Rhea wants to make Earth great again, and it's up to Supergirl and friends to resist

By Sara Netzley
May 15, 2017 at 11:38 PM EDT
Robert Falconer/The CW
S2 E21
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Women are heroes. Women are villains. They are fighters and talkers and lovers and planners and above all else, they are strong. Strong women — women with different backgrounds, skills, and goals — are called upon tonight to solve an intergalactic crisis steeped in a healthy dose of current political allegory, and I’ve got to tell you, guys, it is… super.

We left our heroes facing down a sky full of Daxamite ships, come to colonize Earth. Lena Luthor was knocked out in the ensuing struggle, and tonight, she comes to in an elaborate black dress on crisp white sheets, with Rhea creepily hovering over her. She invites Lena to preside over the new world they’ll create together. They’re safe on the Daxamite mothership as the fleet fires on National City below, and a hologram Rhea head announces to the citizens that she’s their new queen.

Daxamite foot soldiers swarm National City murdering and terrorizing citizens, including the NCP and the DEO. Alex gives Kara the heads up that they’re under attack, then runs and jumps off the DEO balcony, turning to fire in slow motion as she plummets off the building. It’s spectacular and made more so when Supergirl swoops in to catch her at the last minute.

Oh, you liked that bit of girl power? JUST WAIT.

Mon-El’s also on board the ship getting an earful of his mother’s evil plans: use human labor to build pyramid monuments, reestablish Daxam with the dead planet’s best and brightest (whom Mon-El refers to as “robbers, liars, killers”), oh, and force her son to marry Lena Luthor as a symbol of Earth/Daxam unity. Rhea also wants an heir, although she can just make a child out of their follicles, which is handy. A hair heir! When Lena’s stubborn, she threatens the Luthor Family Children’s Home and then escalates to all the hospitals. Lena and Mon-El sulkily give in.

On the ground, the Super Team has made the alien bar their emergency HQ, and Winn describes the situation outside as “full-on Independence Day.” They all hope Superman’s out there fighting in the streets. (That’s what we call foreshadowing, kids.)

As if the day weren’t already surprising, in strolls Lillian Luther — to an alien bar — to offer her help in an “enemy of my enemy is my friend” kind of way. (“You can just say, ‘I told you so,’” Winn mutters. “I did tell you so,” she replies.) They all decline her offer to work together, despite the kryptonite cannon and impenetrable shields on the Daxamite ships. As she leaves, she insists to Kara that she really does love her daughter — and yes, she definitely calls her “Kara.”

Next up is another powerful woman with teleconferencing powers. President Marsdin beams her image onto the mothership and orders Rhea to abandon her plans. Rhea threatens to come to D.C., but Marsdin’s already on Air Force One and heading toward the fight. Listening on the ground, Kara marvels, “Every time I think I can’t get happier I voted for that woman…”

Just when Marsdin and Rhea’s threats are getting heated, out strolls the one, the only Cat Grant to chide them for their testosterone-driven posturing. “We’re women. We’re tough, we’re wise, and we’re way above this pettiness, so let’s just roll up our sleeves and talk peace.” YESSSS, CAT, YOU’VE COME BACK TO US AT LAST. When her pronouncement that she’s queen of all media is met with a sneer, Cat indicates Rhea’s gaudy tiara and advises, “Real royals, they don’t need to try that hard.”

Then she reminds them that the future is female, and they’re three strong women who can mediate peace between their worlds. Rhea’s not impressed (ugh, I bet she’s the type who calls herself an equalist instead of a feminist), and she opens fire on Air Force One

Cat gets sucked out the hole in the side, but before I can hyperventilate thinking of a world without Queen Cat, Supergirl swoops in for the rescue. Unfortunately, the plane crashes, and for a second, it looks like Marsdin’s dead… until she flings aside a piece of fuselage to reveal her true alien face. The president’s a Durlan, y’all!

“At least tell me you’re still a Democrat,” says the unruffled Cat. (FYI, Marsdin was Cat’s RA at Radcliffe, which means that the ET Cat saw in a bathrobe one night was real and not the result of the pot brownies.)

The women make their way to the alien bar, which Cat declares very “French resistance,” and she listens with interest as Supergirl admits to the existence of the DEO. Then Cat steps out to take a call from Madeleine Albright, assuring her that getting sucked out of an airplane under attack by colonizing aliens was no worse than having dinner with O’Reilly. This episode, I swear.

This gives Marsdin an opportunity to explain that she was born on Durla. They hoped for the best when the invaders came, but her people were enslaved within a year. She was one of the few who escaped, which explains her support for alien refugees earlier in the season. With J’onn still comatose after his run-in with Rhea last week, Alex is acting director of the DEO. Marsdin, having learned the lessons of Durla, orders Alex to break into the DEO to access the positron cannon and destroy the Daxamite mothership. This doesn’t sit well with Kara, whose boyfriend and best friend are on said ship. Alex is sympathetic, but she emphasizes that she has her orders, which she’d follow through on even if Maggie were aboard.

When Kara steps outside to contemplate the notion of the greater good, she finds Cat perched next to a dumpster, listening to the emergency sirens wail. Cat thanks Supergirl for saving her, and Supergirl explains her dilemma.

Cat non-sequiturs that she chased happiness across the globe (it involved yurts) before realizing the secret: “It’s not about what you do. It’s about who you love.” Therefore, it’s not selfish to want to rescue the people Supergirl loves. In fact, “it’s everything.”

Supergirl says she’s missed Cat’s advice, and Cat says she’s missed giving it. Us too! Calista, can I interest you in the Canadian real estate listings? I’m sure you can find a property with a helipad for Harry.

Newly energized, Supergirl takes to the skies, leaving Cat to sigh, “That is still so… cool.” Kara flies straight to Cadmus, and then she and Lillian explain the plan to the Super Team: Superman (foreshadowing!) has a Phantom Zone projector that can beam prisoners to Fort Rozz. In this case, they’ll use it to get on board the mothership with a little help from Henshaw’s enhanced cybernetic core that lets them pass through undetected. As they’re doing this, Alex will take control of the cannon at the DEO while Cat, with an assist from Winn, will create a distraction.

Before they scatter, Alex tells Kara that in reality, she’d do anything to save Maggie, then begs her not to be on board when she fires the cannon. “Please, just be faster than me,” she says. “Faster than a speeding bullet,” Kara assures her. All the sister feels!

As Henshaw, Kara, and Lillian wait for the projector to warm up (I assume it’s powered by vacuum tubes?), Kara busts Lillian for knowing her identity and asks why she hasn’t told Lena. Lillian replies that Lena will find out that Kara’s been lying to her, “and when she does, she’ll hate you for it.” Yikes. Ice in her veins, that one. What a great villain. Kara agrees with me and says she can’t wait to go back to being enemies.

Now, to the nuptials, where Lena’s in a faaaaaabulous red gown augmented with red wire hangers straight out of a Project Runway unconventional materials challenge. She and Mon-El grudgingly stand before Rhea and join hands. (Hilariously, Rhea’s in a much scaled-back tiara after the Cat-lashing.)

Speaking of, she and Winn survey the damage at CatCo after last week’s child telepath wrecked some things. But that’s not why Cat’s upset. “There are free weights in my office,” she gasps, then side-eyes the sports paraphernalia where her Diptyque candles should be. “I’m going to have to burn sage for, like, a century.” She demands to know where James and Kara are, and Winn stammers out that they’re both big cowards. Ha! Then he asks Cat if she’s ready to go on camera, and with palpable disdain, she says, “I am always ready.” GOD, I LOVE HER.

The Cat transmission gets beamed across the city and interrupts Rhea’s little wedding speech. She tells the citizens of Earth that even though they’re afraid, they’ve got power. And more importantly, they have a job to do: “Resist. Resist these invaders with everything you’ve got.” She says they’ve come with empty promises and closed fists, wanting to make the world great again, but if they can’t con the people into accepting them, they’ll turn to violence. “Everyone needs to be a superhero.” She urges humans and aliens to come together, and we see citizens fighting back as she continues, “We are strong and we are united, and we are not going to be conquered.” Then she warns “Tiara Woman” that she’s come to the wrong town.

Soooo, yeah. You can read that as a tiny bit of a political allegory (wait, did I say tiny?), or you can just stick with the situation on screen. Either way, yesssss, Queen Cat. We worship. We resist.

On the ship, Tiara Woman furiously sends a kill squad after Cat as Kara, Lillian, and Henshaw creep through the ship, roughing up guards. Meanwhile, Mon-El and Lena are being escorted to their chamber when Mon-El picks a fight with his guard but ultimately is rescued by Lena with a laser gun. She then uses her bridal tiara to pick a lock, and yes, gurl, use the trappings of your subjugation as a tool to break free. Sisters are definitely doin’ it for themselves this week.

“I can see why Kara loves you,” Mon-El says, watching her work, and Lena replies, “Likewise” — no doubt speeding up the hearts of shippers of every stripe. And then next thing you know, there’s Supergirl on the other side of the door! She and Mon-El clearly want to mash their faces together but reluctantly play it cool since Lena doesn’t know Kara’s secret identity.

Lena’s touched that her mother came to rescue her… until Lillian uses the projector to save the humans only, then tells Alex it’s safe to fire. Lena’s horrified by Lillian’s betrayal, and Lillian’s confused that Lena’s not on her side yet. Ah, but Kara was prepared for the worst and had Winn create a remote to turn the projector back on. However, Kara tells Mon-El she’s staying behind to give Rhea one more chance to surrender. Mon-El warns her that it won’t work, then kisses her and beams away. Man, Mon-El was kind of an afterthought this week.

On Earth, the Daxamite kill squad has Cat and Winn surrounded, and it’s Guardian to the rescue. Once he’s punched everybody into submission (with a little help from Winn’s “space asthma”-inducing lead dust), he uses his voice changer to growl, “You’re safe now, Miss Grant.” She blithely replies, “Thanks, James,” then says, “Oh, honey. I can see your eyes through the slit.” HAHAHAHAHA I. Love. This. Episode. So. Much.

Oh, but poor Alex. Marsdin’s barking at her to complete her mission and blow up the ship as Mon-El’s frantically telling her that Kara’s still onboard. Her hand hovers over the button, and Maggie looks on worriedly as Alex struggles to push aside love to do her duty.

On the ship, Kara’s request that Rhea do the right thing goes exactly as well as expected, especially when Rhea admits that she killed her husband for opposing her. (I still argue this was a tragic waste of Kevin Sorbo.) As Rhea taunts Kara for thinking that her side has won, Alex watches in confusion as the positron cannon explodes before she can deploy it. And then on the ship, a sucker punch knocks Kara to the ground. And that punch was delivered by Superman, in all his chiseled glory.

Clark! What? Why? Tune in next week, when the season finale will (hopefully) give us the answers we seek, along with a million more Cat Grant-icisms.

Wall of Weird

  • It’s a testament to the strength of this season that the absence of Cat Grant, who loomed so large over season 1, didn’t fatally wound the show. Still, it was damn good to have her back tonight.
  • Alex asked Lillian where their father is, and Lillian claimed not to know. I do hope this is a lie, as not giving us a Teri Hatcher/Dean Cain scene together will be the biggest travesty of the 2016-2017 television season.
  • In this week’s heart-melting Sanvers moment, Maggie realizes that she and Alex met the last time the president was in town and under attack. Full circle! Dawwww!
  • So what’s up with Superman? Who’ll be the one to take Rhea out once and for all? And can we keep Cat forever?

2015 TV series
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seasons
  • 4
episodes
  • 74
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  • 10/26/15
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