Supergirl: Are There Whites on Mars? (S1 E11 RECAP)
Previously on Supergirl: Hank Henshaw had a million reasons for not using his Martian Manhunter powers, but went and used them anyway. Winn finally revealed his unrequited love for Kara, who didn’t want things to change between them, but Winn wasn’t really feeling that. And Kara learned that Cat Grant has an adult son named Adam Foster who she hasn’t seen since he was a little kid.
We begin with Kara flying through the clouds and delivering a voiceover monologue, and a quick flashback reveals this is actually a letter she’s sent to an unseen person, saying she regrets “not being there for you” and wanting to “make things right between us”. Meanwhile in the present, Supergirl comes upon a forest fire, and a family trapped in a camper. As she lifts the camper up and out of danger, her voiceover letter ends with, “when all is said and done, there’s nothing more important than family. All my love, Mom.”
That’s right. Kara secretly has a child! Nah, just kidding. Though, could you imagine the reaction if this show revealed Kara got pregnant when she was 14 or something? Obviously, there’s more going on here, and I think they were trying to hook in viewers with a little bit of mystery, but it’s frankly more confusing than mysterious. Also, did we really need to see Supergirl save a family of four to understand there’s nothing more important than family?
Cut to Kara walking to work, with Alex beside her, because apparently CatCo is on the way to the DEO. Kara is talking about how bad she feels for hurting Winn’s feelings, and she misses her best friend, but Alex says she just needs to give him space, and time. Kara replies, “I hate space and time!” Yeah, I know, right? The very fabric of the universe is the worst.
Down at the Only Restaurant in National City, Kara asks for “Ms. Grant’s latte”, and she’s overheard by a hunky guy standing at the bar, who wants to know if Cat Grant is as horrible as her reputation suggests. Kara says that Cat is in fact “amazing” and a “badass”, and Random Hunky Guy says, “She’s very lucky to have you,” while quite obviously undressing her with his eyes.
He leaves and Alex clues her in that the guy was flirting with her, because Kara really is that oblivious. Also, the actor is Blake Jenner, previously seen on Glee, who happens to be Melissa Benoist’s husband in real life. So it’s pretty obvious he’s destined to become a love interest for Kara.
Kara and Alex see a TV news report about “Senator Miranda Crane’s anti-alien rally” happening this afternoon, and Alex says, “DEO duty calls,” and takes off.
As Kara heads up to the office, she brushes past Winn, who’s giving her the cold shoulder. Though oddly, he’s also being somewhat friendly at the same time. So does this mean they’ll eventually go back to being friends and the character of Winn is salvageable after all? Only time, and space, will tell.
In a conference room, Cat Grant is briefing all her reporters (plus James, plus Kara, plus Lucy Lane) about Senator Miranda Crane, who she describes as a “bigot” due to her whole anti-alien agenda. James volunteers to go cover the rally, saying he’s the “most experienced photojournalist you have”, and just like that, his secret wish to get back out into the field has just been granted.
Kara wants to know why Cat is giving any coverage at all to a “bigot”, and Cat admits the senator makes for “excellent click-bait”. And I’m sure you can already figure out that the inspiration for the senator is a certain orange-haired blowhard currently running for president, but if not, don’t fret; the episode is going to make sure to really hammer it home.
Cat then spots that Random Hunky Guy standing in her office, but before Kara calls security, Cat recognizes him as her son Adam. Cat is stunned and wants to know why he’s here today of all days, and Adam says he got her letter. Cat turns and smiles at Kara, and we immediately realize this is the same letter Kara was writing in the intro. Cat and Adam make plans for dinner, and he gives her the letter back for some reason, then leaves.
Also, Adam appearing directly after the Toyman’s appearance doesn’t bode well for his longevity. In the comics, the death of Adam at the hands of the Toyman was a pretty major plotline, but they’ve already deviated from the comics in plenty of ways (e.g., Hank Henshaw/Cyborg Superman), and this version of Adam is already much older than the comic book Adam when he dies, so we’ll see where this goes.
Kara explains that Cat has been writing a lot of letters lately (to Adam, I assume) but never finishing them, so Kara decided to grab one and polish it off. “I finished it for you!” Yes, Kara took it upon herself to meddle in her boss’s family life, so Cat immediately tells her to get out, because she’s fired.
But Kara talks her way out of it by reminding Cat that losing Adam was the “biggest regret of your life”, and Cat softens up when she reads the letter and sees it’s not awful. She backtracks on the firing, but promises to make Kara’s life “hell”. But Kara only smiles and says it’s “worth it. Family always is!” Seriously, does Kara really have nothing else going on in her life that she has time to reconnect with other people’s family members?
Down at the sparsely attended anti-alien “rally”, Senator Miranda Crane (Tawny Cypress, previously seen on Heroes) takes the podium and address the crowd. She gives a stock speech about how aliens are the real enemy, while Alex and Henshaw are staking out the scene and scanning for… something. It seems like they already know an alien is going to attack the rally, though it’s never explained how.
Crane continues her rant about aliens. “We need to know where they live, what they do, and who they eat!” Who they eat? Did she really just say that? She’s even willing to “build a dome” to stop aliens from landing in this country. You know, just like how a certain pumpkin-headed billionaire wants to build a wall to keep out the other kind of aliens.
But just which aliens is she even referring to? I don’t think it’s ever been established that the public is aware of any aliens besides Superman and Supergirl; there are the Fort Rozz aliens, but in previous episodes we’ve seen the DEO take great pains to keep their existence a secret.
Just then, a giant alien attacks the rally, whipping people around and tossing them in every direction. The senator is hustled out of there by Secret Service, but then the alien hits the agents with some kind of acid/fire breath that dissolves them. Hank and Alex move in, and James is there photographing the rally, so he immediately hits the button on his signal-watch, which as previously established has been rerouted from Superman to Supergirl. Hank comes face to face with the alien, and suddenly has flashbacks of similar aliens going on the attack on his home planet of Mars.
He’s frozen in fear, and he almost gets crushed when the alien throws a car at him. It appears the senator ran into a parking garage at some point, and the alien chases after her. Supergirl flies onto the scene, but only finds the senator lying on the ground by herself, and there’s no sign of the alien.
They bring Senator Crane to DEO headquarters for protection. You mean, the place where they have a bunch of sinister aliens locked up? Sure, why not? The senator yells that they “screwed up royally”, and she’s particularly upset with how they’ve accepted an alien into their ranks. Supergirl reminds the senator she “saved your ass” (well, in the sense that she showed up after the senator was already out of danger) but Crane says they probably just “staged that little stunt”. She then refers to aliens as “disgusting insects” who have come here from “backwater planets” to use up all our resources, and Alex responds by randomly jabbing her with a needle to give her a “sedative”.
Hank talks to Alex and Supergirl in private, and tells them the alien at the rally was a “White Martian”. He reveals the backstory behind the White Martians, which is somewhat similar to the comics. They came from “beneath the planet’s surface” and “slaughtered” all the Green Martians with “fire from the planet’s guts”.
Hank also knows he’s the reason the White Martian is here, because it sensed him using his powers last episode at Lord Technologies. So in case we needed one more reason why Hank can’t use his powers, on top of causing fear and panic, potentially losing his position as the head of the DEO, and permanently erasing a guy’s memories, we now have the fact that his powers can summon a race of mass murderers. Now don’t ask about it ever again!
Over at CatCo, Kara gives Cat advice in preparation for her dinner with Adam, telling her to speak “from the heart”. But Cat says she’s “handled Putin, Pope Francis, and Taylor Swift” and certainly doesn’t need any advice in this area.
Cut to Cat’s dinner with Adam, and while the location seems to be evidence that there actually is a second restaurant in National City, it does look awfully similar to the first.
The conversation consists of Cat only talking about herself, and her dealings with various celebrities. He tries to tell her about how he just dropped out of the master’s program at Cornell, but this only inspires Cat to bring the conversation back around to herself and how she dropped out of college to intern at the Daily Planet.
Adam is disappointed, because that letter made him think things would be different. She’s sorry she wasn’t there for him as a kid, but insists she wouldn’t have been a good mom. Adam again says she’s making this all about her, and bitterly takes off.
Meanwhile, Kara is looking over James’s photos from the rally, but sees nothing unusual. Then James applies some kind of filter to the photo that makes the alien’s eyes glow, and when he applies the same filter to pictures of Senator Crane, her eyes are also glowing. According to him, her eyes only glow in the photos taken “after you saved her”. Did he just instantly figure this out? Because it comes off like he already knew this and just didn’t bother to mention it sooner.
Regardless, “Senator Crane” is really the White Martian in disguise, and over at the DEO, her eyes ominously glow behind Henshaw’s back. Then Henshaw brings her into some kind of glass chamber that overlooks the DEO command center. The “Senator” tells Henshaw there are rumors of “another alien” inside the DEO, and she wants him to conduct an internal investigation to find it. When he refuses, she complains that he’s going to let a mole “run wild” inside the DEO the same way he let the “White Martian” run wild in the streets. Did you pick up on subtle slip-up there?
Alex gets a call from Kara about the White Martian having shape-shifted into Senator Crane, and soon Henshaw notices Alex and several of his men gathering on catwalks with guns at the ready. But it seems he’s already up to speed, because he tells the Senator that he never said anything to her about a White Martian.
The “Senator” goes on the attack, jumping around and clawing at people and throwing DEO agents through every plate glass window in sight, and also using his/her acid/fire breath on them. While she’s flying around, Alex manages to shoot off one of her fingers, which transforms back into a White Martian finger. Hank comes upon the finger, which triggers another PTSD flashback to the events on Mars.
He freezes again, and just as the White Martian is about to finish him off, Supergirl flies in and takes her down with heat vision. The White Martian flies up through the roof and escapes, and for some reason Supergirl takes a moment to tell Alex to stay here, because Hank “needs you”. What, did she think Alex was going to fly after the White Martian, too? And sure enough, by the time Supergirl gets airborne, the Martian is nowhere to be seen. And then she gets a call on her earpiece from Cat, who needs her right now.
At the DEO, Hank is feeling the guilt of all the agents who just died because he lured the White Martian to Earth. And with that, we journey into an extended flashback set on Mars, with the Green Martians fighting back against the White Martians. But their “technology overwhelmed us” and the Green Martians were “herded into camps”. The men were “forced into labor” while the women and children “went to the furnace”.
He says his wife and daughters were “burned”, and he’s getting all choked up, and Alex is on the brink of tears herself. He escaped and survived, to his “great shame”, but Alex tells him there’s “no shame in surviving”, and he resolves to stop the White Martian.
Meanwhile, Cat is despondent about the dinner she just had with Adam, and tells Kara that “you just let me go there unprepared,” which I think is supposed to be a joke, because Kara clearly was trying to prepare her. She tells Kara he only came because of the letter, adding, “He may as well have come to see you,” in another hint of the romance plotline to come.
Kara promises to fix everything, and heads over to Adam’s hotel, and tells him that even though Cat can come off as a “heartless, narcissistic monster”, once you get to know her, there’s an “inspiring person in there, a hero!” Adam figures out Kara wrote the letter, and she cops to it and begs him to give his mom another chance.
But he only has one condition, and we next find the three of them having coffee, while Kara acts as mediator. She tells them both to say “something real”, and Cat talks about how she missed him, and how she regrets not seeing him grow up, and “I never got to tell you stories,” and so on. Eventually, Adam takes her hand and says he missed her too. And it looks like Kara’s work here is done, so she excuses herself.
Over at the DEO, Hank and Alex analyze the Martian finger. But Henshaw promises that this is one alien they’re not going to bring in alive. Instead, he’s going to “break its body in half and bury it in the dry sand!” Because burying it in mud just wouldn’t do. But Alex knows he wouldn’t do that, because he believes in honor, and there’s “no honor” in what he’s about to do. Was it ever established on this show that Martians believe in honor, or is this just the extension of that Star Trek cliché where all alien races value honor above everything else? Anyway, they need to find the real Senator Crane, if she’s still alive.
So Hank stands on a balcony somewhere, and holds the severed finger, and then stares out at the city, and somehow intuits that the White Martian is down in the sewers.
The DEO heads there, and there’s another shape-shifter fake-out where Alex and her team find Senator Crane, but Hanks also finds Senator Crane in a different part of the sewer. Somehow, they know Alex’s senator is the fake one, and they start firing on her as she screeches and shows off her scary teeth.
Back from break, Alex is the only survivor of the attack, and the “Senator” demands to know which of her coworkers is the Martian, but Alex refuses to talk. The White Martian then gets a telepathic message from J’onn J’onnz, wanting to meet up in the desert so they can finish this. At the DEO, Hank tells Supergirl to just get Alex out of there, hinting that he might give the White Martian what it wants, and sacrifice himself, because he’s “tired of being the last”.
He says Kara should know what that’s like, but in what’s becoming one of this show’s most tiresome clichés, she starts drawing comparisons between the current situation and her past as a survivor of Krypton. To wit: she knows why her mom sent her off in a rocket and stayed behind on Krypton when it exploded, because she must have felt partially responsible (not believing Astra, that whole thing). She thinks dying must have seemed “honorable” to her mom, too. “But dying is a lot easier than getting back up when the world’s ended.” Alas, Hank is not swayed by this word salad, and he’s still convinced he’s about to “join my people” in Martian heaven.
Out in the desert, the White Martian is still disguised as the Senator as she confronts Henshaw. They switch to speaking Martian with subtitles, and it’s impossible to pay any attention to what they’re saying, because the “Martian” language sounds like a combination of Klingon and one of those Bantu click languages and it’s probably the second funniest depiction of the Martian language ever, and the first was supposed to be funny.
Hank has decided to surrender, and he kneels and tells the White Martian to take him. She’s thrilled that the last Green Martian will die, but then Supergirl comes flying to the rescue. And then there’s a big ridiculous CGI battle in the night sky between the three of them where you can barely tell what’s going on. J’onn brings the White Martian crashing to the ground, which somehow starts a fire.
And then J’onn slaps some Kryptonite handcuffs on Supergirl to keep her from interfering in what he’s about to do next. He goes over to slash the White Martian’s throat, but Kara begs and pleads with him not to “throw away who you are”. It’s the usual stuff: if you kill, you destroy yourself, yadda yadda, “the Last Son of Mars dies, even if you’re still standing!”
So instead, they lock up the White Martian, which is weirdly keeping itself in the form of the Senator as it warns Supergirl there are millions more just like her, and they’ll destroy Earth. Kara’s all, “let them come,” as the White Martian briefly transforms back into monster form and pounds away at the glass walls of its cell.
Outside, Hank tells Alex and Kara that he had two daughters, named K’hym and Tanya. “It’s not the same, but… any man would be proud to call you his daughters”, and Supergirl hugs him. Well, K’hym is the name of his only daughter in the comics, which makes sense, but… “Tanya”? Where did that come from? It doesn’t even remotely sound like a Martian name.
Cut to the real Senator Crane holding a press conference and backing off on her anti-alien initiative. It seems she’s changed her tune because Supergirl “apprehended my attacker”. Well, Supergirl was only a small part of what happened, but I’ll just assume that’s the cover story Henshaw gave her.
At CatCo, Winn and Kara pass each other at the elevator. Kara says nothing, and he asks why she’s so quiet. She sighs, “Space and time!” So it would seem like things are eventually going to go back to normal between them, and Winn is not going to turn into a murderous supervillain because a girl rejected him like the previous episode seemed to imply.
And then Adam shows up, telling Cat he’s decided to stick around for a while. He then asks where Kara is, and offhandedly mentions that she has “nice hair”, as men so often do. And so, Cat immediately figures out what’s up, and leaves the two of them alone. Adam tells Kara he’s glad he met her, and then invites her to dinner. Kara is totally caught off-guard, and starts to say she has to check with Cat first, but Cat just yells out, “She’s available!”
Back at her apartment, Alex and Kara are having a stereotypical girls’ night as they share tubs of ice cream and talk about boys. Kara tells her about Adam, and is worried what will happen at the office “when the date goes bad”, but Alex tells her to go on the date first and then think about it going “bad”.
Their conversation ends when they see breaking news of Supergirl saving a truck dangling over a bridge. This is live footage, mind you, and they’re both perplexed as to how Kara can be in two places at once. It’s the cliffhanger for the next episode, of course, but surprisingly, this is not more Martian shape-shifting hijinks. According to the previews, it looks like this duplicate “Supergirl” is actually Maxwell Lord’s Jane Doe. Oh, and the next episode is titled “Bizarro”. So… that’s a hint about which villain Supergirl is about to face, yes?
There’s not a whole lot more to say about this episode. It seems to be another in a long line of episodes where the melodrama overwhelms everything else. As I’ve said before, this show needs to provide more action and suspense and thrills, and less people standing around weeping. Is there a rule that any show with a woman in the lead has to feature endless amounts of crying? But hey, at least we’re going to get a reprieve from Kara pining for James, and no more bitter “Nice Guy” Winn, which are both positive developments.