When a parasitic alien offers Kara the perfect life, she must choose between her Kryptonian family and the family she's created on Earth.
When we left Kara last week, she was at a pretty low point. Pretty much all of her relationships (save the one with her sister) were in varying states of disarray Cat, the mentor she needs, wants to keep things strictly “professional.” Winn is barely talking to her, and things with James are just weird. With this baggage going into tonight, we came into “For the Girl Who Has Everything” ready for a poignant episode to set things right, and Supergirl definitely delivered.
Tonight’s episode is an adaptation of Alan Moore’s heartwrenching Superman story “For the Man Who Has Everything,” which was published in Superman Annual #11 in 1985. In the story, the Black Mercy — a parasitic alien plant that shows its host his or her heart’s desire — attaches itself to Superman, trapping him in a dream world where Krypton was never destroyed and he’s married and has a son. Basically, the evil alien dictator Mongul, who sends Superman the plant for his birthday, uses his heart’s desire against him, and to free himself, Superman must give up this idyllic life that’s been created for him.
Supergirl‘s take on this landmark Superman story comes with one change: Kara starts off questioning whether or not this is real. When Kara wakes up on Krypton, she’s confused because, well, duh. Her mom enters and tries to comfort her, saying that her belief that Krypton exploded was obviously part of the hallucinations she had while suffering from the Argo Fever. But, again, Kara isn’t buying it. (It’s funny that her first thought is that Astra is trying to use her memories of Krypton against her, which isn’t too far off.) Slowly, however, she starts to give in to this perfect prison. Her father, young Kal-El, and Aunt Astra start showing up, and that draws her deeper into the dream to the point that she forgets Earth’s name. Eventually, Kara succumbs when lil’ Kal-El shows her a hologram of Krypton and all she can say is “It’s so beautiful.”
Meanwhile back in the real world, a solar storm is disrupting Earth’s satellite and network systems. When James, Winn, and Alex realize that Kara’s missing, they head to her apartment and find her on the ground with this gross-looking plant strapped to her chest. They rush her to the DEO, and Alex’s first suspect is Maxwell Lord, but his hands are clean in this one (for once). They try removing the plant, but they realize that forcibly removing it will kill Kara.
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Cat is still upset about what Kara did last week, so she tells Winn that if Kara doesn’t show up to work, she’ll be we fired. Cue Hank impersonating Kara to save her job… Guys, do we have to talk about the scenes between Hank as Kara and Cat? Any other week, they would’ve been enjoyable, but, honestly, they just got in the way of the very emotional story being told in the episode. I would’ve given anything to have spent more time with Kara on Krypton, watching her interact with her newly recovered family and experiencing that happiness, instead of these distractions.
Astra and Non are planning on using the current solar storm to activate some plan called Myriad, which remains unexplained by the end of the episode. Astra’s worried that her niece will be a problem, but Non assures her that won’t be the case because he used the Black Mercy on her. Astra is horrified, which leads her to offer her help to Alex, who is not handling Kara’s current condition well.
The responsibilities of being a big sister are weighing on Alex as she feels powerless to do anything to help Kara. They can’t forcibly remove the Black Mercy from her chest. Hologram Alura is of no help at all. So, when Astra offers her a solution, a desperate Alex doesn’t hesitate, ignoring the risks because that’s what you do for family. The only thing Kara can do to free herself from the Black Mercy is to willingly reject the fantasy; however, Alex can help her do that by using the DEO’s technology to merge her consciousness with Kara’s to enter the dream. After convincing Maxwell Lord to do the tech stuff, Alex goes under but not before making James promise to not let Hank pull her out before she saves her sister.
NEXT: A death in the family
To be honest, my instinctive reaction was to dislike this change to the story because I can sometimes be quite pedantic; however, this change was very smart. The story immediately becomes about these two sisters, which is one of Supergirl‘s sweet spots. It allows Alex to take her responsibilities as a big sister to the next level and to be her sister’s Supergirl when she needs it the most. The show should definitely be applauded for not making this about the romantic nonsense between Kara, James, and Winn.
Because this is Supergirl, the theme of family is in every corner of the episode. Cat’s mainly angry at Kara because she hurt her son. And, Hank, who tries to bring Alex back at the first sign of trouble, is worried because he has lost one family already and can’t bear to lose Alex (and Kara) again.
When Alex arrives on Krypton, she finds her sister in the middle of family time. At this point, Kara doesn’t recognize her sister, so she knocks her out. Alex is then placed on trial and is sentenced to the Phantom Zone (this scene mirrors Astra’s sentencing, which was shown a few episodes ago). As Chyler Leigh delivers some heartwrenching capital-A Acting in this scene, Alex pleads with Kara to remember who she is, remember where she’s from, remember the family she has waiting for her on Earth. “Earth needs Supergirl,” Alex implores, as guards try to detain her. But, that word is all Kara needed to hear — the fake world starts to crumble, and the women wake up.
Kara’s in shock when she wakes up because she just watched her entire family die for the second time and is forced to feel that pain again. However, that pain quickly gives way to anger as she demands to know who did this to her and where can she find him or her. The episode depends on Kara’s anger when she wakes up to sell the emotional trauma of her loss, and Melissa Benoist’s strong performance makes up for where the writing drops the ball.
The DEO figures out that the Fort Rozz prisoners broke into Lord Technologies to infect Lord’s satellites with a virus that would allow them to override the civilian network. They figure out that they are likely attacking six of the satellite uplinks. Kara goes after Non, while Alex, grabbing a big Kryptonite blade just in case, heads off for Astra.
It’s hard not to feel at least somewhat bad for Non when Kara finds him because she’s pissed about what he put her through. It’s just Non’s bad luck that she doesn’t have to hold back since he’s Kryptonian and can take it, albeit barely. Declaring she chooses Earth, Kara reaffirms her love for the family she has here. Non is his usual condescending and annoying self. Meanwhile, Alex confronts Astra, who makes it clear she’s willing to kill her. Hank shows up in full Martian Manhunter form to fight Astra, but Astra gains the upper-hand and gets a knife to his throat. (#FACTS: The Martian Manhunter vs. Astra fight was unadulterated awesomeness!) To save her surrogate father, Alex kills Astra with the Kryptonite sword.
Hank and Alex call Kara to the scene of her aunt’s death and allow her one last goodbye. Not wishing to ruin Alex and Kara’s relationship (because Alex is Kara’s Supergirl), Hank takes responsibility for killing Astra. It’s a touching scene and is the family reunion Kara needed. Before she dies, Astra warns her that it’s too late to stop whatever the Myriad plan is. Later, Hank assures Alex that it was a righteous kill, but it’s clear that’s of little comfort to her.
When Kara returns home later that night, she finds Alex, Winn, and James waiting for her. She admits that she’s been feeling lost for the past few weeks and that’s why she dreamed of Krypton. But, they don’t care and are just happy she’s home and safe. She and Winn reaffirm their friendship with a high five, and then everyone digs into some potstickers and ice cream.