This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl Season 4 Episode 11
Supergirl feels like it’s accelerating as various stories start to take shape and even tie into one another in exciting ways. An excellent benefit of being in the fourth season of this world is that there’s a lot to play with, and it feels like this season’s various plot threads started in very different corners but are now working their way toward one another with promising opportunities for connections. Even the Children of Liberty and bizarro Supergirl stories, which had been way on the back burner, reignite with intrigue.
I’m very interested in how the story with Lena’s genetic enhancement is being developed, particularly the way it’s gathering speed and picking up other narrative threads as it goes, like a snowball that grows as it moves. This episode entangles James in a dangerous way, rather pointedly demonstrating why titans of industry shouldn’t own the media, and why they shouldn’t date the editorial heads of those media companies, whether they own them or not. James unintentionally compromised himself when he fell into the thrall of the Children of Liberty earlier the season, and I fear he’s compromising himself again, this time for a very different reason.
Last season of Supergirl struggled in the back half when the various story lines couldn’t quite come together, but this episode acts as an excellent rebuttal. The powers-for-humans plot picks up another smart development that knits it into out Soviet Supergirl and accelerates the timetable for bringing in the Children of Liberty, even if they don’t have access to Lena’s actual development. I can’t wait to hear next episode whether her rather naïve conception of the powered drug has changed.
Nia finally got to take center stage in a big way, finally pushing her character toward her destiny as Dreamer. While I’ve loved seeing the supportive responses to Nia, it also felt authentic to show her struggle against stigma. Nia’s sister (and to a lesser extent, her mother) went from subtly undermining Nia’s gender to outright transphobic and hateful comments. One thing that I did love about this, though, was the way that Nia’s dreaming powers completely affirmed her identity – these powers go from mother to daughter, and somehow those powers knew, even when biology didn’t, where they belonged. Sometimes, science fiction gets to do and say powerful things.
It’s also exciting to see Kara finally reveal her identity to Nia. It’s a big development for Kara to understand the difference between who needs to be protected from this information and who doesn’t, who is a danger to Kara herself and who isn’t. If only Kara could extend this good judgment to her best friend Lena…
It’s easy to see the parallels between Maeva/Nia and Kara/Alex, particularly when Kara says, “you didn’t choose to be the sister with powers. You didn’t take anything from her,” and, “keeping a secret from your sister will only hurt you.” Now that the truth seeker has finished its job, why does Alex need to remain in the dark? Keeping her unaware is dangerous to everyone. Without Kara as an alien in her childhood, Alex’s empathy has shifted away from aliens. She has a deep feeling of being powerless, wanting to not be vulnerable, and that’s making her dangerous to herself and others. She’s missing things in her role as Director of the DEO, but she’s also verging on radicalizing.
I agree with Kara in that I have faith in the love between sisters – ultimately, this is a show built around the love of the Danvers sisters. But it’s frustrating to watch the writers trade one secret Kara keeps from a loved one for another. I’m also with Kara in that I question how Alex could have her close relationship with J’onn intact, knowing he’s an alien, and have the sort of blind animus we’re meant to think she harbors. What I saw was a mistrust of Supergirl specifically and unchecked power more generally, which could morph into more, similar to Lena’s feelings. I hope the writing doesn’t do Alex too much of a disservice here.
All around, this was a rich episode that moved the story forward for Nia, Kara, and Alex, raised some concerns about Lena and James, and even gave us some fun moments with frat bro Brainy.