Supergirl recap: 'Both Sides Now'
The Super-team gets proactive in the final episode before its second hiatus, leaving us with a plethora of cliffhangers to ponder in the upcoming weeks.
When Supergirl and the DEO literally kick open the door to bring the newest Worldkiller in for questioning, they find the very human Julia Freeman jamming out to Lisa Loeb. (I feel you, girl; “Stay” is my karaoke jam, too.) Julia’s startled to find Supergirl in her living room, and Supergirl’s equally startled that Julia has no idea why the team is there. She begs Supergirl not to let the armed agents hurt her, and it’s awfully hard not to see shades of racially motivated police brutality in this scenario.
Of course, in this case, Julia possesses extraordinary abilities, and when Alex gets jumpy with her gun despite Supergirl’s stand-down order, Julia’s eyes turn ice blue, and she sonic-blasts everyone in the room. Kara quickly creates a protective ice wall that J’onn phases through to apprehend Purity.
Everybody at the DEO celebrates their victory while Winn runs an analysis on the Kryptonian cache crystal they found in Purity’s home, which could pinpoint the Worldkillers’ headquarters. But Kara’s troubled by the fear she saw in Purity’s eyes before she blasted everybody, and she wants to try drawing Julia out. Alex predicts this approach will fail, but she agrees to let Kara try.
Alex is correct. Supergirl stands in front of Purity’s cell, calling her “Julia” like she’s a hostage negotiator on her first day. Purity’s unimpressed. “I am the scalding light. I am the flood that sweeps away sins. I am the word and cry of justice,” she proclaims, and my word, do I love the operatic grandiosity of these Worldkillers.
Alex then takes the bad cop approach, promising that after months in DEO lockup, “You’re gonna feel like I peeled your skin off and saw everything underneath.”
Bless her heart, Kara keeps trying, reviewing Julia’s biography: adoptive parents, degree in music, milk allergies. “She was very fun to play,” Purity agrees. But it’s only an adopted mask that she and her “sistren” (A+ usage of that word) adopted while they waited for the cosmic alignment of forces that would signal their awakening.
Kara then mentions Julia’s longtime BFF Vinita Ripson, whom she saved from the runaway car two episodes ago. Kara suggests that Vinita’s worried about Julia, and Purity looks like she’s about to crack before pulling it together and asking, “Will you care when I tear out your bones and rip out your soft parts?” You know, not to participate in a system that pits women against one another in a series of un-winnable competitions, but in the threat department, I’ve got to give it to Purity over Reign.
But when Alex threatens Purity with government dissection, spitting, “You’re not a god. You’re just meat and bones,” Kara asks her to step outside. Alex argues that Kara’s impractical feelings are costing them time, while Kara wants to know when Alex became so hard and cynical. Honestly, they’re both acting like such extreme versions of themselves that they’re never going to make any progress.
But Purity’s not done with Alex yet, and when the women return, she announces that she can see inside of people and says Alex is miserable because she threw away her only shot at happiness. And that’s when Kara starts to see things Alex’s way.
Then Purity’s crystal activates, and she and Supergirl threaten one another in their mother tongue. Purity then reveals herself to be the Kryptonian version of the Black Canary and sonic-screams her way out of her cell, scattering DEO agents and flying off with her crystal.
All of this activity is a beacon for Reign, which is unfortunate because at Lena’s orders, Sam and Ruby are playing hooky at an ice skating rink. When Purity makes her escape, Sam’s eyes flash red, and she hightails it to her Fortress of Sanctuary, where her dark guide instructs her to locate her fragile, newly awakened sistren.
Poor abandoned Ruby calls Lena to come pick her up, and Lena — in an amaaaaazing faux (I hope) fur coat that harkens her return to her Luthor roots — listens as Ruby talks about all of the times her mother has blacked out. Lena promises to find the answer.
Okay, who’s ready for some drama with a capital D? Mon-El asks J’onn for help fixing the Legion ship (the Moran battery died, and he needs to borrow one to regenerate the cells for blah blah antigravity science reasons) and when Imra checks on his (lack of) progress, it’s clear they’ve been fighting.
Sensing troubled marital waters, J’onn embraces his role as everybody’s favorite alien dad and offers Mon-El a bottle of Martian moonshine, which is popular at the alien bars. It’s kind of spicy with a consciousness-enhancing quality, and I’ve never wanted to drink anything more.
J’onn says it may have been a couple of centuries, but he was married for 77 years and might have advice. At first, Mon-El declines to elaborate, but eventually he spills some surprising news: He and Imra were friends and colleagues who got married not for love, but to unite the allies of her planet, Titan, and his adopted planet, Earth.
He was still mourning Kara, and marrying someone he respected so they could help so many people seemed logical. And then their pretend marriage become real, and he grew to love her. “I was content,” he says, damning their entire union with extremely faint praise. Ladies, getcha a man who’ll say something much more than “content” when he describes your union.
Then he compares this to what he had with Kara, the Kryptonian elitist who fell in love with the self-absorbed misogynist — although he’s not that anymore, he says…which is likely as close as this show will ever come to shouting, “Smell you later, Kriesberg!” Anyway, being back on Earth has stirred up old feelings, which he’s trying to hide from Imra.
J’onn, whose Martian marriage included a sharing of thoughts and feelings every night, tells Mon-El to be honest with the wife he loves and honors. Then J’onn’s phone vibrates with the news about Purity’s escape, and the counseling session comes to an end. (Next page: Julia makes a sacrifice)
Purity’s escaped to the subway, so Winn sets up the team with sonic-blocking doohickeys that he’s 98 percent sure will counteract Purity’s Kryptonian Cry.
Thankfully, the devices work, allowing Kara to withstand the sonic blast when she corners Purity on the subway. “You finally learned my name,” Purity drawls, but her cockiness vanishes when she finds herself surrounded by sonic-immune Supergirl, Alex, Mon-El, and J’onn (in full Martian Manhunter getup, which we simply don’t see often enough).
Purity tears a hole into the floor and drops them to a subway level full of civilians. She screams havoc all over the place, and J’onn supports a crumbling support beam while Alex evacuates the civilians and Mon-El helps Supergirl battle the Worldkiller.
When Purity gets Supergirl by the neck, she hisses that Julia’s inside of her. “I’m going to make her watch while I kill you.” Kara begs Julia not to let Purity hurt her, and Purity’s eyes flip between icy and human.
Seeing this, Alex embraces Kara’s approach and talks to Julia, reminding her that she stood in front of a car to save her friend Vinita. Alex apologizes for not seeing it before and says, “You’re stronger than you think, and you can fight this.” This banishes Purity, but unfortunately, that’s when Reign drops from the sky to sneer, “So the Supergirl kneels. Good practice.” What is it with villains wanting the House of El to kneel all the time?
Alex charges at Reign with a gun, but Reign knocks her down and presses a foot on her chest, prepared to kill her. Julia can’t allow that to happen and offers herself in Alex’s place. Reign accepts and whisks her to the Fortress, where Julia crawls away in fear as the dark guide announces that her awakening has begun. Afterward, they’ll find Pestilence and will be unstoppable, Reign promises.
After the fight, J’onn reprimands Alex for risking her life, and they all hope that Julia’s strong enough to hold out against Reign. And Kara says she learned one thing from this experience: She’ll defeat the Worldkillers by saving them, not beating them. I’d expect nothing less from Supergirl.
At the alien bar, the Sisters Danver chat about heartbreak — yes, again, some more — over fried food. The upshot is that Alex is still incredibly sad, wavering between calling and deleting Maggie’s number every day but never finding the strength to do either, while Kara’s still getting through her heartbreak. But they’re both holding on to hope. “You will have all the things,” Kara tells her sister: Love, kids, all of it.
Speaking of, let’s circle back to the marriage drama llama: Mon-El apologizes to Imra for how he’s been acting and confesses that being around Kara is confusing for him. Imra’s all “um, DUH” and says she’s seen Mon-El looking at Supergirl the way he looked at her the first time he said he loved her.
When Imra asks if he’s still in love with Kara, he whispers, “I don’t know.” Imra thanks him for his honesty, which is why she fell in love with him in the first place, and they vow to work through their problems together. Yeah, this…this isn’t a great development for their marriage.
OH, and ALSO Imra confesses that she hasn’t been completely honest with Mon-El, either. She and Brainy planned a risky mission that isn’t quite what they told Mon-El about. She offers to fill him in on why they’re really there, but the show cuts away before we learn anything else. Noooooo, come back and telllll ussssss!
Finally, Lena’s hard at work at L-Corp when Sam rushes in. Lena says Ruby’s fine, and now they all know about Sam’s missing time. Sam is enraged that Lena told Ruby about her undiagnosed illness, and when Lena starts to explain, Sam barks, “Silence” as her eyes flash red. When she pulls herself back, Lena realizes that she just witnessed a blackout and says, “I know what’s wrong with you. I’m going to make you better.”
Ooooh, what does Lena know, or thinks she knows? Unfortunately, we’ve got a heckuva wait to find out!
Snaps of the cape
- Let’s hear it for Krys Marshall, crushing it as both the naïve, confused Julia and the viscerally terrifying Purity. Her threats were grandiose but personal, and her reversion back to Julia worked. Fingers crossed that Pestilence will be as chillingly effective if/when she’s introduced after the break.
- Winn was the Mr. Fix-It MVP this week, delighting in J’onn’s Bel Air spaceship and fixing the Legion craft through some kind of alien metric system conversation. But his best moment was hugging an upset Alex, offering comfort and letting his innate goodness shine through.
- How much did you love hearing about Lena’s first impression of Sam? When L-Corp acquired her company, Lena saw a junior VP hard at work late into the night and thought, “Her. I want to work with her.” Listen, I don’t know how likely a happy ending for the Worldkillers is, but a huge part of me hopes Kara actually is able to save them all.
- Speaking of, Sam earned all the cool mom points with, “You get precisely one ‘hell, yes’ today. I hope you enjoyed that.”
- Supergirl now heads into a long winter/early spring nap. See you all on April 16!
Kara (Melissa Benoist) steps out from her super-cousin’s shadow to become Supergirl and defend National City in the third Arrowverse show.