exodus from way back in Season 2.

Back in the Zone, we see that Kara's eyes are clouded and her fears have taken root.

We hear her say that there is no point in fighting. She has pushed her father with hope but hope is naive. Her arrogance has led them to ruin. 

Those are her fears.

But Zor-El says she has fixed him. She has given him hope. And his hope clears her mind.

The two start prepare to fight but then the Phantoms are erased by yellow sun light. Kara and Zor-El are invigorated.

The ship arrives and saves our hero!

And then a much needed Danvers sisters hug!

Kara is saved!

The ship flies out of the Zone.

But wait. There's a stowaway! Nyxly.

Whew! Now that is an episode.

We got a nice breakdown of our characters, leaning into their fears and back stories. 

We got Supergirl rescued.

We have our second half villain, Nyxly.

And we had great music and effects in this episode.

I'm glad this was so well done given how it has to keep me happy for the next 3 months!

So what did you all think?


  1. "And then a much needed Danvers sisters hug!"

    Director David Harewood admitted online that a full Superfriends group hug was also filmed, but had to be cut out due to episode time length restraints.


  2. Its a Berserk Season, a Berserk Storyline and it ended "Berserkerly"....But Rao, watching MB chin on her knees wallowing in defeatism, getting buck up lectures from her dad, has got to be a sort of rock bottom for the character. Benoist plays it well, and I understand a lot of this storyline was dictated by covid and maternity leave, but Supergirl has become a damsel in distress on her own show after six season, it's disquieting, one hopes this can change come August, but I am not optimistic.
    Why am I supposed to care about who is dating Alex? Alex is a supporting character, not the lead, if the show was ABOUT Supergirl, her romantic tribulations would drive the storyline, instead I have the foster sister's latest flame shoved on me because the writers love Alex not Supergirl. Frankly I've got Alex Fatigue, I don't care about her pain, I don't care about her fears, I don't care about her love life...Chyler Leigh is a superlative performer, but the storytelling structure of this show has become fatally inverted.
    Oh and Lena Luthor has Lex Luthor for a Brother and Lillian Luthor for a Mother, and she is scared of a Irish Sea Horse???
    Like I said, Berserk, don't worry I'm still in "Ride or Die" mode, but I'd a given anything for Zor and Kara to bust out of The Zone All By Themselves while the Super Squad jabbered and recriminated.
    Lastly when J'onn converted his loft into a "Planet Express" spaceship, thru the magic of the writer's need for a quick fix (fist spaceship I've ever seen with medieval giant double doors), all I could do is hum the theme to "Futurama".



  3. A nice bit of BTS info, but Chyler Leigh admitted on Social Media; that scene where Kara rushes in and hugs Alex, that was the first time since Melissa left for Mommy Time and COVID that the two had physically seen each other. So, that hug wasn't just acting. Which is a nice bit to hear and why I love this show :)