This week’s Supergirl celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday by highlighting the theme of family and all the messy baggage that comes with the term. Kara and Lena both discover a dark side from their respective parents, leaving them ultimately disappointed. While we’re on the subject of disappointment, Supergirl almost forgot it was a part of CW‘s four-part crossover.
Unlike “The Darkest Place” last week, “Medusa” has a tighter story. It capitalizes on building up characters rather than sweeping action sequences. That’s all well and good if the story itself wasn’t so dodgy about having important conversations about a certain wormhole that keeps popping up out of nowhere. Or about how an alien virus that was developed on another planet isn’t affecting human Earthlings.
“Medusa” opens with a Thanksgiving dinner with the Danvers women plus Winn, Jimmy, and Mon-El. Mon-El is chatting up Eliza as a way to impress her and inch his way further onto Kara’s good side. Jimmy and Winn argue how they’re going to bring up Guardian and segue that conversation to revealing that Jimmy is behind the mask. Alex, when she’s not sneaking booze in background, scolds Jimmy and Winn for potentially hijacking the moment she tells her mother she’s gay. There’s also a gag where Mon-El misunderstands what stuffing is — instead of edible turkey stuffing, he brings the foamy innards of cot.
While they’re having dinner, a small wormhole opens up above the table. There’s the perfectly reasonable shock and “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING?” at first, but literally no one talks about it after that scene. It appears again at L-Corp during a fight with Hank Henshaw (I simply refuse to continue calling him Cyborg Superman of for the sheer fact that it’s hella goofy to hear it said now). It distracts everyone from the fight, including Supergirl, and gives Hank the opportunity to book it unnoticed. But again, no one ever freaking talks about it.
I don’t know about you, but I’d be extremely concerned about why there are literally holes opening and closing out of nowhere. Is the fabric of space-time being torn apart? Is some nefarious new villain trying to get through? Are we about to have some sort of Crisis on Infinite Earths? THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS SOMEONE SHOULD BE ASKING.
The wormhole appears for the third time in the last seconds of the episode. This time, Barry and Cisco from The Flash jump through it. They ask Kara for her help in their universe, aaaaaaaaand…THAT’S part one of the crossover, y’all!
CW. This is your third crossover. Do we need to talk about how these things actually work?
The rest of the episode is centered around Project Medusa, a virus designed to kill all aliens. Cadmus stole the formula from the Fortress of Solitude and are replicating it themselves to finally rid the Earth of aliens. The first casualties were all the aliens present at the underground bar. Mon-El is spared of the initial attack — he was busy fighting Hank Henshaw outside — but he is eventually exposed to the virus when he runs back into the bar.
Supergirl flies to the Fortress of Solitude to learn about the alien-killing virus. To her horror, she discovers that it was created not only by her home planet, but by her birth father as well. Medusa was developed as a biological weapon against invading alien forces. In other words, it was designed to kill everyone except for Khryptonians. As for Mon-El, his Daxamite DNA is close to Kryptonian DNA, so he’s dying slowly rather than quickly.
If Cadmus replicated Medusa exactly, why aren’t humans being affected by this virus as well? Technically, only Supergirl and Superman wouldn’t be affected since they are natives of Krypton. I’m assuming Cadmus made some adjustments, but nothing is said to make that clear. Not even Eliza Danvers, who was studying the virus procured from Mon-El’s blood, says anything about it.
Meanwhile, Cadmus needs a way to distribute the Medusa virus wholesale, and the only agent that will help them do that is at L-Corp. Hank Henshaw barges in to steal it, but is immediately thwarted by Supergirl. The only reason why L-Corp’s lobby isn’t completely destroyed is because Cisco’s wormhole appeared randomly, giving him enough of an opportunity to escape.
The attack on L-Corp leads Kara to believe that Lena doesn’t know about her adoptive mother’s involvement with Cadmus, yet confronts her about it anyway while simultaneously seeking her assistance. Angry that the dynamic between a Super and a Luthor hasn’t changed after all, Lena dismisses Supergirl and calls on her mother.
Lena realizes on her own that her brother, the world’s most infamous super villain, didn’t fall far from the tree where their mother is concerned. She’s now finds herself at a crossroads: join the family business in super villainy and perhaps finally earn the same motherly love bestowed only upon Lex, or continue distancing herself from her family’s reputation and work on the side of angels. At first it seems that Lena choose the former, giving her mother the agent needed to create a batch large enough to kill every alien on Earth. But as it turns out, Lena going to the dark side was just a ruse designed to thwart Cadmus and implicate her mother in the process. Her being the one to pull a switcheroo as well as make herself a star witness to Cadmus’ plans is potentially good PR. Lena is one smart cookie, I’ll give her that.
Apart from my three major gripes about this episode, “Medusa” is pretty solid. Ever the deliverer of sometimes heavy-handed messages, the heart of Supergirl‘s this week is much more nuanced than most. We can learn from our family without being limited by their own worldviews. Lena learned to be a savvy and intelligent businesswoman from her mother and Lex, but she chose to use her skills for good rather than follow in the Luthors’ evil footsteps. Kara inherited her parents’ protectiveness, but applies them to all living creatures and not just those hailing from Krypton. Both women come from really dark family legacies that could have broken their world views for the worse. It’s okay to still love your family as long as you choose not to replicate their awful, hateful ideals.
Even though the episode is ultimately about one’s flawed legacies, let us not forget the achievements of Eliza Danvers. She is able to deconstruct and learn everything about the Medusa virus. As a result, she creates a cure for Mon-El (it’s worth noting that Kara’s father didn’t even bother looking into a cure), fixes J’onn’s White Martian affliction, and she embraces Alex’s coming out without a second thought. In fact, Eliza figured out Alex was gay before her daughter could even find the right words. That was a nice thing to see.
I continue to be impressed with how naturally they’re treating Alex’s new-found sexuality. They’re taking it slow rather than jamming it all into one special episode. By this point, Alex is starting to feel comfortable about who she is. As a reward, she does get the girl. Maggie, who realizes her true feelings after a near death experience, kisses Alex. You can’t help but feel giddy for these two after everything that’s happened between them.
Other squee moments happen between Mon-El and Kara. The first is when Mon-El is stuck in quarantine. Since Kara can’t leave the DEO either, she sticks around and plays Monopoly with him. Kara already suspects that he has a crush on her by this point and asks him about it. He totally does, by the way, but is so embarrassed for being called out on it that he attempts to hide his affections by laughing it off.
The next scene between them happens when Kara visits the dying Daxamite. She feels extremely guilty that her father is the cause of his suffering. In that moment of vulnerability, Mon-El decides to kiss her, and she reciprocates. After he’s cured, Kara attempts to talk about their kiss, but Mon-El pretends he doesn’t remember because he was so out of it at the time. He totally remembers, but I think he senses that Kara might not really want a relationship with him. Or….
He might actually not want to get too close because aliens are after him.
Towards the end of the episode, we find out that there are some nefarious looking aliens searching for Mon-El’s pod. They were followed his pod’s jet stream, but they lost track of it. How much do you want to bet this has something to do with Mon-El’s connection to Daxam’s royal family?
- J’onn suddenly being cured of his White Martian infection feels anti-climatic. Why bother introducing that story when you’re going to nothing with it?
- Seriously. Look for Alex in the background sneaking booze out of the freezer while Kara is talking with their mother. It’s only a few seconds, but I giggled my ass off.
- I sincerely hope this crossover isn’t treated as footnote for the rest of the week.
- Be on the look-out for Shaun Rosado’s review of The Flash, part two of CW‘s full week of super crossovers.