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SUPERGIRL Recap: “Not Kansas”

By on June 5, 2018

Supergirl — “Not Kansas” — Pictured: Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

 

SUPERGIRL RECAP: “NOT KANSAS”

 

BY CYNTHIA VINNEY

 

 

On last week’s Supergirl, after an underwhelming reunion with her long-lost mother in Argo City, Supergirl and Mon-El returned to National City with the Rock of Yuda Kal. They arrive just as Reign breaks out of her cell in Lena’s lab ready for a fight.

As this week’s episode begins, Reign takes on Supergirl and Mon-El, as Lena tries to synthesize Sam’s cure as quickly as possible. With the destruction of her lab happening all around her, Lena slides the cure to Mon-El who injects Reign with it. As Supergirl, Lena, and Mon-El watch, Reign appears to peel off Sam’s body and dissipates in the air.

In the aftermath, it becomes clear that Sam is herself again. She has a tearful reunion with Ruby and thanks Alex for taking care of her.

With Reign finally gone, Supergirl asks Lena if she can find a way to create more of the Rock of Yuda Kal. She explains that the people of Argo City rely on it to survive but sacrificed some to help Earth. If there’s any way to give them more of it as a thank you, Supergirl would like to do so. Lena says she’ll work on it.

At her apartment, Kara tells Alex about finding her mom alive in Argo City. She confesses the city felt like home to her. Alex realizes that Kara wants to go back. Kara explains that while Earth has been her home because of Alex, Alex will always be with her no matter where she goes. Kara feels guilty about leaving Earth, but Alex is supportive of her decision.

At the DEO, Kara says good-bye to Mon-El. Mon-El noticed the technology in Argo City would allow them to send a beacon to the Legion in the future. He asks Supergirl to message the Legion to come get him when she gets to Argo, but she invites him to come with her instead.

The DEO team has a going away party for Supergirl. She gives each of them a heartfelt farewell and says she’ll be back someday. In the montage of the party that follows there’s also a brief shot of a going away party for Kara at CatCo that indicates Kara is being sent “on assignment.” Kara hugs Lena good-bye, so at least Lena’s still being kept in the dark about Kara’s identity. Lena won’t possibly be able to put together that the absence of Supergirl perfectly coincides with her friend Kara being on assignment. (Sigh…)

In Argo City, Alura welcomes Kara back. A childhood friend, Thara, comes by and is thrilled to see Kara alive. Thara is now the city’s Chief Peace Officer.

On Earth, no crime is happening and Winn and Guardian are bored. Just as they agree to pack it up and go home, they hear a commotion. A police officer is pursuing a bank robber. Just as the robber turns to fire a gun at the officer, Guardian pushes him aside and takes the gunfire. The gunman flees, but Winn is left wondering what kind of gun the robber was using.

At J’onn’s house, J’onn tells Alex that his father has become more lucid. But M’yrnn clarifies that it’s just the clarity that comes before the end. He tells J’onn it’s time to perform “The Reach,” a Martian ritual in which an elder passes down their knowledge to the next generation. J’onn doesn’t want to hear it.

At the DEO, Winn and James tell J’onn they think the bank robber Guardian confronted was using a DEO assault weapon. J’onn is mystified, the weapons at the DEO are proprietary and no one else should have them.

Kara is happy on Argo City. As she and Mon-El walk through the marketplace, she tells him she loves being able to feel normal, to not have anyone to save, and to be rid of her super-human abilities. Of course, just as Kara is getting comfortable, beams drop on the marketplace from a nearby construction site. Kara notices a hooded person turn and walk away just as the rest of the citizens scramble for safety.

Thara believes it was an accident, but Kara isn’t so sure. She tells Thara and Alura about the hooded individual she glimpsed. They’re not convinced the sighting is meaningful. In contrast, Mon-El tells Kara he trusts her instincts and gives her his Legionnaire ring just in case. The ring will let her fly if she needs to.

J’onn and James go to see the head of the manufacturer of the DEO’s guns. The man tells them that the bank robber’s gun was probably the civilian version they manufacture of the DEO’s assault rifle—you know, for hunting. J’onn is flabbergasted, that gun isn’t a hunting rifle. James says the product should be taken off the market, but the man refuses on business grounds.

At CatCo, James tells Lena about his investigation into how the bank robber got his gun. Lena, who’s a gun owner, and James, have the most polite clash ever on the issue of gun ownership. They agree to try to understand each other’s perspectives and listen to each other. Then, they eat pizza. (What can’t be solved with pizza?)

In Argo City, Kara and Mon-El have dinner with Thara and her husband. As they make small talk, Kara notices the hooded woman observing them. She excuses herself and goes after the woman. She unhoods her and accuses her of wanting to hurt her. Kara threatens the woman but Thara intervenes and stops the confrontation.

At Alura’s house, her mother tells Kara that the investigations into the accident at the market and the hooded woman, Felra, didn’t uncover anything suspicious. Alura tries to relate to Kara’s experience of returning home after so long. Kara admits she feels unsettled in Argo City. But she insists that her instinct still tells her that the incident in the marketplace wasn’t an accident. Alura reminds Kara she no longer has to live like a warrior.

At the DEO, they still can’t locate most of the owners of the assault rifles. They bring up the images of the small percentage of people that they know purchased them and James immediately identifies the bank robber. Winn is surprised—the man, Arthur, passed his background check when he purchased the rifle at a gun show.

J’onn assembles a team to go pick Arthur up. James is worried the entire thing could result in a firefight, but J’onn doesn’t know what else he can do. Winn looks at Arthur’s social media accounts and discovers what looks like a manifesto. From the manifesto, they realize Arthur isn’t a bank robber. He’s a former law firm employee and he’s targeting his old office.

The team goes to the law office to stop Arthur. J’onn finds him in the cellar and talks him down with only his words. In the process, J’onn comes to the realization that the DEO shouldn’t need guns to perform their jobs. Back at the DEO, J’onn announces that the agency will phase out weapons of lethal force. Many of the agents want to transfer because of the new policy, but J’onn sticks to his plan.

In Argo City, Kara is trying to figure out why she feels off now that she’s back home. She tells Mon-El that she thinks it might be the fact that she has to let go of her warrior instinct there, as her mother suggested. But she also feels disconnected. The people she used to know have moved on without her. At least Mon-El’s presence has made her transition easier.

Mon-El chooses that moment to confess he still has feelings for Kara. Kara seems uncertain. Then, just as Kara looks like she might kiss him, a drone attacks them. Kara uses the Legionnaire ring to fly her and Mon-El away and make the drone crash. She spots the hooded woman below, and flies to her. It’s Felra, the same woman Kara confronted before.

Felra says she belongs to a group called the Daughters of the Night, they are children of Juru, and Selena, the woman who sits on the Argo City High Council, is their High Priestess. Kara is shocked. Selena’s was the vote that let her take the Rock of Yuda Kal back to Earth. But Felra claims that, “Nothing is as it seems.”

Just then, they get an urgent communication from Alura. Selena has taken off for Earth in Kara and Mon-El’s spaceship. She’s left the symbol of Reign burned into the ground in her wake.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Thomas Coville prays in a field as the ship lands. Selena disembarks. She thrusts a crystal into the ground and a fortress starts to grow around them.

At Sam’s home, Sam and Ruby are watching Singin’ in the Rain. Suddenly Sam goes stiff and drops a glass. Maybe Reign isn’t quite as vanquished as we thought…

This episode felt a little like filler. After all, as any trained television viewer can tell you, with two episodes still left in the season, there’s no way we’ve seen the last of Reign.

It feels like the DEO gang, in particular, have been treading water for several episodes now. The writers have been trying to make their storylines topical and timely, commenting on what it means to be a parent, the difficulties of being Black in America, and in this episode, gun control. The gun control storyline in the episode fell especially flat. The discussion between Lena and James was ridiculous. It was trying to demonstrate a way for opposing sides to tackle a difficult issue, but the pair’s overly polite argument would never happen that way in the real world.

One of the great things about science fiction and fantasy stories is their ability to use metaphor to tackle complex issues. This is something Supergirl has excelled at in the past, especially last season when it used the issue of aliens settling on Earth as a metaphor for immigration. Supergirl has also told touching stories rooted in reality, like Alex’s coming out story from last year. Lately, though, Supergirl is trying to cram in so many important messages, most of them ridiculously on-the-nose, that it’s lost the storytelling nuance that made its episodes so poignant in the past.

There have been great moments, like James sharing his memory of the first time he was handcuffed by police, or parts of the story about M’yrnn’s memory loss, but those moments are getting sidelined in favor of less compelling plots. It’s made a lot of the show’s recent B-plots, especially since its return from hiatus, feel more like a slog than they should. It’s a shame given how great Supergirl has shown it can be when the storytelling is firing on all cylinders.

OK, rant over.

As for the A-plot, the discovery of Selena’s true identity was projected during the previous episode, so I’m glad this wasn’t drawn out longer than necessary. The Daughters of the Night seem like an interesting group. Hopefully, we’ll learn more about them and their Kryptonian origins before the season ends. Until next week!

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