Supergirl 1.11: Strange Visitor from Another Planet
Good news, bad news...
Bad news: Cat has an estranged son and he’s a cool, over confident but cool passive aggressive but cool, super bland but cool and handsome guy.
Good news: White Martians!
With a tough Senator going on an anti-alien campaign things are looking a little awkward for Supergirl this week. After, inevitably, at the anti-alien Senator’s anti-alien rally an alien turns up and causes havoc, Supergirl has to rescue her – showing that aliens aren’t that bad – and the grumpy Senator ends up at the DEO for safety.
This episode gives us some awesome flashback scenes of Hank on Mars and it really is the highlight of the episode. The special effects can be a bit hit and miss on this show but since the mid season break it feels like there has been, if not an injection of budget, then a re-focus on how to get the best from their effects and the Mars scenes, the White Martian and Hank as J’onn all look really good. Hank/J’onn wants to deal with the White Martian himself but can’t risk exposing himself as the Martian Manhunter because he’s got Col. Sam Lane breathing down his back, trying to take over the DEO. I get why they’ve chosen to tie the characters in together but I find the use of Sam Lane as an antagonist a bit predictable, especially since he’s not very sympathetic at all here.
Did I mention Cat’s son? So, Cat half wrote a letter to her son, Adam but threw it away. Kara stole the letter, finished it and sent it to Adam, who promptly turned up to visit his mum. Cat is, quite rightly, pretty pissed at Kara – so am I! This is a huge violation of their relationship, its absolutely not appropriate and I’m not sure if I’m cool with Kara doing that? Anyway, Adam turns up and he’s as bland and tedious as you can imagine. And he and Kara take a shine to each other, of course. This subplot is like picking up your dog’s poo when you take it for a walk; its not much fun but its an inevitable part of the process.
So we have to sit through the predictable scene of Cat and Adam going for an awkward dinner where he learns that Kara wrote the letter and he gets in a huff. I like the character of Cat a lot and this plotline adds some context and depth to her, which is great but it’s not a very compelling storyline.
After seeing some of Jimmy Olson’s pictures (STOP CALLING HIM JAMES!) Kara realises that the Senator is in fact the White Martian in disguise. As so often happens in TV, everyone else seems to realise this at the same time, with Hank/J’onn pulling his weapon on the Martian Senator just as Alex turns up, also with a weapon. Hank/J’onn has more flashbacks allowing the White Martian to get the upper hand and go on a rampage through the DEO, just as Supergirl turns up and chases the Martian off… then Supergirl has to go back to CatCo. While Kara’s balancing of work and Super-duties is an ongoing character issue it can be irritatingly convenient to the plot at times and I’m not sure they’ve quite worked the kinks out, narrative wise, yet.
Kara ends up talking to Cat’s boring son about how upset Cat is about everything and, in a move that isn’t creepy at all because he’s cute, Adam insists he’ll only meet with his mum again if Kara goes with them!
After a heart to heart with Alex about how he lost his family, Hank/J’onn decides to use his powers to track down the White Martian and the kidnapped Senator. With the DEO, Alex and Supergirl alone for the ride they manage to rescue the senator and lure the White Martian away from the city, where Hank/J’onn is determined to kill her. Kara objects and Hank/J’onn even goes as far as to place Kryptonite handcuff on her to stop her from stopping him, from killing the White Martian. Eventually of course, he relents and they imprison the White Martian at the DEO, the senator publicly renounces her anti-alien stance and everything ends happily.
I’m a huge Martian Manhunter fan and David Harewood is excellent throughout this episode, which is really all his. He brings depth and compassion to J’onn which is so important to the character and I like the fact that this show is comfortable enough to have whole episodes where Supergirl is a supporting player.
The show ends on a nice cliff-hanger when a woman who looks like Supergirl is caught on TV chucking cars about… and just when she’d got everyone on side!