It’s bridal shower time, and bless her heart, Eliza Danvers has planned every shower game in existence. But J’onn arrives to whisk Kara off to Mars, and from there, we get two stories about two very different fathers. Let’s take the Earth-bound story first.
Over a pre-shower lasagna dinner with Eliza, Maggie explains why she doesn’t have any childhood pictures for the bridal board. When she was 14, she told a girl that she liked her, after which her father packed a suitcase and drove her to her aunt’s house. When she asked what she did, his answer was, “You shamed me.” Her mother removed Maggie’s photos from the family albums, and Maggie hasn’t spoken to them since. Eliza (and the audience) thinks the only shameful thing in that story is her father’s treatment of her.
Getting ready for bed, Maggie tells Alex that her dad was a terrific father until then, and Alex suggests that the shower’s a great excuse to reach out. Maggie’s not sure that “You kicked me out because I’m gay but hey, come to my gay shower” is the right approach and tells Alex to drop it.
But that night, Maggie creeps out of bed and leaves her dad a message inviting him to her gay shower. She hangs up, sees Alex watching her, and half-laughs. “I don’t know why I did that.”
Things are still awkward when Maggie meets her father (Carlos Bernard) at the bus he took rather than asking her to pick him up from the airport. They hug, and Oscar says her mother didn’t come because she doesn’t like to fly. Oooookay.
As they walk to his hotel, Oscar reveals that he follows all of Maggie’s cases. He was particularly impressed that she cracked an 18-year-old cold case, and Maggie tells him she did what he always taught her: Revisited the scene and paid attention to the mundane details. He’s touched that she recalled his advice, and she says, “I remember everything you taught me.”
I’m already high-key emotional here, friends, and it’s only going to get soggier.
At the shower, late-90s Barenaked Ladies is blasting when Oscar shows up and makes nice to Alex. When he sees no photos of Maggie on the bridal board, he takes a worn picture out of his wallet, kisses it, and adds it to the board. High! Key! Emotions!
And then the engaged couple kisses, and Oscar storms out. When Maggie follows him to ask why, he accuses her of spitting in his face. “For loving somebody?” she asks.
Here comes the backstory: Oscar came to America at 9 and by 11 was working in a factory where the white boys attacked him and called him “wetback.” But he worked hard to win their respect, and those same boys grew up to elect him sheriff. He just wanted his children to be accepted. Maggie argues that the world is different now, and he laughs bitterly. “They’re building a wall to keep us out because, in their minds, we’re nothing but rapists and murderers. The only thing they hate more than a mexicano is a homosexual.” He concludes by telling her that she can live as she pleases, but he won’t stick around to watch it.
Wow. Oscar made some powerful points … until he ABSOLUTELY DID NOT. The struggle to fit in, the desire for your children to be safe, the fear of border walls and immigration quotas — these are real and relevant and painful. But love and support your child, Oscar. You’ve done something inexcusable here, you garbage person.
Maggie tries one more time to talk to him before he leaves, waiting at the bus stop to return his wallet photo. She tells him that the girl in that picture was desperate to earn her father’s love, but he left her at the side of the road, and she’s been waiting for him to come back ever since. Then she thanks him for coming to the shower and giving her the gift of realizing she’s not that scared girl anymore. She’s surrounded by people who value and cherish her, and she doesn’t need anything from him. “I’m already good.”
She bids him farewell, and he’s left holding that faded picture.
As if that weren’t emotionally wrenching enough, Alex thinks this is maybe what Maggie needed in order to get closure and reconsider having kids, but Maggie’s firm that her idea of their life together is kid-less. Alex agrees that Maggie is all she needs. But is she?
Now, grab another Kleenex so we can shift to the father/son feels happening on Mars. (Next page: J’onn has the best spaceship in the galaxy)