Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Supergirl 2x13 Review: "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" (Mischief Managed) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

"Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk"
Original Airdate: February 20, 2017

It’s Valentine’s Day in National City and love is in the air for everyone! Well, except Lena. And James. They don’t even show up in this episode, let alone get anything close to a romance with anyone. What a shame. I hope they at least went out and got some half-price Valentine’s Day candy the next morning.

But besides those two, the main characters are dealing with a lot of romancin’ this week, despite the fact that Supergirl is airing its Valentine’s Day episode almost a full week after actual Valentine’s Day. Don’t know why. Doesn’t really matter, I guess, unless people who really hate the holiday get annoyed by a post-holiday reminder of it. Then I guess it matters to those people. Sorry, those people!

So the romances during “Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk” are as follows: Kara and Mon-El, Mr. Mxyzptlk and Kara, Alex and Maggie (speaking of people who hate Valentine’s Day), Winn and an alien lady he met in a bar, and — briefly, basically just to drop a little foreshadowing for the big solution to the Mxyzptlk problem — J’onn and his long-distance relationship with M’gann.


This week’s episode starts where the last one left off: with the arrival of Mr. Mxyzptlk, who looks a lot less like the angry imp of the comics and a lot more like an attractive Englishman. Mxyzptlk is fresh from the Fifth Dimension and apparently madly in love with Kara, whom he encountered... somehow. Inter-dimensional timey-wimey stuff? Either way, he’s determined to get her to marry him and he refuses to listen to her rejection — or to Mon-El. Mxy has a lot going against him (his insulting terms of endearment for Kara, his inability to take “no” as an answer, complete disregard for the safety of those around him) but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been charmed by his utter disdain for Mon-El. He even calls him “Tall, dark, and bland-some.”

Mon-El, of course, is very against this whole Mxyzptlk/Kara thing (what would their portmanteau ship name be, anyway? Mxyzptlkara? Karazptlk? Super-Mxy?) and immediately gets all territorial and weird. He puts up a front saying that beings from the Fifth Dimension are incredibly dangerous, since they can do just about anything and bend reality to their will, but his correctness in that matter is overshadowed by the fact that Mon-El doesn’t actually care how dangerous Mxyzptlk is. He doesn’t care that Kara is capable of handling just about anything life throws at her. He doesn’t care that Kara is smart enough to come up with a pretty genius plan all on her own and she doesn’t need Mon-El’s masculine posturing to save her from an oddball Fifth Dimensioner with personal boundary issues. All Mon-El cares about is that Mxyzptlk might be a threat to his relationship with Kara, and he’s jealous.

And that right there is an example of my biggest issue with Mon-El as a character (well, besides the fact that he’s as boring as a bucket full of sand). They keep hinting at his potential for heroism and emphasizing how much faith Kara has in him, but he’s never, ever portrayed as working with the correct intentions. Unlike characters such as Lena Luthor, who toe the line between good and evil but — at least from the perspective of the viewer — seem to want to do things for the greater good, Mon-El doesn’t appear to even understand the concept of a “greater good.”

Mon-El has a very focused idea of who to protect and care about, and the importance of those people seems to diminish the farther they are from the most important person of all — himself. Kara is important because Mon-El thinks she’s great and pretty. The people Kara loves are important because Kara is important, but they are less important than Kara. So on and so on.

The short of it is that Mon-El is not a hero. Maybe he can be a hero, eventually, but he’s not one now and he hasn’t learned how to be one since the last time Kara yelled at him for his selfishness. I’m not saying that he’s maliciously selfish, or even intentionally selfish. I do think there’s potential for him to be a better character, but I think the writers would have to jettison the whole romance arc between Mon-El and Kara in order to make that happen, since Mon-El’s crush on Kara doesn’t make him a more heroic person; it just gives him another individual to self-servingly protect.

Anyway, back onto the actual plot of the episode. As previously mentioned, Mxyzptlk’s primary goal is to get Kara to marry him, or else he’ll destroy the world, probably. Kara’s primary goal is to get him to leave Earth and go back to the Fifth Dimension, which can only be done if she can get Mxyzptlk to say his impossible name backwards. Mon-El’s primary goal is to… murder him? He keeps saying that he and Kara should just crush Mxyzptlk, but Kara really doesn’t want to straight-up murder a dude.

Yeeeah, so I can’t actually leave that plot point untouched. Mon-El wants to kill Mxyzptlk while Kara just wants him to go away. Initially, it’s a bit understandable. Mon-El tells Supergirl & Co. that beings from the Fifth Dimension were outright banned from his home planet of Daxam because they were so dangerous, so it doesn’t seem like too much of a leap for him to go directly to outright destroying Mxy. And Mxyzptlk did summon Parasite (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) and endanger a lot of people just so he could play hero alongside Kara, which was pretty messed up. But later it’s made pretty clear that Mon-El doesn’t actually care about how dangerous Mxyzptlk is when he starts whining about how jealous he is of the guy who can give Kara literally anything she wants.

(Note: it’s not as if Kara actually shows and interest in Mxyzptlk. Mon-El’s just being an insecure douche because he’s an insecure douche and he doesn’t trust the woman he claims to care about.)

So Mon-El swipes a glowy artifact from the DEO that’s supposed to cancel out Fifth Dimensional energy and goes to confront Mxyzptlk, like an idiot. Entertainingly, Mxyzptlk is just as dismissive of Mon-El this time around as he has been during every other encounter, and this time comes with Hamilton references! Oh, dang, I bet with all of Mxyzptlk’s powers, getting Hamilton tickets would be super easy.

Even when Mon-El cancels out his powers with the glowy DEO artifact, Mxyzptlk still gets the upper hand. In order to stop the fight between Mon-El and Mxyzptlk from escalating to the point of manslaughter, Kara agrees to marry Mxy at the Fortress of Solitude, much to Mon-El’s anger and dismay. No, Kara has not suddenly fallen in love with the mischievous Mr. Mxyzptlk, nor has she gotten so fed up with Mon-El’s nonsense that she’s agreed to marry someone else just to spite him. She has a plan, inspired by J’onn’s earlier words regarding his letter to M’gann that “to write something down is to truly say it.”

Mxyzptlk proves that he’s not all fun, games, and references to contemporary musical theatre when Kara shows up at the Fortress not wearing the promised wedding dress, nor with any legitimate intention of marrying him. Mxy snaps and sends Superman’s giant ice statues of family members (freaking weird, Clark) after her. After destroying the menacing, frosty presence of her uncle Jor-El, Kara triggers a self-destruct on the Fortress and holds her own life over Mxyzptlk, who stated earlier in the episode that he could do just about anything except stop her from killing herself (among a few other things). He doesn’t really want her to die. She’s pretty adamant on the dying and refuses to turn off the self-destruct.

She does agree to point to the buttons on the Fortress’s console so that Mxyzptlk can turn the self-destruct off with his own hand, though. And what was the password? Kltpzyxm, of course. Having been tricked into writing his name backwards, Mxyzptlk disappears back to the Fifth Dimension and I get to officially add “Can spell ‘Mxyzptlk’ on the first try” to my list of accomplishments. Thanks for that, Mxy.

At the end of the episode, Mon-El and Kara make up and make out to the tune of a watery, indie cover of The Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” while I roll my eyes a bit before sighing. Guess I gotta put up with this for a while.

Other Things:
  • The most romantic part of the episode was definitely the Alex/Maggie stuff, which included their first real fight as a couple and a dreamy dance scene when they made up at the end. They had very little to do with the main plot, though. Still adorable.
  • Oddest development of this episode: Winn is now dating an alien he met in that alien bar. I don’t generally care about whether or not the writers handle Winn’s stories well, but man was this messy and slapdash and I kind of wish they’d tried harder?
  • Until I sat down to write this review, I’d forgotten that Mon-El called Kara his “kryptonite” at the end of this episode. Gross. 


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