Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Supergirl 2x07 Review: "The Darkest Place" (The Plot Thickens) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“The Darkest Place”
Original Airdate: November 21, 2016

The title of this episode sure is foreboding, huh? And pretty accurate, I guess. I don’t think it’s the darkest episode of the show or anything (I don’t even know if this show can go truly dark?) but Kara does get captured by Project Cadmus, J’onn J’onzz goes crazy and beats up on M’Gann, and Snapper Carr makes another appearance. All pretty dismal things, in my opinion! Despite the low points for all the characters, “The Darkest Place” makes for an entertaining episode, with great acting moments and surprise appearances that should mean interesting things to come.


A bulk of the Supergirl-related plot for this episode is loaded up on Kara paying a visit to Project Cadmus in order to rescue Mon-El, who — if you all recall — was captured by a lackey pretending to be an ill homeless man during Mon-El’s conveniently timed moral breakthrough. Mon-El is mostly doing fine in the Cadmus labs, if his constant snarking is anything to go by, but Lillian Luthor really isn’t playing around with her anti-alien xenophobia schtick.

I can’t tell how I feel about Lillian Luthor yet. She seems to have adopted the megalomaniacal, anti-alien role that Maxwell Lord failed to really fill out last season. I definitely like her better than Max Lord, but Max Lord is essentially at the bottom of my Favorite Characters list, so that’s not a huge accomplishment for Lillian. She’s pretty bonkers and her backstory for hating aliens is razor-thin, but she does have some things going for her. In my opinion, she’s the likable kind of over-the-top evil instead of the nauseating, annoying evil of Maxwell Lord. I hate everything she says and I don’t actually buy the reason for her anti-alien philosophy as a decent motivation for starting a shady organization equipped with an underground laboratory and the technology to turn people into kryptonite-powered death machines or cyborgs, but she’s better at being a terrible human being than Maxwell Lord ever was.

And what is her reason for hating aliens, exactly? Well, apparently she really resents what Superman did to Lex — namely, putting him in jail when he tried taking over the world a bunch of times — and now Lillian hates all aliens, all the time, always. That’s some overkill, there, Mrs. L. During her explanation, I think it’s implied that Lex and Superman were friends to start with and then slowly grew into enemies. If that’s not the story, I don’t care — I like the Smallville version of the Superman/Lex relationship too much and I enjoy the idea of it transferring over to the Supergirl canon, even a little bit. Either way, the core of Lillian Luthor’s hatred is because one alien was mean to her supervillain kid while he tried ruling the universe or whatever.

So she kidnaps Mon-El because, I assume, she wants to lure Kara to her — which is successful. Once Kara is within Cadmus headquarters, Lillian shoots Mon-El in the leg (he has a lead allergy, apparently) and dangles his medical treatment over Kara until she agrees to wear this helmet that mimics a solar flare and zaps her powers. Once Kara — of course — agrees to wearing the helmet in order to save Mon-El’s life, Lillian Luthor has Kara’s blood drawn.

A lot of plot breadcrumbs are laid out in this episode, mostly revolving around the Cadmus scenes. Not only do we get Lillian Luthor’s justification for Project Cadmus, but we also get a return of Jeremiah Danvers, who helps Kara and Mon-El escape from the labs. Since he’s only in the episode for a few minutes, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think he’ll be coming back to play a larger role later this season. Other stuff that happens within Cadmus: the original Hank Henshaw is turned into “Cyborg Superman” and uses the blood drawn from Kara while she was powerless to get access to the Fortress’s AI system to ask about a “Project Medusa.”


As the real Hank Henshaw robot-fights his way to the Fortress of Solitude, the guy who’s been wearing his face for years is dealing with some aftereffects of his illness. M’gann’s donated blood appears to be causing J’onn all sorts of problems, from shaky hands to hallucinations, but I think his raging battle against M’gann when he finds out she’s really a White Martian is all on him. I could have sworn we had already gone through J’onn forgiving the past acts of White Martians last season? And this White Martian clearly wants nothing to do with her past life as an oppressor, so I’m a bit confused about why J’onn is so incredibly angry this time around.

Although, M’gann probably should have been a bit more insistent when she told Alex she couldn’t give J’onn her blood. Because now that she has, J’onn is going to turn into a White Martian and the Green Martian race will die with him. That’s a real bummer, and — once he learns about it — a pretty good reason for J’onn to be angry.

And in what is probably the main villain-of-the-week plot, some vigilante murders (what is this? Arrow?) are happening in National City. It would be a clear-cut situation of “find the culprit and throw him behind bars” but Guardian -- James’s new superhero alter-ego -- is getting blamed for them. Which means that the National City police as well as the DEO are after James, and he can’t tell anyone that he’s definitely not a murderous vigilante since he’s pretty sure they’ll make him stop being a non-murderous vigilante.

Winn proves that, despite his current role as James/Guardian’s tech-sidekick, he’s still capable of caving faster than a house of cards in a wind tunnel when Alex realizes he knows who Guardian is. After some threats (which, granted, coming from Alex are pretty solid) he tells her that James is Guardian and, of course, James is not a murderer.

You know who is a murderer, though? The murderer. Yeah, I don’t remember his name, but he started killing people because the man who killed his wife got off the charge on a technicality. So he’s taking out other criminals who have had charges dropped on technicalities, too. He’s stopped before the end of the episode, but I don’t know if Guardian’s image is cleared or not.

Other Things:
  • Chyler Leigh is still A+ in this episode, with Alex dealing with the aftermath of Maggie’s rejection. While not a big enough plot to warrant a section of the review, I just wanted to make sure to acknowledge how great she was.
  • "How do you know that's chicken?" and then Winn gags because he’s afraid of alien chicken, I guess? She wasn’t implying that it was human or anything, Winn. Calm down.
  • Raise your hand if the opening spinning-around-the-table scene made you dizzy?
  • I don’t know where Snapper Carr got the idea that everyone else could be biased, but not him. He uses the video of the vigilante murder as evidence against James’s insistence that it wasn’t Guardian, but the video is just as unclear from Snapper’s point of view. Snapper’s just a jerk.
  • Kara defending Lena to Lillian Luthor was cute.
  • Ugh, Mon-El clearly has a thing for Kara and I am 100% Not Here For That.


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