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I don’t know if anyone here really knows just how invested I get in the Luthor family. But boy oh boy, this episode of Supergirl basically feels as if made specifically with me in time. Development for Alex and Maggie’s romantic arc! Lena Luthor being more than she lets on! Huge, plot-shaking revelations!
Honestly, if not for Mon-El, this would rank as my favorite episode of the season so far.
Unfortunately, I personally cannot stand Mon-El, and this episode has a lot of him. The opening sequence of scenes revolves around Kara trying to help Mon fit in on Earth. As someone who has social-interaction issues, watching Mon make crucial social errors makes me cringe in embarrassment. I know they’re supposed to be funny gags and stuff, but it just doesn’t land that way for me.
After that’s over, we get to see Maggie and Alex at the alien bar, playing pool. Alex asks Maggie why she seems so down lately, and Maggie tells her that she got dumped by her girlfriend. Alex immediately dives way too deep into ‘concerned ”friend”’ mode, a clear sign of a budding romantic arc.
After that, we finally get to start the A-plot, which focuses on humans with alien weapons stealing things. Kara and James are walking along chatting, and suddenly a robbery begins. Kara goes into Supergirl mode, and James tries to use his black belt to help with the situation. The fight goes badly, and the crooks accidentally destroy James’s father’s camera, an important character MacGuffin. This scene is followed by one set in the DEO HQ. Winn exposits about the gun the criminals used to hurt Kara, only to be interrupted by a broadcast from CADMUS. CADMUS tells the world that they tried to warn them about the aliens, yadda yadda yadda, basically what you’d expect from this scene.
We get back to CatCo for more hijinks involving Mon-El, who not only embarrasses me on a personal level, but it turns out he’s kind of a terrible person. Not like, murder-terrible, but dudebro-terrible. I can’t stand him and don’t think he belongs on this show, frankly. Definitely not as a character I’m supposed to sympathize with, anyway. Thankfully, Lena arrives on scene to make me feel better and to ask Kara to come to a party. Because Kara’s Lena’s only friend in National City.
(This is about where I realized #$%@ I’m having Smallville Feelings All Over Again, for the record.)
Kara accepts Lena’s invitation and Mon, being kind of a jerk and invasive and everything, manages to invite himself along.
Back at the DEO, Winn and Alex talk about Alex’s friendship with Maggie. Alex visually starts to realize that she might have feelings for Maggie in this scene, and I loved it.
The next two scenes include the crooks fighting Supergirl, who breaks one of their guns, and the crooks meeting up with the woman who heads CADMUS. She waxes poetic about her motives, something she seems to do every time she appears. The lead thief, Meyers, doesn’t seem too keen on her political motivations and just wants more money. She gives him a bigger gun for his next heist.
Next, we snap back to Alex and Maggie. Alex keeps trying to convince Maggie to do stuff with her. Eventually, Maggie thinks that Alex is trying to date her. She claims she’s not, but we all know better. They part a little awkwardly, and my little gay heart fills with glee.
Only to get like, super disgusted by Mon-El a scene later, but I guess you win some, you lose some, you know? Anyway, Mon-El seduces Miss Tessmacher, who deserves better. Kara has to interrupt Mon and Eve, which just…I did not feel Mon-El necessary to this episode at all. All of his stuff just doesn’t gel with the tone and characterization of everyone else, I’m sorry.
Moving on, we finally get the start of the James-becomes-a-cape plot we’ve heard so much about in press lately! James visits Winn at the DEO and asks him what exactly the DEO is doing to find and combat the thieves. Winn tells him, and James skedaddles, having a hunch about a particular location.
Then, that night, James loiters by the location, the Federal Reserve, and sure enough, in come the thieves. James tries to take them out, but has to stop to rescue people when they destroy a building.
After the fight, Winn calls James out for having done this. He caught James’s face on a security camera and thinks that James will get himself killed if he keeps doing this. James tells him that he’s going to do it with or without him, but he’d like to work together with Winn on this. Winn refuses. For now.
We cut to a scene between Alex and Kara. Alex clearly wants to talk about how she’s realizing she’s gay. Kara wants to talk about how godawful Mon’s behaving. Kara goes first, but Alex winds up inadvertently excusing Mon-El’s inexcusable behavior. Because she has her own character arc of self-discovery going on, and she projects that onto Mon. Alex almost comes out to Kara, only for a knock to sound from the door. Lena! Lena has arrived at Kara’s house, and she needs to call in that favor. She wants to talk to Supergirl.
The next scene focuses on CADMUS. Meyers and his crew want to target Lena’s gala. The woman from CADMUS tells them not to underestimate the Luthors. She then proceeds to talk about how she does what she does for her children’s safety. She mentions having a son and a daughter. I immediately felt my jaw drop and went “LILLIAN?” because are we finally getting Lillian Luthor?
That question goes unanswered until the end of the episode, so, here we go:
Supergirl visits Lena, and they talk a little, and Supergirl eventually agrees to come to the gala. Lena wears white in this scene, and someday I will go through all of Lena’s costuming to try and make symbolic sense of it all. I just wanted to point out white here specifically, because wow, Lena, I feel like this means something. Her first significant interactions with Supergirl all involve her in white or light beige. Meanwhile, she tends to wear black and red when interacting with Kara.
Next, we have the actual gala scene. Kara has to enlist Winn for some misdirection in order to convince Lena that Kara and Supergirl are separate people. Winn asks James if he plans to do anything stupidly heroic if something goes wrong at the gala. Mon and Kara dance and Winn and James imply that they think a romance might happen between Kara and Mon. Then the bad guys attack. In the midst of the fight scene, Winn dives under a table to find Lena fiddling with some device that looks kind of like a bomb.
The two of them talk science and technobabble at each other for a bit, and then manage to set off the device, destroying the weapons of the bad guys. I get the feeling that this is meant as a potential het ship launcher but I felt no romantic chemistry at all.
We get back from the next commercial break to find Maggie transporting Meyers. The woman from CADMUS murders him through an implant in his head. Then, we cut to Winn and James, where Winn decides to help James after all, because superheroism is ‘addictive.’ Mon and Kara have a scene that would have been a lot cuter if I could tolerate Mon at all.
Then, we get a scene between Alex and Maggie. Alex tells Maggie that Maggie might be right about her, and talks about how the one thing in her life she never was any good at was dating. This scene was lovely and most of all, the eyelights in the actresses’s eyes were very bright and very intense and I loved them.
Finally, we get to the final scene, where Lena and Supergirl talk. They banter a tiny bit about a Luthor and a Super working together. Mirroring the scene between Lena and Kara at the beginning of the season, Lena tells Supergirl she hopes they can keep working together. Their talk winds up interrupted by none other than…the woman from CADMUS! Turns out, she is Lena’s mother.
I started screaming internally at that point and have not stopped since.
Okay, so overall, my basic opinions:
I don’t like Mon-El at all, and I think I make it abundantly clear why. He doesn’t fit the culture of the show. I don’t watch Supergirl to be forced to sympathize with a dudebro who’s casual misogyny weighs more than Mount Everest.
I also don’t know how I feel about James as a cape. I’ve seen people point out that James becoming a superhero removes the only really civilian hero left in the cast. I think that’s a good point. However, I’m glad he gets to have a plot of his own now that his romance with Kara has been shelved for the time being.
The Luthor and CADMUS stuff, though, was A+. As someone trapped halfway through Smallville at the moment, I can’t help but relate Lena to early seasons’ Lex, as I’ve said before. She wants to step out of her family shadow and be a good guy. She even renames the family business from LuthorCorp to L-Corp, symbolically and unmistakeably aligning herself with the House of El.
Seeing her mother take on what feels like a Lionel Luthor-esque role really gets to me. The good Luthor drama, my friends. I look forward to seeing what this brings to the character dynamics of the show, especially considering how desperately Lena seems to want Kara’s friendship and Supergirl’s trust.
Finally, thank god they didn’t draw out the Alex/Maggie buildup too long — or at least, not Alex discovering she has feelings part. I really look forward to seeing how they develop this, too.
Overall, this episode could have done with Less Mon-El, but other than that, I really enjoyed it.