SUMMARY: Kara goes on a date with Cat’s son Adam, but decides it was not meant to be. A genetic duplicate of Supergirl fights the original Supergirl. The D.E.O. kidnaps Lex and holds him indefinitely.
NOTE: Regular Syd walked out of this episode in disgust halfway through, so Bizarro Syd is filling in on the blog.
Margaret: Welcome to Tales from the Krypton, Episode 12: “Bizarro,” where we meet a Bizarro Supergirl who is neither Bizarro nor Supergirl.
Bizarro Syd: I was really excited to see this show’s take on Bizarro Supergirl, who has got to be like my second favorite supporting character from Supergirl – after Comet the Superhorse, natch. In the comics, Bizarro is an evil clone of Superman created by Lex Luthor. He first showed up in John Byrne’s Man of Steel, and he was like the one bright spot in an otherwise unnecessary reboot. Bizarro just was an instant success and started showing up everywhere. This Supergirl episode isn’t even Bizarro’s first time on primetime TV. There was a 90s show called Seinfeld that did an episode about Bizarro, but that was pretty obscure, so I don’t think you would have heard of it. But it makes sense that he was on a comedy show, because Bizarro is always hilarious and he makes every comic he’s in great. Like in Geoff Johns’ Teen Titans run when he made the Superboy clone Match explicitly into a Bizarro, that was such genius, because when writers take a new character and reshape him into some framework that the reader is already familiar with, the comics can do really deep stuff like metaphors. It’s like how Captain Manhattan from The Watchmen is a metaphor for Superman or like how Superman is a metaphor for Jesus. I think that’s why I like Maxwell Lord on this show so much – because he’s a metaphor for Lex Luthor.
Margaret: Or even Supergirl, who is a metaphor for Superman.
Bizarro Syd: It’s so deep.
Margaret: If only that were true, Bizarro Syd.
Bizarro Syd: This whole episode was like poetry. It even opened with Maxwell Lord reciting poetry. Maxwell Lord is supersmart. He got a medical degree in one year!
Margaret: He has multiple degrees, but none of them are in English or in poetry.
Bizarro Syd: Then we go to the D.E.O., where our heroes are trying to figure out who the other Supergirl is. They’re working really hard and they’ve already scanned the area and they didn’t detect any alien activity, so she isn’t an alien, because you know that aliens leave like alien residue that they can track.
Margaret: If it’s that easy for the D.E.O. to figure out if someone is an alien, why didn’t they know that Hank Henshaw was J’onn J’onzz?
Bizarro Syd: I think it’s because he’s really smart and really careful about things. I mean, I gotta say, he’s like the most interesting character on the show, but he gets no screen time. This episode, we didn’t even see him in costume kicking ass. What the hell? You got your best character just standing around. Seriously, step up your game.
Margaret: The thing that bugs me about that is that they had a very J’onn J’onzz-centric episode last week and we’ve seen no effect on J’onn. Last week should have been really traumatic for him.
Bizarro Syd: Maybe he isn’t superheroing in this episode because he’s dealing with all his emotional stuff, but he’s dealing with it offscreen and it’s just implied and not shown because J’onn is really stoic and this show is really subtle and has all these hidden depths.
Margaret: Speaking of characters being different in this episode, Cat is being nice to Kara and bought her a latte.
Bizarro Syd: This is so cool, because the episode is called “Bizarro” and in the comics, Bizarro is the opposite of Superman, so in the episode called “Bizarro,” Cat is acting like the opposite of Cat, so it’s like a metaphor. It’s so well constructed. The writers know that if something is happening in the one story, you have to parallel it in another story. Maybe you didn’t notice it because it’s really subtle and really clever.
Margaret: What I liked about Cat Grant being nice to Kara is that Cat has been done consistently through the episodes as self-serving. As long as Adam is dating Kara, Adam is going to stay in the city, so therefore she gets to see her son more and connect with him. Her being nice to Kara and showing that she’s supportive of a Kara/Adam relationship is both selfish as well as supportive for her son. That part I kind of liked, but it was a bit too on-the-nose and Cat Grant should have been smart enough to know how to go about that in a way that was subtler.
Bizarro Syd: I think you’re thinking too much about Cat Grant. The show is called Supergirl. We should be focusing on Supergirl and what she wants and what she’s going through. She’s got this boy she likes and she also wants to impress her boss, so you know I liked the next scene, where all the writer people were trying to think up a headline for a story about how maybe Supergirl has turned evil and Cat is just shooting them all down and Kara, smooth as silk, just says that maybe it’s not Supergirl and wins the headline writing thing.
Margaret: Because that’s not suspicious at all.
Bizarro Syd: Well, obviously not, because Kara is way good at keeping her secret identity under wraps. That’s how superheroes go.
Margaret: Also, they’re trying to use this scene to show that Catco still believes in Supergirl and are not going with the hate train that happens when something bad comes out about a person and then later it turns out to be false. It’s one of those topical things that you love, Bizarro Syd.
Bizarro Syd: Yeah! It’s totally relevant to our world!
Margaret: Except it’s also detrimental, because we know for a fact that the evil Supergirl is not Supergirl, so therefore it’s incredibly easy to agree with Kara, when in real life, things are more complex than that.
Bizarro Syd: Most audiences aren’t as smart as you and I, ok? They have to have things simplified. That just makes it more iconic. It’s fine.
Margaret: No, it’s not, especially because of the fact that there have been so many trials like Jian Ghomeshi’s and Bill Cosby. The public view on those figures was not to criticize the the accused, it is to blame the victims. And when you’re showing false accusations against a beloved public figure on a TV show, it reinforces the idea that we should be doubting real life allegations.
Bizarro Syd: But Supergirl actually isn’t the bad guy! Why are you comparing her to a rapist?
Margaret: They are trying to link this into the topical issue of people in the media disbelieving women when something happens to them and they’re making it an off-the-cuff, flippant thing and it makes me angry.
Bizarro Syd: Well, with all of the nasty things we’re finding out about our real life heroes, it’s nice to know that Supergirl is still a good guy.
Margaret: Let’s move on from this. Next we have Kara, James, and Win talking about Bizarro Supergirl, and Kara’s date with Adam comes up. So then Win is a creep again. I was actually starting to like Win in the last two episodes.
Bizarro Syd: He hardly talked in the last episode!
Margaret: Exactly! I loved it! Seriously, though, despite the fact that he barely talked, there was a reason for it and he actually had the moral high ground for once, as opposed to simply acting like he has it.
Bizarro Syd: I think they did a really good job with Win this episode, because it was classic Win. You are the one who always complains that the characters are inconsistent, but this is totally how Win was established. He has not changed in this episode!
Margaret: But he should have, because we had so much wonderful character development two episodes ago. There’s a difference between character development and inconsistency. You can grow as a character and still be a consistent character, Bizarro Syd.
Bizarro Syd: But that doesn’t mean characters have to change. Change is scary and confusing. I think if something happens to a character, maybe you have one episode of them dealing with it, but then it better be right back to the way the character was. It’s like in comics – like in the 80s and 90s, people tried to shake up the status quo and change characters and their world and it was awful, but then in the past 10-20 years, everything just went back the way it was and now changes never stick, so everything is always familiar and comfortable.
Margaret: The thing that also weirded me out is that they’re putting this on James as well, which is hard for Regular Syd and I, who are Team Lucy.
Bizarro Syd: But James and Kara are soulmates!
Margaret: I love shipping as much as the next person and I love James, but now they’re turning him into a scumbag.
Bizarro Syd: Yeah, if being in love makes you a scumbag, I guess.
Margaret: He has committed to somebody else and is clearly in a loving relationship with Lucy. Just because he has unexplored feelings for someone else, that doesn’t mean that you have to drop everything in your relationship because of Supergirl. You could be like, no, I did have feelings for her, but I’m in a committed relationship with Lucy and I want that to be who I’m with. But apparently, that is not where the show is going to go. I want Lucy to be back.
Bizarro Syd: She’s just a minor character. Shows are about the main characters, ok. I don’t care if some little supporting character just shows up every other episode. Whatever.
Margaret: She’s important!
Bizarro Syd: All this romance stuff just clogs up the show and gets in the way of everything. Like we have to sit through this whole scene with Adam and Kara on a date and hear them talk about feelings and stuff before we get to any action.
Margaret: But the part that I actually liked was that these were two characters who were connecting outside of the clusterfuckery that is the James-Win triangle. And they actually like each other and it seems very sweet. Also, I think that it’s funny that those two actors are married in real life. I know it was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, but they do actually have chemistry.
Bizarro Syd: Apparently she doesn’t like him that much, because she ditches him at the end of the episode.
Margaret: Well, that’s the part that’s the problem.
Bizarro Syd: What I think is great about this show is that when the have these scenes of emotional stuff, they break it up with the big superhero action. And you don’t have to think about why they’re doing it because they don’t stop to explain anything.
Margaret: Regular Syd and I often complain that Supergirl jumps straight into the punching without actually talking to the other person and trying to figure out what’s going on. At least in the first fight scene between her and Bizarro Supergirl, she actually tries to start a dialogue and she’s not the one who throws the first punch. I like that, but it’s also very weird, because it means that the only person she cares enough about to talk to is herself and she will only try to figure out the motivations of somebody who looks just like her.
Bizarro Syd: It’s a good thing that the writers chose to have Supergirl try to talk to her opponent this time, when it’s an opponent who is barely capable of speech, so we don’t have to listen to any long discussion. But also, it’s really great showing how she has this other self to talk to and care about, because it’s like she’s a modern woman and she’s doing her. It’s very now.
Margaret: No. Not only that, it’s a really bad fight scene, because it has to be Supergirl and Supergirl. I would have forgiven it if it were actually a good fight scene, but because it’s all green screen and doubles and you can’t actually show them in the same place at the same time properly, it’s really shitty.
Bizarro Syd: What are you talking about? That was amazing! They had the kicking and the flying and the super strength! This kind of superhero action is why they make these shows! That’s why superheroes are so popular right now, because they have so much action! Superheroes are everywhere now, and it’s not because superheroes are really good at talking about feelings, it’s because superheroes fucking punch people.
Margaret: It’s exactly the opposite! This is why the MCU is actually doing so much better, because they actually show flawed, interesting characters.
Bizarro Syd: How many million dollars did Man of Steel make? I rest my case.
Margaret: How many millions of dollars did The Avengers make?
Bizarro Syd: I can’t believe you! You’re such a Marvel fangirl!
Margaret: I am a little, but I also really like Arrow and The Flash.
Bizarro Syd: So you’ve got a couple of token D.C. properties that you can trot out when you’re called out on your fangirlism, so no one will know you ship Steve and Bucky.
Margaret: I love Steve and Bucky, but I’m a Steve/Peggy fan.
Bizarro Syd: Anyway, back at the D.E.O., they decide that they’re going to use Kryptonite to stop this other Supergirl. Alex in particular is so smart in this episode, it’s amazing. I mean, you’re watching a show called Supergirl, so you know there’s going to be a strong, smart, really kickass girl on it, but you don’t suspect that there’s going to be another girl who’s just as smart and just as tough. Alex is amazing in this episode.
Margaret: But she’s not! Kara is for once arguing against violence, saying that they can’t kill this poor woman who is Maxwell Lord’s science experiment – they have to go after Maxwell Lord. To Alex’s credit, Bizarro Supergirl is still a threat, but you don’t have to kill her in order to subdue her. They’re already an evil organization that will put people behind bars with no reason and no authority, they might as well imprison her – that’s what this show does.
Bizarro Syd: Look, Alex say it herself – Bizarro is an experiment, it’s not like she’s a real person. This is like when you’re at war and you have enemies you have to take out. Nobody wants anybody to die, but when someone threatens you, you have to kill that person – even if the person isn’t trying to kill you that moment, if they’re part of a group that’s bad, you have to kill them.
Margaret: Despite the fact that when she goes to argue with Maxwell Lord later about the seven other women who died in the process of trying to make a Supergirl, he was like, “They were brain dead. It’s not like they were going to wake up anyway,” and Alex says, “That’s not your call!” So apparently there’s a disconnect in her thinking.
Bizarro Syd: I think you’re forgetting that Alex is the good guy. You’re thinking so much about the character’s internal logic, but this is a basic good-versus-evil story, so whatever the good guys think or do is justified. Besides, Alex is really tough and strong and seeing strong women on television is, like, kind of unusual, so I think you should be giving this show more credit.
Margaret: I would if this were Agent Carter.
Bizarro Syd: I know, Marvel fangirl. Go ship your science bros.
Margaret: I will totally ship my science bros hard. But the problem is that I do love Marvel, and there are a lot of things about D.C. that I enjoy, but this show is making me so sad. Why did they name the Supergirl clone Bizarro?
Bizarro Syd: Because Bizarro’s his fucking name in the comics, ok? Have you never read comics before? They have to be true to the source material! Duh!
Margaret: But it doesn’t make any actual sense, because she’s not in any way bizarre. She seems to just be a clone of Supergirl. They could have just gone with Supergirl II.
Bizarro Syd: I don’t understand why they never made Supergirl II. The first Supergirl movie was amazeballs.
Margaret: The funny thing is that they just handled this sort of thing in Arrow recently with Felicity, whom many people have called Oracle because she’s really good with computers and Arrow is basically Batman for the first three seasons. In the most recent season – spoiler alert – Felicity is paralyzed and it’s time to give her a codename, and it’s Overwatch and Oliver says, “I was going to call you Oracle, but it was taken.”
Bizarro Syd: That was hilarious! And now this establishes that in that world Batman is real and it opens all these doors for crossovers and Ben Affleck guest starring and junk. That’s so exciting, because we don’t see Batman in enough stuff.
Margaret: I think what they were trying to do was acknowledge that she is basically Oracle, but they can’t use the name because of some conflict. They killed Amanda Waller in the same episode because she’s going to appear in Suicide Squad. But because they couldn’t call the character Oracle, they had to at least give a reason they couldn’t call the character Oracle and I appreciate the fact that they acknowledge that and then dismiss it entirely and move on.
Bizarro Syd: The point is that it was hilarious – just like how it’s hilarious how in this show everyone calls the Supergirl clone Bizarro and nobody asks what that means, because they all read comics. There’s a great scene right after this where Maxwell Lord is talking to Bizarro and Bizarro is still a good person because she’s made of Supergirl and everything about Supergirl is good, so she’s confused because Maxwell Lord taught her that Supergirl is bad, so Maxwell tells her that sometimes people who seem good are really bad, and you might not have caught this because it’s really subtle, but it’s actually like he was talking about himself, like how he seems good but he’s really bad. It’s like a metaphor. This is why this show is so deep, because it has these layers, you know?
Margaret: Yeah, that was super deep.
Bizarro Syd: It was like Alan Moore or something.
Margaret: No, that’s next episode. Then we get into the inexplicable scene where James decides to drink his sorrows away with Win.
Bizarro Syd: That was really clever. It’s what’s called dramatic irony. I don’t know if you ever studied, like, literature or anything, but there’s this thing called dramatic irony, where it’s like the audience knows that James is like really sad because he knows that Supergirl is dating this other guy, but he’s not letting the other characters know that. The people who write this show obviously took a lot of literature courses and know all of these literary devices.
Margaret: Except that when James pours the drink, Win says, “I know what my sorrows are. What sorrows, exactly, do you have?”
Bizarro Syd: That’s just letting the audience in on it. Not everyone in the audience took screenwriting classes like we did, okay?
Margaret: Oh, yes, super subtle. So it made absolutely no sense, because we all know from longing looks and the “Previously on Supergirl,” where they show all the moments between James and Kara, that there is something there. This just made it weird that Win, who two episodes ago said, “I can’t be friends with you, Kara, because I feel so strongly about you that I can’t see you when you don’t feel the same way about me,” is now encouraging James to pursue Kara.
Bizarro Syd: It’s because Win is a good guy and he only wants what’s best for Kara. Win sees that James and Kara are soulmates and he’s totally onboard because he’s so selfless. Also, he’s super funny. I know you never mention his jokes, but he is so clever and funny. He’s also wise, because when James is being a stick-in-the-mud and saying that he can’t pursue Kara because he’s in a relationship, Win points out, “Nobody wants to be in a relationship with someone who wants to be with somebody else.” That is solid relationship advice. That’s something the young people watching this show need to take to heart.
Margaret: No, though, because you can have unexplored feelings for somebody else when you’re in a relationship with somebody – especially if you’re in a relationship with somebody for a long time. You can meet someone else and be attracted to other people and still be happy in your relationship and everything is okay.
Bizarro Syd: It’s like your girlfriend never dragged you to a romantic comedy. Don’t you know that if you’re attracted to someone, that means you’re not really into the relationship you’re in and it’s your destiny to be with the new person? Because my boyfriend takes me to these fucking chick flicks all the time, but he will never watch Transformers with me, so where’s the justice?
Margaret: I like chick flicks. So we find out that Maxwell has created Bizarro Supergirl to take things over so that the superhero game is run by humans, but made with alien DNA? None of this makes any sense.
Bizarro Syd: There’s this John Byrne comic that you obviously haven’t read. It’s called Man of Steel. It’s totally important and in it, Lex Luthor clones Superman and so in order for them to be true to the comic, they have to have Maxwell Lord – who is a metaphor for Lex Luthor – clone Supergirl – who is a metaphor for Superman. This is what the fans want, for every element from a comic to be reproduced in some other medium and it doesn’t matter if it happens in the same order or to the same characters or if they give a coherent reason for it. That way we not only have these really great comics, we have really great television, too, but the television is better because it’s deeper because it has all these references and metaphors.
Margaret: But the plan makes absolutely no sense! If you have the ability to make your own superhero, why do you need to kill Supergirl? Just have your superhero separately!
Bizarro Syd: Because he’s evil! Bad guys do bad things, like kill people, because they’re evil. And good guys only kill bad guys, because they’re good.
Margaret: Otherwise Supergirl would be a bad guy, because she’s definitely killed before.
Bizarro Syd: Right, but we know she’s a good guy, so when she’s killed it’s definitely been the right thing to do.
Margaret: The plan should have been to make an actually good Supergirl who isn’t beholden to a government agency and have her be better than the original.
Bizarro Syd: But you forgot that Maxwell Lord is bad, so instead of a good Supergirl, he’s going to make a bad Supergirl. This is a fun, lighthearted show that only occasionally shows genocide and murder on-screen, so it’s not about moral ambiguity.
Margaret: I guess I missed that.
Bizarro Syd: Because if we didn’t know that Maxwell Lord was bad, then later in the episode, when he is abducted and assaulted and locked in a cell indefinitely against his will by people with no legal authority, that would be horrific.
Margaret: Wouldn’t it be?
Bizarro Syd: That would be unspeakably injust. But because he’s a bad guy, it’s fine.
Margaret: So they have a very nice moment between Adam and Kara, where Kara actually talks about her past and Adam is incredibly understanding about it and it’s very sweet. It’s these two people who are not caught up in this weird office triangle romance and they actually have a spark together and I like that.
Bizarro Syd: And then Bizarro swoops in and grabs Supergirl and they have this sweet superspeed action. It’s totally awesome.
Margaret: It’s weird.
Bizarro Syd: And then comes the best part!
Margaret: With the ice breath and fire breath?
Bizarro Syd: Yeah! Because like, I don’t know if you know about comics, because you’re so busy watching those Marvel movies and swooning, “Oh, Paul Bettany is so dreamy! Oh my God!” but these shows are based on comic books and in comic books, the bad guy is the opposite of the good guy, so like how Supergirl has fire out of her eyes, Bizarro has ice out of her eyes. It’s really clever.
Margaret: Yes, because Melissa Benoist does not have six-pack abs and is blonde, I was not fully engaged.
Bizarro Syd: Because you were daydreaming about Jeremy Renner. I got it.
Margaret: So, then, Bizarro Supergirl flies off because kryptonite isn’t what makes her weak – it makes her stronger.
Bizarro Syd: She’s the opposite! This show is amazing because it is so true to the comics. Like, a lot of these shows on television, like Agent Carter, are so not true to the comics. But this show actually respects the source material.
Margaret: Don’t throw shade at Agent Carter! Back to the plot, they’re trying to figure out how to defeat Bizarro Supergirl and Alex says, “But she’s the exact opposite of Supergirl.” But, no, she’s not the exact opposite. She still flies, she’s still super strong, she looks exactly like Supergirl. Just because she has ice eyes and fire breath does not make her the exact opposite.
Bizarro Syd: Yes, it does. It’s the same reason the Kryptonian symbol on her chest flipped backwards at this point. They don’t need to explain how or why her costume turned backwards, because that’s the way it is in the comics. You’re just like Elaine in that dumbass episode of Seinfeld who’s like, “Oh, Bizzaro doesn’t live under water? And isn’t black? So, he isn’t really the opposite.” It’s comics. What’s established in the canon of the comics is sacred.
Margaret: But that’s not true. This is a totally different medium and we could have had a totally different reason why she is Bizarro or – at least – a better explanation as to why she is the way she is. Because I’m guessing that this is not the way it happens in the comics, so I can’t see why they couldn’t have strayed further.
Bizarro Syd: Oh no, this is still a comic.
Margaret: I read this show?
Bizarro Syd: No, you watched it, but it’s still a comic show. It’s like when Joel Schumacher calls his Batman movies comics. It’s the same thing.
Margaret: He does that?
Bizarro Syd: Yeah, he does.
Margaret: Oh, that’s horrible. Then, next in the episode, Adam and Kara meet up again because after she was kidnapped, she returns to Catco. Cat and Adam have been worried to the extent that Cat says, “I sent out an Amber alert for you.” Which is hilarious, I guess, because it’s supposed to be for six year olds and not for grown women. But she must be making a statement about how young Kara is? Anyway, Kara is noticeably upset and needs to speak to Adam alone. So, they talk and Kara is going to break up with Adam, which is played as a very sad moment despite the fact that they had just met a few days ago.
Bizarro Syd: But it was so sad because they were dating. They were dating and then they broke up. It broke both of their hearts. Like, Adam, it broke his heart because he got dumped and you know it’s always worse when you get dumped. But Kara didn’t want to do it, so it was heartbreaking for her. It was the saddest thing. It was a Sophie’s Choice sort of thing. It was just sad from all ends.
Margaret: I understand why it is a little sad, because there is someone you like and it’s just not working out for multiple different reasons. But the line that got me was, “If I had been five minutes earlier or five minutes later, we would never have met.” And that’s absolutely not true. The only reason he was in the city was because she wrote him a letter posing as his mother. Even if they had never met at the coffee shop, Cat knows she never wrote a letter to Adam and that would have almost certainly come out. Not to mention that as Cat’s personal assistant he would have met her when he came to visit Cat.
Bizarro Syd: You are so unromantic that I can’t believe you. Can’t you see that it is destiny that they meet? I know that Kara and James are soulmates, but them meeting was part of Destiny’s plan. I don’t know if you read comics, but Destiny has this book and it has all of the things that happen written in it. On one page it says, “Adam meets Kara,” and then maybe ten pages later it says, “Kara and James get married.” That’s how Destiny works.
Margaret: Fucking comics. That makes no sense.
Bizarro Syd: Because you don’t like literature. Neil Gaiman is a critically acclaimed author who I was just referencing, so I’m sure he would back me up. Maybe you don’t like critics, but he is a New York Times best-selling author. Obviously, I understand literature and stuff.
Margaret: Since Kara was kidnapped by Bizarro Supergirl as Kara, she knows that Maxwell Lord knows who she is. Therefore, she and Alex and their mother Eliza – whom they keep calling Eliza, despite the fact that she is their mother – are in danger and Maxwell Lord is the cause, so something must be done about Maxwell Lord. So Alex goes to arrest him without any evidence of a crime.
Bizarro Syd: Duh. Maxwell Lord is a bad guy.
Margaret: But still a person.
Bizarro Syd: I think I know the problem – you might have read comics in the 80s when Maxwell Lord was a good guy and a member of the Justice League, but that’s not canon any more. Keep up with the times.
Margaret: This doesn’t have to do with comics, it has to do with basic human rights.
Bizarro Syd: Human rights are for people you don’t know are bad. If you know they’re bad, you can do anything you want to them. The Punisher kills people all the time because he knows they’re bad. It’s fine.
Margaret: That’s fine?
Bizarro Syd: Because it looks cool! He’s got guns and they look cool! And you don’t feel bad about it because everyone he kills is evil. And with Maxwell Lord, they beat him up and take him to a holding cell and that’s not as bad because they don’t even kill him. They’ve got the moral high ground.
Margaret: That’s not the moral high ground. Just because they don’t kill somebody, that doesn’t make it okay. The worst part is, Alex actually says she’s there to arrest him and he asks, “On what charges?” And she says, “You don’t have any rights… I’m acting on behalf of an extralegal enforcement organization.”
Bizarro Syd: Right! So it’s not just legal, it’s extra legal. That’s like double legal.
Margaret: You can’t just put somebody under arrest without saying why they’re going to be detained, even if you suspect them of being a bad guy. You can’t arrest someone at all under the authority of an organization that officially doesn’t exist. That is insane. That’s ridiculous. This show is stated to be about hope and the best in human nature and the hero’s sister is essentially kidnapping people without any legal justification.
Bizarro Syd: Because her sister is tough and doesn’t play by the rules. I know you love it when white men in suits make their stupid laws that you have to abide by, but Alex is like, “Nuh-uh, I make my own rules. Girl Power!” That makes her strong.
Margaret: No, that makes her wrong. That makes her a bad character and an evil person. That makes the whole system broken and dystopian.
Bizarro Syd: Maybe by legal rules, but in storytelling, when you have a bad guy, the audience will be upset if he isn’t punished.
Margaret: But at the same time, it would be more satisfying if these characters could find a way to do this in a legal and proper manner. Supergirl even makes reference to them planning to keep him there for years with no charges other than them believing him to be a bad guy.
Bizarro Syd: They don’t just believe him to be a bad guy, he totally is a bad guy. He is a metaphor for Lex Luthor and we saw all the Superman movies, so we know Lex Luthor is a bad guy.
Margaret: They are wrong all the time, meaning they don’t have flawless judgement of character. They obviously should not be making these sorts of calls. Not to mention the fact that when they are having the argument about whether this is okay or not, J’onn J’onzz tells Alex, “You have no authorization to bring in Maxwell Lord.” Alex says, “My family was in danger, I had to. We do this all the time.” J’onn’s response is not that this is wrong, it’s that, “This is Maxwell Lord, people are going to come looking for him.” So, to the head of the D.E.O., it’s okay to imprison people indefinitely if no one knows who they are and there is no one to defend them. The only time he will push back is if the ‘obviously evil’ person they are detaining is rich and/or famous enough to expose the D.E.O. for what they are doing.
Bizarro Syd: Are you still harping on Leslie Willis, just because she was a human who was imprisoned by the D.E.O. without trial or parole or any sort of due process? Look, if she’s popular enough as a character, she’ll come back. She can have a spinoff series just like Captain Cold does. He was locked up and now he’s on Legends of Tomorrow!
Margaret: That does not make it okay! And Captain Cold was locked up through the justice system!
Bizarro Syd: Oh. I didn’t watch that show.
Margaret: The other problem with this scene is that if we’re living in the world where the last episode is canon with its insensitive portrayal of a Martian Holocaust, then that means Alex telling J’onn J’onzz, “I am just trying to protect my family, you of all people would understand why” is the shittiest and most insensitive thing a person could say. It makes Alex a despicable character to use his past against him like that. She’s throwing a traumatic event that J’onn entrusted to her in secret in his face in order to justify illegally holding someone indefinitely. It’s infuriating. None of these characters are in the right and none of them make sense.
I used to like Alex in the first few episodes. She seemed sympathetic. However, the more this series continues, the more she spirals out of control. I knew the D.E.O. was not okay, but I thought Alex might be the voice of reason within, not diving headlong into its problems. She’s shown she has no moral compass and is willing to do and say anything in order to get what she wants.
Bizarro Syd: I’m sorry you’ve so internalized misogyny that you can’t accept a strong woman character who really knows what she wants and goes after it.
Margaret: I’m going to throw something at you.
Bizarro Syd: That’s what good guys do when they’re up against bureaucracy that is trying to tell them what they can and cannot do, who they can and can’t imprison without cause or a warrant. They go against it and say, “No, I do what I want, you can’t hold me back.”
Margaret: So, then we move from there to James getting kidnapped.
Bizarro Syd: James gets kidnapped because Bizarro is the same as Supergirl, so Supergirl has a crush on James, so Bizarro does, too, because they are the same but opposite.
Margaret: But wouldn’t that mean Bizarro would hate him?
Bizarro Syd: Yeah, but they’re the same, but the opposite. So, Supergirl is in love with James so she goes on dates with other dudes and doesn’t mention anything to him and Bizarro is the opposite. She has a crush on James, so she kidnaps him.
Margaret: But if she’s Bizarro, she should hate James. I’m sorry I’m Elaining all over your situation right now, Bizarro Syd.
Bizarro Syd: She even says that she doesn’t know she’s Bizarro. She says she’s the same because she doesn’t understand because she’s stupid. She’s not like us. She didn’t study literature and screenwriting.
Margaret: It would have been way more interesting if they had just done it like she was actually Bizarro Supergirl. So, she wanted to hurt people where Supergirl wanted to help people. She wanted to hate the people Supergirl wanted to love. So, James could have figured out that Kara actually loved him because Bizarro hated him. That would have been a really interesting moment that could have showcased James’ intelligence and empathy.
Bizarro Syd: But what you don’t understand is that Bizarro is made of Supergirl, so even if she is bad the way Supergirl is good – she is still made from Supergirl which means underneath it all she has to be good. You can’t make something bad from something good. Supergirl isn’t just regular good, she is the hero of a television show good.
Margaret: No, the more you talk about it, the more I realize how they screwed this up pretty hard. They could have had a profound statement about why Bizarro was the opposite of Supergirl other than just having ice eyes and fire breath. Bizarro was created due to the hate of Maxwell Lord and the need for destruction. Kara was brought to Earth because of the love her parents had for her and the desire to save her and others. You could have had lovely dichotomy of intent and nurture here. It would have made sense as to why she was actually the opposite of everything Kara was. And she would actually have been the opposite of Kara as opposed to the Bizarro tag just being lazily applied.
It also would have made the scene with her at Bizarro’s bedside more poignant. It could have shown Kara as a compassionate person. She has been so inconsistently written and this could have remedied at least some of that. Kara could have shown compassion for a woman who is the complete opposite of her, who tried to hurt the people she cares about because she cares about them. Kara understanding and seeing the best in someone who is made from her own DNA, but is the exact opposite of everything she stands for and loves would have actually been revelatory. Then, Kara showing her mercy would have meant something. Instead, it seemed as if the only reason she cared about this woman was because she was made from Kara and was similar enough that it resonated. What could have been a selfless act seemed incredibly selfish and self-indulgent.
Bizarro Syd: Yeah, that sounds really boring.
Margaret: After we get Bizarro Supergirl going to sleep, Supergirl visits Lexwell in his cell. And he tells her how she is not like her cousin and his ideals about “Truth, Justice and the American Way” because he is held there without a trial. I never thought I would agree with Lexwell. He is held there without trial and without charges. The fact that he is there is crazy. Not the mention the fact that he found out Kara’s secret identity two episodes ago. Shouldn’t he have told someone about that by now – or at least left a note to be read by his employees in the event that he is abducted by the government agency he is antagonizing?
Bizarro Syd: Well, since Maxwell Lord is so much smarter than us, that just means that we can’t think of his plan, and when we find out what his plan actually is, it will be even better.
Margaret: That sounds like the beginning of a Moffat Doctor Who plot. What could ever go wrong with that?
GRADING THE EPISODE:
Margaret: I’m at a D.
Bizarro Syd: I’m at a C. It had some really great action.
Margaret: Woah, Bizarro Syd didn’t give it a B?
Bizarro Syd: No, there was way too much relationship stuff and talking. It was okay, but it wasn’t really good. But, oh my God, I don’t know if you read comics, but, in the next episode, they are going to do “For the Man Who Has Everything,” which is the best thing Alan Moore has ever written. And you know it’s going to be great, because live action Alan Moore adaptations have always been brilliant. And someone on the Supergirl writing staff had the courage to say, “You know what would be great for the series? Adapt a Superman story.” I’m a little bit skeptical because that will take a lot of effort and creativity on their part, so I don’t know if they can do that, but, I’m psyched.