Supergirl: 3.20 Dark Side of the Moon
Even the episode titles aren't as clever or interesting as they used to be on this show!
After discovering last week that some magic rock could reverse (aka cure) Sam, Supergirl and Mon-El have borrowed J’onn’s spaceship-car to head into space and find some more of the rock – having located some not too far away. When they get to the location of the rock it turns out to be a doomed, floating Kryptonian city; Argo City. While its great to see Argo City it does, of course, bring up a few questions and problems that often come into play when other Kryptonian survivors are discovered (like why don't a gang of them head back to Earth and take down Reign?) but these are quickly and casually glossed over.
Kara discovering her mother is alive and well and living in this colony in space is oddly flat. I think in part this is down to the actor change, despite some attempts to introduce Erica Durance in the role via some dream sequences and flashbacks, she just doesn’t feel as emotionally ingrained in the part (though her performance is very good). Also, Supergirl just doesn’t seem that excited or surprised. There is a real lack of energy to the whole thing.
This week’s episode of Supergirl feels like its trying to cash cheques the rest of the show hasn’t written yet. Kara spends a lot of time talking about the problems of living a duel life and it's interesting to hear Mon-El talk about the fact in the future; he just lives his life in the open as Mon-El: Hero. This might have been and interesting insight into and opportunity to explore the nature of secret identities, except it feels so hollow because, this season especially, we’ve seen so little Kara Danvers.
When Supergirl tells Mon-El how free she feels travelling in space where she can just be herself with him, it almost lacks self-awareness. We’ve seen whole episodes where Melissa Benoist doesn’t change outfits or even leave the DEO. She has no job outside of the DEO, no friends who don’t work or moonlight there. This season, increasingly, has seen Kara Danvers whittled away leaving just Supergirl/Kara Zor-El. Having Supergirl complain about living two lives actually feels un-earned here.
While Supergirl and Mon-El are off on Argo, Alex gets a rudimentary side plot. She's still acting as Ruby’s self appointed protector like some kind of stalker-surrogate mother wannabe. While on a day out to buy horrible hats someone tries to kill Alex. This side story doesn’t really achieve much in the grand scale of things but it does allow for Alex to be bad-ass and who doesn’t want that?
Lena also has to decide how far she’d go in treating Sam before she’d pull the plug and kill Reign. I feel like not much time is spent on this, the show could have really delved into it especially if there was a bit more emphasis on the duality side of things. I think because my interest, as a viewer, in Sam and Ruby is so low its hard for me to engage when the stakes are Sam and Ruby. I won’t be disappointed if they stick around into season four but I won’t be excited either.
There is a scene where Winn get pissy with Ruby who is being a pain while he’s trying to fix communications with Supergirl and Mon-El in space and help with Alex’s would be murder. He ends up being a bit mean to her which is the worst thing he could do as it gives her license to mope and whine more.
One excellent scene this week involves Mon-El returning some clothes he and Kara “borrowed” from a market stall when they first arrived to disguise themselves. When Mon-El sees a very ill little boy, he gives him a device from the future that starts to cure his illness; he also tells the boy that once he’s better he should pass the device on to someone else who needs it. This is a great scene and a very heroic moment for Mon-El (not of the capes and powers kind) and it was a great indicator of what a good man/character he has become. I couldn’t help feeling, however, that I wanted to see Kara do something like this. It feels like ages since we saw any of the small, personal moments of heroism that these characters need to perform, from Supergirl.
Kara does get to deliver a speech this week to the Argo City council when Tuvok (it's Tim Russ but he’s literally just playing Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager in a slightly different robe) won’t let her have any of the magic rock – as its all that is keeping the city alive. Her speech starts a little lack lustre but actually gets quite emotive and, of course, she convinces them. One of the council is the cloaked figure who has been coaching Reign, so we know she’s up to no good despite helping Supergirl with the rock.
It feels like there is something missing form this week's episode; Argo City is a bit cheap looking and Alex’s side story feels like an excuse to throw a bit of action into what is, for Supergirl, an action free episode.
It would be interesting if this season was about the loss of Kara’s ‘human’ life and the Supergirl persona taking over but she spends so much time complaining about the pitfalls of duel identity without showing it. I think I’d have more sympathy for her if, perhaps, we saw some more of that Kara/Supes conflict at play!