Welcome back, Super-fans! Kara was soundly defeated by Reign in the midseason finale, yet the first episode of 2018 opens with her napping in her apartment.
Then an alien with white hair, a trio of glowing forehead discs, and blueish-purple skin knocks on her door and introduces himself as Brainiac 5 (Jesse Rath): half computer, half organic life form, and 12th-level intellect from the planet Colu. His real name is Querl Dox, but his fellow Legion of Super-Heroes call him Brainy.
Mon-El woke him up to check out Kara’s neural pathways during her coma, and Kara’s surprise at hearing about her injuries prompts Brainy to ask, “Did I bury the lede?” (Gotta love that this is still an expression in the 31st century!)
He explains that she’s in a manifestation of her happy place while 31st-century technology heals her body. Cut to the real world, where Kara’s in a liquid-filled pod surrounded by Alex, J’onn, Winn, and the Legionnaires, who are relieved by Brainy’s announcement that she’s okay, but angry.
Hey, remember that Ruby cliffhanger? We find her huddled in a corner of her home, and for a second it looks like things went badly for her. But psych! She and her mom are engaged in a Nerf gun war.
During the skirmish, Sam breaks a framed photo of the two of them, which is not at all symbolic, and then sees the front page of the paper, which is dedicated to the “rogue Kryptonian” and features a photo of herself in Reign gear. Her eyes flash red, and we cut to the Fortress of Sanctuary, where her dark Kryptonian spirit guide tells her it’s time to deliver the awakening by cleansing the world of evil-doers and forcing the righteous to stop looking the other way.
Now to CatCo, where Lena’s fretting over (a) Supergirl’s two-day disappearance and (b) telling Kara that she and James kissed. Then Reign bursts through the window, tosses a criminal on the floor, and demands that an employee turn on his camera so she can deliver a warning to the city that apathy in the face of evil will now be punished.
The Legionnaires tell the DEO that they can’t help stop Reign for fear of jeopardizing their secret mission, nor can they offer much help from their future perspective. In 2455, a third-degree extinction phenomenon wiped out all of Earth’s life, history, art, culture — “everything interesting,” Brainy says. Mon-El’s the one who taught them about Earth, from Aristotle to Bon Jovi, and they have huge gaps in their knowledge. All they can report is that Supergirl survives and Reign eventually leaves, but they don’t know how, why, or the ensuing body count.
J’onn suggests they invoke the Sundown Protocol, designed to take out Superman if he goes rogue. However, he turned all of the DEO’s Kryptonite over to Clark Kent, so they’re only left with the samples from Coville’s probe.
Speaking of everybody’s favorite prophet, Alex pays Coville a visit in prison to ask for advice on how to defeat Reign. But Coville says that Supergirl refused her faith and failed the test, which means that Reign has already won.
In her mind palace, Kara’s thrilled when Brainy tells her that they’re ready to wake her up. Unfortunately, she can’t get her apartment door open, which translates to her remaining asleep in the real world.
Since her body and brain are fine, Brainy suggests that her subconscious may be scared. Kara strenuously rejects that idea, first punching the door and then eye-lasering it. Her eye beams are always my favorite super-effect, and they’re even cooler than usual this week, with sparks and debris flying around as she screams in effort.
Brainy looks on calmly, but in the real world, he tells the assembled team that he’s never seen anything like this before, then offers, “Sorry, insensitive,” which is fabulous shorthand about his logic-driven character. But he warns that the longer Kara stays asleep, the less likely she is to wake up.
When they get the news that Reign has attacked a meth lab and the police who arrived to help, Mon-El and Imra finally explain why they can’t join the fight: They hid the secret for stopping a race of world-destroying creatures called the Blight inside their own DNA, so if they die, that information is lost. Alex isn’t pleased that they’re sitting out, but she and J’onn concoct a humans-only plan to get ahead of Reign. Part of it involves manufacturing new Sundown Protocol weapons, which means J’onn has an hour to kill.
Good thing, because in an awkward encounter with Lena, James ends up blurting out that Kara has the flu, and Lena insists on bringing her bestie soup. James places a panicky call, and the next thing you know, J’onn’s voice is coming out of Kara’s mouth as he bemoans the indignity of suiting up — or technically robing up — to fool Lena.
At Kara’s (real) apartment, Lena thrusts a container of soup at her and makes herself at home on Kara’s couch to talk about kissing James. J’onn does an unusually bad Kara impression, referring to James as “Olsen,” but nevertheless managing to assure Lena that James’ awkwardness has nothing to do with her being a Luthor.
Okay, this scene was funny, but…come on. We’ve seen J’onn do amazing impressions of Kara, Kara’s mother as an FBI agent, and Hank Henshaw, to name a few. Sure, he’s worried about stopping Reign, and yeah, the girl talk was awkward, but his irritation at maintaining Kara’s cover WHILE KARA IS IN A COMA was weird and out of character. (Next page: Time for some feline intervention)
The DEO decide to lure Reign to them with a bank robbery, but she fights off their attempts to subdue her with Kryptonite, escaping and snapping Alex’s tibia in the process. Alex suggests that they concentrate the Kryptonite and inject it into her jugular next time, if they can find somebody strong enough to do it. Unfortunately, their best bet is still asleep.
In Kara’s mind palace, she wonders if there’s something among her belongings that her subconscious wants her to see, which Brainy thinks is worth pursuing. She finds a photo of her cat Streaky, who suddenly appears on a chair. Kara settles him onto her lap, explaining that she found him right after she came to Earth. He was a stray, too, and she was scared to touch him for fear of hurting him with her strength. So she practiced being gentle, and then one day she petted him and he purred, and it helped her feel like a human. Supercat for the win!
Also winning the day is Imra, who reminds Mon-El that, like Tommy and Gina, “You live for that fight when it’s all that you’ve got.” Their job is to help people, and these people need help. So when the DEO learns that Reign’s tearing through the prison, they strap on their super-suits and Legion flight rings.
As Reign stalks through the prison, she overhears Coville praying to Rao, and he quickly offers to serve her. Then “Living on a Prayer” kicks in as the Legion ship rises from the water with Brainiac 5 at the helm, while Mon-El and Imra face Reign down in the prison yard. (To the person choosing music for Supergirl this season: Marry me.)
Their Legion flight rings glow red, and Mon-El and Imra take to the sky while Brainy opens fire on Reign.
In Kara’s mind palace, she realizes Brainy’s multitasking, talking to her and engaging in a battle. “A little tiny baby battle,” he assures her. He juggles oranges and works a crossword to show just how capable he is, but when he shouts, “Mon-El, evade!” Kara’s had enough and tells him to focus on the fight.
Before he leaves, he reminds her that Kara Danvers is Alex’s favorite person. Kara pensively picks up her glasses, which she hasn’t worn all episode, and spots a key on the table, which finally opens the apartment door. She wakes up in the real world and immediately rushes into battle. (Also, was she wearing her super-suit the whole time she was asleep? If I’m beaten into a coma by a rogue Kryptonian, please put me in something with an elastic waist.)
At the prison, Imra whips free weights at Reign and creates a protective shell around Mon-El when Reign turns her freeze breath on him. She’s fantastic in battle, in other words. Then Kara shows up and jams the Kryptonite needle into Reign’s neck, making herself vulnerable in order to stop her enemy.
Back at the DEO, Mon-El chases Kara down to tell her that he still cares about her, and they agree it was great fighting together again. Seriously, these private declarations have got to make it harder for all three of them to work together, no? Afterward, Kara’s excited to meet Brainy in the real world. “Hey, it’s you! Are you shorter?”
Yep, he augmented his height in her mind palace to make himself seem more stable and trustworthy. You know, the images of Brainiac 5 that made their way around the internet leading up to this episode looked a little…goofy. This worried me because Brainiac 5 is Supergirl’s main love interest in the comics, and I’m shallow. But so far, I’m digging his whole chatty, calm, confident demeanor so much that I can overlook his purple contour streaks.
At CatCo, Lena tells James that she’s used to people reflexively hating her because of her family name. He’s pleased that she figured out that he’s not one of them, and they kiss some more.
At Kara’s real apartment, she signs Alex’s cast (Brainy signed in binary), and they laugh over J’onn talking with Lena about kissing James. Then Kara tells Alex that she had to remember who she was in order to wake up, which made her think differently about the whole Mon-El situation. It still hurts, but “I’ll be stronger for it, whatever happens.” They toast to avoiding comas in the future.
Finally, Reign’s in her Fortress, waiting for the Kryptonite to wear off. When it does, her dark guide announces that there are others like Reign, and now that she’s proven herself, Coville, freshly sprung from prison and hanging out in the Fortress, can help her find them. “Stronger together,” Coville says, translating the words that Reign’s dark mentor hisses.
Snaps of the cape
- What an excellent episode for fans of the comic! You’ve got the introduction of Brainiac 5, a Streaky cameo, a mention of the Blight, and, of course, that hero shot of the Legion flight rings. Gotta say, though, Mon-El’s Legion costume has sleeves puffy enough to bring a happy tear to Anne Shirley’s eye.
- I’m glad we got a better sense of Imra this week. Not only did she encourage Mon-El to join the fight, but she displayed some impressive telepathic abilities. If Supergirl’s smart, they’ll keep developing her so she’s less third-leg-of-the-love-triangle and more super-awesome Saturn Girl.
- Okay, where’s Superman? Did I miss an explanation for why he’s not helping out? Because once you introduce Clark Kent to the show, it makes zero sense that he wouldn’t be in National City to neutralize this rogue Kryptonian, particularly with Kara out of commission. Sure, in-show plot reasons, real-world budget reasons, blah blah blah. But somebody needs to drop a line about Superman being in the Phantom Zone or something to close this plot hole.
- Would you recognize a photo of yourself in supervillain getup on the front page? Let me know in the comments!