Kara vs. Cyborg Superman! Martian Manhunter vs. another White Martian! Guardian vs. a random murderous vigilante! There was a lot going on in tonight’s Supergirl, so let’s just dive right in by starting with the Cadmus of it all.
Cadmus abducted Mon-El at the end of last week’s episode, and tonight’s hour reveals Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong) only wanted him as bait for Kara. Lillian threatens to kill Mon-El if Kara doesn’t show up at Cadmus alone, so Kara agrees to her terms.
When Kara arrives at Cadmus’ facility, she’s immediately confronted by the real Hank Henshaw, who survived his tussle with J’onn and Jeremiah and has been transformed into Cyborg Superman. Cadmus rescued him years ago and since then, they’ve given him a cybernetic upgrade that makes him stronger than Kara. Their fight scene — like most of the action scenes tonight — is quite dynamic, thanks to the smooth and sweeping camera work. Cyborg Superman overpowers Kara, after which she finds herself inside a cage besides Mon-El.
Trapping Kara behind bars gives the show an opportunity for Lillian to explain to both Supergirl and the audience why she hates aliens so much: She blames them for Lex Luthor being behind bars. According to her, Superman promised Lex the world when he arrived on the scene; however, Lex eventually grew concerned about Superman’s unchecked power and tried to take the power back, but Superman used his propaganda to turn the world against Lex, leading to his imprisonment.
So, yes, this is mostly about revenge, which can be a weak motivation. However, Cadmus has been going strong for about 15 years and Lex was just imprisoned, so that’s not the only thing driving Lillian. She truly believes aliens pose a grave danger to the planet and views herself as a patriot for trying to kill them all. For her, it’s not only about revenge but also the greater good, which is kind of scary.
Lillian instructs Kara to wear a special helmet that will absorb the radiation from her solar flare. At first, Kara refuses, but then Lillian shoots Mon-El with a lead bullet, which is actually more dangerous than it sounds because lead is deadly to Daxamites. Kara acquiesces and uses the solar flare with the helmet on, causing her to lose all her powers. This was all part of Lillian’s plan to weaken Kara long enough to drain her blood. Unbeknownst to Kara, Lillian gives Cyborg Superman her blood so he can access the Fortress of Solitude and find something called Project Medusa.
The Cadmus guards return a weakened Supergirl back to her cell. Scared of what may happen next, Kara asks Mon-El to give Alex a message if she doesn’t make it. At first, I didn’t buy Kara’s whole “last wishes” thing, but it makes sense since all she knows is Cadmus hates aliens wants to see them dead. She’s just assuming they plan on killing her. And while Melissa Benoist delivers a fantastic performance in the scene, the real scene winner goes to Chris Wood, who seamlessly and believably moves from cracking jokes to revealing Mon-El’s vulnerable side as he admits he never thought he should’ve survived Daxam.
Mon-El starts to tell Kara a secret about Daxam, but doesn’t get a chance to finish because Jeremiah Danvers — yes, you read that right — shows up and frees them from their cells. After removing the lead bullet from Mon-El’s leg, he helps them escape. Kara pleads with him to come with them, but he says he has to stay behind, so Kara and Mon-El make their escape without him.
NEXT: J’onn gets angry