This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl Season 4 Episode 8
This episode of Supergirl, which was directed by Kevin Smith, is our first glimpse into who Nia is as a person, what her powers are, and the role she will play in the world of Supergirl. Meanwhile, Manchester and Agent Liberty finally have their showdown, and the dispute between Manchester and our heroes about how to fight back against anti-alien hatred comes to a head.
Nothing about Agent Liberty going behind bars makes it seem like he has been put in his place or that justice has been served. In fact, rather than his wife recoiling in disgust from his attempt to shoot a temporarily defenseless Manchester Black or being grateful to Supergirl for saving his life, she helps rally the protesters. President Baker isn’t too convincing when he claims that he thinks aliens are people, too.
President Baker’s demand for Supergirl’s identity isn’t a huge surprise – it’s pretty shocking that only Alex and the retired J’onn J’onzz know who she is. Baker demanding it in a crowded room, on the other hand, is. The government employs plenty of assets in the field whose identities are kept on a top security, need to know basis. He even proves his own point about safety when he mentions that his family has the secret service – will Supergirl’s family be afforded any kind of protection?
That being said, it feels unfair (and more than a bit out of character) for Kara not to disclose her identity to Nia. Revealing her own alien identity would have been a great way to gain Nia’s trust and make her feel more comfortable. It’s a strange dynamic to expect Nia to disclose this potentially dangerous information to her boss and for Kara to choose to actively keep her own origins a secret.
We’ve had to wait an incredibly long time to see Nia in action, but this was worth the wait. It seems the once-in-a-generation oniromancer from Neltor is she’s pretty important, since Brainy knows who she is and is keeping pretty mum. Apparently, his fascination was more academic than romantic, though I’m still pulling for both. With Brainy’s careful help, Nia is better able to use her powers of premonition and quickly improves them by leaps and bounds. She no longer needs to be asleep – she sees a bullet coming and reacts in time to stop it. As Kara explains, powers are like a muscle, and the more Nia uses them, the stronger they grow.
I’m looking forward to watching Nia continue to learn more about her powers and grow as a character. She clearly needs a mentor and this is a great way for Kara/Supergirl to mature herself. Nia’s apparent tie to the future also brings a relevance to Brainy that I had long ago written off. Perhaps best of all, there’s enough going on with Nia that she has plenty of story without her being trans needing to dominate her story every week. It’s there, but she gets to be so much more than that.
Back to the Lockwood side of things, our savvy leader seems acutely aware at the beginning of the episode that his irl persona represents the more palatable alt-Liberty. Moving forward, I expect we’ll see the world of Supergirl become more radical and more accepting of Agent Liberty and other terrorists.
Frank, the Child of Liberty who was pulling a Spartacus in interrogation, had his entire identity erased. This suggests that Agent Liberty has very powerful friends, and I wouldn’t be surprised if members of Baker’s administration or even the DEO are to blame. President Baker seems to at least be sympathetic, although his obsession with poll numbers and general lack of intelligence suggests he’s not “leadership material” as Haley said it.
Manchester tried to force Supergirl to radicalize left – be a government stooge or become a cold-blooded killer. We all know Supergirl would never torture people in her bathroom like Manchester, but I would like to see her struggle more with the shades of grey when it comes to the different ways to fight back. Without the DEO to stop her, how and when will she decide to intervene? Where will she patrol?
J’onn thinks Manchester can still be redeemed, and I’m inclined to agree. But Manchester might also be right. It’s so rare for J’onn to misjudge someone. What was going on there?
It has long been strange that Supergirl has been tethered to a specific government’s needs, rules, and whims. I don’t, however, think Baker will tolerate an independent Supergirl. Unfortunately, I don’t think Supergirl literally flying free, showing off her alien-ness, above Lockwood being brought into jail, is the greatest image right now. It seems the DEO has made a martyr of him, right before losing Supergirl.
Meanwhile, on Earth-90, their version of the Flash (AKA John Wesley Shipp, the original TV Flash AKA Dawson Leary’s dad) has failed to conquer a foe who got some sort of magic book, and speeds his way out of a battlefield. See you next week for the Elseworlds crossover event!
A few stray observations
Great shout-out to Lois Lane – perhaps a little Elseworlds foreshadowing?
I loved the running gag of Brainy “mastering” western film classics – how long until he learns about film twitter?
Lockwood’s Bunker Hill history is more than just a little simplistic, but that’s not altogether surprising.
Kara flicking a bad guy’s forehead is a pretty great move and should happen more often. Also loving Brainy’s ring trick.
It’s disturbing to see the meaning of the term “human rights” completely changed
Supergirl got some great quotes: “I’m not struggling, I’m flying.” “He’s not a movement; he’s a butcher.” “The United States does not want a war with Supergirl.” “Then I trust you won’t start one.”
The crossover kicks off with The Flash, which will air in Supergirl’s Sunday night timeslot on December 9. The story continues in Arrow on Monday, December 10. The trilogy will conclude on Supergirl, which will air during The Flash’s Tuesday night timeslot on December 11.