Supergirl: 5.08 The Wrath of Rama Khan
It's episode eight of season five of Supergirl and things are such a mess. I’ve found it very hard to get along with this season and this episode is the culmination of its rushing, lazy sprint to Crisis on Infinite Earths. Everything is messy and over complicated but unfortunately, not very compelling; the cheese factor has set in, but without the joy or knowingness of the earlier seasons. I can almost hear the writers high fiving when they came up with the episode title. Most of all, the show is boring.
Last week, Kara was trapped in the Fortress by a scorned Lena and this week but she gets out, obviously, thanks to Alex and Brainy. A problem this show has fallen into is that the stakes never feel that big. While last week's confrontation between Kara and Lena was well executed by the actors, it lacked real punch because Kara’s imprisonment was nothing more than a cliffhanger. I was never worried about the ramifications of Kara being trapped because the show always resets for the next adventure.
Kara tries to talk some sense into Lena but it doesn’t do much good. They have a fairly fun but quick stand off with Lena throwing some of her stolen tech at Kara and then, at the last moment, relenting. It’s hard to know if this is because she’s feeling bad or changing her thinking thanks to Kara’s monologueing, or if its just her do no harm policy. I’m finding it hard to keep on board with Lena’s insistence on being the good guy. A villain who thinks they’re just and righteous can be dynamic and interesting but the show is keeping Lena in such limbo in terms of how villainous she actually goes. It's far too tiresome.
Things suddenly go crazy and Rama Khan tries to destroy the world with a mega volcano, all while Lena is trying to turn everyone lovey-dovey. The whole episode descends into rushed exposition and unsatisfying action as the show tries to rush its mid-season finale in time for Crisis. Neither threats (Lena, Khan) feel especially well established or explored and both are defeated – sort of – pretty quickly. Rama Khan becomes little more than a Villain of the Week and is a total waste of a character and actor. Cara Buono (Mike and Nancy’s mum) is still on the scene and Leviathan in general is still kicking about post-Khan defeat, so maybe she’ll step up to become the season long villain?
When Kara tries, again, to convince Lena to stop her weirdly benevolent yet evil plan, Alex used the opportunity to put a virus in Lena’s computer system, which results in her trusting the Danvers sisters even less. I just can’t get on board with Lena’s whole arc; by the end of this episode Hope has taken the blame for Lena’s scheme and Lena gets to go free. But Kara leaves the episode untrusting of her BFF which is good because Kara’s blind, guilt fuelled trust of Lena has been both boring and unrealistic. So much of this episode is unsatisfying and rushed
The episode, much like the whole season so far, has suffered from rushing and not effectively or interestingly setting itself up for Crisis on Infinite Earths. The sister shows have all been dovetailing into Crisis quite effectively without it effecting their narrative flow too much but Supergirl has suffered a lot form the impending crossover. At the end of this episode we see that Lex, who was dead at Lena’s hand, has been brought back by the monitor to play a part in saving the universe. I felt like there was potential in Jon Cryer’s Lex and his previous appearance had a few fun and interesting flashes. I'm hoping he can explore the characters a little more across Crisis on Infinite Earths.
It feels like everything has been put on hold now, with villains put on ice in classic I’ll get you next time fashion and next week, Crisis on Infinite Earths begins. Lets hope that once the crossover is over, Supergirl can right the ship a little and relax into its storytelling.