Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Supergirl 3x15 Review: "In Search of Lost Time" (Anger Waves!) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]


“In Search of Lost Time”
Original Airdate: April 23, 2018 

The A and B-plots aren’t very connected this week on Supergirl, unless you count M’yrnn J’onzz and Sam Arias both trying to take control of their lives as a theme. M’yrnn has Martian dementia and has to get his metaphorical car keys taken away. Sam is secretly a megalomaniacal Kryptonian genetic project programmed to destroy worlds and has to get locked in an invisible box like the world’s most dangerous mime. There are some surprisingly similar elements. Both halves of the episode are executed well, too. Except for Sam’s willful ignorance and inability to recognize herself in photographs, I can’t complain about much of anything. And even when Sam was annoying me, it was all made better because Lena Luthor is back!

Wait... that’s two episodes of Supergirl in a row that I’ve actually enjoyed? And this one even has more than ten minutes of Mon-El screen time, but I enjoyed it anyway? What new spore of madness is this! Where’s the poorly paced, convoluted, Idiot Plot-prone television show I remember from all those months ago? Could this be... improvement?!

Nah, it’s probably just a fluke. I fully expect these dummies to get back to being dummies next week.

A BAD INFLUENCE


Team Supergirl is having a charades night and it’s rather adorable, much like the group karaoke session we saw last week. Also like last week, this moment of fun is interrupted by the plot — or something plot-adjacent, at least — as Supergirl has to leave to break up an alien bar fight. A Kalanorian, which are a race of psychic/empathic aliens who are sensitive to psychic interference, has to be taken down after she goes absolutely bonkers and trashes the bar. Team Supergirl sedates the Kalanorian and stores her in a holding cell, but they don’t know what’s going on. J’onn blames astrology.

It becomes clear pretty fast that M’yrnn and his Martian brand of prayer/psychic reorganization of his brain is actually what’s to blame for the disturbances, including the Kalanorian freak-out and a burst of anger that nearly ends with Winn shooting some DEO agent for talking back to him. J’onn struggles with the idea of confronting in his father, since in Martian terms it includes reducing M’yrnn’s independence, which Alex likens to her mother taking away her grandmother’s car keys. I don’t think it’s ever clarified what, exactly, the procedure involves — dampening his psychic abilities? Completely removing them? Using J’onn’s psychic restraint to restrict M’yrnn’s?

Whatever it is, I’m surprised no one thinks of just transporting M’yrnn to some secluded location to do his psychic prayers. Like, they know they have access to the Fortress of Solitude, right? And Martians can fly? And even if they can’t fly, Supergirl has flight and super speed she could use to zip M’yrnn up to the Arctic, let him do his prayer thing far away from any living creatures, and zip him back down.

But no, they’ve decided on a solution that breaks J’onn’s heart, so he stalls on facing his father. When he finally does, M’yrnn’s anger at the prospect of being talked down to by his own son sends psychic anger waves out and makes the whole DEO erupt in chaos. People are thrown through windows. Desks and computers are demolished. First that robot flying monkey attack, now this! The janitorial staff at the DEO better ask for a raise this month.

In the training room where Mon-El is still trying to teach Kara how to use her cape as a weapon, the psychic anger waves cause more ranting than homicidal violence. Kara finally, finally says out loud what we in the audience have noticed about Mon-El since he showed up, and it’s genuinely so perfect that I’m going to make some rare direct quotes: “You were reckless, selfish, you lied, and you didn’t apologize. And then there was the time I got you a job at CatCo. I vouched for you at my place of employment and then you had Eve do all your work for you, and then you screwed her in the closet. You didn’t apologize for that and, shocker, I apologized to you for trying to make you into a better person!” Ah, delicious.

She wraps it all up by saying, “I gave my heart to a lying jackass who was unaware of his behavior towards me, who disrespected me at every turn, and now is this ‘reformed’ person who wants to reminisce about the good times?” and the only thing that saves Mon-El from Kara spending an eternity absolutely eviscerating him is Alex coming in with a device that blocks M’yrnn’s psychic waves.

The best thing about this speech Kara gives — besides it being evidence that the show has finally realized that its “leading man” was genuinely horrible — is that Kara doesn’t take it back in the end. Kara apologizes to Mon-El for the brutality of what she said and for punching him, but she doesn’t say she was lying and even tells him she’s thankful for the moment. She’d romanticized everything about Mon-El after his disappearance and ignored the stuff he did that genuinely, deeply insulted her.

As for the chaos at the DEO: J’onn gets through to his father, who allows him to put a cuff around his wrist that stops the psychic bleed. Everyone goes back to normal. M’yrnn apologizes to the DEO for causing problems, and it’s incredibly sad because M’yrnn just wants to cling to what he has left in the universe, after losing most of his family, his people, his planet, and faces the prospect of losing his memories as well.

LENA & SAM


Lena is carrying the weight of the Worldkiller plot for the duration of the episode, having quarantined Sam in a lab for study. Sam’s hospital bed is surrounded by invisible energy barriers (are those standard in National City?) so she can’t escape, and the implication is that Lena is either waking her up for the first time in three days or has woken her up before and she was in Reign mode instead of Sam mode so she got knocked out again. Either way, she wakes up as Sam and Lena tries her absolute best to explain why she’s trapped in an invisible cage, but that sort of thing is always really hard to explain without coming off a bit evil.

Even presented with tons of evidence, Sam refuses to believe that she and Reign are the same person. On one hand, I get why Sam doesn’t want to believe she’s a murderous alien entity, but on the other, Sam’s face isn’t exactly obscured in the photos Lena shows her and Reign matches Sam’s stature. Sam already knows she’s been having blackouts and that she’s apparently bulletproof. Two plus two equals you’ve killed a lot of people, Sam! But Lena is clever, so she figures out a way to knock some truth into Sam: By berating her until she rages out and turns into Reign long enough to get it all on film, then showing Sam the footage.

After Sam is forced to accept that she really is Reign, she breaks down crying. This, like the scenes with J’onn and M’yrnn in the other half of the episode, is a supremely well-acted moment between Sam and Lena. Sam makes Lena promise to keep her locked up until she can figure out how to stop Reign from coming back and makes her promise not to say where Ruby, who currently thinks her mom is being hospitalized with a contagious disease, is staying. She doesn’t want to risk hurting her daughter if she becomes Reign again.

Meanwhile, pigeons start to fall from the sky. Mon-El blames the Worldkiller Pestilence.

Other Things:
  • I can believe Kara has genuinely been tearing the buttons off all her shirts every time she changes into Supergirl. Snap closures, woman!
  • We find out that Sam gets mentally transported to some creepy forest when she turns into Reign. It gives me American Gods vibes, actually.
  • I still don’t care about Lena/James, show.
  • By the way, everywhere (including my closed captioning) spells M’yrnn’s name as “Myr’nn” but that doesn’t fit Martian naming conventions, so I don’t know who’s right.

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