Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Supergirl 1x13 "For the Girl Who Has Everything" (Home At Last) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

"For the Girl Who Has Everything"
Original Airdate: February 8, 2016

It’s very difficult for a show to get the “it was all a dream” episode right. A lot of the time, it’s clear that the reason why such an episode is happening is because the show wanted to use some cool sets or have their character do weird stuff they couldn’t do in the reality established by the show. When done right, though, the primary reason to make an episode that takes place within a character’s head is to, you know, explore that character’s head — to examine their emotional state, their memories, their fears and hopes and what’s important to them.

Supergirl, thankfully, did things right in this case. They took what could have been a pointless episode in which Kara got to dress up in fancy Krypton clothes and hang out with her mom and a tiny Kal-El and made it about something that they haven’t dedicated a lot of time to: Kara’s loneliness. Because underneath the positive attitude and heroics of Kara is an incredibly lonely character. We mostly see her as a cheerful, encouraging person, but it would be unreasonable and unrealistic for us to assume that she’s okay with losing her home, or that she never feels the anger or deep sadness that accompanies loneliness. “For the Girl Who Has Everything” proves that all those emotions still exist within Kara, and we get to learn what happens when they come out.


We open the episode a little while after the previous episode ended, with Kara unconscious and making new friends with a super gross looking plant creature called a Black Mercy. Apparently — and forgive me, for my Superman knowledge is mostly limited to what I occasionally read on wikis and have gained through cultural osmosis — this week’s episode is a reconstruction of a Superman comic in which the same thing happens to the Man of Steel, and if the comic panels found online are anything to go by I need to applaud the props people on Supergirl for their work. It’s pretty darn close to what shows up in the comics. And it’s gross.

The idea of the same thing that happens to Kara in this episode happening to Superman brings up a thought: Unlike Superman/Clark Kent, who arrived on Earth as a baby and has only known Earth as his home, Kara (or, at least, this version of her) remembers Krypton and her family. A trip to a dream world in which Krypton hasn’t exploded would have more of an impact on her than on Superman, because she would be using her memories to paint herself a perfect world. More than an idealized version of a world the hero’s never been, Kara gets to go home.

In Kara’s Krypton, her family is all together and even her little cousin Kal-El pays her a visit. Her aunt Astra isn’t evil (though she still wears an all-black militaristic uniform, which is questionable) and everything is shiny-happy under Krypton’s red sun. We are ignoring how weird and obvious Kara should find her family’s behavior, though. They keep telling Kara that she had a fever and hallucinated her time on Earth, then take her around the house and show her stuff she made or interacted with… from before she was sent away. Why can’t dreamland-inducing plot elements ever make their fantasies better developed? Make stuff up. Show Kara the book she threw at her mom when she was sixteen and not allowed to go on a date. Come on, gross alien plant! Be creative!

Anyway, back on Earth Kara’s friends and family are trying to find a way to get the Black Mercy off of her. They even pull Maxwell Lord out of his DEO prison to help them with some tech that would allow Alex to go into her sister’s dream-world and get her to reject the fantasy and wake up. The whole “Kara has to reject the fantasy” solution doesn’t actually make sense, since Kara woke up rejecting the fantasy, but let’s just ignore that. Could they have had Kara wake up and immediately accept everything, thereby eliminating that plot hole? Yep!

Alex does manage to pull Kara out of the Kryptonian dream world. When Kara wakes up, she’s really freaking angry and asks who sent the Black Mercy to her. She finds out it’s Non, then goes to beat the crap out of him because he didn’t just take her out of commission and waste her time — he made her lose Krypton and her family again. He reopened old wounds that had probably barely closed, and Kara’s like, “Emotional wounds, Non? I’m gonna cause you some physical ones.”

Meanwhile, Alex and Hank/J’onn fight with Kara’s evil (not so evil?) aunt and when Astra is about to kill Hank, Alex drives a kryptonite machete through her. When did she get a kryptonite machete? Ah, whatever. Astra’s dying and they pull Kara away from her task of using Non as a punching bag in order to tell her that she really needs to say goodbye to her aunt. It’s actually a pretty effective way to show that Kara’s losing another part of her perfect fantasy, as she’s saying goodbye to the only remaining member of her family to whom she has any childhood connection.


Since the episode explores Kara’s loneliness, I think it’s only fair to end on how it really emphasizes that Kara is not alone. Yes, she might miss her family and her home planet, but she’s surrounded by people on Earth who love her. None, probably, more than her sister. Chyler Leigh, who plays Alex Danvers, does some pretty great work in the scenes where Alex is desperate to save Kara. There’s a devastatingly unhinged quality to the way Alex threatens and pleads with anyone who stands in the way of keeping Kara alive — everyone, including the hologram of Kara’s mother, Astra, Maxwell Lord, Hank Henshaw, and Kara herself when Alex intrudes on the Black Mercy fantasy world going on in her head. Alex, plus James and Winn and even Hank, prove that Kara’s got a support group on Earth and with that, Kara will never be alone.

The episode ends with Kara realizing that the fantasy world she created with the help of the Black Mercy pales in comparison with the flesh-and-blood family she has in present-day Earth. She imagined a fantasy in which she got to go home, but home can only be Earth — anything else is just nostalgia. We close out on the happy imagery of everyone gathering in Kara’s apartment and cheering her up, but — and don’t take this as a request for a gloomy Supergirl, because it’s really, really not — I do hope that the show lets the things we, and Kara, learned about her psyche in this episode exist in future episodes as well.

  • The stuff with Kara’s friends dealing with Cat threatening her job was fun, but largely unimportant save for being more evidence that Kara has good friends.
  • But here’s a quick solution for your conundrum, guys: Tell Cat that Kara is sick. Have Kara’s sister come into the office and confirm that Kara is sick. The stumbling through excuses is unnecessary.
  • Having J’onn J’onzz morph into Kara again was pretty hilarious, though.
  • The show should be more consistent on calling Kara “Kara” or “Supergirl.” Does everyone at the DEO know her secret identity? If not, maybe be more discreet about it.
  • Non is so stereotypically villainous he makes Maxwell Lord look nuanced.
  • Winn’s Dumb Crush on Kara mention! I need to make a drinking game out of this show.
  • "If they try to evade you, you remind them that I am still holding on to their Hamilton tickets." Holding access to Hamilton tickets over someone? I never knew you could be so cruel, Cat.
  • "That woman makes me miss my alien prison." Hee.
  • Maxwell Lord actually made me laugh this episode. Apparently being held against his will in a secret underground prison does wonders for his personality.


Post a Comment