Spoilers ahead for "City of Lost Children," the latest episode of The CW's Supergirl!
The short version: Evil Teri Hatcher and Lena Luthor have teamed up to create an alien portal. But Evil Teri Hatcher uses it to bring a fleet of Daxamite ships to National City. James connects with a young, alien boy whose mother is being affected by the portal. Oh, AND THERE'S TOTALLY A BATMAN IN THE SUPERGIRL UNIVERSE.
The good: Some of James' story, the little things, the cliffhanger ending
Trent: This was not the strongest episode of Supergirl. It basically served as a character study for James Olsen, but came off as half-baked wheel-spinning to eventually set up the Daxamite fleet's arrival on Earth. So the giant portal is affecting this specific race of aliens and making them go crazy, and the focus shifts to James when he connects with a young alien boy and tries to convince him to help the DEO find his missing mother (who attacked a street fair while under the influence of the portal's McGuffin). This all dovetails with the random revelation that James is having second thoughts about his approach with Guardian, because a woman he rescues from a mugging is scared of him.
Look, they've spent all season setting up James' hero's journey, and he decided to go out there wearing battle armor. How is he not surprised that a scared person could be freaked out by that? Eventually, James comes to realize he's a hero even without the suit, and yada yada. Look, this story fell rushed and very random — almost like they realized "Oh crap, we haven't really done a James story since the start of the season," and just tossed this thing together. With the shift to The CW, the creative team has struggled to make all these characters relevant in the overhauled narrative, and James is still a weird fit as a superhero. This story didn't do him a ton of favors, but at least it gave him some screen time, I guess?
The moments that really shined for me in this episode were the little things. Like: When Mon-El spots his mother, he's just skipping down the sidewalk eating an ice cream cone. It's so silly, but true to the character, that it just works. Because, hey, how else would Mon-El spend his spare time? Of course the dude is just strolling around, being handsome, and downing ice cream cones. Oh, and that subtle little Batman reference was also a doozy, with Winn and James discussing Clark's spiky-eared "frenemy." It was a cute little tidbit for fans, but it really gets the wheels turning — how would Supergirl handle its own version of Batman? Oh, start praying now that we'll get a Batman cameo in Season 3, y'all.
The real action arrives in the final three minutes, with a Daxamite fleet taking over the skies above Central City. This looks to be the main threat for the season finale, and it's certainly formidable.
Dany: Oh, I don't think it's as random as all that, Trent. Yes, I agree this second season there's been a struggle to understand where James fits into the new dynamic, but I don't think that makes this story somehow less emotionally affecting. Did you know Guardian from the comics had a team of kids who helped him out sometimes called "The Newsboy Legion?" In a weird way, I felt like James connecting with a young was a shout out to that. Then it turned into an allegory about refugees, which ... I mean it could have been worse? It could have been way worse.
The bad: The nonsensical, pretty much everything else
Dany: When is the day gonna come where a hero has a gun held up to the villain and they just shoot them in the leg? How difficult is that? Not difficult at all, friends. And, I gotta say, Teri Hatcher's scene-chewing, bad because she wanna be Queen of the Daxamite has rubbed me wrong since she showed up. And Kevin Sorbo was standing next to her at the time. The cliffhanger is cool, I guess? But this character has been nails on a chalkboard for me throughout.
I will say that Lena didn't bother me as much as she did Trent this week (see below). But I could watch Katie McGrath watching me watching her on this episode of Supergirl, so ...
Trent: So, did I mention this episode wasn't the best? Just a few things that stand out: Lena's whiny relationship with Evil Teri Hatcher comes off far more desperate than it was probably intended to. They've known each other for, what, a couple weeks (or less)? Lena has been a strong, independent woman up until this point — seeing her almost begging for approval from Evil Teri Hatcher was not a cool look. Also, her constant complaining because the first test of this experimental alien tech didn't work was ridiculous. They've been working on this thing for, like, a week, and she's already frustrated? Again, not a great fit for the character. Also, how the heck did they build a portal big enough for a fleet of ships to travel through in just a matter of weeks? That's insane, right?
Also, how utterly convenient was it that the low level drug dealer Guardian shuts down just happens to know exactly where the mom lives in the presumed alien attack case? A bit fortuitous to move forward the plot very quickly, no?
Mon-El's relationship with his mother is being handled so … strangely. It makes sense he'd be conflicted about killing his mother, sure, but what's the endgame for this? She's pretty much pure, unadulterated evil at this point. But, Mon-El just believes his dad killed himself? Come on, bro. Your mom is a straight up psycho. What's more likely? Suicide, or death by Evil Teri Hatcher?
Line of the night:
"I feel like they're more frenemies." - Winn
So, how will Kara deal with a full-on alien invasion? The peek at next week's episode gives an indication that we'll see a global response to the Daxamite fleet (which Evil Teri Hatcher rallied how, again?), and now we likely know why Kara gets some back-up from Superman in the finale. That's a big ol' invasion to deal with. But … how does Zod fit into all this? Did he come through with the fleet?
So, J'onn and James seem to actually be bonding a bit in this episode — could Guardian actually become a full-fledged vigilante member of the DEO by next season?
Next week: CAT GRANT IS BACK. Oh, and an alien invasion or something?