We gave it an A-
If there’s one thing the Berlanti-verse shows love, it’s secrets. So, it’s somewhat refreshing to have an episode like this one, which finds most of the characters aching to come clean. In “Medusa,” the characters make several confessions that will change many relationships (romantic and platonic) going forward. (Also, there were some crossover shenanigans, but we’ll get to that later).
“Medusa” opens at Kara Danvers’ apartment, where the Danvers family (plus Winn, James, and Mon-El) are celebrating Thanksgiving. This entire first scene alone was a great indication of how much Supergirl has improved this season. It effortlessly juggles the dinner’s many competing agendas. There’s James and Winn, who want to tell Kara about their side project, but are forbidden to by Alex — who’s planning on using dinner to come out to her mother. Mon-El, who definitely has feelings for Kara, tries to score points by sucking up to Eliza. Once they all sit down to eat, Alex finally grabs the floor to make her big announcement, but she’s thwarted by the rude interruption of a rip in the space-time continuum.
The Danvers might be enjoying family time, but the same can’t be said of the Luthor women, whose relationship is revealed to be incredibly strained because Lillian has never tried to hide the fact she loves Lex more than Lena. After Kara tries to innocently question Lena about her mother, Lena summons Lillian to her office to find out if she’s up to anything fishy. However, Lillian lies and says she isn’t up to anything nefarious.
While Lillian lies to her daughter, Cyborg Superman moves forward with CADMUS’ dastardly plan. He shows up at the alien speakeasy and unleashes Project Medusa, a deadly virus that kills only aliens. Unfortunately, Mon-El was at the bar and is exposed to the virus, so the DEO goes on semi-lockdown. Mon-El is quarantined in a cell and Kara and J’onn stay at the DEO to avoid catching the virus.
Kara plants herself outside Mon-El’s cell and plays Monopoly with him through the glass, like a weird modernized version of the play within a play in A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Kara uses this alone time to ask Mon-El if he has feelings for her (her mom thinks so). Instead of coming clean, Mon-El denies it, and that’s when he starts having trouble breathing. Throwing caution to the wind, Kara quickly opens his cell door to help him out, which is an understated way of showing how compassionate she is. She saw Mon-El was in pain and went to help him without hesitation, even though Mon-El could’ve infected her.
Luckily, Eliza, who’s working with the DEO on this case, informs them the virus can only be transmitted via aerosol. During her cursory examination of the virus, she also discovered it was made on Krypton — and that’s when Kara realizes Cyborg Superman wanted her blood so he could access the fortress and steal the virus. Kara flies to the fortress, where a hologram of her father reveals he created the virus to kill all non-Kryptonian life forms in case of an invasion. Kara is horrified her father would create a bioweapon like this, and this discovery forces her to confront her family’s complicated and problematic history on Krypton. How can the parents she loves create something so horrible, and what does that say about their legacy? Thankfully, J’onn is there to remind her she’s her parents’ legacy.
Eliza and Alex team up to find a cure for the virus. While working, Eliza asks Alex what she’s been trying to tell her, which leads to Alex coming out to her mother. Of course, Eliza already knew because Alex has been talking about Maggie so much, and she immediately makes it clear this doesn’t change how she feels about her daughter. While her response isn’t entirely surprising, Eliza’s accepting and loving response to Alex’s admission was incredibly heartwarming.
Eliza discovers CADMUS needs a special isotope to disperse the virus and they can only get it from Luthor Corp. Supergirl flies there and arrives just in time to stop Hank Henshaw from getting his hands on it. Unfortunately, Maggie, who showed with the NCPD, is injured in the fight. Supergirl decides to confront Lena about her mother, but Lena doesn’t respond too kindly. The camerawork in this scene adds to the tension in the conversation, as close-ups on Lena’s face reveal how insulted she is by Kara’s questions about her mother. Supergirl assures her she doesn’t think this means Lena is evil, too, but Lena just kicks her out.
Lena again meets with her mother and reveals she knows about her work with CADMUS; however, she surprises Lillian by offering to help if Lillian simply asks for it. Although Supergirl’s optimism all but insures Lena is playing her mom, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if Lena did go to the dark side — she might see this as an opportunity to finally earn her mother’s affections.
Meanwhile, Kara returns to the DEO and visits Mon-El, who wakes up long enough to kiss Kara before passing out again. Kara doesn’t get too much time to process this, because an alarm goes off notifying them the isotope is on the move with the Luthors. J’onn, who told Kara about this White Martian problem, insists on following her out into battle. If he’s going to die, he wants to die as a Green Martian.
Supergirl and Martian Manhunter fly out to confront the Luthors. Supergirl tries to talk Lena out of launching the rocket that will disperse the virus, but Lena turns the key and it goes off. While Supergirl flies after the rocket, J’onn stays behind to fight Cyborg Superman in a battle which sees J’onn embrace his White Martian mutation to defeat Hank. It’s awesome. At the same time, Supergirl tries to stop the rocket, but it explodes; however, nothing happens because Lena rendered the virus inert, thwarting her mother’s plan.
Eliza gets her hands on the virus and manages to create a cure to save Mon-El — who has no recollection of kissing Kara — along with another strain to cure J’onn’s mutation. If I had one complaint about this episode, it’s this tidy resolution of J’onn’s problem. It could’ve been interesting to see J’onn struggle with accepting his new life, but there’s hope the show will now pivot to J’onn figuring out a way to not view the White Martians as a monolith and to reconnect with M’gann.
Later that night, Maggie shows up at Alex’s apartment with a pizza. Maggie’s recent brush with death made her realize life’s too short to not kiss who she wants to kiss, so she plants one on Alex. The show has been building to this moment for quite some time, and it feels completely earned. I’m definitely excited to see how the show handles their relationship, because Alex’s coming-out story has been the best part of this excellent season.
Now it’s time for Supergirl to get to that crossover business: After several failed attempts, Cisco and Barry finally make it to Kara’s Earth, showing up in the middle of her apartment. Kara is more than excited to see Barry, who is there to call in the favor she owes him from the first time they met. And… This story will pick up in tomorrow night’s The Flash.
“Medusa” was a strong conclusion to the first half of Supergirl‘s second season. The episode effectively contrasted the differing relationships in the Luthor and Danver families, and the show succeeded by not taking the easy way out and turning Lena evil in this episode. It’s far more interesting to see Lena, like Supergirl, fight against her family’s legacy and to embrace the light. I’m excited to see what comes next.
Wall of Weird:
- A quick scene towards the end of the episode revealed aliens are looking for Mon-El. Who are they? What did that scene mean? Does it scene confirm my suspicion the show is going to introduce Mongul this season?
- Speaking of Mon-El: Kara asked him to bring stuffing to Thanksgiving dinner and he showed up with a sack full of stuffing…from his mattress.
- One complaint: Why does every TV family think they’re special everyone shares what they’re thankful around the dinner table? Almost every family does some form of that!
- Is Lena Luthor supposed to replace Maxwell Lord? If that’s the case, I’m all for it.