SUMMARY: Supergirl breaks Non’s hypnotic spell by broadcasting platitudes to the citizens of National City. Supergirl and J’onn confront the Fort Rozz prisoners and end up killing everybody. Kara is rewarded with a promotion and a new boyfriend.
Syd: Welcome to Tales from the Krypton, where I am broken. Fuck this show. We just watched episode 20, the season finale, and I want to burn something. The episode starts where the last one ended, with Alex and Kara locked in mortal combat.
Margaret: This show has done nothing to improve its choreography. I guess they are both limited by the fact that Kara is supposed to be super strong and super fast and the budget. They can’t have a lot of special effects, but it really does hurt them when they build up to a big fight and it just feels lackluster.
Syd: I know we mentioned it last episode, but Alex’s Kryptonite Battle Armor is the dumbest fucking costume in the world.
Margaret: The way they break Alex out of mind control also is just so stupid. J’onn flies Eliza in to talk her out of Myriad, again making him basically just work as a mind blocker. Eliza tells Alex how Jeremiah always believed her to be the strongest out of all of them and that she could break out of this. I don’t advocate for the killing of characters lightly, but it would actually have been more interesting if Alex killed Eliza.
Syd: This has got to be the most ineffective mind control I have ever seen. People can just think their way out of it? How was Non expecting to take over the world when anyone could just hope hard enough and have his hold broken? Does the transmitter stop sending signals after the effect is broken? Is there a possibility of people’s minds being retaken over? I mean, this is supposed to be a scientific device that targets human brains, not a magic spell that stops working when you disbelieve the illusion.
Margaret: Part of me wishes they would have just given a pseudo-science answer. Something along the lines of, “The rush of endorphins caused by thinking about Jeremiah or seeing the S is fighting against whatever it is that Myriad does to control the brain.” However, they also attempted that by explaining how Clark was effected by saying it was because of Earth Kindergarten and I was annoyed at the ridiculousness of it. So, I may just be at the point where nothing they can do in that area will appease me.
Syd: It’s not that I want a pseudoscience explanation, I just want the writers to be aware of their limitations. If they had said the mind control was a magic spell, I would be fine with it being broken this way.
Margaret: Alex forced J’onn to take her to a city she knew would be doing its best to mind control her. It crippled J’onn and caused her to be used as a pawn against Supergirl. The show decided to break her out as opposed to exposing her decision as a terrible one that actually worked against the good of everyone. For Alex to have to come to terms with the idea that her decisions have consequences would be interesting to see.
Syd: Last episode, we talked about Supergirl’s plan to broadcast an image of hope to the people of National City, and I said that image better not be Supergirl. I would settle for something trite – puppies playing with kittens or soldiers on opposite sides putting down their weapons and embracing each other. Instead we have a hero who is the sort of person who thinks, “I want to inspire the best in the human spirit. I know! I’ll show them me! I universally represent the best of humanity to everybody, obviously!”
I’m fucking sick of hearing about how Super___ represents “hope.” It’s a nice sentiment and all, but it’s so limiting. Supergirl and her S shield could represent strength or protection or human potential or altruism or any number of positive aspirational qualities, but ever since that stupid fucking Man of Steel movie decided that “S” stands for “hope,” we have to hear that one fucking word repeated like an ointment that covers over any bad plotting, bad dialogue, and frankly antithetical messaging.
Margaret: The message of hope is one that I don’t disagree with. It’s one that I wished would be used more in shows, however, I find it a bit hypocritical that this show continually says they use hope against fear when the climactic event is not breaking everyone free with a message of hope, it’s a huge fight scene where one of the good guys rips their opponent in half and Supergirl burns out her Uncle’s eyes. The people aren’t actually saved by hope, they’re saved by force.
Syd: I disagree so hard with wanting more shows to talk about hope. Superman’s value in our world is as a symbol and as an inspiration because he is so well known and well loved and he has inspired so many people. Before he could be that, though, Superman was entertainment and that is a fine thing for a fictional character to be. If you want a character to stand for more than just escapism, you have to work and you have to earn it. If you want a character to inspire hope, you should have to create someone that people connect to, who resonates with them, and who serves as an example for them to live up to. In some comics, Supergirl meant something to me because when she was written well, she felt like a real person. She was someone I sometimes laughed with and sometimes feared for. She has inspired me. She did the right thing when that was the hardest thing to do. She saw the worst in the world and still wanted the best for it. This television Supergirl talks about how her own iconography represents hope and that is unearned, narcissistic, masturbatory bullshit.
Margaret: I agree that it has to be earned, nor should it have to be so blatant. But, I’m sick of shows where violence is always the answer, or the most important part of the plot. Hope can be entertaining as well as the entertainment. If used effectively, it’s incredibly powerful. They’re just not doing it here. They’re trying to say all the magic words to have something meaningful, but their heart isn’t in it. Both this and Cat’s speech about hope could have been incredibly moving had Supergirl actually lived up to her ideals. On its own, I liked it as a concept, but it could have been far more powerful.
Syd: I have to agree that I am sick of this show, where violence is usually the most important part of the plot.
Supergirl’s “S” shield is broadcast and we see how the supporting cast reacts. Winn flashes back to Supergirl revealing her secret identity, which snaps him out of the mind control. That was hard for me to watch because it reminded me of that awful, creepy scene. Then Jimmy flashes back to Kara kissing him, which snaps him back. Then they cut to Lucy, who has no flashback. I kind of wonder what the people who didn’t want to fuck Kara thought of to get them out of their hypnosis, but I guess we’ll never know. The show doesn’t want to share that with us.
Margaret: Once Supergirl has used her method of hope in order to save National City, Indigo and Non decide that because they can’t take over one small city, the problem is that they didn’t think big enough. What? They already failed at taking over a city, why do they think they should focus larger? However, Indigo says they should simply take over other worlds and burn Earth. If all they wanted was to take over another world, why didn’t they just do that in the first place? Why did Astra care about saving Earth so much? How was mind controlling everyone actually going to accomplish that? I guess it doesn’t matter, because the plan failed, but nothing the Kryptonians have done since landing makes any sort of sense.
Syd: Supergirl talks about the ordinary people of National City fighting back against those trying to control them, but the show seems to forget that even without the mind control device, the Kryptonians are super strong and indestructible. If anyone wanted to fight back, what could they even do? This is also one of the reasons why it was so frustrating when Non’s plan was revealed and it was one that didn’t even factor in the obvious physical advantages he and his kind have. Even if there are two Kryptonians on the other side and there is a single government agency with Kryptonite, there is a full army of Kryptonians, some of whom aren’t even susceptible to Kryptonite. If their first plan didn’t work, they could have always overwhelmed the entire Earth quickly and easily. In fact, maybe that should have been their first plan. Or maybe their first plan should have been leaving Earth and trying another planet. We still weren’t given any reason why they cared about Earth in the first place. If they’d tried conquering another planet first, Astra would still be alive.
Margaret: Back at Catco, James is completely insensitive and brings up that Kara kissed him in front of Winn.
Syd: Seriously, what an asshole. He knows how Winn felt about Kara. He could have talked to her at any time. As we saw this episode, it was not an urgent subject. Instead, he chose to bring it up in front of the person who would be hurt most by it.
Margaret: They talk about it being right before he was mind controlled, so they never got a chance to discuss it. Then, there’s a bit of dialogue that I’m not sure how I feel about. Kara says, “I’m sorry if I kissed you when you weren’t in control of yourself, because I am all about consent.” Which is a good thing. Talking about consent is a good thing and should be brought up more often. It’s the one part I liked about Frozen! But, James’ response is, “I was myself. Well, mostly myself. I think.” It’s as if they used consent as a joke – which it is not. Again, it’s like the show brings up a very serious topic only to make light of it in a terrible way.
Syd: This is how the show deals with real world issues – at best it’s an insensitive joke, at worst it’s discussing racism by dehumanizing a race and then recreating images of the Holocaust on a primetime children’s adventure show. They are uncomfortable actually facing controversy, so they want to brush against relevance to give the veneer that they are thinking about big issues in the real world without actually having anything to say about them. You’re right. Consent isn’t a fucking joke.
Margaret: Back at the DEO, General Lane and Lucy have a discussion about J’onn and whether he should be brought to justice or not. And, for once, I completely agree with General Lane. He says that, “What he did after his crimes has no bearing on the past.” That is true! He broke the laws and impersonated a head of a secret organization. He should be put on trial, at least!
Syd: Then Lucy has the dumbest line of the episode. She cautioned her father against “breeding the kind of hate and resentment that allowed the Kryptonians to try to destroy us.” They had a mind control device! Hate and resentment didn’t enter into it! Were we supposed to believe that Superman was susceptible to the attack, not because of kindergarten and Sesame Street as Max supposed, but because he was a seething cauldron of loathing underneath the surface? I thought that Zack Snyder wasn’t involved in this show! Or are they saying that Non was full of hate and resentment? Did they forget that the point of the mind control plot was to try to save the planet? This show is fucking terrible at metaphors!
Margaret: Also, isn’t a good thing to show that if an alien breaks the law they are held to the same standards that humans are? J’onn wasn’t a prisoner of Fort Rozz that committed a Kryptonian crime that holds no bearing on Earth laws. He impersonated a very important government official – that should have consequences. However, none of the main characters in this show ever have to face the consequences of their actions.
Syd: J’onn talks to Lucy about the fight she had with her father. He says that’s the way fathers are with their daughters. This has become a recurring theme throughout the series, that J’onn is the living spirit of fatherhood, like he’s some sort of father elemental.
Margaret: Max talks to Kara about her chances of surviving a fight with Non without any backup – which he seems to think is slim. It’s the classic – you’re facing odds you’ll probably not survive. So, Kara does the goodbye rounds to her friends and coworkers. Some of it is actually touching. It’s the show sort of trying to crystallize its relationships into a five minute victory lap in the guises of her ‘just in case’ goodbyes. However, none of them felt actually necessary. We should already know in this show how Kara feels about all of them. It’s more telling and not showing in a way that is meant to be touching, but seems merely like a way to fill time.
Syd: When she was talking to Jimmy, I just thought, “How many times has Superman given him this speech?”
Margaret: Every day. That’s why James left Metropolis.
Syd: Most of what she said didn’t sound like things that she really meant or that were from the heart, just things that sounded right to say. She said, “I didn’t say the things that needed to be said when I left Krypton,” and that sounds like the right thing to say, but what did she really need to say? She had her opportunity to say goodbye. Her mother knew she loved her. Her father might have been a supervillain, at least post-Crisis. Her aunt and uncle and cousin she could still make peace with on Earth. If the show wants this to have any emotional impact, she really shouldn’t be so vague.
Margaret: The only thing that I liked was her talking to J’onn about how she was fine with dying to save the Earth. She doesn’t want that to happen, but if it does she’s at peace with it. It’s different than how I’ve viewed Superman, who only wants that white picket fence and a family, but will do the right thing because it’s the right thing. Supergirl want to do it and is at peace with it.
Syd: That’s actually interesting. This show hasn’t dealt much with the idea of sacrificing a family life for saving the world, which is a common cross for superheroes to bear. In that line that I kind of overlooked, they brought that dimension into this show.
Margaret: That might be because the show often focuses more on Kara’s personal sacrifices as Supergirl. Her moments of truth don’t happen because of her desire to save the world at large, they happen because of something happening to a person that she personally knows and cares about. Becoming Supergirl was because she had to save her sister. Regaining her powers after burning them out was to save James. Being unable to catch Kelly was because she decided to save Winn and James. There’s multiple times they could have exhibited this side of Kara, but they’ve squandered them.
Syd: Maxwell Lord tracked the Kryptonians to Nevada by finding their energy source. The energy source for Myriad – the little glowing ball – is called the omegahedron, which is Argo City’s energy source in the Supergirl movie. I hate myself for knowing that and I hate this show for reminding me of it.
Margaret: It just looked, to me, like the circular ball that Star-Lord stole with the Infinity Stone in it.
Syd: Those fucking military idiots left Fort Rozz where it landed, covered it up, left it intact, and never checked on it. Even if the aliens didn’t set up their headquarters there, weren’t they worried that vagrants might find it? Weren’t they interested in taking apart this structure and reverse engineering whatever alien technology was inside? Were the writers on a deadline and couldn’t think of a stunning reveal for where the Kryptonians were hiding, so they half assed an explanation and hoped nobody would care? Yes, to the last one.
Margaret: J’onn and Supergirl go to face off against Non and Indigo, and we find that they’ve done stupidest bad guy thing – they have their army already in hypersleep to go to another world. No! Just use them to defeat Supergirl and J’onn, then fly off. That’s Supervillain Training 101. Use everything at your disposal.
Syd: Oh, yes, speaking of fucking idiots. 6 weeks ago, Non said he was going to kill Kara. He had an army of invincible soldiers under his command. They can move faster than a bullet. He could have killed her at any time. As it is, they could have at least backed him up in this fight. Instead, they’re sleeping. Fuck this show.
Margaret: They also could have used these Kryptonians to just kill everyone anyway. There was no need for some elaborate plan to use the Myriad signal to make everyone’s head explode. Just send the twenty or so Kryptonites out to murder everyone – Kara and J’onn can’t stop all of them at once. Mission accomplished, Earth destroyed, other planets to conquer, end of series.
Syd: Good point. Fuck brain exploding rays, they have super fast fists that can explode heads way more quickly. Supergirl couldn’t stop all of them at once.
Margaret: And yet, they’re in hypersleep. We saw them once. Never to be heard from again.
Syd: This fight between Non and Kara was framed as the culmination of the whole season, which makes some sense, since the Phantom Zone prisoners were the main villains of the annoying and narratively inert DEO plotline for the season and Non is their current representative. Also, Non is Kara’s uncle, so they could have had some sort of emotional connection they could have played up if they weren’t just going to kill Non off. In concept, if not execution, this conflict makes sense. Then, off to the side, they have J’onn fighting Indigo, as if Indigo were the secondary villain for the season, instead of a throwaway character who appeared in a single episode, then just came back for the finale. This is the first time J’onn has even met Indigo. If he lost to her, Supergirl could still probably beat her. The stakes for his fight are astonishingly low for a climactic battle, but I guess they have to give J’onn something to do or else why even bring him along?
Margaret: They kept attempting to ramp up the emotionality of his fight with Indigo continually taunting him about Mars and him being the last of his species. I understand that he had to be there as Kara’s back up, and if he is going, it makes more sense for him to have his own villain to fight, but it seemed a bit tacked on.
Syd: As the timer counts down to the point at which everyone on Earth’s brain is going to explode, Maxwell holds hands with Alex. What the hell? He just gave Cat a new pair of earrings! Mixed messages! Were we supposed to be shipping Lex squared the whole time? I thought she was disgusted by him. Was this supposed to be the payoff for their story arc? That moment distracted me from how many people must have died by that point, provided this show doesn’t take place on a world where everyone’s head has the same consistency and they all explode under the same amount of pressure.
Margaret: I’m not sure. I was rooting for Lexwell and Cat in the first few episodes, then disliking Lex squared, then glad they got back to Catwell and now they’re holding hands? What the hell show, I’m not triangling Lexwell, Alex and Cat. I’d rather Cat just go off with the married Harrison Ford.
Syd: Until you mentioned that, I didn’t realize how much I wanted to see Lex Luthor kiss Han Solo. Make it happen, fan art.
Margaret: I’m into it.
Syd: During the fight, Indigo’s arm turned into a blade. I have mentioned before how they are making up powers for her as they go along, but the stretchy arms could have been explained by her having shapeshifting abilities that were never mentioned before.
Margaret: I guess they’re T-1000ing her. J’onn totally rips Indigo in half, which kills her. Despite her being completely broken apart by a computer virus episodes before and put back together again. We actually saw pieces of her on a table that Non reconstituted.
Is Non dead? His eyes are definitely burned out, but I can’t tell if he’s dead or not. I guess he is? But, that’s not really made clear.
Syd: Supergirl declared, “I won!” and left him lying there with the burnt out eyes and he didn’t get back up. If he isn’t dead, Supergirl has no reason to believe he’s still alive. Can I once again call bullshit on every time Kara said that Supergirl doesn’t kill?
Margaret: As Indigo dies, she tells Kara that she’s locked Fort Rozz in a way so that she can’t shut down Myriad. The only way to save everyone is to get Fort Rozz into space and so Kara decides that she will take it there herself.
Syd: So, the short-haired DEO agent who I think is supposed to be a prominent character whose name we still don’t know tells Alex she has a phone call from Kara. Kara gives her a goodbye speech where she says, “Everything good I did came from you being my sister.” I know that sounds sweet, but Alex is a bad sister and a worse human being and I have seen several realities where Alex isn’t her sister, and there Supergirl is capable of much greater things. She’s better written, too.
Margaret: I like that her main formative relationship is her sister. Supportive female relationships are something I will always be behind, because I was raised on the idea that if there were going to be two girls in a plot, they will be competing with each other or catty. And I would be far more supportive of this female relationship if Alex was not a stereotypical, unthought out Tough Girl amalgam who makes terrible decisions and puts other people in danger. She’s a bad character and I feel as if Kara would be better off away from her.
Kara pushes Fort Rozz into space. Does that mean she just flung the rest of the Kryptonians out there? Do they have air? Did she just kill off the rest of her species?
Syd: Yes, she callously committed genocide against her entire species, just like her cousin in Man of Steel. “Krypton had its chance,” am I right?
Supergirl’s ploy is framed as a heroic sacrifice, because she had to fly out of the atmosphere, where she can’t breathe. Can’t she fly just within the atmosphere where she can breathe, then throw Fort Rozz out of the atmosphere, then fall back to Earth (which she can survive, because she’s invulnerable)? Why is plot contrivance keeping her from throwing?
Margaret: Then, it seems as if all the little foreshadowing hints since Barry brought up Kara’s spaceship in the crossover episode come to a head. Alex rescues Kara from space and brings her back to Earth. This would be far more touching if Alex were a better character. Then, Supergirl wakes up to where everyone has a happy ending. Supergirl survives, Alex piloted a spaceship and is no longer wanted by the DEO, J’onn J’onzz is pardoned by the president for his actions in this battle. While that’s heartwarming and all, trials are still a thing for a reason! Lucy is a lawyer! She should want him to be vindicated by the justice system!
Syd: As J’onn reassumes his position as head of the DEO – which, I will remind you, is a position he initially assumed through fraudulent means – he gives a speech about how everyone is on the same team and they won’t keep secrets. “Secrets protect no one. They only undermine what we’re seeking to accomplish.” That’s easy for J’onn to say, because his big secret was already revealed to everyone he’s working with. That statement, which flies in the face of the entire ethos of this show, would mean a lot more if we were given any indication that the DEO would be operating publicly from here on out or that Supergirl would reveal her secret identity, and those are just the secrets they are keeping for their own convenience. There is still absolutely no reason they shouldn’t tell all of the journalists that they know and work with about the existence of Project Cadmus.
Margaret: Right, if everyone is agreed that Project Cadmus is terrible, why aren’t they actively telling people about it? I can see a reason for it being because they worry about retaliation against Jeremiah, but Superman and James have known about it for years and done nothing. Far before they knew Kara’s adoptive father was held there. It makes no sense why he didn’t stop them.
Syd: Also, so much for Lucy. She was just made director of the DEO a couple of episodes ago to keep her relevant on the show after her breakup with Jimmy and now that’s over? How fucking in love with the status quo is this show?
Margaret: That’s really all they do. They have events to change things up and then put them right back where they started. I think the only thing that has actually changed is they turned Winn from being a creepy Friendzoned stalker to actually being Kara’s friend – which they have not yet gone back on. But, they also have yet to discuss the fact that his girlfriend turned into a supervillain and betrayed him just like his father did. You would think his best friend Kara would ask him how he’s doing about that – but instead everyone only focuses on the will they won’t they of James. Even Winn!
Syd: To wrap things up, Cat gives Kara an office and an offer to promote her to whatever position she decides she wants, rather than an actual position that is available in the company. That’s basically how corporate America functions, right? After making out with Jimmy, Kara finds a Kryptonian spaceship that crashed on Earth. She looks and is shocked by what she sees inside. Then, the episode ends, giving the writers more time to figure out what it is.
Margaret: We’re voting that it’s the dog, right?
GRADING THIS EPISODE
Syd: F. Fuck this show.
Margaret: I think the episode itself is C. It was a serviceable episode by itself, but the weight of everything wrong with this series has really made it impossible to see past it all.