Supergirl: 4.05 Parasite Lost
This episode opens with one of Supergirl’s trademark cringey party scenes. Kara and the gang meet up on the roof of CatCo to have a picnic. I find these scenes of everyone being best buds awful and terribly forced. They also have a smugness about them, I realise more and more with this show that this group of friends (especially without Winn) is not actually group of people I’d want to spend any social time with. They’re so self-satisfied it’s painful! This naff little scenes involved Nia (who is been ingratiated into the group they way the gang always do with anyone they deem worthy of their little clique) going all giggly when Braniac reveals he didn’t realise she wanted him to call her and end with Kara doing one of her “old friends new friends” speeches. Blergh!
This week Kara is actually doing some journalism, though as always she’s really bad at it. She finds a saintly Alien, who thanks to an amulet embedded in his chest, has the ability to heal other aliens with his own life force. This Richard Madeley look-a-like is a spiritual, enlightened, selfless recluse who spends his time healing sick kiddies. What a nice man! Kara, obviously, does no real research into his background and writes a glowing puff piece about how great he is and aliens are wonderful and yay I’m so optimistic. Her reaction to seeing anti-alien people respond negatively to her piece online felt a little too naive even for Kara and Melissa Benoist’s playing of the moment was cheesy and goofy (Choofy?). Despite loving her approach and enthusiasm for the character and her dedication to being a role model for little girls (and boys) I’ve been slowly coming to the realisation that Benoist is probably the weakest link in regards to acting. She too easily falls back on over the top faces and adorkable rom-com style acting.
As with the past few episodes, there is a lot going on here. Some strands risk getting lost in the mix but things just about manage to hold together, although one narrative strand this week does kind of cement the concept that Supergirl works for the DEO, something I have never and will never be comfortable with. The main plot involves the drippy DEO guy who was recruited by Mercy, now infected with Parasite. He then goes around town killing aliens and taking their powers. There is singing quite sad about this, it feels like a lot of innocents gets killed this week without much consequence. I’d maybe like to see Kara a bit more upset about the lives she couldn’t save, especially in an episode where people are so casually killed and thrown aside.
The healer alien ends up in a coma after someone steals his amulet and of course he turns out not to be such a great guy after Kara and J’onn trace his pre-coma last thoughts to an estranged daughter and ex, both angry that he walked out on them. Kara beats herself up for not researching properly. Then it turns out that the ex was lying and had actually been keeping the daughter from her father because she hated aliens and he broke her heart. All the research that lead to these revelations was basically done for Kara and I’m not sure if she’s learned to be a better journalist. The problem we have is that Kara needs to learn things each episode so must make mistakes, narratively, but in her line of work making mistakes is unacceptable. She’s unqualified for her job... probably just as well she hardly goes to work.
Everything this week was orchestrated by Agent Liberty in a scheme to get aliens and DEO-Parasite Guy in the same place and then introduce Guardian into the mix. I don’t like the Guardian character and plot line in general but I do like the idea of Ben/Agent Liberty trying to Co-opt him as a kind of mascots for his alt-right propaganda. I did enjoy seeing Ben challenge Jaaaaames about slamming doors in the faces of the angry, ordinary people who are anti-alien. The fact that Jimbo decides, by episode end, that it’s better to engage with the right-wingers and try to change their view by listening than to simply shut them down and shut them out is one of the most interesting and subtle political comments the show has made in the very politically charged season.
A lovely side plot this week is the slow evaluation of J’onn into private detective. When J’onn left the DEO to go his own, non violent, path it was a good shift closer to the J’onn J’onzz we know and love from the comics. This week, he carries a hat around with him, putting it in proper gumshoe fashion after being asked to investigate a missing alien and being told he’s the “go to guy”.
This was another busy but satisfying episode, Sam Witwer gives a really strong performance and provides a far more interesting villain than previous seasons and Alex’s relationship with her new commanding office offers some interesting counter balance at the DEO. Keep going Supergirl, you’re winning me back...