This review contains spoilers.
3.10 Legion Of Superheroes
At the end of the midseason finale, Supergirl was defeated by Reign in a spectacular and violent fashion. Reign did serious damage, both to Supergirl herself, who spends most of this episode in a coma, and to the city, which seems panicked and demoralised after Supergirl’s defeat and absence.
If you were hoping to meet the whole Legion tonight, you were disappointed—the rest of the crew is still in stasis in their ship. Since we had already met Mon-El and his wife, Imra Adeen, that means we really only met one new character, making this episode title a bit of an oversell. It’s still great to see the first three members of the Legion suit up and get in on the action. I’m looking forward to a more badass entrance when the whole gang is up and at ‘em, as Reign totally stole their Bon Jovi-fuelled moment with her glowing entrance through the cement wall of a prison, all while the music built to a crescendo.
It was gutsy to show Supergirl truly defeated, and without any real trickery or unfair advantage. This episode hammers home its point: Reign is stronger than Supergirl in every possible way. But Supergirl’s strength has never simply come from her powers—it comes from her intelligence, her teamwork, and who she is as a person. After this initial win over Reign using teamwork and a clever solution from Alex, I hope to see that winning formula tested and pushed beyond what we’ve seen on the show so far.
Speaking of Alex and that solution, the DEO made the decision to disregard Clark and Kara’s wishes, absent of both of them. Kara wielded the syringe of Kryptonite herself, in spite of the effects it had on her body, so she clearly learned about its existence. But I’m looking forward to her reaction to those decisions next week, particularly Alex’s involvement, as well as further discussion about the ethics of maintaining an arsenal of anti-Kryptonian weapons.
Reign is an interesting villain and is particularly well suited to a show that has already laid the groundwork for showing Supergirl’s necessity in National City, and her morality within her self-imposed crime-fighting mandate. Any fears that regular citizens or former antagonists like Maxwell Lord and Morgan Edge have said about Supergirl is actually true of Reign, a super-powered (even for a Kryptonian) villain with poor judgment, no mercy, and an overzealous concept of justice.
Reign and her handler talk often of justice without mercy and cleansing sins—dangerous language that often leads the speaker to appoint themselves judge, jury, and executioner. It also fits right into Thomas Coville’s doctrine, more sharply highlighting questions of how he came by his knowledge of Ra, Reign’s origins, and how exactly she came to be Sam.
Brainiac-5, or the somewhat awkwardly nicknamed Brainy, arrives on the scene to look after Kara and guide her through her experience while in a coma. His character hits a lot of the same notes as Spock, particularly in this introduction, but he’s also played with enough warmth and charm by Jesse Rath to make me eager to learn more about him. He’s also a remarkably good therapist for someone who’s part machine, showing that his intelligence and personality make him less robotic than he might initially seem.
The Legion’s hesitation to join the DEO’s fight, which mostly came from Mon-El, didn’t feel like much more than a stalling tactic, particularly given how cavalierly they brought a ship full of their slumbering colleagues along for the fight. The writers obviously needed to build tension, and this is the best they could come up with. What is interesting, however, is that Imra was pushing Mon-El to take on Reign.
We also got a fun little nugget of characterisation here—apparently there’s an extinction-level event several hundred years into the future, wiping out all knowledge. This puts the onus on Mon-El to educate them in the future about the cultural achievements of mankind, which include Shakespeare and of course Jon Bon Jovi. This also colors Brainy’s initial fanboy reaction to Supergirl: he has only learned about her from Mon-El, meaning that his fawning is due to the deep admiration Mon-El still holds for Kara. Mon-El shows his fondness for Kara—and more of the teasing, roguish character we know, instead of the stone-face responsible guy he’s turned into—at the end of the episode when he expresses gratitude for her being okay and says how much he missed fighting by her side.
Imra doesn’t have a ton of screentime in this episode, but she makes good use out of it. We see her eagerness to help Kara and the DEO, as well as her respect for Kara’s skills and reputation as Supergirl. So far, the show seems entirely uninterested in falling into the typical tropes of love triangles. These women aren’t fighting or backstabbing over Mon-El: his wife respects his ex and what they had together. Kara is sad for what she’s lost, but doesn’t take it out on either Mon-El or Imra, and she has no expectations that their relationship status will change. I hope this continues, as it’s in line with who we know Kara Danvers to be and is frankly more interesting. Three people, where no one is the bad guy, but hearts are nonetheless broken, is more fraught and original than the usual scheming and hair-pulling.
Much of Kara’s turmoil during the first half of season 3 was over trying to resolve her human and alien attributes, particularly her feelings of emotional vulnerability. It says a lot about this show, and CW superhero shows in general, that a hero’s major arc for half a season revolved around learning how to accept and live with their emotional vulnerability.
It’s fitting that in the end, it’s the words of Kara’s sister that bring her back from the self-imposed portion of her coma. The relationship of the Danvers sisters has only strengthened with time and grown in importance to the show. Even when the two women share very little screen time, they are still each other’s number one concern, support system, and moral compass.
Read Delia’s review of the previous episode, Reign, here.