Reviews TV

The Arrowverse – Supergirl 3×03 “Far From the Tree” review

Kara takes a back seat in a fun episode that deals with two vastly different father & child relationships.

Far From the Tree

First off I have to geek out. Carl Lumbly the voice of the animated Justice League‘s Martian Manhunter is back and playing M’yrnn the father of the current live-action version of the Martian Manhunter, holy crap! Best casting ever The CW!

Now that I got that out of the way, this episode was a very interesting one. Having missed out on the first two seasons I was not there to witness how all the Martian storylines were handled previously, but years and years of comic book reading has given me enough knowledge. Sometimes the best stories are the ones that focus on character development and character moments rather than action. While there is a bit of action in this episode, it’s a very interesting split dive into two very different dysfunctional father & child relationships.

It was the performances of David Harewood and Lumbly as J’onn and M’yrnn that truly sold the Martian action this week. The resistance of White Martians and the returned Miss Martian/M’gann only served as a backdrop to set up the true crux of things to have father and son reunite, but struggle through their tragedies and losses together. Watching Lumbly and Harewood playing out the emotions and the refusal of M’yrnn to believe that his son was back before at last the duo share a memory and tearfully reunite was a joy. After slogging through the overly dramatic first two episodes of the season it was really great to see an episode that while filled with drama of relationships, actually felt real and had actual moments of good feeling that came from the drama.

While it was a bit cliche that the hard headed rebellion members ended up being more sympathetic at the end, their part played in the reunion and the growth all around was good. The only downside to the Martian storyline is that the CGI Martians clearly remind you that this is a CW series that doesn’t have the deep budget pockets of other shows. It was the same problem that was had with The CW four way crossover last year with the alien Dominators looking way too CGI. It’s okay in a way for the menacing seemingly feral White Martians but it sort of looked funky in the scenes with J’onn, M’yrnn and J’onn’s kids in the flashbacks, their faces coming off as a bit rubbery as they were emoting. Seeing how and if M’yrnn factors into the rest of the season with his now being on Earth should be quite interesting.

Far From the Tree

Despite the writers huge telegraphing movements that Maggie & Alex are sure to break up soon, the previously at the start featured the recent scene of them having very different views on kids, giving them the second plot as Maggie tries to reconnect with the father that abandoned her was a good move. While J’onn & M’yrnn’s reunion was positive and had a happy ending, the fact that Maggie’s reunion with her father didn’t was the best move. The story of his ditching Maggie as a child because she was gay was a terrible story, and while he was painted to be not as much of a monster in his return based upon his keeping up with her career and at least showing up to the shower, his eventual turning on her again led to great character development for Maggie. It wasn’t the typical happy ending where suddenly the close minded person has their eyes opened. Instead Maggie realizes that she needs to stop worrying about trying to be the daughter that her father wanted and wishes he had and just continue to be herself because she is loved.

All of that being said, the fact that writer went right back to the well of hinting at a breakup was disappointing. An engaged couple suddenly realizing that they don’t share views on kids and the one that wants kids claiming they totally don’t and just want to be happy with the person is such a ridiculously overused way to break up couples in stories. It’s that eye-rolling thing where people instead of just talking honestly with one another keep secrets that will eventually blow up in all their faces. It’s hard to fully care about the building of Alex & Maggie’s relationship when we can see the writers hunkered down to the side with lighter in hand gleefully waiting to set the whole thing ablaze.

Keeping the episode focused off of Kara actually worked greatly in it’s favor. Not having Kara going on about the loss of Mon El was also a very nice change of pace, one that sadly I’m sure is not to last long.Honestly at some point the writers need to figure out what to do with all of that and either deal with it be revealing what happened to Mon-El so Kara can rest or if they are not going back to that storyline then just find a way for Kara to move on. This lighter and brighter episode is the type that I heard so many gush about in the previous seasons and as a new viewer I want to see more of that. Kara sitting in J’onn’s car spaceship asking for directions & blasting Brittney Spears was pretty awesome & fun, I want more of that.

Final Thoughts:

At last I’m seeing the Supergirl that everyone has been so happy about the last two seasons, and I really enjoyed it. Ditching all the drama and moping was the best move and honestly I wish it would stay that way. I have a feeling that the preview for the next episode and all the religious content is not going to make for as bright and fun of an episode, but if Mon-El’s name doesn’t come up even once it’ll all be fine. He’s the giant anchor that has been dragging the start of this season down. Parent & child relationships are very complicated for just about everyone, and the way that the series presented and dealt with two completely opposite types of relationships was great. Being new to the series I now feel like I understand J’onn and Maggie so much more from just this one episode. That’s great writing.

Score: 9.5 out of 10


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