Supergirl: Our Long National City Nightmare Is Over (S1 E20 RECAP -- The Season Finale!)
Previously on Supergirl: Kara finally kissed James, but unfortunately, it happened right before Non used Myriad to take over the minds of every human in National City (and also Superman, for… reasons). Non then commanded James, Winn, and fan favorite “Kelly” to jump off the CatCo building, and our beloved Kelly didn’t survive. Alex got taken over by Myriad, and Non decided to use her as the “ultimate opponent” to destroy Supergirl.
Before I get to the season finale, one quick note about the Flash crossover from two weeks ago: This past Tuesday on the CW, we finally saw the other side of it, in an episode that featured Barry Allen testing out a “tachyon enhancer” (the device strapped to his chest in the crossover) that increased his speed and also briefly opened up a portal to another world. Except, in the Flash episode, Barry is only gone for a blink of an eye, with no explanation for how he spent a day or two on Supergirl’s Earth while only being gone from his own for a split-second. Did he also travel through time when he travelled between worlds?
On top of that, Barry never mentions to anyone on his show that he met Supergirl, or even that he travelled to another parallel Earth, which is especially odd given the entire point of Tuesday’s episode was Barry trying to figure out how to open up a portal to Earth-2 to take on the evil speedster Zoom. In fact, the only indication we have that he went anywhere was one breathless utterance of “I’m back!” So, basically, they put so little effort into following up on the Supergirl crossover that I have to wonder why they even bothered. Leaving his appearance on Supergirl’s Earth completely unexplained would have been a lot more interesting than what we got. And now, onto the recap.
Well, it’s come down to this: twenty episodes and thousands upon thousands of words later, we’ve made it to the Supergirl season one finale. Will this episode prove that documenting the highs and lows (but mostly lows) of the previous 19 hours in obsessive detail was all worth it in the end? You can probably already guess the answer to that question, but let’s find out anyway.
We’re right back at Supergirl and Alex leaping at each other, and it turns out Alex has on some sort of Kryptonite-powered exoskeleton, which explains how she’s able to jump so high. I think we’re supposed to assume this is something the DEO had on hand, but if so, why didn’t they ever use it to fight the evil Kryptonians?
Alex and Supergirl battle it out for a while, and it seems Alex’s suit is also equipped with Kryptonite rocket launchers, repelling rays, and some sort of heat generator that makes the suit too hot for Supergirl to touch, even that really should mean Alex’s face should be melting off right now.
No surprise, Supergirl doesn’t stand a chance against this super-suit. Alex is about to kill Supergirl with her Kryptonite sword, when suddenly her mother calls out to her. J’onn, who is of course not dead, has brought Eliza Danvers to the scene, and is shielding her from Myriad with his telepathy. Eliza pleads with Alex not to do this, and reminds her of how they’re a family, and they’re “stronger together”. After a few mentions of Alex’s father, Alex is able to overcome the mind control.
With the fight all wrapped up, everyone goes back to the old TV station, where Supergirl resumes her plan to address the city and broadcast a message of hope that will snap everyone out of the mind control. And to make this seem a little less ludicrous (but not really), Max scientifically explains that Myriad shuts down the parts of the brain that are responsible for “optimism and hope”, and Alex attests to the fact that feeling a sense of hope is indeed what broke her free from Myriad.
And now Supergirl is sitting at an old fashioned news desk, speaking to the Nation… al City, and it’s a pretty content-free speech, with generic talk of how the people of the city have to stand up to evil and hopelessness. At CatCo, we see Winn look up at the TV screens and start to respond to her speech, and Lucy at the DEO is starting to respond as well. Blah blah blah, Supergirl talks about how she was alone when she came to this planet, but she realized there’s “so much love out there for the taking”.
And midway through her speech, everyone’s monitors change from Kryptonese text to the Superman symbol. You see, it means “hope”, remember? Although I’m not sure how the people of National City would know that.
The symbol triggers Winn to have a flashback to the pilot episode, and also to holding hands with Kara, and he breaks free from the mind control. He goes to James, who flashes back to kissing Kara, and he also snaps out of it. At the DEO, Lucy snaps out of it (with no flashbacks to Kara for her, for obvious reasons), as does Agent Vasquez.
On TV, Supergirl says the word “hope” a lot… Like, a lot a lot, and out on the streets, the marching minions get the Superman logo on their smartphones, and they all break free from Myriad. And there’s a close-up of one National City resident who was seen in a previous episode rallying a crowd to stand up to Livewire. She was only onscreen for maybe ten seconds, and even she made more of an impression than Kelly.
And then Supergirl herself flashes back to her mom putting a necklace on her just before sending her off in a pod to Earth. Back in the present, Alex says that it worked, and everyone is free. And that, it would seem, is all it takes. Myriad, which we were previously told was a weapon so powerful and dangerous that it could enslave the galaxy, has been defeated by what’s basically a slightly longer than average political TV ad.
Over at the Evil Lair, Non is demoralized by the failure of Myriad. But Indigo says there are plenty of other worlds they can conquer, so they might as well just kill off all the humans and leave Supergirl here as “queen of a dead Earth”.
And then it’s back to CatCo where, because this is Supergirl, everyone’s already gotten back to work and it’s business as usual. You know, there was this one time I got really bad food poisoning and I didn’t go to work for like a week. I can assure you if I was recovering from mind rape, you might not see me until next year. Kara is among the CatCo employees cheerfully returning to work, and James and Winn start to apologize for the things they said while under mind control, but she dismisses it all with a group hug.
But then there’s a somber note as Kara looks over at Kelly’s empty desk, which makes her really sad, because we all know how much Kelly meant to her, don’t we? And the best part is we only know it’s Kelly’s desk because Kelly has a fake “no parking” sign on her desk that says “Kelly’s Parking Only”. Oh god. Why do I think Kelly was the type of employee who would go around showing off her cat pictures, or saying she had a “case of the Mondays”, or passing around birthday cards and making everyone sign them? Kara says that once the DEO finds Non and Indigo, “they’ll pay for what they did”. Yes, avenge her! Avenge Kelly!
Then James starts to bring up the “thing” that happened right before Myriad took him over, i.e., the kiss. And he does this right in front of Winn, who quickly figures out it doesn’t involve him and he bails. Unfortunately, they only get a moment to talk before Cat calls everyone in for a meeting.
Meanwhile, there’s cleanup going on at the DEO. General Lane shows up and is reunited with his daughter Lucy, then he asks how “Superman is still down for the count”. And in the foreground… we see a pair of blurry red boots. It just gets worse and worse, doesn’t it? As if the CGI blob of last episode wasn’t dumb enough, now Superman has been reduced to a pair of disembodied feet on a hospital bed. It turns out he still hasn’t recovered from Myriad for unexplained reasons, meaning he’s out of commission and mostly forgotten about for the rest of the episode.
Over in another room at the DEO, Alex and Supergirl are with Eliza, and they finally break the news that Jeremiah is still alive and being held at Project Cadmus. Alex promises to find him, but then Maxwell Lord interrupts with the news that Myriad is still active, and in fact, the “wave has been amplified”. He knows large numbers of people are already showing up at emergency rooms with severe headaches, and he warns that the Myriad wave will only grow in strength until “pop goes the cranium!”
Apparently, they only have four hours until Non and his army make everyone’s heads explode, and they quickly decide that telling the public of their impending doom wouldn’t do any good. Max says he should be able to easily find the source of the signal. However, with J’onn and Superman both out of the picture, it’ll be up to Supergirl to defeat Myriad alone, and he warns this will be a “suicide mission” for her.
And so, with four hours left on the clock for the entire human race, Kara goes back to work, if you can believe it, and she even picked up a latte for Cat along the way. But it seems she’s really here to say goodbye to everyone. She starts with Winn, telling him how much his friendship means to her. Though, the last time she did this, he tried to kiss her, but I guess he knows better this time.
Then she goes to Cat, and says working for her has been an “honor”, and also thanks her for being a friend. And then she goes to James, but this time she tells him they’re not meant to be together, and they “missed our chance”, and she just wants him to find someone else to make him happy.
Supergirl heads back to the DEO, where Hank has already got word about how Kara was basically saying goodbye to everyone at the office. It seems she’s made her peace with dying if it means saving Earth, and she’s already looking forward to reuniting with her mother “in Rao’s light”. And I have to say, this emotional scene is only slightly undercut by the Super-Boots making another cameo appearance directly behind Supergirl, without her ever even acknowledging that her comatose cousin is in the room.
Later, Max has zeroed in on Non’s location thanks to the Omegahedron, which for the first time is actually referred to as an “Omegahedron” onscreen, which is the same thing it was called in the ‘80s Supergirl movie. Kara recognizes it from Krypton, and says that “one of those can power an entire city”, which was also true in the ‘80s Supergirl movie. Though, there’s no word on whether teenage girls might be allowed to borrow the thing and use it to make their dragonfly drawings come to life.
Max has traced Non and Indigo to a remote location in Nevada, and Lucy asks, “What the hell is in Nevada?” Max offers up, “In my experience, mediocre buffets and regret!” And there’s a hilarious moment where everyone reacts to Max’s latest dumb quip by staring at him stone-faced and then immediately pretending like he never said it.
General Lane says this is actually the secret location of Fort Rozz, which has apparently been Non’s Evil Lair all along. Supergirl can’t believe they left Fort Rozz just sitting out there in the open, but Lane says there was no way to move a “one million ton alien spacecraft”, so they covered it up by declaring the area a nuclear test site. So, wait, this whole time, Non and the Fort Rozz escapees were hanging out at Fort Rozz, and nobody thought to look for them there?
Supergirl starts to head there, and Hank says he’s going with her, and there’s some drama between him and the general about how he’s technically still a prisoner of the DEO. But eventually Lucy goes over her father’s head and orders him released. Before they head out, Supergirl takes off that necklace she got from her mom (which she wasn’t wearing in any previous shot), and tells Alex to “keep it safe for me”.
Supergirl and J’onn land near Fort Rozz, and Non and Indigo quickly show up to confront them. Non tosses over the Omegahedron, saying it’s useless now, because Myriad is now drawing its power from Fort Rozz itself. And then the fighting begins, while back at the DEO, we learn the people of Earth have six minutes left until all their brains explode.
Supergirl fights Non, and J’onn fights Indigo, while back in National City, we gets shots of James and Winn and Cat Grant being bathed in bright light as they feel the migraine-like effects of the Myriad wave. Max and Alex are also feeling the effects at the DEO, and they decide to cope with the pain by holding hands. Hmmm.
Supergirl and Non get into a heat vision duel, which actually pushes Supergirl back on her heels. Heat vision doesn’t work that way! In the middle of this, J’onn picks up Indigo… and rips her in half. Wow. I realize Indigo is supposed to be some sort of AI robot and she’s not flesh and blood and all, but I can;t say I was expecting J’onn to rip anybody in half.
Supergirl then wins the heat vision staring contest, and Non ends up on the ground with smoke pouring out of his eyes, and I guess he’s supposed to be either blind or dead. Meanwhile, one half of Indigo is still alive, and she says there’s no way they can defeat Myriad, and then she also dies.
At the DEO, they’re losing hope that Supergirl will save the day. Supergirl contacts Alex to say she can’t shut down Myriad, so she’s going to fly Fort Rozz into space. And apparently, this version of Supergirl can’t survive in the depths of space, because she won’t be able to breathe or “generate thrust” (um… what?). So basically, if she goes into space, she’ll die out there.
And with three minutes left until the extinction of the entire human race, Supergirl goes into a speech about how when Alex eventually finds Jeremiah, she wants him to know she “never stopped wearing the glasses”. Also, she owes everything to Alex for being her sister, and then she wants Alex to promise that she’ll find someone to love and be happy.
And instead of Alex just saying whatever the hell Supergirl wants her to say so she’ll get on with it and save humanity already, Alex actually refuses to promise that she’ll do that, and the two go back and forth about this until Alex finally relents. You know what? Screw it. If these two are the best the human race has to offer, maybe we deserve extinction.
But as Alex makes that promise, she looks over at the pod that brought Kara to Earth.
Meanwhile, Supergirl lifts up Fort Rozz (all by herself, with no help from J’onn for some reason), and flies the massive space station up into space and lets it float away. And now she’s hovering in space, and it would seem she’s just waiting to die. But then suddenly, her pod flies up from the surface of the Earth and comes to her rescue. And piloting the pod… is Alex. Oh, dear god. So, Alex figured out how to pilot the pod and decided to cruise on up to space like it’s no big thing. This seems legit.
Supergirl wakes up back at the DEO, and Alex gives her the necklace back. They head out into the command center and the DEO agents all cheer and applaud. Then General Lane says he’s spoken to the Lady President, who’s decided to reinstate Henshaw as director of the DEO.
Lucy looks bummed out about this, so Hank says they’re “all on the same team”, so I guess they’ll be co-directors? He says that going forward, there will be “no more secrets”, which is accompanied by an ironic flashback (or flash-forward?) to General Lane secretly handing the Omegahedron over to Maxwell Lord.
Back at CatCo, Kara’s at her desk, where she’s getting IMs from “Clark”, who apparently recovered from the effects of Myriad completely off-screen. And once again, he’s responding to each of her texts after like 0.03 milliseconds.
And then Cat shows up, and starts to pack up Kara’s desk. Kara thinks she’s being fired, but in fact, Cat is moving her into her own (windowless) office, and is apparently giving her a promotion. The weird part, however, is that she’s leaving it up to Kara to decide exactly what position she wants. Cat calls this her “end of Working Girl moment”, and I’m surprised they don’t start playing that Carly Simon song about the New Jerusalem.
Cat then tells her there might be a “window in your future”, and calls her “Kara”, pronouncing it correctly for the first time ever.
And then we’re at Kara’s apartment for a family dinner with the Danvers, Winn, Hank, and James. James takes her aside to give her a gift: it’s a framed photo of Kara (as Kara, not Supergirl). They have a completely passion-free kiss, but then Kara gets called out to do the “champagne trick”, where she pops a champagne cork just by just squeezing the bottle. You might recall Superman doing this in Superman II… just before he banged Lois. How does Kara’s family know this trick, exactly?
But before they can enjoy their champagne, a flaming meteor roars past the window. Yes, it’s the season-ending cliffhanger, and J’onn and Supergirl fly over to investigate, and find another Kryptonian pod has just landed. Supergirl opens up the pod, and we end on her stunned expression as she sees what’s inside and says, “Oh my god.”
Well, quality-wise, the season ended about where it began. There were some high points and low points, but overall this whole season comes in at about a C+, or maybe a B-. Out of the twenty episodes, I can only think of a few that I would classify as either good or great. It’s a better first season than a few other comic book shows I could mention (the wobbly starts for Gotham and Agents of SHIELD come to mind), but so far, it’s been a pretty mediocre series.
If you want examples of this show’s major weaknesses, look no further than the finale: Instead of trusting its audience to understand what characters are feeling, the show pummels us with emotional speech after emotional speech. If Supergirl makes it to a second season, which seems likely, it needs to start having its characters resolve their problems by actually doing things, as opposed to relentlessly talking about their feelings.
Also, they need to start coming up with compelling, three-dimensional villains. This show seems to do okay when it’s Kara confronting her own personal issues, but as soon as they introduce an actual super-villain, things get dumb and dorky real quick. I thought about listing the lamest villains of the season, but it can’t be done, because they all suck equally. I don’t think there was one antagonist outside of Non, Astra, or Maxwell Lord that wasn’t defeated in under five minutes of fighting. It seems the writers are unable to even conceive of Kara facing a threat she can’t punch until it falls down or blows up.
On the plus side, the show has a pretty great cast, with only a couple of weak links (you could actually see Jenna Dewan Tatum physically struggling with her lines this week). And the strongest member of this cast is undoubtedly its star Melissa Benoist, who knocks it out of the park every week no matter what inane speech or stupid plot twist the writers throw her way. Let’s hope that when this show returns in the fall, she and the rest of the cast get scripts that are more worthy of their talents.
As for the cliffhanger? I’m sure it’ll be a disappointment, but I’m kind of hoping the person in that pod will be a total mindfuck like baby Kal-El due to some kind of wacky time travel shenanigans. Maybe a villain travels into the past to delay Kal-El’s pod from reaching Earth, which changes the timeline so that Superman never existed. Hey, no Superman at all would be a million times better than having Superman continue to be represented by mannequin parts.