Kara and company celebrate a glum Thanksgiving this year for a myriad of reasons. Let’s run them down:
Masked citizens calling themselves the Children of Liberty are patrolling the streets, accosting innocent aliens and escorting around a German shepherd that really doesn’t like Supergirl, which is weird because dogs usually love her.
She and Manchester Black chase them off, but not before a passel of leaflets rain down on their heads. Titled “Twilight’s Last Gleaming,” it’s an anti-alien manifesto that is not fun holiday reading.
Manchester’s trip back to the dark side following Fiona’s death didn’t take long; not only does he have corrupt cop-turned-Children of Liberty member Petrocelli strung up in his bathroom to torture him for information about the organization, but he turns down J’onn’s invitation to Kara’s “Pilgrim Day” feast. Fool! Always say yes to a Danvers party!
At the DEO, Haley reprimands Supergirl for intervening in the attack and refuses to use DEO resources to investigate the manifesto or the Children. Alex winks as she tells Brainy to stop investigating. Bless his alien mind, when he finally cracks her code, he promises at the top of his lungs to keep investigating IN COMPLETE SECRECY.
Lena and Eve are frustrated that their attempts to cure cancer with the Harun-El rock from last season aren’t working — until they try to incinerate one of their failed experimental hearts and can’t get it to burn. So invincibility looks promising, at least.
Also, Lena booked James onto Sean Chiu’s news show Counterpoint Daily, but she doesn’t tell him until the day of, which is wildly inconsiderate. You need prep time before a TV appearance, to say nothing of a good moisturizing, hydration, and no-carbs regime. James says he’s already got an interview scheduled with the Children of Liberty at that time, so Lena busts out the boss card and orders him to make the interview happen. Awkward.
James tasks Kara to be his TV replacement so he can keep his appointment with Tom, a Children of Liberty member who asks how much James can bench within fifteen seconds of meeting him, which is a perfect character detail. Tom praises Guardian’s inspiration, but James points out that he fights all lawbreakers and asks Tom not to use “roaches” as a slur around him. They patrol through quiet neighborhoods with the Supergirl-hating dog, and Tom gets in touch with “his wife” every time the dog barks. For some reason, James isn’t suspicious about this.
Kara has to wake Nia up at her desk to help her prep for Counterpoint. Nia blames narcolepsy and says she needs to find a National City sleep specialist to work with her on it. Kara invites her to Thanksgiving dinner so Mama Danvers can offer Nia some doctor recommendations.
As Kara prepares to go on the air, Nia grabs her by the shoulders and assures her, “You are passionate, you are intelligent, your hair looks amazing — did you get highlights?” Nia is the hero we all need!
Ben’s probably having the best week of anybody in National City; he’s getting decent exposure on the news shows and in fact is booked on Counterpoint opposite Kara. However, when he brings home supplies for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s all in one small bag, and I’m pretty sure he put the rolls at the bottom. He is a monster.
But he’s a monster who bests Kara in their televised debate. Sure, Kara points out the extraordinary contributions of aliens to society and says Thanksgiving is about welcoming different cultures, but Ben asks why Guardian hasn’t renounced the Children of Liberty and points out that the European invaders slaughtered the indigenous hosts of the first Thanksgiving. What if, 100 years from now, aliens will be celebrating that same victory over turkey and yams?
Whew. So. That’s quite a setup for the world’s dreariest Thanksgiving dinner, which starts with Eliza shading Alex’s canned cranberries despite the fact that her daughter is a hard-working woman and a boss and an angel on Earth, and nobody’s going to eat the cranberries anyway, no matter how fresh they are.
Things get worse from there. Kara’s wallowing in her televised defeat, Lena’s angry that James blew off the interview, Nia lies to Eliza about already having a sleep specialist in National City, and Manchester shows up to ask J’onn to read Petrocelli’s mind for Liberty leads. (Hey, at least Manchester brought a bottle of bourbon.)
The gathering turns into a debate about humans versus aliens. Lena wants to level the playing field by enhancing human powers and insists that no evil humans would get access to these upgrades, but Alex wants to know who gets to play God and make decisions about which humans are worthy. It’s a tense conversation made worse by the mixture of people in the know and not in the know about the secret alien identities gathered around the table.
Then the group starts putting together the clues they’ve been gathering all episode long: The alien-sensing dog allowed the Children of Liberty to identify alien houses, and the special lenses that Manchester discovered in Petrocelli’s mask will allow the Children to see the infrared marks. “Twilight’s last gleaming” announces when the attack on the houses will take place: at sunset, in twenty minutes. (Next page: Kara fights a dragon)
Kara scrambles to get rid of marks, Alex gathers a street-level team despite Haley’s orders not to engage, and James sets out to reason with Tom. This prompts a major blow-out with Lena, who finally tells James that he actually can’t take care of himself and in fact, she’s the person who got his Guardian charges dropped. She did it because she loves him and will do anything, including lie, to keep him safe. “If that’s what you think love is, I’m not sure if I want any part in that,” James says, leaving her devastated.
James’ conversation with Tom ends up in a physical altercation, with Tom pleading that he just wants to protect his family. Brainy also ends up in a fight, but he takes out a pack of Children with physics, gracefully dodging their blows with his hands behind his back and levitating up a wall until they’re all out cold on the group. The scene is set to an aria, and as with pretty much every episode this season, we get just the right amount of Brainy to keep things fun and interesting.
Meanwhile, Manchester guns down a gang of tiki-torch wielding Children, while another gang bursts into a house where little kid Alana screams at her pet lizard for help. And y’all, I can’t explain how or why, but the lizard turns into a fire-breathing dragon and starts tearing things up. It’s an unexpected turn of events, to be sure, but It. Was. Awesome.
Supergirl warns Alex, “There’s a dragon on Main Street,” and Alex, who made a Weasley twin/Umbridge rebellion joke earlier in the episode, now regrets the Harry Potter reference. Supergirl grabs the dragon by his tail as he’s about to chomp Alex and engages him in an aerial fight. In what I’m pretty sure is as close to a song of ice and fire as we’re getting until 2019, she counters his scorching breath with a gust of her own cold air.
On the ground, Alex gets the intel from Alana and fills Supergirl in: Family pet Spike was just protecting his family, so Supergirl approaches the massive, scaly beast to tell him he was loyal and true and kept everyone safe. Once she assures him that he was a good boy, he lets her pet his snout and then shrinks to his lizard size. “Dogs may not like me anymore, but I still got it with dragons,” Supergirl says. Surprising and adorable.
Order restored, the Danvers brace for a Haley chewing out, but she instead acknowledges the Children of Liberty threat and says the DEO will pursue them. She warns Alex not to disobey her again, but Alex says it’ll take a court-martial to keep her from following the instincts that make her a great leader. Yeah, that could lead to some scary places in future episode.
Alex, Kara, and J’onn then head to Kara’s to nosh on leftovers and fret about how they can locate Agent Liberty and fight back against the surge of hate speech. And it’s going to get much harder because Ben’s been offered his own cable talk show. (And not for nothing, but the Lockwoods seem to be the last household in National City with a landline.) Also, James gets his wish to meet high-ranking members of the Children of Liberty when he meets Tom in a parking garage and ends up shoved into a van with a hood over his head.
Before he’s snatched, he sends a call from Lena to voicemail, which fuels her drive to protect the humans she loves in what she sees as a likely war with the aliens. She tells Eve to execute the Harun-El protocol, which requires a human subject. Could we be charging straight into the arms of the Everyman Project??
Manchester’s got his own human subject, Petrocelli, still trussed up in his bathroom. He drops the Children masks that he took as trophies, and a terrified Petrocelli spits out a name: Caldwell. But it looks like this admission won’t spare him from a bullet.
Sooooo, um, happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Snaps of the cape
- Supergirl is taking an interesting approach with the different strains of anti-alien sentiment this season: Ben, glib, and frighteningly persuasive. The Children, angry and scared and violent. James, open to understanding and perhaps getting sucked into the ideology as a result. And then there’s Haley, who clearly has no love for aliens but who does her job anyway. Unlike Ben and the Children’s out-and-proud hatred, her quiet personal beliefs seep into her leadership decisions, nudging her to discount allies like J’onn who could bring a certain perspective to his leadership or to resist alien-targeted threats until they elevate to a dangerous enough level. Different expressions of xenophobia, different results, all uncomfortable.
- If you were curious, Kara lives at 16 Hope St., Apt. 4A.
- Big, big mood of the week, when Lena tries to send Eve home to her family for Thanksgiving: “I don’t really like them that much anyway.”
- No matter how frustrated we get with Haley, it’s hard to totally hate anybody who brings homemade dessert to the office for Thanksgiving. That said, let’s be clear: Apple is the superior pie. Pumpkin merely serves as a carrier for whipped cream, and yes, I will die on this hill.
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- EW’s Fall TV comics reading guide for viewers interested in going beyond the screen