Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Supergirl 1x19 Review: "Myriad" (Mind Games) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

Original Airdate: April 11, 2016

Since this week’s episode is really just a set-up for next week’s exciting (I presume) finale, it’s hard to review “Myriad” as I would normally review Supergirl episodes. Much of the episode is spent with Kara, Cat, and Maxwell Lord standing around and talking about what they should do. Sometimes Non joins in on the talking about what should be done, but when he isn’t with the crew in the CatCo building he’s just chatting with Indigo about what should be done. Some people mention death. Predictably, the people who are A-okay with the possible human casualties are the villains — wait, are we counting Maxwell Lord as a villain yet? I mean, I don’t like him at all but it’s hard to tell which side of the good/evil line he’s on right now.

Also, while National City is under the influence of Myriad’s mind control and everyone is blabbing on about doing something about it, Alex and J’onn are still on the run.

That’s pretty much it, but I’ll go into a bit more detail because I have a word count to meet with these reviews.


We start right where we ended last time: everyone around the city has fallen into a hypnotized state and Kara has no idea what’s going on. She tries to go to the DEO for answers, but finds them just as brainwashed as everyone else and, to make matters worse, they have the ability to release all the captured Fort Rozz prisoners and metahumans that Supergirl has spent a whole season locking away. Kara manages to stop the mass release of all the prisoners just in time, but gets shot in the arm with a kryptonite bullet (which she just sort of brushes off, to my surprise) and fails to yell any sense into Lucy Lane or the other DEO officials.

With the realization that something otherwordly is definitely happening to National City, Kara flies to her cousin’s Fortress of Solitude to ask a robot some questions. I notice that Superman apparently spends some of his Fortress of Solitude time carving statues of himself out of ice, which — no wonder Batman wants to kill you in that new movie, dude. Way to ego. Also, Superman’s robot butler is zero help to Kara but the hologram of her mother drops some info on Myriad that it threw a hissyfit over earlier (why does Superman have a computer program of his aunt installed in the Fortress? Who knows!) and Myriad basically boils down to this: Invented by Astra and Non as a brainwashing last-resort to stop global warming (???), and bad. Like, really bad. Mega-ultra-super bad, and also unstoppable. What a bummer!

Kara flies back to National City and pays a visit to the CatCo building, where she sees everyone working diligently at their computers... on evil, alien code! Dun dun duuuun! I always wonder about TV user interfaces. Do you think Non did all the design/coding work for his evil alien UX himself? Do Kryptonians have graphic design?

Okay, back on track: the good news is that it’s just National City that’s affected by Myriad right now; the bad news is that literally everyone in National City is affected, Non is definitely going to expand his control and, as previously mentioned, Myriad can’t be stopped once it’s started. Kara informs General Lane (a.k.a. General Angryface) of what’s happening in the city, and tells him to keep everyone away. He growls his acquiescence and scowls goodbye.

Interestingly, Cat Grant is not affected by Myriad — not, as one would expect, because of sheer willpower, but because Maxwell Lord sent her a pair of fancy ion-blocker earrings. He explains this himself, when he shows up at CatCo with some ion blockers of his own strapped to his irritating head. I have no idea why everyone knew to meet at the CatCo building, other than perhaps assuming that a media company would know what was going on, but hey — it gets the plot nicely bottled up, so I’m not complaining. Better than everyone running around everywhere and scattering the episode like crazy.

We almost get to see Supergirl’s version of Superman! ... But then he gets trapped in the Myriad spell, too, and all we ever see of him is a blurry shadow in the distance. I guess that’s fine, since the show really should focus mostly on Kara/Supergirl, but I always think it’s slightly unrealistic that Kara’s cousin never wants to chat about Krypton with her. She is, after all, the one person on the entire planet who could give first-hand accounts of life on Krypton. It’s kind of a plot hole, but I suppose it’s a low-priority plot hole.

To prove what a jerk he is, Non orders three people — James, Winn, and one lady I don’t think we’ve ever seen before this episode, who has the bonus of red hair just so we can all make a mental red hair/Redshirt connection — jump off the CatCo balconies. Guess who Kara saves, and who dies! Poor Redhead Lady. You basically died so that Non could make a half-hearted argument for... humanitarianism? World peace? An end to the ice caps melting? Non’s logic is pretty fuzzy, I’m not sure he even knows what he’s doing. He’s taking most of his advice from a blue Brainiac with terrible hair, after all.

Much of the exposition for this episode is provided by either Maxwell Lord or Non, neither of whom I particularly enjoy listening to. Non talks a lot about how having a planet full of brainwashed humans could mean world peace. Maxwell Lord really, really wants to kill the Kryptonians with a kryptonite bomb and hope for the best regarding the Myriad thrall, even if it means that a hefty chunk of the population gets kills along with them. Lord’s bomb would also make National City uninhabitable for Supergirl and her cousin. This is their only “good” plan? For real?

While Kara and Cat (and I’m very glad they’ve paired up as the voices of reason in this episode) try to think of an alternative for Maxwell Lord’s kryptonite bomb idea to stop Myriad, Alex is just learning of it. The elder Danvers sister’s adventure has delivered her to her mother’s house, where she and J’onn spend about half a second sharing memories and getting quizzed on confidential happenings before the two former DEO agents decide to head back home and help Kara with the Myriad problem. Well, that living-on-the-lam story didn’t last very long, did it? I don’t want to imply that they should have taken any second of time away from the Kara/Barry Cutesy Hour of Funtimes and Puppies that happened during the crossover, but the pacing for Alex and J’onn’s story seems... off. A couple scenes of them on the run during the last episode would have made their plot way less rushed and pointless this episode.

When Alex and J’onn hear of National City’s troubles, both decide they want to help, because of course they do. Unfortunately, Indigo stops them from getting very far. It’s implied that she kills off J’onn J’onzz (which better not be true because hey, television, stop killing off characters!) and then Alex falls in with the rest of the Myriad-caused brainwashing epidemic. For a bit of fun, Non has Alex show up in kryptonite armor and wielding a kryptonite sword and pits her against Kara. Sister versus sister, family versus family — it’s the best way to hurt both of them and, if you hadn’t already guessed, Non is still pretty bitter about Astra’s death.

Like I said, the episode is a set-up for the finale, not really an episode in and of itself. There’s no villain of the week for Kara to put away, just a bunch of monologuing and establishing the big ending for the next episode. I’m looking forward to it!

  • Pretty disappointed that Non didn't say "First National City, and then THE WORLD!" and cackle madly.
  • “There was a time I was so afraid you wouldn’t see me, and now I just wish you’d smile.” Those thoughts are not connected to each other, Kara. Or... Supergirl writers, I guess.
  • That Harrison Ford meta-reference was excellent.
  • I hope I wasn’t the only one who was incredibly uncomfortable with Maxwell Lord flirting with Cat Grant?
  • Sometimes the hints are so blatant that if we found out later on that Cat Grant really does still know Kara is Supergirl, I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s almost like she’s passive-aggressively trying to get Kara to tell her the truth, since the direct approach fell apart last time.
  • “May God have mercy on our souls.” General Lane is a walking, talking cliche. Dial it back, writers.
  • Like they did with Astra’s character, they’re sort of pushing Non into the “well-intentioned extremist” category. But I’m not on board.
  • I’m predicting that the “Super” symbol will be beamed into the air and the hope it inspires will destroy Myriad’s influence and that will be the big finale. In other words: the weather forecast is cloudy with a chance of cheese.


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