Two iconic pieces of music from bookend this week’s speech-heavy yet satisfying Supergirl episode.
We open with the Elite hitting the town to the tune of “Stuck in the Middle with You,” which definitely brings to mind another group of stylish criminals. With a hearty, “Clear eyes, full tums, can’t lose,” Manchester and The Hat set out to mess up Ben Lockwood’s inaugural outing as the director of Alien Affairs, leaving Menagerie to hunt for her dinner solo. (Dinner = a human.)
The Superfriends capture her pre-chow time, then arrive mid-attack on Ben, where he and his aid, Quentin (Jonathan Bennett, whose hair really does look sexy pushed back), aren’t nearly grateful enough, the jerks.
Nia, who’s so excited by her Dreamer duds that she’s suited up night and day, isn’t thrilled to have Pamela/Menagerie in her custody, as “There’s only so much footwear advice I can take.” (“Gucci all day, Prada all night,” Pamagerie offers, and oh my God, stay on this show forever, girl.) In the end, Supergirl delivers Pamegarie to the DEO with a note saying “you’re welcome.”
At the DEO, Haley leans on Lena to finish her super soldier serum ASAP, and although the best Luthor isn’t capable of being bossed around by anybody, she does feel enough pressure that she blows off Eve’s attempts to warn her that James is looking into L-Corp’s budget.
Then Haley breaks the news to Alex that President Baker wants her in charge of Lockwood’s security detail. Alex is understandably not happy about this, and Lockwood himself is awfully smug for somebody whose personal bodyguard actively hates him.
He has the audacity to touch Alex’s shoulder as he thanks her for being human and compares himself to Winston Churchill, which is…bold. Then he takes the podium and tells the press that he’s calling for a repeal of the Alien Amnesty Act and invites them to a rally the following day. The American flag pin on his lapel is a particularly nice touch.
Watching on TV, Kara and J’onn are horrified as this invites Elite violence and attempts to overturn a crucial law. They also have a quick convo about how much Manchester gets under J’onn’s skin before Nia wakes up with a dream-produced location for The Elite. When Kara and J’onn arrive, all they find is a cast-off Morae claw. That’s one gnarly manicure, but hey, at least J’onn can use it for tracking purposes.
That leaves Kara free to meet Alex for Chinese food and sympathy about her new assignment. Kara reminds Alex that she’s a hero who’ll do her job and keep everyone safe, alien and human, which is exactly what Haley said. Then Kara swipes all the pot stickers, yet again proving that the Davners sisters are a pitch-perfect pair.
Meanwhile, the three remaining Elite arrive at the Fortress of Solitude, where The Hat produces fancy gloves to help him lift the dense front door key. They stroll in like they own the place. The Hat argues for breaking out Menagerie, but Manchester wants to kill Lockwood. The ensuing argument over priorities causes them to split up, with The Hat swiping some tech and vanishing.
At this point, J’onn’s tracked them down with Nia’s help, and when the Superteam arrives, Dreamer warns the Morae, “Yield or die.” Supergirl urges or to take it down a notch, and without missing a beat, Dreamer commands, “Yield or else.” Aww, baby superhero!!
Rather than risk capture, Manchester runs through a fancy door in the wall of Fortress. Alas for him, it contained a sun eater, which is basically a living bomb. J’onn’s conflicted that with Manchester dead, he can’t sense his rage anymore, but Nia understands the feeling of having a weight lifted, as people can affect you in ways you don’t recognize until they’re gone, both good and bad.
Thanks to the Superteam, the Morae becomes the second Elite to be marched through the DEO in handcuffs, leaving Brainy to cluck, “The mouth on that one, honestly,” as she walks by chittering. Then he provides a status report to Haley on her request that he track down an online organizer named #AmericanAlien, who’s planning an alien-rights rally the same day as Lockwood’s speech.
Brainy says he’s having a hard time accessing the message boards, which is weird for a 12th-level intellect. He suggests just letting the march happen peacefully, but Haley points out that it could also spiral into violence and puts him charge of the security team to keep the peace.
Turns out, Brainy himself is #AmericanAlien, and he organized the march because although he’s been feeling vulnerable without his Legion ring, he realized that change doesn’t come from superheroes but from people standing up and raising their voices as one.
“Stronger together,” he reminds Kara and asks her to march with the crowd, as she’s not just a symbol of hope, but also a citizen of Earth. Kara and Nia decline in order to patrol as a costumed peace-keeping presence. (Next page: Someone at CatCo better call 9-1-1)
At CatCo, Franklin the Dryad nervously prepares to cover the Lockwood rally, but James assures him he’s doing heroic work. “Good journalism, that can impact millions. It’s why we became journalists in the first place, right?” Fist pump for journalism! Then James asks if Franklin needs a photographer. Fist pump for Jimmy Olsen heading back into the field!
At the rally, Ben addresses a small crowd of supporters, while Brainy walks with the marchers toward the Lockwood rally. They encounter hecklers along the way, one of whom is Ben’s aid, Quentin. Supergirl confronts Quentin, and he sneers that the aliens are just there to hurt humans. Supergirl points out that most are fleeing war and violence, just like she did, but Quentin replies that she’s different because she’s a superhero.
It’s the push she needs to take off her costume and join the marchers in a Kryptonian cloak, introducing herself as Kara Zor-El, citizen of Earth. Nia appears in street clothes, and they join hands with Brainy and J’onn leading the marchers toward the Lockwood rally, where the attendees are chanting “us or them.”
The Lockwood supporters start throwing bottles, while Kara urges the marchers to stay peaceful and Alex hustles Lockwood off the stage “for his safety,” hissing that he’s the real threat at the rally.
And then there’s a very not-dead Manchester, The Hat having whisked him into the Fifth Dimension to trick Supergirl and Co. into thinking he was dead. He uses the swiped Fortress gadgets to unleash a series of Manchester holograms and tricks J’onn into attacking a gagged, disguised Children of Liberty member.
When The Hat spots Brainy, he sneers, “If it isn’t the ringless one.” Ah, but Brainy came with friends, and Supergirl swoops in to cuff him. Meanwhile, the rally’s devolved into a full-on melee around them. Alex busts out her baton and Dreamer saves Franklin, who makes her day by telling her, “It’s nice to have another superhero in town.”
Then “Mad World” and all of its gloomy Donnie Darko associations starts playing as James clicks away, documenting both the chaos of brawls and riot police and the kindness of humans and aliens helping one another to escape the clashes. Even Quentin approaches a cowering alien to help him to his feet, and come on, we all knew that Cady Heron’s boyfriend wouldn’t remain a bigot by the time the credits rolled, right?
While it’s not exactly how you’d want your march to end, Kara, James, and Nia agree that hearts and minds were changed at the marches that happened around the country, including Gotham and Metropolis. In fact, a photo that James took of a human man rescuing an alien child became a tipping point in some people’s opinions about the treatment of aliens in America. It also led to a defeated-looking Lockwood appearing on TV to announce that he’s shelving his repeal plans in favor of congressional hearings.
At the DEO, Haley congratulates Alex for putting duty above politics and comments that #AmericanAlien was one of the good guys after all. Brainy and Alex agree that Haley’s confounding. Then she shows up in Lena’s lab to say that with civil war no longer imminent, Lena can take the night off. Um, first of all, Lena answers to no one. And second of all, Lena doesn’t take nights off.
J’onn, who’s come to believe that Manchester used Fiona’s death as an excuse to leap into violence, dons his prayer robes and grips Manchester’s Union Jack-bedecked brass knuckles before putting on his Martian face to go hunt.
At Kara’s place, Alex recalls how inspiring it was to see Supergirl joining the other marchers. “Every action counts, and every voice matters,” Kara agrees.
And finally, as he’s about to leave his office, James is shot in the back by an unseen assailant, leaving him bleeding in a rather Christ-like post on the ground. Can we get an ambulance in here, stat?
Snaps of the cape
- Speeches! So many speeches this week! But darn it if each one wasn’t an inspiring reminder about the power of grassroots action and journalism and citizens making their voices heard. Stronger together, indeed.
- I’m not the first to point this out, but, um, if Supergirl is able to introduce herself in public as Kara Zor-El, why could she not just give that identity to Baker and Haley when they asked for it? I give this show the hugest pass in the world when it comes to plot holes because I adore these characters so much, and wow, did I love seeing Kara join the marchers this week, but…that really is a big ol’ logic hole, isn’t it?
- At some point in your lives, may you all find yourselves as thrilled about something as Nia is when she hears Dreamer referred to as Supergirl’s sidekick.
- Anybody else worried about how J’onn’s embrace of his dark side might play out in upcoming episodes?