This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl Season 3 Episode 7
“Wake Up” is the definition of “your mileage may vary.” If you love Mon-El, this was a triumphant yet heartbreaking return. If you’ve stayed spoiler-free, Sam’s transformation into a ruiner of worlds is a dark twist. But there’s also a large portion of Supergirl fans for whom neither of those things are true, and for those folks this episode was middle of the road, with a little Martian whimsy thrown in.
“Wake Up” puts a very fine point on Kara’s continued struggle to reconcile the human and Kryptonian sides of her heart, though once again it is unclear when Kryptonians were ever established as heartless or unemotional. It doesn’t help that Mon-El’s time travel has proved her misguided view that love is a weakness, a distinctly human quality, and a detriment to Supergirl. Little does she know, her struggle to follow or protect her heart isn’t just a Kryptonian (or Vulcan) one, but a fundamentally human one.
The Martians move out
J’onn and his father venture outside the DEO so M’yrnn can feel less like a prisoner. It must be said that J’onn’s dad is dapper AF, likes coffee, and immediately takes to the classic old guy pursuit of chess in the park. Of course leave it to the elder Martian to be a delightful anti-capitalist and point out that his son is the real prisoner of the DEO. M’yrnn has a point – J’onn has no real friends or life beyond the DEO, especially when M’gann is off-world. The only person who spends more time there is Winn, who I’m guessing has a room down the hall from M’yrnn, or maybe he just curls up in an air duct at night.
J’onn takes his father’s point to heart and gets them both an apartment they can share, where they can build a real home together. Space dad having a space dad is heartwarming in an inoffensive sort of way, and I suspect we’ll eventually get a Martian political payoff. In the meantime, here’s hoping we get some odd couple antics and more of M’yrnn’s fish out of water wisdom.
Mon-El returns right on schedule, after our requisite episode to mourn the loss of Sanvers. Kara goes from being over the moon to punching the guy in no time. Of course Kara is right to stop him; Mon-El is acting exceedingly suspicious. He’s no longer bothered by lead, he only calls his ship “alien” when asked about its origin, he won’t say who his passengers are, and he knocked a few people out while sneaking around the DEO. And yet Winn helps him anyway, which is ill-advised but nonetheless in character for the show’s human puppy dog.
Kara tries not to see the truth for a long time, even after she gets on board with Mon-El’s mystery plan to save his passengers. It’s as though she knows what’s coming, and would rather he be evil than not love her any more. It turns out Mon-El really is himself, but for him it has been seven years, not seven months, he’s been in the future where L Corp has solved his lead poisoning, and of course the attractive woman in his ship is his wife.
Bringing Mon-El back with a wife is a nice way of making his return significantly less neat – it would have felt incredibly cheap otherwise. I’m pleasantly surprised the show kept him away as long as they did, though I’m awaiting an explanation for how his ship was in 12,000 year old rock.
Sam becomes Reign
Sam finally seeks out some much-needed answers about her abilities. Sam’s relationship with her mother is strained, and there’s clearly more of a story there beyond even Ruby’s conception and Sam’s choice to have her. Odette Anable’s performance in these scenes was some of the best work we’ve seen from her thus far, and grounded her origin story in sense of humanity, even if she is ultimately Kryptonian.
Your mileage may vary on this plot, dictated largely by how into spoilers you are. If you’ve read pretty much anything about the show this season, you were probably already aware that Sam becomes Reign. However if you’ve kept yourself spoiler-free, this has been an interesting (if somewhat slow) reveal of who and what Sam really is. This makes it an unusually long look into the origins of a villain, particularly their personality and positive qualities as opposed to their mania or powers. Perhaps that’s why Sam’s storyline in this episode felt so reminiscent of Smallville – though the spaceship in the barn did help. Though the two shows take place in the same universe, these two most recent episodes are really the only time I think of the WB’s (now CW’s) earlier foray into super television.
A shard of alien crystal from her spaceship leads Sam to her own Fortress of Solitude: Desert Edition, where she learns the truth about her identity and purpose. We’ve spent enough time with Sam that the idea of her forgetting her daughter or becoming a “world killer” is unimaginable. Based on everything we’ve seen from Sam over the last six episodes, she won’t go down without a fight. Unfortunately Odette Anable’s transformation into Reign was equally as overwrought as she was understated in the scenes with her adoptive mother. Still, she had a tall order of humanizing an eventual villain with limited screen time in six (really five) episodes, and Anable succeeded in that.
Now that all the pieces for the season are on the board, it’s time to set them in motion. But first, the crossover!