Cadmus’ Project Exodus is Supergirl’s version of ICE.
It’s good to know that no matter what universe in which you’re living, xenophobic groups with any sort of power will find a way to forcibly deport aliens, immigrants or refugees. That was sarcasm, by the way. But seriously, “Exodus” could not have come at a more appropriate time — mere hours after the Trump administration released a revised immigration ban that is still pretty much more of the same. This week’s episode was not only very timely and topical, but it’s also a nicely executed and focused episode.
“Exodus” begins with a normal family on a road trip. The parents are embarrassing themselves by singing along to one of today’s Top 40 songs while their young daughter tries to ignore them. Everything goes sideways when a cop pulls them over for a broken tail light. This turns out to be a lie, and the family is suddenly abducted by a team of Cadmus elite. All across the country, aliens and families are being broken apart and taken away. The alien bar that our protagonists frequent gets raided as well. Most or all of the aliens are abducted, including Winn’s new girlfriend Lyra. We later find out that Cadmus plans to ship them off using an alien freighter. They’ll essentially be taken back to the worlds from where they escaped for various reasons — famine, war, genocide… Take your pick.
It’s not the most subtle commentary on the current state of affairs, but it’s certainly the most relevant. Plus, sometimes we just need to see things for what they are no matter how uncomfortable it makes us. These aliens are law-abiding alien immigrants and refugees just trying to carve out a quite life for themselves. Cadmus, a xenophobic organization, threatens that peace and would much rather cast them all out no matter what. Lilian Luthor would probably have seen them all exterminated, but it was Jeremiah who convinces her to just detain them and ship them all off somewhere.
Cadmus’ wave of alien abductions also showcase some strong character arcs for both Danvers sisters this week. Alex is still feeling the sting of her father’s betrayal but is hellbent on finding a way to help him get out of Cadmus. As we learn this week, she is not above beating the crap out of a suspect the DEO is currently holding for interrogation. You also don’t want to call her out on a bluff…because she is not and she really did rig a bunch of bombs all around the Cadmus facility before allowing herself to get caught.
This is the second week in a row that Chyler Leigh has delivered, performance wise. I think we all can agree that Chyler does rage and frustration extremely well. We also get so see a little bit of devastation when Jeremiah appears in her home, pleading with her to betray the DEO so they both can save the kidnapped aliens right now. As soon as she says “yes,” however, we discover that J’onn was really testing her. He had his doubts about Alex where her father is concerned, and she proved him right. No one is on Alex’s side at this point, except Maggie. Together they create their own little sting operations to find out where Cadmus is currently holing up. Once they do, Alex goes on her own to find out where Jeremiah and the aliens are being held.
Kara’s storyline concentrates more on her intrepid reporter persona. She wants so badly to publish the story about Cadmus kidnapping aliens, but Snapper won’t let her without at least two credible sources. When Snapper tries to interview Supergirl himself, she’s unable to release certain information concerning from where the alien registry was stolen — the DEO is still a secret government organization despite it literally having an office building with a front door in the middle of National City. Without the whole truth, Snapper deems Supergirl unreliable and again turns Kara’s story down. Desperate to get the word out, Kara goes rogue and publishes her story through her private blog. If only she had waited a second longer for Lena to help her out. The estranged Luthor daughter does a little digging of her own and finds exactly where Lilian has been hiding Cadmus. While Kara’s story manages to stop Cadmus’ “Project Exodus” in its tracks, her actions still gets her fired.
Ultimately, both Kara and Alex face the same dilemma. Do they follow standard procedure to minimize the risk, or take a quicker and more uncertain route by going rogue, endangering their respective careers and lives. Kudos to the writers for not making either situation black or white. The whole “follow your heart and everything will work out in the end” is a load a bull, especially if you’re an adult who needs to pay rent every month. Things may have worked out for Alex in the end, but let’s not forget that her brash actions nearly got her sent halfway across the universe.
Then there’s Kara whose noble yet unethical actions got her justifiably fired. I’ll be interested to see where she goes from here. Will she continue being a “citizen journalist” by writing on her own blog as Lena suggested? Or is her career just over? I think we need an appearance from either Cat Grant or Lois Lane to set her back on track. Oh please! Can we have that?! Clearly she needs guidance if she wants to continue being a journalist. Snapper Carr is more of the “throw the kid in the deep end” kind of mentor. Maybe Kara needs a bit more support than that considering she never even studied journalism in the first place. It’s a little worrying to hear her say that being Supergirl and having Mon-El’s companionship might be enough for her. No, girl. You just got done saying that you, as Kara Danvers, wanted to do something meaningful with your life. Being Supergirl is what you can do, but being a journalist and helping society on a deeper level was something you wanted to become!
By the episode’s end, Jeremiah’s fate is unknown. He stayed behind with Lilian amidst the exploding inferno, but we know there’s still good in him, at least. He does end up helping Alex thwart Cadmus, but will that absolve him from all the atrocities he’s done with Cadmus for the past 15 years?
Can we talk about Supergirl stopping the alien freighter for a moment? The ship is on auto-pilot and set to hit light speed as soon as it left Earth’s atmosphere. In a classic super move, Supergirl gets in front of it and slows it down with her brute strength. It’s easy to forget how strong Kara really is, but that’s beside the point. There’s this moment in the scene where she’s facing Alex, who is cheering her on through the front window of the ship. You can barely hear it over the sweeping overture, but Kara’s screams the entire time she’s pushing up against the ship. When my ear finally caught her voice, literal chills went up my spine. The girl’s got some lungs on her. Seeing the two sisters look to each other for support was a beautiful and emotional moment.
- Teri Hatcher and Kevin Sorbo have appeared! They seem to be associated with the mysterious hooded aliens we’ve see looking for Mon-El. What are the odds that they’re his parents?
- I thought it was pretty cool when Lillian told Jeremiah, “You’re the only Superman we need.”
- Maggie and Alex simultaneously telling off a pervy alien who made a borderline lewd comment about the two of them kissing was hilarious.
- Oh Jimmy… Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy. There’s a time and place in which you should take five whole minutes to suit up. Leaving in the middle of a Cadmus raid while your friends are getting beat up and/or kidnapped is not one of them. But hey…you showed up just in time to catch the one Cadmus dude too busy threatening Alex to notice you. Never mind the VAN FULL OF INNOCENT PEOPLE BEING CARTED AWAY JUST BEHIND YOU! [flips table]