This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl Season 5, Episode 5
While it isn’t exactly a shocker that Obsidian Tech and Leviathan are connected—after finding out that even Lex Luthor was under the thumb of the mysterious organization last season, almost nothing would surprise me—it’s nice to see Supergirl begin to explicitly put together the pieces, especially this early in the season. (The benefit of having a universe-changing crossover event waiting in the wings, I suppose.)
In last week’s episode, Kara discovered that William Dey is not a jerk; he just, somewhat nonsensically, thinks pretending to be a jerk will help him complete his investigative mission, which he is frankly very bad at. Throughout this week’s episode, he keeps telling Kara that he can’t let her get involved because it’s too dangerous, and she proceeds to not only get involved, but make more progress in a few days than he has in two years. Alien refugees: they get the job done.
Kara does have connections that William Dey does not: mainly, the DEO, who currently has two of the assassins connected to the alleged Rojas crime ring in their custody… Well, one and a half: the woman hired to take out Obsidian Worldwide accountant Elena Torres last week, and the alien living in those spider tattoos from Episode 3. Both assassins tell Kara, William, and Alex the same thing: they don’t know who hired them.
Meanwhile, a third assassin is on the scene: Rip Roar, whom William Dey (yes, you must always use his full name) tells us was responsible for the murder of his former bestie, Russell Rogers. It was Russell’s apparent murder (back to that in a second) that got William Dey into the crazy wall business two years ago. The last time they saw one another—for a drink at the pub, obviously—Russell told William Dey about this wonderful new woman he was seeing: Andrea Rojas. Not too long after, he was gone.
Guys. I have to pause here to talk, once again, about how bad of an investigative journalistic William Dey is. Like, I know the plot necessitates it, but it was pretty obvious from the get-go that dead bestie Russell, whom William Dey first saw in Rus’ apartment, has been Rip Roar this whole time. They never found a body. They have exactly the same build and vibe. Like, it doesn’t take a Pulitzer Prize winner to put the pieces together. I don’t think William Dey’s incompetence is a plot hole; it’s actually kind of realistic. Bro’s got a chiseled jaw, a British accent, and the confidence of an Oxbridger. Of course he is a celebrated journalist.
Unlike the other assassins, Rip Roar isn’t messing around with his villainy. He breaks into Fort Summit (seriously, that place needs better security—this is a world of aliens and metas) to steal Lex Luthor’s fusion cannon and immediately books it to Antarctica where he has plans to, um, take out the Pacific coast with a giant tidal wave, flooding every coastal city within 12 minutes.
If this sounds like the stakes just went from 0 to 60 in the space of an episode act, then you are paying attention. Rip Roar actually gets a shot off into Lake Vostov before Kara and J’onn can stop him. They manage to quell the tsunami, but the seismic activity still sends a wave towards National City, etc. Dreamer is able to take that one out using her oneirokinetic power, but it’s unclear how Team Supergirl managed to keep the rest of the seaboard safe? Like, I am going to assume that San Francisco made it?
The potentially catastrophic event is treated like just another villain-of-the-week in a tonally dischordant way, but it made for a very entertaining episode, so I’m not complaining. It also, hilariously, happened to coincide with the launch of Andrea Rojas’ fancy new VR lens, known as Collective Dream. While the tidal wave rushed toward the National City boardwalk, citizens (including Kelly) were hilariously oblivious to its coming, their eyes aglow with the drug that is social VR.
As we get closer to the inevitable reveal that Leviathan is behind all of this, and no doubt has some sinister use for the Collective Dream lenses in mind, for now, I wish Supergirl Season 5’s treatment of technology were a bit more nuanced. Kelly remains the sole voice of reason when it comes to the advent of new technology, seeing new technological inventions as a source of wonder with the potential for good as well as bad, but her commentary is not supported by the narrative itself.
Anyway, once Kara captures Rip Roar, it is only a matter of time before the truth comes out. She tells William Dey, who takes a much-needed break from staring at his crazy wall, the truth about his best friend. This shakes the foundation of everything William Dey thought he knew about the Rojas family and their diabolical plan. If Andrea Rojas isn’t behind this, then who is?
Enter the older woman we saw in the Season 4 finale, dropping vague and ominous Leviathan teases like she lives in a teaser trailer. She’s totally got an The X-Files Syndicate vibe going on, and is just as scary. She seems unphased by the mostly failed attempt to take out the Pacific coastal cities (which would have wiped out Obsidian’s industrial hub, crippling the company) when she meets with Andrea. Rather, she is focused on her next goal: to make sure Rip Roar, who is now in DEO custody, doesn’t talk.
Andrea looks horrified by the news that she will have to find a way to take Rip Roar out. Presumably, Andrea got pulled into this business as a way to help her boyfriend. (Unless I am giving her too much credit.) Like Eve before her, Andrea appears to be another pawn in Leviathan’s global game of chess—albeit a pawn with a substantial amount of power. How good or evil is Andrea? One thing’s for sure: we definitely shouldn’t take William Dey’s word for it.
As Leviathan reveals itself to be behind so many of the villainous forces so far this season, it becomes more and more likely that Lena may end up being the lesser-of-two-evils solution to the Leviathan threat. Unless she decides to join forces with them. At this point, it could go either way—though the former would offer Lena a chance to seek absolution for some of the terrible things she has done since finding out Kara’a secret.
While Lena has crossed many ethical boundaries this season—most of which include experimenting on others’ against their will—she does still have one line she won’t cross: murder. For much of the episode, it seems she doesn’t care if she is complicit in J’onn’s death, as long as she gets what she wants from Malefic first. However, as we learn at the end of the episode, that is not the case…
Lena wants to create a world in which everyone is incapable of hurting anyone else. (Though, again, she continues to use others’ bodies without their consent.) Why would Malefic think she would be cool with helping him murder his brother? I love how she presents this as Malefic fault for not understanding her somewhat arbitrary code of ethics. In Malefic’s defense, she does has a secret, evil lab with its own cell. Like, it’s not that far of a jump.
If you were wondering, Rip Roar’s vibe is a cross between Doc Ock and The Winter Soldier.
Kelly’s breakdown in the Obsidian Tech bathroom is one of the most realisitc things that has ever happened on this show. With the amount of trauma some of these people go through, I wouldn’t be surprised if they spent every lunch break crying in the bathroom. Heck, if I were J’onn J’onzz, I’d be curled up in the fetal postion 95% of the time.
Um, Andrea’s Collective Dream commercial is weird (all of those people staring, zombie-like ahead), but more impressive than I expected on a CW budget. Julia Gonzalo really sells it.
“William Dey’s not a murdered; he’s just a Grade A jerk.” Kara doesn’t tell Nia about William Dey, which is an interesting and probably smart choice.
Kelly and Alex gift one another matching motorcycle helmets for their date-aversary. I really hope this comes into play later. Also: safety first! (Also: I love that Kara knew exactly what Alex would want.)
Kara’s new, full name is: Kara “I’m in it for the justice” Danvers.
William’s new, full name: William “It’s an emotional abyss” Dey.
“Everyone’s inside their make believe worlds…” Kara getting in her weekly, anti-technology rant during a (very sweet) check in with J’onn.
“She’s dead.” Yes, but her tattoos aren’t.” #outofcontextsupergirl
You all know I like Malefic’s Evil Little Girl format, but it is nice to see actor Phil LaMarr’s face for so much of this episode. He feels more like a real, nuanced character than when he is jumping between forms and/or has his CGI alien-ness on.
I appreciate that Malefic is up front about his motives: When Lena tells him her plan, he’s all like: Yeah, I don’t care about doing “great” things. You gotta respect the guy’s focus.
Jesse Rath gets to have a bit of fun this week as Tattoo-ed Brainy, but the best parts of his perfornance come before he turns full-on assassin. “It’s from the oeuvre of Mr. Keanu Reeves…”
We see Kara getting overwhelmed by her angry several times in this episode, including during the Tattoo-ed Brainy interrogation scene. Does this feel in character for Kara, who says she almost didn’t figure out Lex Luthor’s plan in time and doesn’t want to risk getting out-matched by Leviathan (well, she doesn’t know it’s Leviathan yet)—which obviously feels kind of inevitable? Is William Dey’s intensity around this case contagious?
Do we think Old Lady Leviathan is the top of the Leviathan food chain? Or is there someone(s) above her?
The scene that saw William Dey and Kara “breaking into” Andrea’s office made me laugh a little. Like, this is their place of work in the era of late-stage capitalism. They had literally the easiest alibi for being in the office (even if they might have had to get creative with their reasoning for being in Andrea’s office, but whatevs). These two basically whispered all of their conversations to one another throughout this entire episode, making them 100% more suspicious than if they just acted like normal co-workers.
Speaking of acting unnecessarily sketchy… William Dey spends 90% of this episode sitting in the CatCo offices, looking moodily at pictures of his “dead” best friend. If he’s trying to stay undercover, he is not doing a very good job.
William Dey gets flashback power in this episode, which is usually reserved for main characters. How do we feel about his perspective taking up so much narrative space in this episode? Is it a sign of things to come?
“We’ll have 9 million. That’s more than the population of most countries!” William Dey on the Collective Dream launch. What a weird statistical context to volunteer.
J’onn gets biblical with his references in tonight’s episode, noting that, should Rip Roar’s scheme go to plan, they will see the biggest flood since Noah. Interesting cultural reference for a Martian (maybe he’s an Aronofsky fan?), but it certainly gets the point across.
“Which part of the Pacific coast?” “All of it.” Lol. And also: yikes!
Dreamer looks so cool in the scene that sees her pushing back the tidal wave threatening National City. That is all.
“I am glad that I didn’t have to tell Kelly that her boss is a crime lord.”
William Dey needs friends!