Supergirl recap: Battle of the Brainys
The Crisis is over, and the heroes are back! Relax, everyone. Lex Luthor’s got this.
Yep, on this newly composed Earth, Luthor Corp now owns the DEO, which makes Lex the boss of Kara/Supergirl. Hey, at least J’onn returned Alex’s memories, along with Brainy, Nia, and Kelly, so our key players are all on board the “Lex sux” train, even if the rest of the world thinks he’s the bee’s knees.
Lex sets out to get the Danvers sisters on board his peace-on-Earth plan. “Feels icky,” he acknowledges, but he wants their help to stop the Antimonitor and Leviathan — about which he can’t seem to find any information in this new Earth’s files. And if the Danvers won’t play ball, well…what’s the opposite of peace?
Now to the crux of the episode, which can be summed up as Too! Many! Brainys! A wormhole dragged everyone in all the various Al’s Bars around the multiverse onto Earth-Prime, which a) gave the watering hole we know and love a chic upgrade and b) deposited a bunch of doppelgangers onto Earth, including the Kryptonian witches who created Reign and tried to terraform Earth and are now running a side-hustle telling fortunes. Geez, talk about wasted potential. You could be doing so much more with your lives, ladies!
Then a host of Brainys show up at the DEO ready to work, including a ponytailed Brainy, a leather jacket Brainy, an eye-patch Brainy, and a female Brainy (Meaghan Rath, Jesse’s real-life sister — cute casting!). But poor Patch-Brainy drops dead from the Anti-Life Equation, a biosynthetic poison that could wipe out any of the other Brainys at any time. Before he died, Patch-Brainy warned them not to open the bottle. The race is on to find the killer and figure out what bottle he means.
Then Jacket-Brainy starts to glitch out and our Brainy stands by helplessly as Pony-Brainy calmly saves his life. Lady-Brainy wants to know why our Brainy’s always a step behind his doppelgangers, and he admits that the three lights on his forehead are personality inhibitors, which prevent him from accessing the Big Brain, the Coluan network of minds. She’s horrified that he’s cut himself off from his true potential like that and exclaims, “Look at you. You’re not even green!”
He explains that he’s terrified his true self will alienate the people who love him, but Lady-Brainy, who herself loved and lost a wife while at her full capacity, sets him straight: Love doesn’t minimize you. It makes you more capable and compassionate, and the people who love him would want that for him.
Alas, one of the people who loves him walks into danger when Jacket-Brainy reveals himself to actually be Evil-Brainy, who bottled his Earth to save it from being destroyed in the Crisis and now seeks an Argonium saber to unbottle it and restore his world and the 7 billion souls it holds. Unfortunately, doing so will also destroy both his Earth and Earth-Prime. He killed Patch-Brainy for trying to stop him, and he’s about to kill Nia, too, when Brainy and Supergirl arrive and destroy the saber.
Brainy then shares the backstory of his personality inhibitors: When he was 8, he experienced snow for the first time on a family vacation, so his mother bottled the planet for him. You know, as a souvenir! Brainy was so infuriated when his horrified father unbottled the planet — Brainy’s planet, given to him as a gift — that his father put the inhibitors on him so he wouldn’t become like his mother.
This means Brainy’s never fully calibrated with the Big Brain, which allowed Evil-Brainy to fool them all. Kara assures him that if he takes off the inhibitors, Nia and the rest of his friends will still love him. (Cool, but like…what if he does become a planet-bottling megalomaniac? It’s a lovely sentiment, but maybe not a healthy promise.)
Anyway, they realize that Evil-Brainy’s next stop would be the Kryptonian witches, who indeed are mid-spell in Al’s Bar in an attempt to unbottle his Earth. They eagerly launch into a fight, which is bafflingly set to NSYNC’s “It’s Gonna Be Me.” One of Brainy’s Inhibitors is damaged in the brawl, and Nia gently tells him that she’ll love him no matter what happens (again, what if monster?), and Brainy takes them off to assume his true form. And friends, that true form is delightful! Green skin, long white hair, and far more attractive than the blue-skinned lewk from before.
Now that he’s accessing the Big Brain, he’s able to break the witch’s spell and talk Evil-Brainy out of opening the bottle. Supergirl joins the effort, and in the end, Evil-Brainy and the witches agree to enter the bottle with the rest of his Earth until the Earth-Prime crew can find a safe place to unbottle it.
Gotta say, that’s an unbelievably quick and convenient decision for this episode’s antagonists to make, but… okay, sure. There’s one Brainy off the board. Then the next hand-wavey solution comes when Pony-Brainy and Lady-Brainy offer to give up their corporeal forms and enter the digital cloud that exists inside the Big Brain. They say it’ll feel like going home, and… all right, I guess? I’m not Coluan, so I can’t truly understand this decision, but it feels an overly simple solution to a sticky problem that needed to be solved in an hour.
Before she joins the collective, Lady-Brainy warns Brainy that she didn’t work with Lex to stop Leviathan on her Earth, and to save his world, Brainy must work with Lex in secret, giving up everyone and everything he holds dear. Then she enters the Big Brain, and Brainy places his doppelgangers’ three flat light discs onto his tunic, completing a more comics-accurate look. Seriously, friends, is this a Coluan thing that I’m just not getting? Because I would definitely not volunteer to be bottled or to give up my body to go to the Big Brain in the sky. I’m a selfish human like that.
Now, to the Lena update of the week. Lex, who bartered with the Monitor for her life and her memories, drips poison into her ear about Kara/Supergirl, so when Supergirl arrives to tell the truth to a Lena that she assumes is missing her memories, Lena coldly tells her that she remembers everything and nothing between them has changed. Sob!
Next Lena visits her mother, who, thanks to Lex, also has her memories. She’s clad in petal-pink and surrounded by the chic accessories that any good Boss Babe would envy. Lillian counsels her daughter to partner with Lex, the devil she knows, versus Supergirl, the devil whose betrayal she never saw coming.
In order to get Lena fully on board, Lex puts a Truth Seeker on his arm and tells her that he’ll commit no unnecessary homicides (ha!) and will turn on her as soon as their partnership is inconvenient, just like she’ll use Non-Nocere on him at the first opportunity. But he also says he wants to work with her because he doesn’t want to be alone. See, dying changed him, and he claims he wants to be a true partner to her. They shake on it, and an uneasy alliance is formed.
Ah, but Lillian and Lex are secretly in cahoots to lure Lena to their side and take over yet another Earth. I knew we couldn’t trust Lillian’s soft new fresh-cut flower aesthetic!
The other person not feeling particularly trusting is William, who confides in Kara that he suspects Lex of killing his best friend Russell (aww, sad for Andrea!) over a business deal and is at CatCo to investigate the Luthors. “Not the Luthors. Lex,” Kara swiftly corrects him.
Then we come to our final new partnership on Earth-Prime. A much more chill Brainy, fresh from breaking up with Nia (double sob!), approaches Lex and offers to work with him to stop Leviathan.
And Lex knows just what kind of help he needs: future knowledge in the form of the Winn Schott doppelganger who came through the Al’s Bar wormhole. Winn’s coming back, ya’ll! But … which Winn, I wonder?
Snaps of the cape
- Quick Andrea update: Leviathan Gamemnae has taken the form of Andrea’s mentor Gemma and encourages her to take Obsidian in the direction of a true virtual world, where people will check-in and never want to leave. I have no future knowledge myself, but I’m expecting to hear more about this plotline in future episodes.
- Quick J’onn update: He’s still the best advice-giver. When Alex considers quitting the DEO, he tells her the honor comes from running toward the bomb. In this case, the bomb is Lex, and she decides to stick around to help defuse it.
- Lex was getting the Man of Tomorrow award!
- Ooookay, so was this the show acknowledging that their original makeup and hairstyling for Brainy as a blue-toned cadaverous nightmare was a total misfire and hitting the reset button to give him green skin and flowing blond locks?
- My only request for the new Al’s Bar is that it retains its pinball machine. Forget Boss Babe aesthetics, give us more pinball!
- So what are we thinking about this new Earth configuration? I, for one, am thrilled to have John Cryer’s Lex back on the board and making trouble for everyone, so here’s hoping it’s onward and upward for our superfriends post-Crisis!
Kara (Melissa Benoist) steps out from her super-cousin’s shadow to become Supergirl and defend National City in the third Arrowverse show.