Supergirl recap: 'Mr. & Mrs. Mxyzptlk'
When the first Supergirl trailer was released, many jumped on the fact on that it was eerily reminiscent of Saturday Night Live’s Black Widow movie sketch, which placed the deadly Avenger in a stereotypical romantic comedy setup. Supergirl definitely relied on some of those rom-com tropes in its first season, but it pulled back in the second, as the show started spending less time at CatCo and thus less time on Kara’s non-superhero life. But in tonight’s Valentine’s Day-themed episode, that all changed. Supergirl went full rom-com.
As the ending of last week’s “Luthors” teased, tonight’s villain is fifth-dimensional trickster Mr. Mxzyptlk, who has come to Earth for Kara Zor-El’s hand in marriage. Fulfilling his role as a trickster, Mr. Mxyzptlk introduces some chaos to the show’s current, central ‘ship between Kara and Mon-El; however, the chaos doesn’t stop with them. Maggie and Alex’s relationship hits a bump in the road as they try to celebrate (or not) their first Valentine’s Day together, and this subplot ends up being the most successful part of the hour.
The opening of tonight’s episode — which finds Mr. Mxyzptlk filling Kara’s apartment with roses, music, and candles, because he has the power to shape our reality any way he sees fit — makes it clear that this version of Mr. Mxyzptlk is diverging from the comics in a couple of ways. The most obvious difference is that the character has been Ms. Grundy-ed, meaning he’s now young and attractive, because leave it to The CW to find a way to make this goofy character hot. Furthermore, the writers have changed his motives for coming to Earth: On the show, he’s here because he wants to make Kara his wife since she’s unlike any woman he’s ever known. Mr. Mxyzptlk is basically Kara’s Maxima (an alien, whom we briefly met in season 1, who came to Earth to mate with Superman). This twist on Mr. Mxyzptlk’s motivation injects the show with some rom-com silliness since his arrival interrupts Kara and Mon-El’s first real kiss.
Kara immediately rejects his proposal, and Mr. Mxyzptlk reciting the lyrics to “A Whole New World” isn’t going to change her mind. Obviously, Mxy doesn’t take no as an answer (because, you know, we need an entire episode) and decides to win Kara’s affections by appealing to her superhero side. So, he creates an illusion of Parasite attacking the city, which is one of the few times the weak CGI actually helps the story — it’s immediately clear that Parasite isn’t real. Mxy swoops in to help Kara save the day dressed like Superman, because dressing up like Kara’s cousin is definitely the way to her heart. Spoiler alert: It isn’t. So Mxy gives Kara an ultimatum: say “I do,” or bad things will happen to her world.
Although he’s no closer to winning her heart, Mr. Mxyzptlk does create some problems for Kara and Mon-El’s burgeoning relationship. Mon-El, who argues they should just kill the Trickster, is jealous of him: He hates the fact that Mxy can just snap his fingers and give Kara whatever she wants. His jealousy gets the best of him, and he ends up alienating Kara because he keeps treating her like a damsel in distress. Even though their quarrels quickly stopped being charming, I did appreciate the way they were directed and shot. There was dynamism to them that isn’t often present in the show’s more talky scenes. And their loving arguing did make this feel more like a rom-com.
Ignoring Kara’s wishes, Mon-El steals an alien relic with unknown powers from the DEO and challenges Mxy to a duel. Ever the pop culture enthusiast, Mxy makes their duel Hamilton-themed: He dresses them both in period garb, declares himself the Aaron Burr of the situation, and tells Mon-El not to throw away his shot. Mon-El uses the relic he stole to disrupt Mxy’s powers, but that doesn’t last long, and Mxy ends up gaining the upper hand. Thankfully, Kara arrives in time and, seeing no other option to save both Mon-El and the world, agrees to meet Mxy at the Fortress of Solitude tomorrow and marry him.
NEXT: Maggie opens up to Alex in a big way; Winn finds some love
There’s also some tension brewing in Alex and Maggie. Alex is really excited about celebrating her first Valentine’s Day in a relationship and tries to make it special for Maggie, who hates the holiday — but that fails because Valentine’s Day stirs up some hurt in Maggie’s past. In a very emotional scene, Maggie reveals that she lied about her parents accepting her when she came out. In fact, it was quite the opposite. When she was in high school, she realized she had feelings for one her female friends and sent her a love note asking her to dance on Valentine’s Day. However, the girl showed the note to her parents, who showed it to Maggie’s parents, thereby outing her. Maggie’s parents kicked her out, and she had to go live with an aunt. Alex tries to comfort Maggie, but Maggie runs out of the apartment.
The Sanvers relationship story ends up being more successful than the Kara/ Mon-El stuff because it actually presents us with new information on the characters and helps develop their relationship further. For Kara and Mon-El, on the other hand, the show keeps cycling through the same or very similar story beats. After Kara agrees to marry Mxy, Mon-El visits her and apologizes for the way he’s been acting, but Kara says his arrogance reaffirms that they won’t work together because they’re too different. It’s the typical rom-com “we shouldn’t be together” speech we’ve seen on this show several times. To be fair, it’s later revealed that Kara was lying in case Mxy was listening in, but there’s definitely some truth to what she says about Mon-El’s behavior.
The next day, Mxy shows up to the Fortress of Solitude dressed in a tux, but he’s disappointed when Kara shows up in her Supergirl outfit and declares, yet again, that she can’t marry him. He flips out and orders the Jor-El statue to attack her, but she makes quick business of that. With no other option, Kara decides to go nuclear.
“You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts,” Kara says, in a great reference to Tim Burton’s Batman.
Kara seals the Fortress and sets the Fortress’ atomic cauldron to self-destruct. Either Mxy agrees to leave Earth alone, or they both will die in the reactor’s explosion. Unwilling to actually call Kara’s bluff, Mxy relents, and Kara tells him exactly which buttons on the Fortress’ computer to press to shut it down. Luckily for Kara, Mxy can’t read Kryptonian and he inadvertently ends up spelling his name backwards, which is the key to defeating him. The only way to thwart a trickster is make them say their name backwards.
The episode cleverly set up this resolution in an early scene when J’onn — talking about the Valentine’s message he was sending M’Gann — said that on some planets, to write something down is to truly say it. And the resolution works on a character level because it gives us another opportunity to see Kara solve a problem with her brain instead of her fists, which is always welcome. “You nasty woman,” says Mxy, explaining that he was only trying to find love in the universe. As he’s sucked back to the Fifth Dimension, Kara tells you can’t force love.
But all’s romantic and well that ends well. After Kara saves the day, Mon-El shows up at Kara’s apartment to talk to her again and finds out that she was lying when she rejected him earlier. With that cleared up, the couple share their first real kiss. It’s fine, I guess.
Meanwhile, Maggie, at Kara’s urging, decides to give in to Valentine’s Day for Alex. She buys Alex a stunning red dress and gives her the Valentine’s Day prom that neither of them ever got. The song chosen for the scene is terrible, but that doesn’t ruin the moment at all. It’s just so darn romantic and warm. Maggie and Alex continue to be the best part of the show’s current season.
However, Maggie and Alex and Kara and Mon-El aren’t the only ones who find love in tonight’s episode. Winn ends up meeting an alien named Lyra from his favorite planet, and they immediately hit it off. She asks him out for Valentine’s Day. Winn makes reservations at a fancy restaurant, but Lyra just wants to hook up. But Winn isn’t just looking for some random hook-up with an alien to fulfill some kind of bigoted fetish, so he surprises her by asking her to dinner again, and they both agree to take things slow. This was a totally unexpected but welcome development that also happens to play into this season’s exploration of bigotry and human-alien relations. From the weird looks that Lyra gets when she meets Winn at the end of the episode, it’s clear that these two dating is akin to interracial dating in this world. I’m interested in seeing where the show goes from here.
Wall of Weird:
- Alex knows Maggie loves guns, tiramisu, and scotch, and she builds an entire date around those things, because they are truly adorable.
- Episode writers Jessica Queller and Sterling Gates had a lot of fun peppering this episode with pop culture references.
- One line that didn’t work as well as the writers wanted it to: Mon-El telling Kara, “I’ve realized that you are my Kryptonite.”
Kara (Melissa Benoist) steps out from her super-cousin’s shadow to become Supergirl and defend National City in the third Arrowverse show.