Supergirl Episode 215, titled 'Exodus', aired this week and was very good episode, the perfect sort of rebound episode I needed from last week's clunky fare.
My biggest gripe last week was that it seemed as if no character was thinking clearly about Jeremiah. The DEO, a black ops group that has dealt with shape-shifters and traitors just let him walk into their midst without a decent physical or mental scan. This week it felt as if there were definitive repercussions from the events of last week. People are up front and critical of each other when it comes to drawing a line between work and family, duty and loyalty. With last issues speed bumps addressed, I felt I could move on.
This season has also been interesting in how it has been using the alien metaphor to react to the current political climate of the day. With undocumented aliens being rounded up and deported in the USA right now, this episode where Cadmus is rounding up and planning to deport extraterrestrials felt all too real.
But for me, the biggest bonus of the episode was the fact that after a couple of episodes where Kara and Alex felt like they were drifting apart, we saw them come back together. In the rare combo of an action sequence and a highly charged emotional scene, the sisters reunited in a way.
Add to that a moment that made Lyra almost too good to be true, a very nice brief scene with Lena, and a small redemption for Jeremiah and you had the series get back on track for me.
Lastly, once again Chyler Leigh slaughtered it in this episode, running the emotional gamut believably and showing how savage a combatant Alex is. Seriously, I hope her performance this year will be noticed by the Emmy's.
On to the particulars.
With the Alien Registry list in their hands, Cadmus begins abducting aliens and carting them away. The episode starts with a human appearing family in a car being pulled over and dragged away in a nondescript van.
At the DEO, the crew is stymied. There is no trail for them to lead back to Cadmus. Winn wonders if Jeremiah has cloaked the Cadmus thugs somehow. It leads to J'onn declaring Jeremiah as a hostile, to be apprehended on sight. It obviously doesn't sit well with Alex but she says she'll do her duty.
Kara however is really keeping her focus on the endangered aliens. She thinks CatCo should run an article warning everyone but Snapper won't do it without dedicated sources. He drops 'fake news' as deterrent to running a story with only Kara's word. And when Kara protests he says her Moxie is at Defcon 3. Nice line.
In an interesting wrinkle, Kara says Supergirl will give Snapper an 'on the record' exclusive interview. You would think that Kara would be worried about exposing her secret identity but the safety of the aliens must trump that fear.
Cut to 'the alien dive bar' (is that the official name?). We see Winn and Lyra talking about the movie adaptation of Dune with James. I heard two people talk about the Bene Gesserit on a live action Supergirl show. I can die happy. But Lyra seems almost too perfect. I still wonder if she is somehow a wolf in perfect girlfriend clothing.
The bar is raided by Cadmus and all the aliens, including Lyra are forced into the nondescript van and carted off. It is a nice fight scene with Alex wielding a pool cue and Maggie dropping people with her sidearm. But in the end it is The Guardian who captures a Cadmus thug.
The Cadmus agent's mind is impenetrable to J'onn and he simply won't talk. Alex decides that maybe a beatdown will loosen the guy's lips. It is a vicious scene of Alex battering this guy almost sadistically. The whole time she just keeps saying 'where is Cadmus'. She is frenzied. Her speech is pressured. She is frightening and strong. It is both brilliant and disturbing. Luckily, J'onn intercedes before she can do permanent damage.
Ironically, his first suggestion to her is to have a drink. I worry she has a drinking problem. Maybe her friends are enablers?
Meanwhile, Supergirl's interview with Snapper is vague and not valid enough for Snapper to run.
Without mentioning the name and while on the record, she does say that an off the book government agency had the Alien Registry List stolen off their servers.
Now maybe it isn't a meaty enough story to run and warn aliens, but the very presence of this thing should be an above the fold story putting heat on everyone to release information. I am kind of surprised that Kara would give even that much.
Meanwhile, we see just how much of a struggle Alex is having with her Dad betraying everyone.
Jeremiah suddenly appears in Alex's apartment and asks her to procure a weapon from their arsenal which will help him free the abducted aliens. When she agrees, the Jeremiah persona melts away revealing it was J'onn all along. He was testing her and she failed. With her 'judgment compromised', J'onn suspends her.
It is a pretty brutal test. Maybe cruel.
But the truth is, I felt it was appropriate given last episode. J'onn let his guard down and let Jeremiah in. He most likely feels responsible. And he may be overreacting a little himself. For me, it was these scenes that helped redeem last issue.
Later, Kara hears Alex plead her case for reinstatement. Again, I think appropriately, Kara agrees with J'onn. Remember, Kara saw through the Jeremiah ruse before Alex last episode. It is clear that the usually cool, calm, and collected Alex is shaken here. She isn't thinking straight nor should she. But ranging from violence to tears in a heartbeat means she might be a liability on the battlefield. Again, Kara siding with J'onn makes me think she also learned from last episode's debacle.
But in a perfect twist, Maggie says she will help Alex investigate on her own. Maggie will support Alex in her search for Jeremiah. I thought for sure Maggie would agree with J'onn and Kara. So this was a very nice twist. And it led to a great scene.
The two go out on a rogue sort of action date. They stop Brian, the ever-present alien accountant with a gambling problem, from being kidnapped by Cadmus. Alex copies the Cadmus' van's GPS system. Suddenly she knows where Cadmus is hiding.
It was fun to see these two lay the smack down while smiling and flirting. Even Brian wishes he had what they have in a relationship. Cute.
But here is where I have to again scratch my head. Alex decides she will go and invade the Cadmus site herself, alone. Now you might think Maggie would support her here as well. Or, more importantly, you think Alex might call Winn in with the information.
I suppose given the DEO's approach to Jeremiah and Alex's desire to bring him back peacefully, this solo mission is the only way. But Alex's unwavering belief that Jeremiah is still ' a good man' and her thoughts she could navigate an enemy base alone seems to justify everyone's concerns about her mental state.
Inside the Cadmus base, we see Alex skulking around, taking out their troops, until she is finally overpowered. She is brought into the core of the base where she learns Cadmus' plan. The ship we saw last week is a Hoshin Frigate, the best of the Kazark fleet (neither word means much to me). The ship will take the aliens to Takron-Galtos where they will be then brought to their homeworlds. (For a Legion fan like me, Takron-Galtos is a nice name drop.)
Again, this sort of deportation of refugees resonates with current news. Alex reminds her father that some of these aliens fled from poverty, violence and genocide. She asks how he could do this. He says the only way Cadmus would leave his family alone was for him to cooperate. He would save his own children at the expense of these others. It leaves Alex dumbfounded. That is not how they were raised. She knows Eliza wouldn't agree with this.
It is a well done scene with Alex seeing that her father had a good reason for his actions, but the ends don't justify the means here.
Earlier in the episode, Kara ran into Lena (they were supposed to have a spa day). Lena says she'll do some digging at LexCorp to see if Lillian left any information of where the aliens might be being held. She also tells Kara that if Snapper won't run the story that Kara should do it on her own platform, blogging and tweeting.
Kara does just that. While fearing for her own job, she is reminded by Mon-El that she usually knows what is the right thing to do. She knows warning people, even if it costs her, is the right thing. She posts her blog article. (Hey, if Kara needs any blog advice ... I'm here. I'm just saying.)
Meanwhile, Lena does indeed find out that Luthor still runs a huge naval base which is still receiving supplies. It is the holding site. Lillian learns of this from a plant (Lena's assistant is working for Lillian, fantastic!). When two goons come to rough up Lena, they accidentally push her off the balcony leading to a standard superhero save. Lena tells Supergirl where the abandoned LCorp site is.
For people clamoring for a Lena/Kara relationship, this is like putting gas on the fire.
The blog post gets so many hits that Lillian is forced to launch the ship prematurely. There might only be a few hundred aliens on board, but as Lillian says 'it's a start'. Lillian is just so deliciously evil.
But Alex didn't show up with just a gun. She had already planted Haldor mines (did she mean Maaldor mines?) around the site, most set on a dead man's switch. (Can I just say I love the 'dead man switch' bluff in all media, so I loved this.) Alex then again calls upon Jeremiah's good nature. He doesn't need to worry about his family. They can protect each other. He doesn't need to be part of this evil.
He nods and the fight is on. Alex drops the switch setting off the mines. She runs to the ship to try to stop its launch from the cockpit. Jeremiah brawls with Cyborg Superman. We always wondered who would win! Turns out it is the Henshaw Cyborg. I don't think Jeremiah is dead but he took an eyebeam to the chest.
Again, the action sequences (which are almost all Alex-centric and street level) within this episode are very well done.
Despite mines and mayhem, the spaceship takes off and as soon as it leaves Earth's atmosphere, it'll hit lightspeed. Something or someone has to stop the ship and the only one capable is Supergirl. (Remember, Lena told her.)
This was my favorite moment, my favorite scene of the episode. Supergirl presses herself against the ship, straining to stop its ascent. Alex says that saving these people is solely up to Supergirl know. She knows her sister can do it. The two press their palms against the glass. Initially Kara looks worried like she can't do it. But her sister's faith pushes her and she is able to bring the ship down.
There is so much here.
The music is this sweeping piece of growing urgency that adds tons to the proceedings.
So much emotion is conveyed without words by the sisters. The hands touching through the glass just resonates with Kara being put in her rocket and zipped away. Kara knows what it is like to be on the other end of the glass. This would be a goodbye. Wonderful.
But also, this is the sisters realizing how much they love each other and how hard it would be to live without each other. The two have sort of drifted apart a little this season. Alex has Maggie. Kara has Mon-El. And the Jeremiah issue has put a deeper wedge. Suddenly they needed to be confronted with life without each other. All that emotion is there ... ripping out my heartstrings.
Lastly, no one ... and I mean no one ... can yell with exertion like Melissa Benoist. You feel her strain against this ship, just like you felt her anger when blasting Red Tornado. Awesome.
With the aliens saved, there is nothing but the fallout.
Kara gets fired from CatCo for posting her blog article. She comes in to find her desk packed. And Snapper, while saying he was rooting for her, lays down the harsh truths of journalism. She ran an unverified piece and got lucky. Similar journalistic mistakes have led to market crashes or fascists in the White House (again, leaning against recent real world news). Kara has never really stuck hard and fast to the rules of the press. This was rough but appropriate on Carr's part.
J'onn apologizes to Alex and tells her to get back to work. He was cruel, but he was worried that Alex could get hurt if she went off unhinged as she was. In the end, she still almost got hurt. Alex sums it up. They all need to stop doing the wrong things for the right reasons. That is what Jeremiah got wrong.
In her apartment, Kara laments her being fired. 'Supergirl is what I can do; Kara is who I am.'. That is a near straight lift from Dean Cain in Lois and Clark. Also great.
Mon-El wonders if being Supergirl and being with him might not be enough for now.
Of course, there will be no rest for the weary. The aliens tracking Mon-El are circling the moon. It's his parents. Nice cliffhanger.
I loved this episode for all the heartfelt reasons above. I especially loved seeing the super-sisters sort of united in purpose again.
But there were a ton of small stuff I haven't commented on. Lillian Luthor quotes Nietzsche (perfect). She says Jeremiah is the only Superman Cadmus needs (touching on Cain's acting past). Mon-El imitates Ricky Ricardo (do people even know who that is anymore?). And the burgeoning friendship between Lena and Kara being showcased was great too.
All in all, this was a great rebound episode from last week's which I felt missed the mark. Can't wait to see where we go next.