Supergirl is really trying some new things this season now that they are on a network that celebrates comic book heroes. Bringing in more notable characters from the comic universe is one, and throwing as many conflicts all at once to see what sticks is another. Yes, it gives the other characters NOT named Supergirl more purpose on the show, but at what cost?
A lot of things are going on this week. There’s a murderous vigilante besmirching the Guardian’s good name, Supergirl is captured by Cadmus trying to save Mon-El, J’onn is hallucinating and discovers that M’gann is a White Martian, Alex is still dealing with Maggie’s rejection, the real Hank Henshaw is back and working for Cadmus, and a familiar face returns to the show.
It’s a lot to take in.
Let’s first talk about Hank Henshaw returning to the scene. We haven’t really heard from him since his apparent fatality while chasing the Martian Manhunter in a flashback. As of this week, we now know that Cadmus was able to rebuild him. They had the technology. They had the capability to build the world’s first biotic man. Hank Henshaw was that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.
Sorry not sorry for throwing in that Six Million Dollar Man reference.
But this new Hank is far from being the hero Steve Austin ever was. In fact, he’s full-on pissed that J’onn took his identity. He doesn’t take it out on J’onn. Instead Hank kicks the ever-living crap out of Supergirl, leading to her capture. But what’s worse than all of that is his oh-so-awkward declaration of his new name: Cyborg Superman. It’s not a new name. It’s how Cyborg Superman is identified in the comics. It’s hella goofy hearing it said out loud.
Cadmus is actually full of surprises this week. There’s another familiar character under its employ: Jeremiah Danvers (played by Dean Cain). I may or may not have gasped really loudly at work. I kinda forgot that Jeremiah was at Cadmus because so did the characters, it seemed. When he shows up to free Supergirl and Mon-El, it feels like everyone (including Supergirl) was like, “Oh yeah… You work for them.” (Don’t worry, Earth Dad. We tooooootally didn’t forget about you… Yup.)
I appreciate the sudden “Oh yeah!” moment, but I also think it would have been a little better if some emotional groundwork were placed just before his reveal. A good fix would have been Kara’s story about Eliza reassuring the young alien refugee that she is loved. Replace Eliza with Jeremiah, and bam! Tears would have been falling from my eye holes when a heartbroken Supergirl is forced to leave her adoptive father with Cadmus as she and Mon-El escape with their lives. But, y’know, hindsight is 20-20.
As to why Supergirl is in Cadmus’ clutches in the first place, they needed her blood for something. At first I thought it was to create a clone. Maxwell Lord (what happened to him?) did the same thing to create Bizarro Supergirl. It’s what Lex Luthor and/or Cadmus did to create Superboy in some coming book continuities. At the end of the episode, we find out their real intentions: to gain access into Superman‘s Fortress of Solitude and learn everything he can about Project Medusa.
Elsewhere, National City’s own vigilante, Guardian, is under fire when he’s accused of playing judge, jury, and executioner. I’m starting to have a slight problem with the whole Guardian angle. There are something things I appreciate — the Batman comparison, Guardian’s sweet fight scenes, and Jimmy’s partnership with Winn — but it doesn’t really fit the show. If the show is somehow building up to a version of the Batman/Superman Adventures, fine. I’d love to see that happen some day. But right now, Guardian’s story just feels out of place. Like an off-topic tangent.
But as I said before, some good does come out of Guardian’s presence on the show. Most of all, we get a scene where Winn is basically intimidated into giving Alex Guardian’s identity. That guy does not do secrets well.
Back at the DEO, J’onn is starting to feel the effects of M’gann’s White Martian blood coursing through his veins. At first he starts seeing his dead wife and daughters, then he almost shoots a nameless agent for a White Martian. As soon as he and Alex discover the White Martian cells in his blood work, he immediately goes after M’gann.
There’s a layer of storytelling here that really works. There’s a significant amount of prejudice against all White Martians living inside J’onn despite hearing M’gann’s story about her being the one good soldier who tried to save a handful of Green Martians before escaping herself. Instead of killing her, J’onn imprisons M’gann. A small mercy for a member of a race who committed genocide across an entire planet. Kara’s prejudice against Daxamites pales in comparison. In fact, it makes her thing seem kind of silly and juvenile.
Things could be worse for J’onn. M’gann’s blood could be taking over, slowly turning him into a White Martian himself. OH WAIT. That’s totally what is happening to him right now.
Some of my favorite scenes are the ones between Kara and Mon-El. While stuck at Cadmus, Supergirl asks Mon-El to tell Alex that she wasn’t scared (if she met her demise). Mon-El jokingly responds that if he dies, Supergirl is free to tell everyone that he was terrified. The two continue to build a nice chemistry that doesn’t feel forced. The two opposites continue to bond during extreme and/or unusual circumstances, which happens to humanize both of them at the same time. By the end, Mon-El seems really to have fallen for the Girl of Steel, much to Winn and (especially) Jimmy’s chagrin.
Another favorite character beat is Alex, who is still feeling Maggie’s rejection. The show is taking what I like to call a real grown-up approach to her coming-out story. Not everything ends with a happily ever after. In this case, it would have been Alex getting Maggie after she professes her love. But that didn’t happen, and Alex has to live with that. Alex feeling the way she feels — anger, disappointment, sadness, embarrassment — is totally valid, and she makes sure Maggie knows that before either of them are able to resume their partnership.
While Maggie still has no desire to form a romantic relationship with Alex, she still wants her as a close friend. Having aired out everything she wanted to say, Alex might be up for it. In baby steps.
- Momma Luthor’s full name is Lilian Luthor. She has a real loathing for Superman. In her mind, he used propaganda to turn the public against her son, Lex. We have no idea whether or not Lena knows about her mother’s involvement with Cadmus.
- In this universe, Superman and Batman have teamed up on multiple occasions.
- “Is Kara mated to someone?”
- “What’s the male term for floozy?” “A Daxamite.” Good one, Alex.
- As soon as Supergirl tells Alex where Jeremiah is, she and a team go after Cadmus. Unfortunately, the hideout is already cleaned by the time they arrive.
- Next Monday is the beginning of CW‘s super four-way crossover event!