Thursday, September 16, 2021

Supergirl Show 611: Mxy In The Middle

Supergirl episode 611, title 'Mxy in the Middle' aired this week. Going in I assumed I was going to like this episode. With Thomas Lennon reprising his role as Mr. Mxyzptlk, it was going to take something dramatic for me not to like it.

This episode propelled the Nyxly plot forward, giving our villain a sympathetic back story and making her a victim of 'the patriarchy'. As such, our heroes keep giving the 5th dimensional imp the benefit of the doubt, hoping they can talk her down from a life of revenger. I suppose this whole back season is going to be a parade of social issues and this one is women being taken advantage of or forsaken by 'the man'. Who would think that the 5th dimension would have such issues.

And as always, Supergirl is only part of the story. Nia and Brainy have as much to do, if not more, than our hero. In fact, in what is becoming an unhappy norm, she barely has any of the big moments in this episode. She continues to espouse hope and self-improvement. But she throws no punch, defeats no monster.

There is a mega-dose of exposition that will pad out the plot of the remaining episodes, explaining what Nyxly will be up to. But I pity our heroes who can't solve the obvious riddle laid out before them.

Still, Thomas Lennon does a great job as Mxyzptlk, although he isn't allowed to do much magic. Still he is frenetic and silly enough to make me hope we see more of him.

On to the details.
The episode picks up right where the last one ended. Supergirl is trapped in magic ice. Realizing only magic can defeat magic, she calls for Mr. Mxyzptlk.

Interestingly enough, it turns out that Nyxly, or Princess Nyxlygsptlnz as Mxy calls her, also summoned Mr. Mxyzptlk. 

The two have a history. In a 5th dimensional court, he said she was crazy which resulted in her being banished. He says that she was trying to destroy most of the 5th dimension and that is why he said what he did.

She seems to attack him with the glowing ball she had with her in the Phantom Zone prompting Mxy to tell Kara that he will free her but Supergirl will need to whisk them away. If he uses his magic, Nyxly can track him.

Lennon is charming as ever as Mxy. And the fact that he and Nyxly will be a major plot point here. 

In the Watchtower, the Super Friends wonder what is going on. So Mxyzptlk drops a tremendous amount of 5th dimensional history ... all to the song 'I will survive', made famous by Gloria Gaynor. I truly love the stunned and sort of perplexed expressions on the group as he dances around.

But she was the princess in the 5th dimension and she and her brother tried to overthrow the wicked King Brpxz.  Alas, the coup attempt failed. While the Prince was lauded for his cunning, she was banished because 'patriarchy'. 

Angry for this betrayal, she has been trying to reunite something called the Allstone, a magical item which grants the wielder control over 'everything'. The Allstone was made by someone named Jyrryd. Before he could use it, the powers that be in the 5th dimension destroyed it, splintering it into 'totems' of truth, destiny, love, dreams, hope, humanity, and courage. If the totems can be found, the stone will be reformed.

The only way to find the totems is to put someone with Jyrryd's blood (turns out Mxy is related) into that glowing ball and use it like a Dragon Ball tracker.

Now, maybe I have read too many comics or seen too many shows, but it is clear that the Super Friends are these totems. Supergirl is hope. Nia is Dreams. I'm going to guess Alex is courage. Maybe Brainy is humanity? I mean, wasn't Supergirl a 'paragon of hope' in the Crisis? It should seem obvious.

I do like that Supergirl says she never mentioned Nyxly to the Friends before because she thought she was still in the Zone. At least it is an explanation even if it seems wrong. I mean, surely she talked at length with Alex about what happened in the Zone. Wouldn't Zor-El have mentioned her?
Everyone is upset about Nyxly but Supergirl is very upset with herself for allowing Nyxly to escape. You know she's upset because she is on the balcony!

The friends come out and Brainy tells Kara to stop being hard on herself. It isn't like she intentionally freed Nyxly. But this is, of course, just what Nia did. You can tell this secret is weighing on Dreamer.

Remember last episode when I said it was weird that the cryobomb exploded by Kara's heat vision would repower Nyxly? Well, the superfriends think they can reverse engineer the device, making some way to depower her. And they can't have Mxy just do it magically. If he uses his powers, she will find them him. He is basically on the shelf.

Meanwhile, Nia has a nightmare seeing Brainy dead in a crystal bird cage. She seems distraught enough that Brainy can tell she's hiding something. She spills the beans. He tells her that she needs to come clean but she asks him to let her play things out her way.

Hasn't anyone on this show learned that significant secrets like this can be??

I still don't know how the bomb powered her. And I don't know how they could depower her with a bomb either.
But I need you to settle in. As crazy as the Nyxly plot went with the Allstone is, it is tame in comparison what happens with Lena this episode.

She is heading back to Fortune Bay in Newfoundland, her mother's hometown, trying to rediscover her family's roots. Lena has a photo she shared with Andrea of her mother (Katie McGrath in a crazy wig) with two friends Martha Bishop and Florence Abbott. Martha's family is still in Fortune Bay so Lena will track that down. Meanwhile, Andrea will try to find out where Florence Abbott is.

As you'll learn, the place feels like an anachronism, a cross between The Crucible and In The Name of the Father.

And I guess why hire someone to be Lena's mom when you can pay McGrath, already under contract, to throw on a wig.
Lena's mother was Elizabeth Walsh when she lived there.

When Lena makes drops her mother's name at the inn she is staying at, she discovers that the name of Walsh is about as welcome as the name of Luthor. The innkeeper says Lena's mother was a 'dirty witch' and kicks Lena out.

Just wait ...

The heroes figure out a way to reverse engineer the machine to turn it into a Power Dampening Hand Cuff which Nyxly won't be able to remove. But how will they get it on her?

It is then that Mxy comes up with a great idea. Why not send her back to the Phantom Zone?

Maybe because she has experienced the Zone, Kara doesn't want that. After all, Nxyly was wrongfully persecuted. Maybe when depowered Kara can talk some sense into her. 

The heroes figure out that they can use the amulet that Mon-El used wayyyyy back in season 2 to block Mxy's own magic to power the cuff. So Kara is off to retrieve it from where Mxy hid it. She hopes that the heroes can save everyone with this plan.
Meanwhile, Nyxly is hanging out in Mitch's ship biding her time. She is right at home and she tells Mitch that he is a moth and she is a fire that will incinerate him if he gets too close.

I really like the malevolence we are seeing in Nxyly. She has been betrayed and then tortured for years in the Zone. Of course she will be damaged.
Supergirl gets the amulet but it will take a lot of close precision work in the lab. And as much as Mxy wants to help, he is basically worthless without his magic and more of a nuisance. You feel for the guy. 
Now I warned you the Lena plot was going to get nutty. 

Kicked out of the inn, she wanders into a bar which just so happens to be owned by the daughter of Margaret Bishop! Coincidence!

Bishop says Lena's mother was no friend. In fact Lena's mother was responsible for the death of her mother. When Lena pushes this woman, saying she knows nothing of her mother and is just looking for information, the bartender gives a nugget.

The three friends in the picture were in a witches coven! Lena's mother lit the Bishop house on fire with magic powers, killing Mr. Bishop. After that Elisabeth fled leaving Margaret Bishop to take the blame for the death. She was executed.

Whoa ...

At least Lena, the hard core scientist, is dismissive of the whole thing. At least for now.

After all this talk and exposition, we finally get some action. Nyxly decides to do some property damage to try and lure Mxy out. She makes a kitten Kaiju-size.

Supergirl's freeze breath won't work.  Alex shoots an RPG at it with little effect. The kitten's purr knocks everyone down. Dreamer tries to pull it into the Dream Realm but almost gets pulled in herself. So it is up to Brainy to save the day. While Kara uses her heat vision to be like a laser pointer, distracting the kitten, Brainy shrinks it.

Now it is pure 5th dimensional silliness to release a giant kitten on the world. But I think it is a shame that Supergirl really didn't do anything here. It is always the team that gets the big win.

Nyxly does arrive. She says she summoned a fire-breathing Kryptonian dragon once to torture a Khundian general once. Maybe that is what she will do next if she isn't given what she wants. The Super Friends have 2 hours to turn over Mxy.

I did like the kitty.
With Andrea's help, Lena finds out the whereabouts of Florence Abbott, someone who has tried her best to stay off the grid. Turns out Florence went into hiding when Margaret's father died.

Lena is disgusted that the 'good' side of her family might actually be just as rotten. But Andrea reminds her that the unknown is always worse than information. And secrets help no one.

Nice that the writers are playing up the friendship we know that Andrea and Lena have.

And given all the lessons Lena learned about how secrets can torture people, I am glad she takes Andrea's advice.
Finally Mxy has a good idea. Using a LexCorp copier, he makes a copy of himself, a dupe to send close enough to Nyxly to slap the power dampening cuff on. Unfortunately, the copy is too unstable given the magic nature of Mxy to stay together.
Kara continues to blame herself for all the Nyxly problems which prompts Nia to finally come clean.

As Supergirl would, she forgives Nia. Yes, Dreamer made a big mistake but they all have. And Nyxly is a manipulator.

But why was this scene under the stairs when it clearly is a balcony scene?
Lena continues her journey finding Florence living in a hobbit hole and practicing magic. Sitting in a circle of candles she is making the smoke form shapes like birds.

And Florence isn't surprised by the visit. Lena looks just like Elisabeth. And Lena's mother visits Florence in her dreams. 

Florence then performs a spell requiring a drop of Lena's blood. It turns a plate of water into a scrying pool. We see the past. The three girls were witches. Lena's mother had significant power, a raw connection to the magic of nature. When Maggie Bishop's husband became physically abusive, the three women stood up to him. But the uncontrolled magic tossed him into the house and lit it on fire, killing him.

Florence and Elisabeth fled. Maggie was stoned to death! It isn't the Crucible! It's the Old Testament. We are probably talking about some time in the eighties! A stoning!
The power dampening cuff is finally finished. And the super team has a plan. Nia will use Brainy's image inducer to look like Mxy and get close enough to slap on the cuff. Supergirl will bring Nia to the park. 

Nia tries to approach but the magic of Nyxly shorts out the image inducer revealing Dreamer. Everyone else shows up to try and rescue. I don't quite get why J'onn is carrying a gun. But at least Alex brought the Phantom Zone Projector.

Again, Kara tries to talk Nyxly down but the imp is insistent. 

Using her powers she imprisons all the heroes, tying them to futuristic looking stakes and summoning that dragon.

The dragon does strafe the heroes with a belch of fire. I don't know how anyone outside of Kara survives. Maybe I missed something?

But we get more backstory. It turns out Mxyzptlk was in on the coup attempt Nyxly led. But when it was clear that the tides were turning, he betrayed Nyxly. Mxyzptlk isn't all silly fun. He's part of the patriarchy problem.
The real Mxy can't let all the heroes die all because Nyxly needs him.

He shows up at the park and give a speech saying how contrite he is about his part in Nyxly's past.

Kara gives it one last shot, hoping that she can hope speech the win. She tells Nyxly that she has every right to be angry. But revenge won't make up for all her pain. Instead she can give it up and they can all be stronger together. Good old El Mayarah.

In a perfect response, Nyxly says 'nah' and begins drawing Mxy into her crystal.

It forces Kara to weigh her own morals. She picks up the Phantom Zone projector and is contemplating sending Nyx there. But before she can do it, Mxy tells her that he has this.

I do like how even if Supergirl hasn't influenced Nyx, she has influenced Mxy, who basically sacrifices himself.
In a pretty slick move, Mxy puts the power dampening cuff on Nyx as he is drawn into the crystal.

But before the team can grab her, she is beamed up to Mitch's ship.

I like that Mxy becomes noble in the end. 
With Nyxly gone, there is nothing left but the wrap-up.

Supergirl wonders if she should have used the Zone projector but Brainy reminds her that she held out hope for the best. Doesn't anyone recognize that she is the 'Totem of Hope'?? They are practically saying it! Maybe the totems aren't the people and more like an item ... Kara's s-shield, Alex's gun, etc.

Lena leaves Florence. But Florence has some big news to share. She can sense power in Lena. Lena has the same raw spark of magic her mother did. Uugggghh. If Lena ends up with magic powers at the end of this show ... or uses magic to defeat Nyxly ... I'll be pretty bummed. Lena is cool enough as the action scientist. She doesn't need powers. Just a bizarre plot turn for the character.

And Mitch says he saved Nyxly from the super friends because he knows she can give him the life he wants. And she agrees to if he will help her get the  totems.

Okay, this wasn't a great episode. The Lena subplot is bonkers. Supergirl again doesn't save the day at any point. And there is a ton of exposition to explain what is happening. But we got a Mxy musical number. That just might save the whole thing. 

What did you all think?


Anonymous said...

I could've done without Kara cringing (however comically) behind her big brave sister Alex when Myxie undertook to airly brandish the Phantom Zone Projector...and Kara's inspirational speeches seem to have become a cliche' even among the character's themselves, BUT Nyxly's plan is at last laid bare, and so we orientate towards the endgame, "Ride or Die". I to understand, that Lena Luthor is a witchling and what my late father would call "A Herring Choker"? By that I mean Irish who came to the USA by way of the Maritime Provinces of Canada?? This adds demented mirth to the endgame, that Lena could end up being Supergirl's Own "Good Little Witch", a "Zatlena"...this is Berlanti at his absolute craziest, EVERYONE'S story must end with New UnEarthly Power...
Whatevs its all Ride or Die Now to Me. If Mon El ever returns from the 31st Century is he gonna recognize any of these characters??


Scrimmage said...

After what was arguably the worst episode of the entire series, Supergirl rebounded somewhat in episode 11, although it would've been hard for the show to get any worse. That's not to say there weren't any rough patches, but it was good to get back to a more typical, superhero vs super villain storyline, despite some uneven, and convoluted writing.

The bad parts? Let's begin with Mxy's painful-to-watch rendition of “I Will Survive.” I don't think those uncomfortable expressions on the faces of the rest of the cast was part of the script. While they were watching him do than number live, with none of the production values WE saw in the finished product, they had to be wondering if that scene was as terrible on camera as it looked to them, live on the set.

It was!

That abomination should've ended up on the cutting room floor, but TPTB needed it as filler, because they had already used up all the time as they could with as much meaningless exposition as they could squeeze into one show. Between all the techno-babble about negating Nyxly's powers, and her plans for some 5th Dimensional revenge on Myx's family, there was already WAY too much talking in this episode, and that's not even counting Lena's ridiculous “I'm a Witch?” subplot.

Still, we had a few good moments of superhero action, with the team facing the Kryptonite Breathing Dragon, and the Giant Blue Kitty of Doom.

Despite it's many flaws, and the lame Lena subplot aside, this episode was a definite improvement, and it raised the stakes for the final confrontation with Nyxly. She may not be nearly the formidable opponent that Reign was, or even the Russian Supergirl, but she's a hell of an improvement over crooked prison wardens and greedy real estate developers. Dealing with those kinds of wrong doers looks more like a job for Kara Danvers: Investigative Reporter, than something that requires the attention of the Most Powerful Woman in the World!

It would be nice is someone other than her enemies would occasionally give Kara the credit and respect she deserves as the person matching that description, but instead, they take her awesomeness for granted, and treat her like an equal, which is FAR from the truth. In my opinion, it's that flawed perception that's holding Kara back from being the best Supergirl that she can be. If Kara ever fully embraced her incredible power, and used it to it's full potential, no alien race, or interdimensional entity would ever DARE come to Earth to challenge her.

Scrimmage said...

The Martian Manhunter is being criminally unused, and his powers – especially the ones that Kara doesn't share with him – are completely ignored, despite the fact that they could've easily solved some obvious problems. J'onn NEVER uses his mental telepathy anymore, nor his intangibility (which could've disrupted the cryo-nuclear bomb last week), his invisibility (which could've come in handy when trying to put the power dampening cuff on Nyxly), or his shape shifting ability (which wouldn't have been disrupted by the globe's energy, the way Brainy's image inducer was). At this point, I'm not sure why he's still on the show.

Jessie Rath continues to impress, as a dynamic physical actor, but Alex and her clown makeup as Sentinel, and her “Universal Weapon” are a joke. One second, she's standing there looking heroic, and the next thing you know, she's shooting a rocket launcher at a kitty cat, to no avail! They sure don't make Universal Weapons like they used to. Don't even get me started on Dreamer's “dream lassos.”

I'm so tired of seeing Supergirl talking to these villains, trying to appeal to their better natures, that I actually cheered out loud when Nxyly dismissed all that drivel with a wave of her hand, and went on about her mission of mischief like the Imp she is! Supergirl's got to realize that SOME beings don't HAVE better natures to appeal to, and that INCLUDES some humans! Sometimes, you've just gotta punch your way out of trouble.

Anonymous said...

I think it was in Adventure Comics #406, that Linda Danvers graduated college (amidst an anti-war riot, this was 1970 after all) and went out to look for a job. On one of her interviews she was skeezily propositioned by her prospective employer (of course, Linda "ankled the joint"). A subsequent letter to the editor praised that passing sequence for it's realistic depiction of the things women deal with on the job.
The whole "Woke" Ship sailed in 1970 as far as I'm concerned...:)