Supergirl: Superman Kneels Before Non... Off-Screen, Of Course (S1 E19 RECAP)
Previously on Supergirl: Alex tearfully confessed to killing Supergirl’s Aunt Astra. Lucy Lane was named the new director of the DEO, while Hank and Alex were on the run after escaping from DEO custody. Laura Vandervoort was blue and not Mystique, but rather a vaguely defined villain called Indigo. She had some sort of kinky connection with Non, who activated Astra’s plan known as “Myriad”, which led to all the residents of National City mindlessly marching through the streets.
It’s nighttime at the DEO, as Lucy and Agent Vasquez and some other random agents walk in lockstep through the command center, obviously under the control of Myriad. Non appears on the DEO viewscreen to give them their orders, which is to release all the prisoners. Cut to the various alien prisoners in their cells trying to look intimidating, including the Khund, some guy with a porcupine face who doesn’t ring a bell, and the White Martian.
For no particular reason, Lucy has to go personally free one of the prisoners, a tall redhead we’ve also never seen before, who announces that her name is Maxima. For those who don’t know, Maxima is a minor character from the comics, and an alien warrior-princess who’s fanatically obsessed with having kids with Superman. I mean, even more fanatically obsessed than Silver Age-era Lois Lane. And here, she’s played by Eve Torres, who the internet informs me is a “WWE diva”, which is apparently an actual profession.
Supergirl shows up and fights Maxima, and they already seem to know each other, because Maxima calls her “Kara Zor-El”, and talks about how she wanted to “make your cousin my mate,” and let’s just hope they’re setting up a Maxima episode for next season, because this ends up having absolutely nothing to do with the current plot.
Supergirl defeats Maxima, and suddenly Lucy and Vasquez are shooting at her with Kryptonite bullets, because as you may recall, the DEO has an unnervingly huge supply of Kryptonite. Supergirl tries to reason with them and talk them into breaking free of the mind control, which works about as well as you’d expect. She then slips over to the pod that brought her to Earth, and activates its rockets, knocking out Lucy and Vasquez, so I guess having it sitting out in the open all the time finally came in handy.
Supergirl then stops the imminent release of all the DEO prisoners (as well as the possibility of anything exciting happening in this episode) by… smashing a console.
Supergirl then flies to the Fortress of Solitude, where she calls out to that hovering Kelex robot, who informs her that Superman is currently not around because he’s dealing with an “off-world” emergency. Which is, as always, a lame way to excuse his absence. Unfortunately, the episode is going to one-up itself later on with an even stupider explanation for why Superman can’t intervene. Supergirl interrogates the robot for info about Myriad, but Kelex says it’s not “authorized” to tell her anything about it.
She’s about to give up, but then the Alura-hologram appears. So, does Kal-El have his own private Alura hologram, or did the DEO’s hologram just automagically transport itself here?
The Alura hologram, which previously threatened to self-destruct when questioned about Myriad, finally gives up the goods, explaining what we’ve already figured out: Myriad is mass mind control. Astra invented Myriad on Krypton, because she was outraged that politicians were bickering instead of trying to prevent the planet’s impending destruction. It seems her idea was to bend all of Krypton to her will, and force them to work together to save Krypton. But instead, she and Non were caught and sentenced to Fort Rozz.
And that’s Myriad in a nutshell. So, this stunning revelation was held back for the entire season… why, exactly? Actually, I’m guessing the particulars were left out to make Astra look more sympathetic before she died; it’d be a bit hard to empathize with someone who wanted to turn the entire human race into mindless slaves.
Supergirl realizes Non and Astra have been planning to use Myriad on Earth to “save the planet”. And this is one of this episode’s sillier notions, which is that somehow, mankind is currently doing something to the environment that could destroy the planet. Look, clearly, letting the Antarctic ice sheet melt is going to lead to some very bad days for a lot of people, but come on; it’s not going to make the Earth blow up.
Alura explains that she couldn’t talk about Myriad before, because Myriad is too dangerous, and it could potentially be used to take over the galaxy and enslave entire planets. Oh good, then you definitely don’t want your superhero daughter to understand it or have the slightest clue of what it is.
Meanwhile, just outside of Midvale (per the caption), Alex is on a Greyhound bus… er, sorry, I mean, a “Gray Owl Express” bus… and she’s disguised as a blonde. The bus gets stopped at a roadblock, and a cop gets on to say she’s looking for two fugitives. She briefly glances in Alex’s direction, but moves on when the little boy sitting next to Alex snuggles up to her. As the cop leaves, the little kid’s eyes glow red, revealing he’s really J’onn in disguise. Heh, okay, I definitely didn’t see that one coming.
Supergirl flies over to CatCo, and finds Winn and everybody else robotically typing away at their computers, and their screens reveal they’re all typing in Kryptonese. Supergirl walks up to a redhead named “Kelly”, who we’ve never seen before, but now I think we’re supposed to believe they’ve totally been friends this whole time, for real! (Actually, we have seen this character in the background in a few prior episodes, but this is the first time they’ve bothered to give her a name.)
Kelly doesn’t respond, and Winn is also not responding. Supergirl goes to James’ office, and he’s also silently sitting at his desk and typing away mindlessly. She then sees General Lane on TV saying that the Army has quarantined National City.
Supergirl is in a panic, when suddenly, Cat Grant casually comes up in her private elevator, obliviously barking out orders to “Kira” as usual. Yes, out of a city of millions, Cat is the only one not affected. Which would almost be funny, except they immediately blow the joke by having Cat make a meta-reference to Harrison Ford asking her out, and how she doesn’t “date older men”, especially when they’re “married”. Sigh. You see, Calista and Harrison are married in real life… which must mean Calista Flockhart also exists in the universe of the show. Or maybe Cat will reveal that she’s really Calista Flockhart in disguise. Why not? Between this and the CW gag from last episode, they might as well reveal that she’s secretly Ambush Bug or something, and have her talk directly to the camera. What I’m saying is, meta humor is best applied in moderation.
Supergirl has to interrupt her and point out that the entire city is under mind control, which she somehow didn’t notice until just now. Supergirl then gets a call on her cell phone (she keeps it in a pocket in her cape, I assume?) and the caller ID says it’s from “Clark” and Supergirl immediately tells Cat that Superman is coming to help.
And then we get a big buildup where you think they might stun us by actually having Superman appear on this show. Instead, Supergirl sees a miniature blue and red CGI figure off in the distance, which suddenly stops, and floats down to the pavement, and ends up marching in lockstep with everyone else under Myriad mind control. Ugh. Congrats, show, you’ve reached a new low as far as teasing us with Superman’s non-appearances. And for the rest of the episode, no one’s even going to bother trying to find Superman, so I guess Supergirl is totally fine with her cousin randomly wandering the streets like a zombie.
Then Maxwell Lord shows up at CatCo, and he’s resisting the mind control thanks to a random metal device above his ear. He explains that the Kryptonians are using his “LTE interface system” (when do they upgrade to 5G?), which is the real reason they attacked Lord Technologies way back when, and so he invented technology to block their signals. And the reason Cat hasn’t been affected is because Max gave her special earrings last night that, unbeknownst to Cat, utilize the same technology. He did this because “it didn’t seem right for the world to lose Cat Grant’s mind,” and they have a weird flirty moment. Yeah, whatever.
Supposedly, the signal only affects humans, so Supergirl asks why the signal is affecting Superman. Max pulls an explanation out of his ass about how Superman “grew up on Earth”, and being raised by humans made him more human and thus more susceptible to Myriad. But Max has a plan to defeat the Kryptonians: “kill them all”. Now why didn’t I think of that!
Cut to Non in his evil lair, and he’s got some kind of hovering CGI model of National City projected in front of him. Indigo is hanging out here for no particular reason, and she says that for his plan to work, he has to kill Supergirl.
And then we see Alex and Kid-Hank taking refuge in Alex’s childhood home back in Midvale, where they’re quickly discovered by Alex’s mom Eliza, once again played by Helen Slater. Eliza is wondering about the little kid, so he morphs back into Hank Henshaw. Eliza flips out, because as far as she knows, Hank Henshaw is the guy who killed her husband Jeremiah.
Alex delivers some clunky exposition about J’onn, and how he’s a shapeshifter from Mars, and Eliza is totally cool with this. She then informs them both about the mass mind control going on in National City.
At CatCo, Max is talking about his plan to kill all the Kryptonians, when Non shows up in person to tell Supergirl that “The son of Jor-El has already knelt before me! Soon you will, too!” Oh, so that’s what Superman has been up to. That must have been an extremely dramatic event, so of course on this show, it happens entirely off-screen.
He then further explains that Myriad will bring about peace on Earth, and keep it from suffering the same fate as Krypton. He had to do it, because humans are more interested in “reality stars and political circuses” then saving the planet, and then he actually says that there are now “no Republicans, no Democrats”, and all the people of the city are working together.
Then Winn and James start talking, and it’s obviously just Non speaking through them, as they say lots of boilerplate villain stuff. Then Non commands James and Winn and that Kelly girl (who conspicuously never gets a line) to go walk out on the balcony.
All three of them leap from the building, and unfortunately, Supergirl is only able to catch two of them. Guess which two! And before you guess, just think back to Star Trek, when a landing party would consist of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Ensign Lipschitz, and how easy it was to figure out who wasn’t coming back.
Yep, beloved CatCo employee Kelly is dead. Supergirl lands with Winn and James, and James says, “You missed one.” Non is still speaking through him, of course, and he tells Kara to accept defeat.
Back at the Danvers house, Hank is telling Eliza about how he was there when Jeremiah died, and how Hank/J’onn promised to watch over his daughters. And then suddenly she’s probing him for details on his Martian physiology, and how the whole shapeshifting process works on a cellular level, and she wonders how he can breathe in Earth’s atmosphere… which is a good question, actually… and all Hank says is “like mother, like daughter”.
At CatCo, Max says he’s developed a Kryptonite bomb that will kill all Kryptonians in the city. Alas, this means Supergirl and Superman won’t be able to come back to National City for “roughly 50 years”. What’s more, the concussive force of the bomb could result in hundreds of thousands of causalities. But he think it’s worth it to save the planet, and Supergirl is seriously considering it.
Back from the break, Max is on a video call with General Lane, who’s spoken to the president, and “she” agrees with Max’s plan, and has given him authorization to move forward. Should we be disturbed by the government signing off this quickly on killing hundreds of thousands of its own citizens? And if the president being female didn’t make you roll your eyes hard enough, there’s a moment where Lane says, “May God have mercy on our souls,” and Max replies that if there was a God, “she wouldn’t have put us in this mess in the first place.” Groan.
Supergirl then asks how Max got this way, which inspires him to reveal an additional element of his origin story. As we learned in a prior episode, his parents died due to faulty CDC hazmat suits. But what we didn’t know before is that Max knew those suits were faulty, but no one listened to him. Huh, I got the impression last time around that he was just a kid at the time. Guess not. Anyway, now he no longer wants to “wait for permission” to save people.
Back at the evil lair, Non tells Indigo he didn’t kill Kara, because leaving her alive to see all her loved ones die is so much eviler. He says their next targets after National City will be Metropolis, Opal City, Central City, and Washington DC. Indigo says he sounds like a “politician”. Truthfully, he could easily see him screaming YEEARRGH at the end of that like Howard Dean. But Indigo goes all Lady Macbeth on him, saying he can do so much more with Myriad than taking over one country, and Non should be thinking about ruling the galaxy, not just Earth.
At the Danvers house, Hank has decided to go back to National City to help, since he’s an alien and can’t be affected by Myriad. Alex says she’s going with him, which is a brazenly stupid idea, but she insists, because she’s not going to watch him fly away, the way she “watched my father walk out that door” and never come back. She says he can “use your telepathy to guard my mind!” Well, there you go, sounds like a solid plan to me. Hank agrees and they start to head out, and Alex is about to tell her mom that Jeremiah is still alive, but Hanks stops her.
Hank then morphs into J’onn, and then he and Alex just… walk out the front door. Sheesh, at least fly out a window or something.
And now we get even more talking, this time between Cat and Supergirl on the CatCo balcony, because apparently in the midst of the world being conquered, everyone’s got time to sit around blathering about their feelings.
Cat says Supergirl needs to come up with a better plan than killing thousands of people. But Supergirl is afraid Earth will be destroyed, just like Krypton. Cat says she can’t let fear guide her, and she has to believe that “goodness will prevail”, and remember that “hope is stronger than fear”, and Supergirl has given people hope and even inspired Cat herself. And this gives Supergirl an idea.
Alex and Hank land in National City, and already he’s being weakened by having to use his powers to protect Alex from Myriad. They’re immediately attacked by Indigo, who does some standard-issue villain taunting, so Hank picks her up and hurls into a shack, which explodes in a giant fireball for no reason whatsoever. Indigo survives, however, and she’s apparently got the same abilities as the T-1000 now, because she stretches out her arm into a spike that pierces Hank’s chest.
Hank collapses, and Alex predictably gets taken over by Myriad mind control. So, just a great plan all around, guys.
Max is working on his Kryptonite bomb over at Lord Technologies, when Supergirl and Cat walk in to tell him their new plan, which has something to do with giving people hope, and more speeches follow wherein they convince him that their plan is the better option.
Alex wakes up at the Evil Lair and comes face to face with Non and Indigo. Alex tries to talk Non out of whatever he’s planning to do, saying Astra had a change of heart before she died, but Non’s not buying it. And then Indigo says she’s come up with a good way for Non to get his revenge on both Alex and Supergirl.
Meanwhile, Max and Cat and Supergirl go to an abandoned TV station, and they’re going to broadcast some sort of signal to National City. Max says that they’re in luck, because the station uses “broadcast technology instead of digital” (um… what?), which will allow them to piggyback on the Myriad signal without being detected.
Then Supergirl hears something and heads out (instead of just using her x-ray vision to check it out), and it’s Alex being mind controlled by Non, and she’s covered in glowing green Kryptonite armor. Non speaks through her, saying he’s found Supergirl’s “ultimate opponent”, and Supergirl is going to have kill Alex, or allow Alex to kill her. Alex pulls out the same sword she used to kill Astra, they rush at each other, Alex jumps abnormally high in the air, and that’s the end.
I’m definitely getting a “one episode worth of plot stretched out into a two-parter” feel from this episode, what with all the endless speechifying and characters delivering lengthy, extended explanations for every decision they make. This has to be the most talky, low-key planetary coup ever. And it’s almost completely free of suspense, too, since we have no idea what timetable we’re looking at as far as Non implementing the rest of his takeover plan. It feels like it could be months from now, or possibly years.
And I also have to wonder why Cat and Supergirl and Max are free to roam around National City without any of Non’s mind-controlled minions bothering to stop them. Okay, sure, Supergirl can just swoop over everyone’s heads, but why would Non let Max stroll back over to his office to work on a Kryptonite bomb to kill his entire army?
Next week is part two, and it would seem like they’re leading up to a truly hackneyed ending where Cat delivers yet another big emotional speech to the city, which will snap everyone out of their mind control. And guess what? It’s also the season finale. But based on this week’s episode, we should all be lowering our expectations accordingly.