This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl: Season 2, Episode 20
Lena finds a surrogate mother…sort of
Lena Luthor is one of my favorite characters to root for on this show. Early on they played up her lineage just enough to keep us on our toes about whose side she would be on. After settling that question when she double-crossed her mother, she has fortunately managed to retain her complexity.
It was heartbreaking to watch Lena having such a great time nerding out with her new mentor, knowing it was too good to be true. It’s even worse since we know Lena could really use a maternal presence in her life. This relationship would be downright adorable if Rhea weren’t evil, and manipulating Lena for her own gains. Still, I’m confident in both Lena’s heroism and her intelligence: I have a feeling she will be pivotal to taking down Rhea.
Not all heroes wear capes
Much of this episode belonged to James Olsen, whose Guardian alter ego is struggling, and not just because he looks so much like Spartan. In a case of Schroedinger’s Vigilante, James realizes that he’s just as scary as the criminals he’s fighting. His time spent with Marcus was a welcome break from Mon-El-heavy plots, and was a good reminder of why James used to be one of the series’ leads. We got two big hero moments for James (as opposed to Guardian), the first at the beginning when he helps clear the area of civilians, and finally at the end when he uses his connection with Marcus. Hopefully this will make James realize that his kindness is more important than physical strength.
This episode continued the Super franchise tradition of playing with themes of immigration, belonging, and refugees. It looked like all of the refugees aliens were portrayed by people of color. In a predominantly white television landscape, that can’t have been an accident. Having the initial baddie turn out to be acting against their own will was not only an interesting twist from a story perspective, it also reinforced the theme of not judging outsiders too quickly.
J’onn J’onzz is weirdly antagonistic in an out-of-character move, which drives home the point that the characters on this show have about as much use for James as the writers. It’s great to have a spotlight episode for James, but I wish he had a more substantive arc throughout the season to back it up.
Welcome to New Daxxam
In the final act, we see Mon-El grapple with what it means to be a hero, and finally learn what his mother’s goal has been. Rhea wasn’t trying to go home — she was trying to bring the remaining Daxxammites, scattered throughout the universe, to a new planet: earth.
I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the last of the device that put the whammy on J’onn J’onzz, and I’m looking forward to seeing Alex go after Rhea. What sort of emotional fallout will Mon-El experience after his decision to show mercy to his mother lead to the occupation of earth? Will any of these new Daxxamites listen to their prince, or otherwise break with Rhea? After all, one of Kara’s lessons this season was to step away from her anti-Daxxamite prejudice.
Perhaps most exciting: next week, Cat is back! Who could possibly do snarky yet cool under fire better than Cat Grant?