This was a red letter episode of Supergirl, giving us a look into her life on Krypton, or at least one version of her life, as well as the death of a major antagonist. There were also three cute lines this week that were actually funny.
Based on the much celebrated 1985 Superman comic-book story, 'For The Man Who Has Everything', it centered on Supergirl — under the influence of an alien brain-attack creature — hallucinating that she is back in an idealized version of her home planet.
But whereas Alan Moore's original story explored political and familial tensions on Krypton, this episode sealed Supergirl inside an orange-hued living room, along with her long-dead parents and a boy version of Kal-El, aka Superman. Disappointingly, it's a cozy place of warm family memories and not much else.
That said, we do see some of Krypton snobbishness about Earth. When it seems like Supergirl (as Kara Zor-El) has been dreaming that she lives on Earth, her mother is aghast. "Why would I ever send you to that primitive planet?" she asks.
Supergirl can only escape this pleasant fantasy once she understands it's not real. Via some nonsensical VR-related set-up, her Earth sister Alex goes to Krypton and persuades her sister to come on home. The best part of this otherwise flimsy section is Alex's line when she first arrives. "Oh My God. I'm on Krypton."
Once back on Earth, Supergirl offers a treacly response. "There's no place like home," she murmurs. This episode spent a lot of time unnecessarily affirming the emotional ties between Supergirl and her sister as well as Winn and James.
Hank Henshaw has to pretend to be Supergirl's meek alter-ego Kara Danvers
Supergirl finds out evil alien enviro-fascist Non was the one who sent the alien brain attack. She's extremely angry that, once again, she had to go through losing her parents. She goes after him and gives him a good walloping, during which she explains to us that she really cares about the people she loves.
While Non and Astra are all about power and control, Supergirl is about people and feelings. As a character, she is at her weakest when she is bullet-pointing her own best qualities, which generally shine brightest when suggested in the plot, rather than spelled out in dreary monologues.
In the fighting, Supergirl's evil aunt Astra almost kills both Alex and Hank Henshaw, but is ultimately killed herself, literally stabbed in the back by Alex.
All of this was utterly overshadowed by a far more interesting subplot, in which Hank Henshaw has to pretend to be Supergirl's meek alter-ego Kara Danvers, to keep her stone cold boss Cat Grant from twigging that something's afoot.
He shapeshifts into Kara's body and sets off to work. Winn and James express concerns that this might not be as simple as Hank seems to think. "I'm an elite agent for a paramilitary galactic force," he snaps. "I think I can handle Cat Grant." This was hand-rubbing stuff. Hank vs Cat. Bring it on.
The results were a laugh-out-loud encounter of intense brutality as Henshaw tries and fails to manipulate Grant, first with logic, then with pleading and finally with tears. Calista Flockhart as Grant is merciless.
This is a lesson that Supergirl's enemies need to learn. We are told that Non is a ruthless terrorist, but up to this point he has seemed about as menacing as small town bank manager. Now that Astra's conscience, and her ties to Supergirl, are no longer a factor, it seems likely that Supergirl is going to be kept busy in the weeks ahead. At least she has a week to rest, while the Grammys are on.
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