This review contains spoilers.
2.7 The Darkest Place
Supergirl doesn’t waste any time moving almost all of its plot lines forward in The Darkest Place. It was arguably one subplot too many, but it’s hard to say anything bad about an episode that included the real Hank Henshaw as Cyborg Superman, the return of Jeremiah Danvers, and more insight into Cadmus’ evil plan. And that’s without mentioning all of the major character dynamic development we also got. Nope, Supergirl season 2 isn’t losing any of its narrative momentum. I’m almost sad that we have to take a break from all of this action for the four-way sperhero crossover next week. Almost.
Though Mon-El was captured at the end of last week’s episode, it takes a while for anyone to notice he’s gone. To be fair, he is often out drinking, hooking up with randoms, and finding morally-questionable work, so his absence isn’t so strange. Really, though, he’s locked up in Cadmus as part of a larger plan the nefarious organization has to bring Kara in.
And it is quite interesting that Cadmus chooses Mon-El’s life to threaten Kara. Was he the first of her family and friend-group that happened to stop and ask a seemingly homeless man for help, or is it as obvious to Cadmus as it is to everyone else that Kara and Mon-El are totally starting to heart each other? Most likely, it’s the fact that Cadmus so despises alien life that Mon-El makes the perfect target. If Kara cooperates, they get what they want. If she doesn’t, they get to kill another alien.
And what does Cadmus want? That would be Kara’s blood, aka the key to all of the information stored in the Fortress of Solitude. We see Cyborg Superman access the files at the end of the episode, asking specifically about Project Medusa. It’s unclear what the project might refer to, but given all of the Greek mythology references Lillian Luthor was dropping, one can only imagine it will have something to do with the famous Gorgon leader with snakes for hair and a stare that can turn people to stone.
Supergirl season two is not a show to waste a dramatic situation and it certainly didn’t with Kara and Mon-El’s imprisonment in Cadmus. Moments and/or reveals that went down within the organisation’s makeshift lair included:
1. A conversation between Kara and Lillian in which Lillian revealed that she is Lena’s mother, dodged the question of whether Lena knows about Cadmus, and explained that she hates aliens become Superman betrayed her son and then imprisoned him.
2. We find out that the real Hank Henshaw is alive and has been turned into Cyborg Superman by Cadmus. He is a match for Kara, knocking her out when she comes to rescue Mon-El. He also really, really hates aliens. He’s kind of the perfect Cadmus employee.
3. Jeremiah! Alex and Kara’s dad saves the day, digging a lead bullet out of Mon-El’s leg so he won’t die and leading them out of the facility. Frustratingly, Jeremiah doesn’t go with Kara because he has to hold some Cadmus people off or whatever, but, as Kara explains to Alex later, he is still himself. Or so it seems…
Was there a different reason Jeremiah didn’t want to leave Cadmus? Perhaps he is more assimilated into the culture than he would like to admit to Kara, even as he is saving her? Or perhaps it was Cadmus’ orders he was following when he let Kara go.
Whatever the backstory to Jeremiah’s current situation, it was heartwarming to see Kara light up and throw herself into Jeremiah’s arms when she first saw him. They exchange “I love yous” before Kara makes her escape. It’s nice to see Kara get some of her family back, if only for a moment, after she has lost so much.
While Kara and Mon-El grew closer than ever in their adjoining Cadmus cells, J’onn and M’gann came to literal blows when J’onn figured out that M’gann is a White Martian. It is definitely in character to watch J’onn turn so angry and to lash out upon discovering M’gann’s true identity, but that didn’t make it any easier to watch. Like so many of the alien characters on this show, M’gann wants to be defined in a way other than her species. She may be a White Martian, but she is not like the rest of her people. She turned her back on their oppression of the Green Martians. She even tried to help some of the Green Martians escape.
J’onn is not exactly in the best place to hear this from M’gann, as he has started seeing hallucinations of his dead wife and daughters. The visions are a result of the transfusion of M’gann’s blood he got in the last episode and, apparently, it’s only the beginning of the process that will end with him turning into a White Martian, the thing he hates most of all. It’s why M’gann asked an unconcious J’onn to forgive her, even as she agreed to give him the blood that would save his life.
J’onn throws M’gann in a DEO cell, content with watching her rot for the rest of her days. Hopefully, some of his DEO compatriots have a problem with this. After all, this isn’t The Flash. So far, Supergirl has mostly avoided throwing people into cells without any sort of impartial trial. J’onn is the opposite of an impartial judge when it comes to M’gann. And to think: this episode started with her bringing him soup.
For me, the least effective part of the episode came in this week’s Guardian-framed-for-murder subplot. It was totally fine, but, in comparison to everything else that was going on (especially the Cadmus stuff), it was hard to care about the Guardian stuff. Frankly, we have enough vigilante stories on TV and film right now and, as much fun as it was to see James and Winn play hero, it was never going to match up to Cyborg Superman and Dean Cain.
The Guardian thread did allow for some great moments of dramatic irony as various characters discussed what they thought about Guardian… in the presence of James and/or Winn. The best of these moments came in the very beginning of the episode when Kara made her distaste for vigilantes known with a sly Batman reference that likely had most viewers smiling in glee. (Given Kara’s vigilante policy, it will be interesting to see how she and Oliver get along in next week’s crossover.)
By episode’s end, Kara is still in the dark about Guardian’s identity, but she admits that he isn’t a serial killer. So that’s something. Alex, however, is already in on the secret (she got it out of Winn), so it’s unlikely Kara will stay in the dark for long.
One subplot that managed to match the Cadmus plot in delightful angst despite the relative lower stakes was the continued exploration of the Alex and Maggie relationship. After last week’s revelation that Maggie isn’t interested in exploring something romantic with Alex, things are pretty tense between the two. Maggie calls Alex out on it, but Alex insists there’s nothing wrong. Probably because she doesn’t want there to be anything wrong.
But Alex is done hiding her feelings and, when things get more tense at work, she tells Maggie the truth about what she’s feeling in another moment of bravery: She’s angry. Angry that Maggie told her her feelings were valid, then undercut them with a line about being “fresh off the boat” as soon as she tried to act on them.
Eventually, the two agree to be friends when Maggie shows up at Kara’s door and tells Alex that she doesn’t often care about people and she does care about Alex. Even though they’ve only known each other a short period of time, Maggie says she can’t imagine her life without Alex. Yeah, it’s the stuff of the best TV romances. Something tells me these two won’t stay “just” friends forever and that Maggie might be hiding her own insecurities or anxieties that are keeping her from pursuing a romantic relationship with Alex. (Because, let’s be honest, Alex is the ultimate catch.) For now, Supergirl continues to give us an honest, compelling LGBT romance — just another example of the many, many ways in which this show’s season two is hitting it out of the park.
Read Mike’s review of the previous episode, Changing, here.