A storytelling device that is a favorite through most mediums is one where a character loses someone or something they cherish, time is spent trying to get over the loss but then out of nowhere, they are suddenly confronted by that very thing again. So after six weeks of Kara trying to get over Mon-El and moving away from the bad behaviors it was causing as of late, everything seems to be fine again as Mon-El is back as a passenger on the very old secret ship teased since the start of the season. Admittedly when I first saw that he was returning, I imagined it would be a thing where Kara would suddenly just be over her issues and they’d ride off happy together cause that is the kind of move many shows make. That was not a path that was taken at all this episode. In fact, Mon-El being back seems to have messed things up even more because of his secrets and Kara having to confront that he’s not the same as she thought. Sometimes your heart has to be fully broken in order for you to ever have a chance to heal again, and Kara’s heart was definitely broken here.
All of the scenes with Kara and Mon-El dealing with their issues and Mon-El’s deception were well acted, both Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood giving it their all, but there was a pretty big dramatic cliche that reared its head. There was no reason for all the deception that was going on, because it all boiled down to Mon-El being too chicken to just tell Kara that not only had he been in the future for seven years, but he was now married to another passenger on the ship, Imran the Legion of Superheroes member known as Saturn Girl. This type of not wanting to admit things to avoid hurting someone’s feelings does happen in real life, but the way it goes down in this episode is one of those overdone tropes to force drama. These are Mon-El’s friends and just admitting things right away would have gotten Imran and the rest help on the ship before things went bad. Instead, the road to eye-rolling drama was taken. Also, I get that they want to draw out the reveal of other Legion members but not even a moment is spent on explaining why no one else from the ship gets woken up when Kara & company save Saturn Girl.
One criticism about most of the Arrowverse shows this season, outside of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow which knows where it’s going, has been just how slow they have been going and dragging of the plot. Most of the action has taken a side seat to a lot of slow burn of building, breaking up and defining very relationships and changes for characters. With the big annual CW hero crossover coming next week, it seems the shows are now going to quickly burn through plot stuff in order to get the characters ready for this moment. With Supergirl it means an episode full of three different plots that are speeding forward, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s quite welcome. While the slow buildup of a villain and other things was a nice change of pace instead of just being thrust against a villain like in previous seasons of the various shows, having three out of the four shows ambling along with no clear path was beginning to get a bit tiresome. There are only so many episodes per season and to have most of the first half of the season spent running in circles doesn’t help keep interest going at times.
While Kara and Mon-El and those issues are the main thrust of the episode, the relationship of J’onn and his father along with J’onn’s unhealthy relationship to his work fits in nicely as a smaller subplot. Carl Lumbly continues to add something great to the series as M’yrnn who is the new fish out of water character learning about a world. This subplot had the least amount of time in the episode, but it didn’t need that much. Through just the two major scenes, J’onn made a lot of growth and found a new home with his father to try and build a life that doesn’t center around the DEO only.
Third in the episode was the full birth of the season’s promised big bad as single mother with secrets Samantha (Odette Annable) finally finds out who she is and what she has to do. Each bit of the origin story for Reign was very nicely done as it continued to build up the idea that she might be here to be like Supergirl, yet at the last moment, the rug is pulled out from under her with the revelation that she is not. How they explained away her powers not emerging before now didn’t feel as contrived as I figured it would. With her being a Kryptonian experiment it makes sense that they would set a time for her powers to trigger and then, of course, her getting pregnant, something that was not expected by her creators, threw that all out of whack. Clearly having Ruby is going to eventually come into play as a way for Supergirl and others to bring Reign down.
Most of the time Krypton and it’s people are depicted as ahead of us and supposedly better than humans, but honestly seeing the side of Krypton that does messed up things intrigues me most times because it proves that despite their advancement they still fell prey to many of the same emotions and issues as humanity. There was going to be no believable way that suddenly Samantha went from the cool and kind single mom L-Corp running person she is to evil, outside of the cliche killing her child route, so having it be that her creators programmed in a way to force her to do their bidding works best. It’s a cliche in its own way, cause mind control never lasts, but it’s better than just having her choose to go evil out of nowhere because she has powers or something. The only issue is that her change will now be forgotten for a week because Kara will be off world for the crossover, so we have to wait till the mid-season finale in two weeks to see what happens next.
Season three of Supergirl has been a bit of a struggle along the way. Things have been slow to develop and the darker feelings & issues that Kara and others have dealt with has dragged things down. Things definitely took a step forward this week, despite the cliche ways some of it happened. Next week’s epic crossover should be fantastic, but it is a bit disappointing that the show finally found momentum that will now be delayed and possibly lost since it now has to take an episode off from its own storylines. Here is hoping that the propelling forward of Reign/Samantha’s story will keep the series on track once it can focus on itself again in two weeks.
Score: 8 out of 10