Thursday, May 10, 2018

Supergirl 3x17 Review: "Trinity" (Confessions Galore) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

Original Airdate: May 7, 2018 

Hey, Supergirl managed to make things post-Worldkiller team-up really interesting! Color me surprised, since I figured they’d spend at least one episode killing time with filler villain-of-the-week content. Instead, they deliver a pretty solid episode that furthers the main Worldkiller plot and provides a lot of good character stuff for several characters. Is “Trinity” a perfect episode? No — but it does what it needs to do, it does it well, and it supports other aspects of the show while accomplishing its main goal. Frankly, if an episode of this show doesn’t send me into fits of frustration or a boredom-induced stupor, I’ll take it. This one having a bit more than the baseline is just icing.


The episode starts shortly after where we left off last week. Lena is being interrogated at the DEO and no one looks happy about it. Seeing Sam locked in a techno-cage in Lena’s laboratory apparently had an even worse impression on our heroes than I’d originally assumed, since everyone acts like they’ve burned whatever bridges of friendship existed between them and Lena. Doesn’t Kara usually have a stubborn resistance toward turning against friendships? Her mistrust of Lena feels way too absolute. Alex is even worse, as she and Lena snipe at each other throughout the episode. In television trope terms, they act more like the dynamic of long-time rivals forced to team up for a common good than two friends having a fight.

Things especially don’t go well for Lena when she admits that she used kryptonite to keep Reign/Sam under control. I don’t know if I can call out the show for not even hinting at the existence of kryptonite in Lena’s lab. On one hand, it feels like a cheap way to make Lena look more evil and validate Team Supergirl’s total mistrust. On the other hand, I can’t discredit the show for NOT dropping hints with all the subtlety of anvils, which is its usual modus operandi.

Meanwhile, Sam is going through trials and tribulations in that creepy alternate-dimension forest. Julia Freeman, the human form of Worldkiller Purity, is also there, but Grace (Pestilence) gave up immediately and died. The other Worldkillers are trying to kill off their human selves via psychological torture. Not only are Julia and Sam being haunted by the faces of people Reign and Purity have killed, but they’re also losing themselves: Julia struggles to remember her own name or the title of her favorite song, while Sam forgets Ruby’s name for a minute. Sam gets the idea to carve everything they know about themselves into the trees around them, which works to keep hold of their humanity and doubles as some cool, creepy set decoration for the episode. Atmosphere!

I joke, but the stuff in the dark forest is probably my favorite. The concept of Sam and Julia essentially being destroyed from the outside in — as the Worldkillers have control of their bodies, minds, and memories — is a compelling one, made more so by the actresses doing a great job with the panic and madness it induces. Exploring the psychological effect the Worldkillers have on their human counterparts means a character-driven plotline, and focus on character means it never feels like the show is stalling for time, like just about any other kind of story (villain of the week, searching for Sam, interrogating Lena, etc.) would. Yeah, we don’t learn a whole lot about Julia, but I did have sympathy for her and I’m happy she ends the episode a hero. For Sam, it reinforces what we already know about the character’s ingenuity, strength, and love for her daughter, and makes me root for her victory over Reign more than I have during the season so far.

Back in... reality? That doesn’t sound right. Anyway, back in the place where colors exist, Lena calls James and confesses everything she’s just done, from keeping Sam/Reign in her lab via kryptonite to being really sad that Supergirl is mad at her. James listens, but Lena has to hang up and talk to Supergirl before he has a chance to say anything of value. As Supergirl is berating her some more and questioning whether she possesses more kryptonite, an eclipse happens. This sends Kara all screwy because Supergirl, like those dancing flowers on the dashboard of your kookiest aunt’s minivan, is solar powered.

When she passes out, Kara wakes up — briefly — in the forest with Sam. Thus, our main plot of the episode: Kara is able to send her consciousness to the alternate world where Sam and Julia are, so Kara gets Brainy to come up with a way to comatose herself back into the forest (actually a Kryptonian “valley” called Juru). Once there, she can convince Sam to repossess herself and send Team Supergirl a signal they can use to locate the Worldkillers. Lena and Alex sign on as backup, since Supergirl won’t be so super when the eclipse completes and Lena thinks she can get through to Sam.

In the “valley” that looks a whole heck of a lot more like a forest, Lena, Kara, and Alex pause in their search for Sam to bicker a bit. The topic of secrets comes up and for like half a glorious second, I expect Lena to come right out and name Kara as Supergirl. But alas, no. The show still wants us to think genius Lena is too dumb to recognize her friend as her other friend. Sigh.

After fighting off some Kryptonian demons, our dimension-hopping trio finally gets to talk to Julia and Sam. Mentioning Ruby many, many times gives Sam enough strength to take her body over again, break away from the other Wordkillers, and send a signal out from the Worldkiller Fortress to alert the DEO, but it means that Reign takes Sam’s place in the valley. Reign almost kills Lena, insults Kara a little, and drops a little info: Only one of equal strength to a Worldkiller can defeat a Worldkiller, and that does not include Supergirl.

But it does include other Worldkillers! When everyone (well, except Sam) is back on the right side of reality, they go to the Fortress of Eviltude and begin battle. Julia manages to take over her Worldkiller-powered body just long enough to take out Pestilence, but dies doing it. It seems like two out of three Worldkillers are out of the picture, but then Pestilence and Purity glow a bit, the glow goes into Reign, and Reign does a power-roar before flying off.

When everything is over, Lena and Kara have a talk and Lena says that Sam’s secret wasn’t hers to tell, so she never told it. Like the Kryptonite plot point before it, I don’t know if Lena lying about not having permission to tell anyone about Sam's condition is subtle storytelling or the writers forgetting what they’ve written. Sam definitely, specifically requested she get Alex and Supergirl's help regarding Reign, and Lena denied her. Yeah, it’s pretty bad when a show’s storytelling is usually so hamfisted that little hints like the ones in this episode come off as possible continuity mistakes.

While everyone’s confessing things: James goes to Lena and tells her that Supergirl had him go, as Guardian, check the vault in her lab for kryptonite. Considering that Supergirl just got finished telling Lena (based off the false confirmation of no kryptonite) that all is forgiven, James kinda throws Supergirl riiiight under the bus with his confession. I’m all for honesty, buddy, but maybe don’t bring other names into stuff like this? Anyhoo, Lena confesses to James that the kryptonite she used on Sam/Reign wasn’t Lex’s. It was hers. Because she figured out how to make kryptonite.

Dun dun dunnnn!

Also, everyone seems to think that Pestilence and Purity are gone. Did they not notice all the glowy bright lights going from the dead Worldkillers to Reign? They ain’t gone, Team Supergirl.

Next week: Team Supergirl finds out the other Worldkillers ain’t gone. Told you so!

Other Things:
  • Haha, Lena's "Okay?" when she's told to help Brainy.
  • Alex looks so happy about her new superhero gear. That woman sure likes fancy guns.


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