Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Supergirl 3x20 Review: "Dark Side of the Moon" (Not All That Dark, Actually) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“Dark Side of the Moon”
Original Airdate: May 28, 2018 

This week on a Supergirl episode that shares the title of my second-favorite Pink Floyd album: Kara and Mon-El hurtle through space in J’onn’s personal spaceship, on a quest to find a special rock that might un-Worldkiller Sam. The floating asteroid they thought they were heading toward actually has a very advanced, futuristic city on it. The city is not welcoming — I mean literally, the city is protected by laser-firing robots. The citizens are fine, though, since they’re Kryptonians. Surprise!

Also, Alex gets targeted by an old enemy, which leads her to ponder how she can possibly balance her incredibly dangerous job with being a parent when she becomes a mother. Reign is getting stronger minute by minute. Lena gets taunted by her. Generally speaking, “Dark Side of the Moon” is pretty solid. Not spectacular, but okay.


The old theme of Kara struggling with her identity comes up in her and Mon-El’s plot this week. While sitting in the space ship heading toward what they both think is a floating hunk of space rock, Kara mentions that it’s peaceful being in a situation where she doesn’t have to lie about who she is. Then they discover that the asteroid has a whole dang city on top of it, dodge the tractor beam that tries capturing them, and land. Much to Kara’s disappointment, the first thing they have to do when they enter the market area of the city is don a couple disguises.

What good luck, then, that Kara discovers a Kryptonian memorial and figures out what the city must be: Argo, a city on Krypton that was encased in an atmosphere dome as a last-ditch effort to save at least some of the citizens, then flung into space when the planet exploded. Argo has survived, led by Kryptonian elders (I guess?) and Alura, Kara’s mother, who is also alive. Oh, and the rock that Kara and Mon-El need to stop Reign and save Earth? That’s what’s keeping the whole city alive, and it’s critical to Argo’s survival down to the last ounce.

So the mission is to convince the leaders on Argo to let Kara and Mon-El leave with some of the rock. Kara must give a big speech about why Earth deserves a chance against the Worldkiller, and it is a very nice speech. As with most nice, epic speeches (especially on this show), it’s made over a montage of events: While Kara talks about people on Earth trying to clean up the mess Krypton landed them with, Alex is chasing down the guy who’s been trying to kill her all episode and we learn he’s the brother of a Fort Rozz prisoner who had killed twelve people. When Kara mentions the Worldkiller, we get a shot of Reign herself as she leers at Lena from inside her ever-weakening prison. Most of all, though, the speech emphasizes how much respect and love Kara has for her adoptive home. Considering that I know next week’s episode is about Kara wanting to leave Earth and go live on Argo, it’s kinda weird.

The speechifying seems to fail, because drama, but in the end, the final vote falls in Kara’s favor. Unfortunately, that final vote comes from a supporter of the Worldkillers, so there’s no telling what the rock Kara and Mon-El get at the end of the episode will actually do.


Meanwhile, Alex is still primary caretaker of Ruby (does Ruby not go to school?) while Reign has control of Sam’s body, and their day out in the city takes a turn. Some guy shoots a few bullets Alex’s way, then throws a grenade at her, which she tosses into a cement trash can to muffle the explosion. Alex quickly determines someone wants her dead, and I can tell we’re nearing finale time because the first suspect she tracks down is the sheriff who killed her friend Kenny when she and Kara were in high school.

Actually, credit to the show for even the implication that the villain was someone from the Danvers sisters’ past, and someone established in an earlier episode of the season. It doesn’t turn out to mean anything, of course, but them putting thought into the season’s continuity is still admirable. The same goes for the appearance of Kara’s mother in that part of the narrative, since Alura was hinted at at the beginning of the season, and she shows up towards the end. These small plot points, the bigger idea of Kara’s struggle with identity — it all helps to connect the first and second halves of the season a lot better than I expected.

Anyway, Alex’s motorcycle blows up when she tries to leave the bar where she met with the sheriff. Was that the bike she was bragging to Ruby about buying in last week’s episode? No wonder Alex goes into full-on Agent Danvers mode. Forget saving her own life, she probably just wants revenge.

As part of her plan to lure her would-be killer to her, J’onn pretends to be Alex jogging while the real Alex keeps watch from on top of a nearby building. The ruse fails to work, though. Alex still gets targeted, and when she spots the culprit she immediately follows him while J’onn does absolutely nothing. Seriously, J’onn. You can freaking fly. Lend a hand, dude. But whatever, Alex is perfectly capable of getting the job done. She even jumps off a building, catches herself on the neighboring building, and hangs from one hand while the villain explains that he’s getting back at Alex for arresting his murderous brother. Then she does a cool leap-flip move and captures him. And THEN J’onn shows up. Thanks, buddy. Real helpful.

Alex is afraid of the dueling instincts within her: the jump-off-buildings instinct that tells her to do whatever it takes to get a job done, and the motherly instincts she still hasn’t been able to fully explore, but her time with Ruby has really been making her think about. She tells J’onn that she doesn’t know if she can really be the DEO agent she’s meant to be, and still go home to a future child every night, knowing that her job jeopardizes the kid’s future. J’onn assures her that she’s smart, and very capable, and she’ll know what to do when the time comes. It’s a pretty sweet scene between them. I always like it when J’onn gets to be Adoptive Martian Father to the Danvers ladies.

At the end of the episode, while Alex is dealing with her situation, Kara and Mon-El have arrived back on Earth and inside Lena’s lab. Lena has just about had it with Reign, who keeps going on about how she and Lena are the same and Lena’s full of evil and blah blah blah. After increasing the amount of kryptonite pumping into Reign, but not yet allowing the full flood that Lena predicts would kill both Reign and Sam, Reign takes a swing at the invisible wall keeping her imprisoned. The way the wall flickers indicates that the kryptonite increase didn’t do much to weaken Reign, and that’s only confirmed when Kara and Mon-El arrive with the special rock, Reign rips the kryptonite feeding tube off her chest, and launches herself at our hero.

Other Things:
  • See that paragraph up there, where I describe how the episode ended mid-fight? Like I said even earlier in the review, the preview for next week has Kara leaving Earth to live on Argo. Uh... how, though?
  • I still haven’t figured out why this episode is called “Dark Side of the Moon” but I did have fun titling my review sections with Pink Floyd lyrics.


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