SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for “The Last Children of Krypton,” the latest episode of “Supergirl.”
“I will not fix things for you, Kara. You are a grown woman, you are smart and talented and astonishing, and how many more times am I going to have to tell you this for you to accept who you are?”
In “The Last Children of Krypton,” the solid follow-up to last week’s humdinger of a “Supergirl” second season premiere, Kara spends a lot of time acting like, well, a child. That’s not to say she abandons heroics, or behaves selfishly, or throws plentiful tantrums. (She throws exactly one tantrum, and it is both small and understandable.) Instead, writers Robert L. Rovner and Caitlin Parrish continue exploring the theme established in the premiere: now that she’s figured out how to be Supergirl, how does Kara figure out how to be Kara? The answer, it turns out, is not easily, and more importantly, not alone.
She’s not the only one learning that particular lesson. The episode opens with the same sort of giddy excitement threaded throughout most of the premiere, with Kal and Kara zooming all over National City to jubilantly save people and stop bad guys. Their obvious enjoyment of doing this together seems to irritate J’onn and, to a certain extent, Alex, particularly when the fun gets in the way of following DEO procedure. But Kal/Clark isn’t just a presence at Kara’s two offices — he’s also about to elbow in on Sister Night, which apparently involves wine, Chinese food and “Veep.” (Note: I would like an invite, you can find me on Twitter. I will bring candy.)
Except he’s not, and that’s the first moment of the episode in which Kara has to deal with change. You’d think she’d be pretty well-equipped to handle chaos in her life, given how dramatically her world changed in the previous season, but apparently that’s not the case. Clark shows up at Sister Night (without candy) and tells Kara it’s about time he went home. A news alert tells them there’s someone about to jump off a bridge, so off they fly for one last rescue, only to find the jumper is anything but — it’s Metallo, fully equipped with a Kryptonite heart and no interest in mercy.
One of several solid battles in director Glen Winter’s episode, this scene is mostly notable for how little fighting it actually contains. More importantly, it’s the set-up for this beautiful homage:
While both are wounded, Kara more seriously, the duo manages to make it back to DEO headquarters mostly intact. There, Kal confronts J’onn about how Project Cadmus (who’ve gone public with a creepy video) got their hands on Kryptonite if the DEO has it all. (Winn: “Superman and Martian Manhunter are fighting. This is terrible. This is awesome!”) J’onn and Alex confess that some went missing from a transport, and that they believe it to be an inside job. Winn’s tasked with creating something that Kal and Kara can wear to protect them, and off they go to try to figure something out in the interim.
Over at the appropriately dank and depressing headquarters of Project Cadmus, the mysterious doctor tells a nameless underling that, living Kryptonians aside, Metallo’s big debut went very well. He just needs a teammate, and the nameless underling seems like the kind of guy who could really made a glowing green chest thing work for him. The next time the Cousins Super take on Metallo, he’ll have backup of a sort. Later, the Supers confront Metallo, only to have him clue them in to the other Metallo’s current location: Metropolis. They can’t be both places at once, and Cadmus thinks they’ve got Kara and Kal good and cornered.
Elsewhere, Kara comes home from a very bad day in the office (more on that later) to talk to Alex about how maybe, just maybe, she should move to Metropolis to be with Clark. This does not go over very well, with Alex telling Kara she’s bitten her tongue while being ignored or pushed aside for the person that abandoned Kara with the Danvers family. She rattles off the many ways she’s given up her life to keep Kara safe (which, it has to be said, is a pretty lousy thing to pin on someone) and says, rightly, that the point is not for Alex to take care of Kara, but for the two of them to take care of each other.
Sensing a theme? Well, it’s about to get more sensed. While all this is going on, Kal and J’onn zip on over to the Fortress of Solitude to analyze the traces of Metallo’s exoskeleton. It’s the perfect time for a downright chilly heart to heart, the climax of which is J’onn reminding Kal that his entire planet was wiped out by beings too powerful to stop, and that he’ll never again be unprepared for such an event. Kal responds that all such an action means is that J’onn doesn’t trust him, or Kara. The feeling, it seems, is mutual. Both seem to think it would be better if they could work as a team, and neither seems willing to get past this point to make such a thing happen.
This scene is among the episode’s most interesting, and it’s just a little too brief and doesn’t really get a proper follow-up. What does Kara think about having Kryptonite on hand, based on her fight last year with Non? (Or with her experience with red Kryptonite, for that matter?) What does Alex think about it? It never comes up, and by the episode’s end, Superman flies off with a bunch of lead-enclosed Kryptonite. Good scene, but not well-handled later in the episode. Regardless, here’s team number two, battling it out and finding a middle ground somehow.
That’s what happens with Kara and Alex as well. After Alex and Winn find a way to identify the DEO mole (Jeremy Jordan’s best scene of the night — his transformation into Supergirl-Cisco continues to be excellent), Alex sets a trap for the agent in question. Unfortunately, Cadmus seems to have seen such a thing coming, and Mysterious Doctor and her cronies prepare to off Alex (after telling her they’ll say hi to her dad, of course). The Mysterious MD departs, Alex kicks the crap out of her assailants, and Kara shows up just in time to block some bullets (including catching one!) before apologizing to Alex. They hug it out and devise a plan: Cadmus wants to divide them and conquer, but they’re not counting on backup.
That’s the cue for the big action sequence of the episode, in which Kara and Alex (in a Kryptonite exoskeleton) take on Metallo while Kal and J’onn tackle the poor unnamed guy. There’s lots of punching! At several points it looks as though Kara and Kal will lose! Winn’s gadgets work, making them worthy of the tears he cried when he gave them to Superman! (New Winn is the best!) All in all, it’s great sequence, hammering home the episode’s theme: no one is better off alone.
But that brings us back to the quote that opened this review, and to the fact that sometimes you do, actually, have to go it alone. After being dressed down (and not without reason) by her new boss, Snapper Carr (Ian Gomez), Kara essentially runs to Cat and tells her to fix it. Cat says no — many times, actually — and reminds Kara that she’s a remarkable woman capable of defending herself. Throughout this scene, it sometimes feels as though Cat’s dropping hints that she knows Supergirl’s true identity after all, but superpowered or not, Kara contains all the power she needs to tackle what life throws in her way. She needs to figure that out, Cat says, because she won’t be around forever.
We at home may know that Calista Flockhart is now a recurring guest star, rather than a series regular, but Kara doesn’t, and tearfully assumes this means Cat is dying (a statement that seems to both touch, offend, and heartily amuse Cat). But Kara’s mentor sets her straight:
A lot happens in this episode — Kara writes her first piece, Winn gives Alex a talking-to, J’onn disguises himself as a tiny blond girl, JimmyJames becomes the new (temporary) Cat, the mystery Pod Person wakes up to choke Kara — so please jump into the comments and hash out the details. It’s encouraging that at this stage “Supergirl” seems so ready to tug on new threads while wrapping up old ones, and if it makes for an episode that’s perhaps a touch too dense, then that’s the price you pay. Next week: Miss Martian?
Starring Melissa Benoist as the Girl of Steel, “Supergirl” airs Mondays at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW. The series also stars David Harewood as Martian Manhunter, Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen, Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers and Jeremy Jordan as Winn Schott and features appearances by Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant as well as Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman.
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