Mon-El and Winn find their sense of heroism in the strong, Kevin Smith-directed midseason premiere

By Chancellor Agard
January 23, 2017 at 11:05 PM EST
Credit: Robert Falconer/The CW
S2 E9
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After an eight-week hiatus, Supergirl is back with a strong episode directed by comic book lover Kevin Smith. In many ways, “Supergirl Lives” feels like a spiritual successor to season 1’s fantastic “Human for a Day.” It deals with similar themes, but in relation to Mon-El and Winn. Let’s dive in!

When tonight’s episode opens, it’s clear some time has passed since the events of “Medusa”: Guardian is getting better at the whole superhero thing, much to Supergirl’s annoyance; Kara is bored because she’s only had to take on jewel thieves and bank robbers; and Alex is glowing from her new relationship with Maggie. It’s quite possibly the most adorable thing in the world. But, alas, the calm doesn’t last too long. A worried mother shows up at CatCo one morning, begging Snapper Carr to help her find her missing daughter Izzy (Harley Quinn Smith). Snapper doesn’t want anything to do with this because he hasn’t had his coffee or Danish yet, but Kara dives headfirst into the case.

Kara turns to Maggie for some help, and Maggie informs her that there’s been a recent uptick in missing person cases in the past few months. Unfortunately, the NCPD hasn’t been able to determine what the connection is between the missing people. Thankfully, Winn — sporting a black eye from a traumatic night out on the town with Guardian — uses his fancy computer skills to determine that each missing person recently had blood work done at a clinic. Alex offers to go check it out with Kara, but Kara tells her she can handle it on her own. Mon-El, who just started bartending at the alien speakeasy, decides to tag along because he’s bored or something.

The doctor who runs the clinic is more than eager to let Kara and Mon-El, “two strapping millennials,” into the trial he’s running. And by trial, I mean sending humans through a portal in his office to a dangerous planet called Slaver’s Moon. Kara and Mon-El are able to fight off his goons, so the doctor runs through the portal to escape. They bravely but foolishly follow him and find themselves powerless under Slaver’s Moon’s red sun.

Mon-El is eager to find a way off the planet once he finds out they’re on Slaver’s Moon, where the slave trade is alive and well, but Kara refuses because she’s determined to save those missing people — so they turn themselves in to the slavers, who are led by none other than Roulette. After Supergirl ruined her alien fight club business, Roulette traveled to this planet to help them expand their slave operation. Roulette tosses Kara and Mon-El into a cell with the other prisoners.

NEXT: The Alex and Maggie of it all

If there’s one thing this episode is about, it’s overcoming your fear and sense of powerlessness to do what is right. Of course, we see this with Supergirl, who remains defiantly optimistic while in captivity because she knows that’s what Izzy and the other prisoners need to make it out of there. This is something that Mon-El, at this point, can’t quite seem to understand. He’s never had to look out for anyone but himself before. “That’s what heroes do,” she says to Mon-El. “They don’t just sit in a bar because it’s easier.” The episode gets a lot of mileage out of pairing these two characters together because Kara poses a strong challenge to Mon-El’s selfishness. Also, they have great chemistry.

However, this theme also applies to Winn, who is severely shaken after almost getting killed the night before while trying to stop a thief Guardian lost track of. But he’s forced to suck it up once Alex and the rest of the DEO discover that Kara is missing and trapped on Slaver’s Moon. Unfortunately, J’onn can’t help them out because Slaver’s Moon’s air is toxic to Martians, so it’s up to Alex, a DEO tactical team, and Winn, whom Alex drags into the field because she needs him to operate the portal from the other side. While Alex and the DEO storm the slavers’ base, Winn guards the portal and ends up having to fight off one of the slavers on his own, which is the sort of galvanizing moment he needed.

Meanwhile, Kara and the rest of the prisoners decide to fight back against Roulette and the guards before they sell them to a Dominator (yes, they’re back!). “You didn’t give up and neither will we,” says Izzy once they finish subduing the guards. As they make their escape, Mon-El finds his inner hero and lags behind to take a bullet for the team while Kara helps the other prisoners. However, his bold sacrifice ends up being for nothing, because the Dominator recognizes him, tells the guard not to harm him, and bows before letting him flee.

Eventually, Supergirl, Mon-El, and the prisoners reunite with Alex and her team, and they head back towards the portal. Unfortunately, one of the guards grabs Izzy before they can jump through. Thankfully, the DEO has one more trick up its sleeve: a solar energy bomb, which reenergizes Supergirl long enough to save Izzy. They all return to Earth, leaving Roulette and the doctor trapped in a Slaver’s Moon cell.

Once back on Earth, it’s time for Alex to fix things with Maggie. When Alex found out about Kara being trapped on Slaver’s Moon, she broke things off with Maggie because she blamed herself for Kara’s disappearance, believing her relationship had made her complacent. She knows she overreacted and apologizes to Maggie, who forgives her and reveals that she figured out that Kara is Supergirl.

Mon-El pays Kara a visit at her apartment. Sitting across from her on the couch, Mon-El declares that he wants to be a superhero like her because she’s inspired him. Smith gives the scene the room it needs to breathe and keeps both actors in the shot for most of the conversation, which highlights their growing connection. After the Alex and Maggie stuff, this was quite possibly my favorite scene of the episode because of how effortless it felt.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty fun episode. While adhering to the show’s visual style, Smith managed to put his own stamp on the hour by making it as playful as possible. Watching the episode, there’s a sense that everyone was having a ton of fun working on it, from Alex calling dibs on one of the alien’s guns to Mon-El, who was cracking jokes in pretty much every scene. He also did a great job at capturing the tenderness and warmth of Alex and Maggie’s burgeoning relationship, especially in Alex and Maggie’s morning-after scene at the beginning of the episode. I can’t wait for Smith to step behind the lens again.

Wall of Weird:

  • The Dominator bowing to Mon-El definitely confirms that he’s the Prince of Daxam, right?
  • Also, the episode ended with the hooded figures we saw in the midseason finale arriving on Slaver’s Moon and killing the doctor after he tells them that Mon-El is on Earth.
  • Kara turns in an 8,000-word piece on the Slaver’s Moon stuff, which seems kind of excessive. Snapper appreciates her moxie.

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