Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Supergirl 3x16 Review: "Of Two Minds" (Sick Episode, Bro!) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“Of Two Minds”
Original Airdate: April 30, 2018 

Hey, we’re back to focusing on the main storyline of the season, with the Worldkillers and whatnot. Pestilence has come to National City and it’s like an Apocalypse in here, folks! Except less with the riding of White Horses and carrying bows and more of the... subtly scratching people and giving them nosebleeds followed by multiple organ failure. It lacks the flash, but it gets the job done. She does get some glowy yellow eyes, too, so that’s cool. Anyway, Team Supergirl has to find Pestilence before she becomes the super-disease from the future, Blight. Imra wants to kill Pestilence, Kara doesn’t. Lena is still keeping Sam in an invisible cage because invisible cages are easier for blocking camera shots. Generally speaking, stuff happens!

To summarize, The Good: acting, pacing, and overall plot because everything in this episode is relevant to the season arc. The Bad: anything to do with Mon-El, but that’s hardly new. The Ugly: lots of crying, because all the crying is ugly crying — which is also in the Good category, because no one actually cries pretty. Keep things snotty, Hollywood! It’s more real!


A lady passes out cookies at National City bank. A banker gets a nosebleed. He’s dead.

You know how pigeons fell from the sky last week, as if thrown by interns in the props department of a TV show? Well, those pigeons are getting examined at the DEO. Alex says all their organs failed and they definitely had a disease, but it wasn’t a disease that could be transmitted from one to another. Pestilence had to have gotten to the pigeons herself, which also applies to the human victims that Team Supergirl find — i.e., that nosebleed banker from earlier.

Team Supergirl goes to the bank to see what the buzz is, and also what’s a-happenin’. There aren’t very many answers, but it’s a great place for two of our team members to get infected by Pestilence! That’ll come into play later. In the meantime, Kara and Imra butt heads over Imra’s more... ruthless approach to Pestilence, as Imra puts up a forcefield around the bank without pausing to consider the feelings of National City’s freaked out citizens. Kara talks her out of the isolating force field around the bank so that Team Supergirl can get the sick folks to a hospital, where Winn and Alex encounter a humorless doctor. It’s important!

The Kara/Imra opposition is, naturally, a running thing in this episode as Imra is open about doing anything it takes to trap and kill Pestilence while Kara does not want that to happen. Is it like, a requirement for superhero shows to dedicate a certain percentage of their time to the discussion of To Kill, or Not To Kill? Sure seems that way.

First suspect in the case of Pestilence: cookie lady. Unfortunately, Cookie Lady is already dead (with Imra standing over her, which means that Imra went behind Kara’s back to find and kill Pestilence without permission). Winn falls sick, which would usually be just a blip on my Care-O-Meter, but he does get a good scene with James where he talks about how he would very much like to survive, thanks. Both Mehcad Brooks and Jeremy Jordan do some good ugly crying, but Brooks gets the Ugly Cry Award, which I’ve just made up for this episode and will probably never mention again.

Elsewhere, a B-plot inspires more ugly crying: Lena and Sam are still trying to isolate the part of Sam that becomes Reign so that Lena can shut her off. This means Sam keeps taking trips to that dark forest, which Lena realizes is an alternate dimension, not just a dreamworld. Reign goes there when she isn’t using Sam’s body and vice-versa. Due to the science stuff Lena uses to trigger these trips, Reign and Sam get to meet in the forest place.

Reign does the standard villain schtick, first offering Sam leniency if she joins with her and then, when Sam rejects that offer, going straight to threatening Ruby. Like, really graphically threatening her, too. It’s pretty harsh, so it’s no wonder that this encounter is what leads to more ugly crying. Well, I mean... Sam does the ugly crying, and Odette Annable does an excellent job. I don’t think Katie McGrath can do ugly anything, but she gives it the old college try as Lena promises to protect Ruby and stop Reign.

After Winn has a seizure and the team realizes the Blight cure in the Legion members’ DNA won’t work on this Pestilence version of the disease, Alex is the next member of the team to fall ill. The team determines what locations were shared by Winn, Alex, and the other victims, and they conclude that the humorless doctor from the hospital — a Dr. Grace Parker — is actually Pestilence. If they want to save the sick people, they’ll need her DNA for a new cure.

Pestilence is just outside a boardroom, holding some glowy vial I don’t think is ever explained. She kills a plant on her way into the boardroom, which... uh, yeah. I mean... no one saw you do that, so it was pointless, but you’re a real cool genetically modified Kryptonian super weapon, Pestilence. Good job killing that plant. Pity you don’t get to follow it up with killing the people you went there to kill, since Supergirl and Friends interrupt your grand scheme. Kara tries her “talk to the human side” plan but — oops! Grace is a terrible person! Probably should’ve guessed that from her lack of a sense of humor, honestly.

Grace is perfectly fine with being a murdering, god-like being because it means she doesn’t have to care about people anymore. (Grace, just join social media. It’s where all the other sociopaths hang out.) So Pestilence and Supergirl fight, Supergirl gets scratched and contracts the disease, and the moment of truth comes: Imra has a chance to kill Pestilence, and... does. Well, she takes the chance when she traps her and throws a dart at her. She doesn’t succeed in killing her because Purity shows up and being around another Worldkiller gives Pestilence enough strength to heal and skedaddle.

And where do the two Worldkillers skedaddle? To Lena’s lab! After dishing out the cure for the Pestilence sickness (thanks to the DNA on the dart Imra tried killing her with) the DEO gets an alert that both Pestilence and Purity are headed to Lena’s location. Unbeknownst to Team Supergirl, they’re going there to pick up their other Worldkiller friend, Reign. When our heroes arrive and see Sam locked up in her cell of invisible energy walls, Lena doesn’t have much time to explain before two Worldkillers crash into her lab, get Sam all dolled up in her Worldkiller gear, and fly away again.

This seems like we should be in the home stretch for our main season plot, but I think we have at least four episodes left in the season. How is this not a direct lead-up to the finale? What filler episodes can you possibly shove into this season while the Worldkillers are together and ready to start killin’ some worlds? I can’t imagine there will be much karaoke or charades from here on — not without giving the audience a serious case of mood whiplash at least.

Other Things:
  • Brainy gets to look human in this episode, which I just take to mean that production decided full-body make-up for that actor was way too much money and effort.
  • I was oddly charmed by Sam asking Lena to get Supergirl to help them? Less charmed by Lena thinking she couldn’t trust Supergirl though.
  • “Wait, where’s Winn?” “Against my better judgement, he’s back at work.” “Aw, what a suck-up.” I love the level of sibling-like disgust Alex puts into those words.
  • Hey, so, doesn’t Grace being an apathetic murderer with a thirst for power kind of undercut this season’s vague idea that Kara’s innate goodness and ability to get through to the humanity of her foes would be what allows her to succeed?


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