Supergirl Season 4 Episode 21 Review: Red Dawn

Supergirl refocuses on its central relationships in a high octane episode

This Supergirl review contains spoilers. 

Supergirl Season 4 Episode 21

It’s high time for everyone in Kara’s world to know that she’s Supergirl, though I suppose for now I’ll settle for Alex knowing. Any return to Midvale is welcome, and it’s always great to hear The Format (Nate Ruess’s band before fun.) The neural pathways thing feels like scifi gibberish flimflam but sure, fine, whatever. If nothing else, it allows for a great montage of memories of Alex and Kara flooding back as Alex realizes Supergirl is her sister. The beautiful visual of kara pulling sunlight from the plants, trees, moss is truly stunning as well.

The Danvers sisters are the heart of this show, and in a season that feels like it has gone so far astray, it feels right for this episode to re-center on them. Now that they’re reunited, I’m hoping they’ll get to unpack Alex’s missed chance at an adoption. As Kelly referenced, Alex’s adopted sister would likely have an interesting perspective on that. Far too often, folks don’t even bother to consult actual adoptees and simply assume that they ought to be grateful and leave it at that. Alex Danvers is better than that of course, but I’d like to see the show make space for how complex adoption can be.

Sadly, Supergirl and Red Daughter’s fight left something to be desired. There was little substance and a lot of slow-mo as filler. It’s cool that Red Daughter has electricity, but I was hoping for more from this face-off, especially considering how little action there has been on this show lately. I hope Lex is lying and Red Daughter isn’t really dead – I was hoping more could come from her and Kara’s interactions. If nothing else, I want to see Mikhail come back into play and Red Daughter learn that (A)Lex is a liar.

Ad – content continues below

It was interesting to watch Kara stunned into silence when Red Daughter had the same assumptions about her that Kara had about the Red Daughter. I noticed Supergirl avoided the question about the American Dream (it’s okay to say it’s rotten Kara, that doesn’t mean Americans aren’t worthy of living), but I love to hear her using her comics-accurate motto of Hope, Help, and Compassion for All rather than truth, justice and the American way. (If her spin isn’t a gendered take, I don’t know what is.)

There’s a huge flaw in Lex’s plan moving forward. He claims to have killed Red Daughter, so now all Supergirl has to do is show her face anywhere in public and people will know something is afoot.

This was a great installment in the “Lena is calm, cool, and collected” files. I love when she knows exactly what she wants and where she stands with people. Seeing her know exactly how to work her mother to get what she needed was excellent…and then there’s that little kicker of her mother saying I love you with the truth seeker on there, just to throw Lena for a bit of a loop.

Ben Lockwood had the emotional glow-up of the season after Lena told him that he was a pawn in Lex’s scheme. It makes sense, considering he was once a thoughtful historian who actively worked against the rhetoric he now espouses. It was the emotional journey surrounding his father and his family’s steel business that drew him toward his hatred and finding out that he was a mere prop would be a huge blow. Lockwood is smart enough to keep questioning everything once he has Lena’s information, and Otis does his team no favors here.

If Lockwood is going to live, he’ll need Lena’s help (and possibly her mother’s), so it’s probably a good move in the long run, though I doubt he got that far in his thinking. He’s clearly someone who always thought he had the moral high ground, and finding out that wasn’t true is going to be tough for him.

One of the best moments was Sam Witwer as Brainy as Ben Lockwood. So spot on, layers and all, down to the gestures and speaking voice. Unfortunately, the rest of Brainy’s story is a lot less fun. After a season of emotional growth, it all comes to a disturbing regression with an amazing performance from Jesse Rath. After some nearly-deadly experimentation, he seems to have gone back to ancestral factory-level resets and has become the cold, calculating collector like the rest of his family. If you’re watching Krypton or you’ve read the comics, you’ve heard of other decidedly less warm and fuzzy brainiacs.

Ad – content continues below

Rath’s voice is suddenly deeper, his posture stiffer, and everything we loved about Brainy is gone. It’s heartbreaking to see Nia realize she’s being left behind. It seems Brainy was sadly correct that he should have told Nia his feelings before all the fighting started. This change doesn’t seem to me like one that will be wrapped up by the finale.

Other notes

UM WHAT Lena bought a for-profit prison for the weekend. At least she sounds like she knows they’re bad. 

 “I remember every secret government space laser I blow up.”

Nia asking Brainy to “tell her the odds” during the extended Star Wars riff even though she knows he doesn’t get it and oof my heart hurts.

Did they even tell Mrs. Danvers that Alex didn’t know her sister was Supergirl?

Ad – content continues below

I don’t 100% trust Lena’s mom with this baby truth seeker.

Lex’s upgraded suit looked suspiciously like Boba Fett.


4 out of 5