Nov 29, 2016
Supergirl: Always bet on green
Previously on Supergirl: Alex and Det. Maggie Sawyer made a great team, making Alex (probably) a little bi-curious. They hung out at a not-lesbian bar where J’onn J’onnz ran into the only other living Green Martian, M’gann “Megan” Morzz. Meanwhile, Supergirl got to know Superman-substitute Mon-El, and told him the painful truth that his home planet of Daxam is now a wasteland.
When last week’s previews revealed the main plot of this episode would be an “underground alien fight club”, I must admit it looked like a pretty bland concept for an episode. And guess what? It actually is a pretty bland hour of TV, and another one of those unfortunate Supergirl episodes where the action is completely superfluous and the whole resolution comes down to a few meaningful speeches. Plus, we get the usual helping of nonsensical scenes and conversations that go nowhere. And they were doing so well this season, too.
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Briefly, here’s the main plot: A villain from the comics named Roulette (Dichen Lachman) is running an underground club where aliens fight to the death for the amusement of National City’s rich and powerful. Alex and Maggie get wind of the club, so they go undercover and put on cocktail dresses and Eyes Wide Shut masks to scope the place out. There, they learn that the club’s star fighter is M’gann Morzz, Miss Martian herself.
Hank/J’onn confronts Megan/M’gann, telling her she’s throwing her life away by participating in these fights, particularly considering she’s one of only two remaining Green Martians in existence, but she refuses to listen. Then Supergirl tries to intimidate Roulette into ending the fight club by, um, shooting heat vision in her general direction, but she also remains defiant.
Roulette then abducts Hank and tries to make the two Martians fight to the death, but J’onn is able to diagnose M’gann’s survivor’s guilt mid-fight, giving her a change of heart about participating in the fight club. Finally, the whole situation is resolved when Supergirl delivers a big emotional speech to all the alien fighters (almost none of whom we see prior to this scene) and they instantly turn against Roulette, and Maggie arrests her. But thanks to her connections in high places, Roulette immediately walks free.
And that’s really about it for the main plot, and it’s as forgettable as it sounds. There were a few scattered moments of interest thanks to the side plots, so I’ll just focus on those.
We get a flashback to planet Daxam on “The Day Krypton Died” that seems to be a attempt to answer all those burning questions about Mon-El and how he came to Earth, but of course it only barely scratches the surface. And frankly, the whole thing is so rushed I had to watch the scene a good three or four times to catch everything.
It turns out Mon-El was a palace guard on Daxam, protecting the royal family. As debris from Krypton’s destruction rains down on the planet, he tries to get the prince into a Kryptonian pod (brought here by now-dead “emissaries”) so he can escape to safety, but the prince pulls a switcheroo and sends Mon-El off in the pod instead while the prince stays behind to die with his people. And of course, we still have no idea why Mon-El chose to go to Earth, why it took decades for him to get there, and why he didn’t age at all during the journey.
In the present, Mon-El is sequestered at the DEO while Winn helps him learn about his powers. It turns out he only has super-strength: no x-ray vision, no heat vision, and he can’t fly. And I suppose this only makes sense; In the comics, Mon-El has all the same powers as Superman/Supergirl, so between him and Kara and J’onn you’d have three of the most powerful DC characters all on one show, so I guess it makes sense to depower at least one of them to have a shot at coming up with believable threats.
We also learn how Megan survived the Martian holocaust. According to her, she was being held in one of the internment camps, but a White Martian refused to obey orders and helped smuggle M’gann off-world, and she’s been on Earth ever since. J’onn then tries to bond with her, and I mean that literally: he wants to do a Martian mind-meld with her, but she refuses. For most of the episode, we assume she doesn’t want to open up her mind because it would reveal her participation in the alien fight club. But then things take a turn in the closing moments when Megan goes home and morphs into a White Martian. Though, anyone who knows Miss Martian from the comics probably saw this one coming.
The “Kara learns to become a real reporter” Journalism 101 saga continues in this episode. This time, Kara tries to give Snapper Carr an in-depth scoop about the alien fight club, only to be shut down when it turns out she doesn’t have any sources, anonymous or otherwise. He even tells her, “We’re the Fourth Estate, not Reddit!” Well, that’s sure going to cost this episode a lot of karma.
Eventually, however, Kara reveals that her source for the story is none other than Supergirl, and the two are actually good friends, and how long until this leads to the inevitable episode where Snapper comes close to figuring out Kara is Supergirl?
Lena Luthor gets a brief appearance in this episode, and amazingly, it even makes sense. Due to the underground fight club existing for the entertainment of the rich and elite, Kara is able to put two and two together and figure out that Lena is among the elite who can provide a lead on where the next match is happening. Lena is conspicuously happy to help Kara out, in a way where you just know eventually we’ll find out she’s evil and is only going to use her friendship with Kara to cause all sorts of mayhem.
Alex and Maggie becoming some sort of couple seems pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point, particularly when they hold hands while going undercover at the fight club. Not to mention a closing scene where Alex asks Maggie to have a drink, only to get denied when it turns out Maggie already has a hot date. Which gives us this show’s very first girl-on-girl kiss, which might also be a first for any broadcast network superhero show, but don’t quote me on that.
Also, Laura Benanti gets a quick cameo as the DEO’s Alura hologram for the first time this season. It’s nice to see they’ve decided to keep her in the cast, post-CW move, though I strongly suspect they just filmed her in New York and green-screened her in. It’s also hard not to notice the
differences in hair/makeup since last season.
There’s a rather pointless scene where Winn helps Mon-El sneak out of the DEO, and they go to a bar and get drunk, and it’s Halloween so everyone is in costume, and Oingo Boingo is playing, and then Mon-El arm-wrestles some guy in a mummy costume and accidentally breaks his arm (is this a reference to Ursa breaking a guy’s arm, or am I reading too much into things?). This then leads into an even more pointless scene where Supergirl tells Mon-El about her parents and how they weren’t perfect, and in fact, they “saw the end of the world coming and didn’t do anything about it,” which is a weirdly harsh line coming from Kara, and I can’t even guess at the point of this conversation.
Speaking of bad lines, the scene where Supergirl confronts Roulette is full of awful dialogue. At one point, Roulette insists her fight club is perfectly moral and legal because the combatants aren’t human, adding, “See, Michael Vick made a big mistake. People don’t care about what happens to aliens. But they do care about dogs!” And that’s, like, the end of the scene. So that’s surely our first contender for Worst Line of the Season (last season’s winner, in case you forgot: “You’re nothing but a glorified Windows Vista!”). Also, did anyone notice Roulette wears the same red dress for about three days straight? I can only imagine the smell caused just by all the spilled champagne.
So yeah, it sure didn’t take long for this show to fall back into its usual rut of nonsensical scenes and endless speechifying. Admittedly, there were a few funny moments and amusing quips, but on balance they were way outnumbered by the incoherent and awful dialogue.
Next week: Mon-El apparently adopts a Clark Kent-like secret identity to work for CatCo, complete with glasses and dorky bowtie. Meanwhile, in another attempt to give James any sort of reason to exist, he becomes a vigilante. Jimmy Olsen, vigilante. That’s a new one.