Supergirl: Waiting for Cyborg Superman
Previously on Supergirl: The fight with the Parasite left J’onn J’onnz wounded and in desperate need of a blood transfusion from the person everyone thought was the only other living Green Martian, M’gann Morzz. Alex officially came out as gay, but then Maggie Sawyer decided she didn’t want to get involved with a woman “fresh off the boat”, leaving Alex heartbroken. And finally, Mon-El got abducted by Lex Luthor’s mom and taken to Project Cadmus.
Well, there are lots of action plots with this week, with plenty of mano a mano fights (or extraterrestre a extraterrestre, as the case may be) and lots of Michael Bay-esque shots with the camera circling around combatants (and even just people sitting around having drinks). And while this show still hasn’t figured out how to make two super-beings punching each other all that interesting, there does seem to be a little more energy to the fights this time around.
We start off with one of those in media res openings that all shows are legally required to do these days, where we start off with some confusing scene, only to immediately cut to several hours or days earlier to see how things got to this point. In this case, we open on what appears to be J’onn J’onnz about to beat Supergirl to a bloody pulp, and then we rewind to “24 hours earlier”.
So allow me to save you about ten minutes of backtracking: Mon-El is being held captive at Project Cadmus. He attempts to escape, but then Dr. Brenda Strong AKA Momma Luthor claims they’ve also kidnapped J’onn and will kill him if Mon-El tries to break out.
This, of course, is not really J’onn J’onnz, which Supergirl learns when she shows up to rescue Mon-El and “J’onn” starts to pound the crap out of her. It’s actually the real Hank Henshaw. As you might recall from last season, the real Hank Henshaw was the head of the DEO 15 years ago, and he and Supergirl’s adoptive father Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain) went on a mission to apprehend J’onn J’onnz. Henshaw was going to kill J’onn until Jeremiah intervened to save him, and both Hank and Jeremiah allegedly died in the scuffle.
Well, as we learned later in the season, Jeremiah is still alive, and it seems so is Hank Henshaw, and he’s been hiding out at Project Cadmus for the last 15 years. What’s more, Cadmus has outfitted him with cybernetic implants. Which means that it may have taken this show a year, but Hank Henshaw finally got to become the Cyborg Superman, just like he is in the comics.
Of course, in the comics, he’s only known as “Cyborg Superman” because he tried to take Superman’s place after he was killed by Doomsday, so the name doesn’t make much sense here, but it’s still at least an unexpected turn of events.
So Cyborg Superman defeats Kara, and she finally meets Momma Luthor at last, who she figures out is really Lillian Luthor, Lex and Lena’s mother. Lillian shoots Mon-El in the leg, revealing that he has the same vulnerability to lead as Daxamites in the comics. To save Mon-El, Supergirl agrees to use her solar flare power to discharge all her energy, which is the same power she used to defeat the Red Tornado last season, and which left her powerless for an entire episode.
Lilian puts these VR goggle-type things on Supergirl to absorb all her energy, and then straps down the now-powerless Supergirl to take a blood sample. Things look dire for both Supergirl and Mon-El, but then they’re rescued by surprise guest star (well, not really a surprise, since his name was in the credits at the start of the show) Dean Cain as Jeremiah Danvers, who’s still alive and still being held at Project Cadmus after all this time.
Jeremiah frees Supergirl and Mon-El, but decides to stay behind to buy them some time to escape, and also so they can drag out this “saving Jeremiah from Project Cadmus” plotline for at least another half-season.
Once Supergirl is safely back at the DEO, she tells Alex that her father is still alive, but once they get back to the location where they were being held prisoner, all they find is an empty warehouse.
Later on, the Cyborg Superman heads up to the Fortress of Solitude. He uses Supergirl’s blood to trick the Fortress’s computers into thinking he’s Kara Zor-El, and then he demands to know everything about a project known as “Medusa”. Will it be as exciting as the project teased for three-quarters of a season known as “Myriad”? The world can only hope.
Meanwhile, James and Winn continue to patrol the city at night and fight crime as the Guardian and his sidekick (which I think technically makes Winn the live-action equivalent of the Newsboy Legion, right?). The police are suspicious of the Guardian’s motives and so is Kara, specifically because “my cousin worked with a vigilante once, tons of gadgets, lots of demons… I mean, vigilantes are nuts!” So that would be this week’s subtle implication that Batman also exists in the universe of this show. It would be pretty funny if this show featured an appearance by Batman, or at least Batgirl, especially considering how this show goes up directly against Fox’s wacky Batman-Without-Batman show in its timeslot.
Guardian’s image takes a major hit when another costumed vigilante appears on the scene and co-opts James’ shtick, only this new vigilante has no compunctions about killing criminals. The police (well, mainly Maggie Sawyer, who’s quickly becoming the Only Police Detective in National City) are out to apprehend the Guardian, but Winn is able to use completely nonsensical methods to determine the true identity of the other, murderous vigilante: Philip Karnowsky, a villain from the comics known as Barrage (though, they never call him that).
James/Guardian defeats Karnowsky, which causes Maggie (as well as the rest of National City) to instantly decide that Guardian is really a hero after all. And along the way, Alex finds out that James is the Guardian due to Winn being a blabbermouth who all but confesses to it (especially after Alex implies she might anally probe him to get the information). But she too decides not to tell Kara, so we can keep yet another plotline going for at least a few more weeks.
In other news, J’onn is starting to experience the side effects of the blood transfusion from M’gann, namely disturbing hallucinations where he sees his family as well as attacking White Martians. He finally figures out that M’gann is really a White Martian, and she tries to convince him that she’s one of the good ones, and she refused to obey orders in the Martian internment camps. Nevertheless, J’onn screams at her to “Show yourself!” and the two get into a brutal all-CGI fight. It ends when M’gann changes back to her human form and refuses to fight anymore, and J’onn has her locked up in a DEO cell.
But then she reveals that the White Martians weaponized her blood, and that transfusion means that eventually, he’s going to be transformed into a White Martian. Well, good thing she decided not to bring that up before giving him the transfusion. And there’s really not a whole lot to the J’onn/M’gann plot this week, and it mostly feels like an excuse to burn up a few minutes having CGI characters punch each other.
And last week’s big coming out plot is giving short shrift this week. It’s mostly about Alex chewing Maggie out for the way she encouraged Alex to come out to her family (well, to Kara, at least), saying she’d be there for Alex, only to turn around and say she’s not interested in someone who just came out. Huh. So were they actually intending to make Maggie look like a horrible person? Because last week, I assumed it was just bad writing.
Maggie drops by at the end of the episode to again ask if they can still be friends, and Alex agrees to pool the next night, and I guess this plotline will also continue for a while. But I do kind of wish they would have Alex find some other woman to get involved with, and then later in the season she could tell Maggie to fuck off while adding, “Guess I’m not fresh off the boat anymore, huh? How you like me know?” My vote goes for Alex hooking up with Lena Luthor, I think we’ve all seen those looks she gives Kara.
Speaking of looks, we wrap up with a creepy moment where Mon-El starts to stare at Kara with love/lust in his eyes, asking James and Winn if she’s been “mated” to anyone. And the way this is presented, I’m assuming this is setting up a one-off comedy plot where Kara has to reject Mon-El’s awkward advances, and they’re not going to give us another chemistry-free season-long romance plot.
Next week: Alex comes out to her mom (guest star Helen Slater!), we learn about Project Medusa (I’m guessing many/people aliens will be turned to stone), and we get the actual kickoff to the four-part CW sweeps-month crossover event based on the DC ‘80s comics crossover Invasion! And guess what? This happens to be one of the few crossovers in comic history that I actually invested considerable amounts of time and money on back then, so hopefully I should have a few things to say about the Invasion! comics event prior to the airing of the TV version.