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Homecoming Highlights This Season’s Pacing Issues

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Supergirl Season 2 Reviews: Episode 14, “Homecoming”

Get ready for complicated Danvers family dynamics, because the appropriately titled “Homecoming” has plenty. So many feels. This might be our favorite Danvers family dinner scene, up to Mon El’s terrible case of foot-in-mouth disease of course. Just give us a happy Danvers family! So get ready, you might need some tissue.

Quick Recap

J’onn’s face when he learns Kara and Mon El are dating.

Mon El wakes up alone in Kara’s bed. She flies in with coffee, which Mon El drinks, and flowers, which he discards in a lampshade. He tries to get her to play hooky from her 3 jobs helping people. She asks him not to tell anyone at the DEO they’re dating because she doesn’t want them in her personal life right now. Mon El decides this means it’s okay to tell everyone they’re dating. J’onn tells them to go to HR to fill out paperwork because they’re now dating a coworker (We love him).

Winn learns of a DEO convoy that J’onn and Kara take out. They find Jeremiah inside. Mon El is suspicious about the timing and encourages caution. Jeremiah agrees and says Cadmus has a bomb created by the heat vision they ‘mined’ from Supergirl they plan on using to take out the alien population in National City.

Jeremiah advises Winn to track Kara’s heat vision signature to find the bomb. Eliza comes to the DEO; cue heartfelt Danvers family reunion! Mon El tells Kara not to trust Jeremiah because he lived with Cadmus for so long and may be a traitor. Kara chooses to see the best in Jeremiah. She invites Mon El to family dinner so he can get to know Jeremiah. Alex introduces Jeremiah to Maggie, and he’s super chill and sweet. J’onn and Mon El join them to make the circle (mostly) complete, but for James and Winn. Jeremiah asks to join the DEO to take out Cadmus. Mon El questions Jeremiah at dinner. Kara pulls him aside to confront him; he acts like a jerk, so Kara tells him to leave. Jeremiah gently threatens Mon El by telling him that he knows who Mon El is and Kara won’t like it.

Mon El invites Winn for a drink so get him on his side about Jeremiah. Winn agrees to help but only if Mon El is a decent person to Kara. Lyra joins them and gets all cuddly with Winn (it’s cute). J’onn gives Jeremiah a tour of the DEO and leaves him in the medical bay alone; Winn sees Jeremiah breaking into the DEO mainframe. He and Mon El tell Kara, who confronts him. Jeremiah explains he was looking at case files for the past 24 months to see what Kara and Alex had been doing. He apologizes, and Winn confirms that’s what he was doing. Alex gets mad at the trio. Kara tells Alex she wants to look at all sides. Alex blames Kara’s suspicion on Mon El and being in the ‘honeymoon phase’. Alex says Kara ought to trust Jeremiah if she’s one of the family.

WHY MUST YOU HURT US.

Mon El interrupts Lyra teaching Winn to play darts to ask him for relationship advice. Winn urges him to listen to and respect Kara. News that they’ve tracked the bomb interrupts them. The Danvers sisters lead the tactical team but find an empty warehouse. In the DEO, J’onn confronts Jeremiah, who attacks him after trying to hack the DEO. Suddenly Jeremiah has a bionic arm (?). He knocks J’onn out, shoots up the computer he stole files from, and leaves. Thankfully, Winn hid a tracker on Jeremiah and the Danvers sisters interrupt the villain meet up in the woods. Cyborg Superman blows up a bridge, to occupy Kara. Alex chooses to chase down Jeremiah. Kara saves the train. Alex confronts her dad, who says he did it for her. He says she’s going to have to shoot him. Instead of giving him a nonfatal injury she lets him go.

Winn goes to find out what Jeremiah stole. Everyone in the Danvers family is justifiably hurt and disappointed. Alex is drinking and Maggie comes by and consoles her. Kara has a blanket burrow when Mon El comes by to ‘not talk’, and he actually listens to her for once. Winn calls to tell Kara that Jeremiah stole the DEO’s alien registry (wait…when did this exist?). Lillian and Jeremiah stare at…something scary that is probably designed to wipe out aliens. Jeremiah tells Lillian they had a ‘deal’.

Best Quote: “I love you and I’ve missed you every day, but I don’t know you anymore. And you don’t know me. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere, but this is going to have to be something new. I think we’re just going to have to learn each other again.”—Eliza Danvers

Thoughts & Feelings

So, the Danvers family. We have so many feelings. This episode struck a good tonal balance for the reunion. The Danvers women exhibited a full range of emotions from shock, to joy, to caution, and all of them fit the context. Dean Cain, on the other hand, does not emote much at all. We’re underwhelmed by his performance this episode. The Danvers ladies dance circles around him pathos-wise.

We do like the father-daughter head turn. It’s cute.

We love how this episode handled the ‘long lost family member arc’, especially compared to others we’ve seen. It didn’t gloss over how hard it would be to integrate a family member back after a decade. Eliza flat out rejects the feasibility of Jeremiah’s desire to make up for lost time. She understands that mentality doesn’t work. Her desire to start something new with Jeremiah, to relearn each other and their relationship struck us with it’s honesty. It’s not the most optimistic or celebratory story, but it’s real. And that’s what we love about Supergirl: when the writing is good, it’s very, very good.

Like J’onn. Oh god, Space Dad. That level of anger from him at Jeremiah’s betrayal was fighting White Martian levels. Like…the one person to accept him for who he was, who also saved him from Real!Hank, betrayed him. And he’s not just angry for himself. J’onn went out of his way to explain to Jeremiah what Alex and Kara mean to him, how they helped him become a better person and fight for justice instead of hiding who he was. Jeremiah didn’t just betray J’onn, he betrayed Kara and Alex. No way Space Dad will stand for that. The hurt and anger in J’onn on his daughters’ behalf hurts so good.

Plus, that Danvers family dinner was probably the sweetest Danvers dinner we’ve ever seen. We would have liked to see Winn and James there, both characters who have been a part of other Danvers family dinners in the past. Jeremiah would probably love to meet two of Kara’s friends who have been with her and Alex through the worst parts of the past couple years. Still, the undercurrent of genuine happiness throughout that whole scene only made Jeremiah’s inevitable betrayal (admit it, there was no way it wasn’t coming) hurt that much more. We have bruises on our sternum from that kick to the chest.

Of course, Mon El sticking his foot in his mouth ruined the mood. Every Danvers family dinner has to have a dose of awkward and/or uncomfortable after all. It might have been marginally funny if it weren’t both rude to the whole family and disrespectful to Kara. She’d just finished reprimanding him, demanding he ‘say something nice’ (which she shouldn’t have to do). She flat out asked him not to bring it up at dinner, but to spend time instead getting to know Jeremiah. As has been his pattern this whole season, he ignored her wishes and spoke anyway. And did so in such a way that he sounded jealous of Jeremiah’s privilege instead of concerned for the DEO.

Like we keep saying, if this were the first instance of Mon El ignoring Kara’s wishes or disrespecting her, we might be content with an “I’m sorry” and “I’ll do better next time”. But this is a pattern, a pattern that stretches all the way back to “Crossfire”, 9 episodes ago. It’s a pattern within this episode! He’d been disrespecting her since they got up. We suppose him wanting to wake up next to Kara is cute, but she has three jobs. All of which are saving people. And he doesn’t so much as ask her as blurt an entitled expectation. Ought she to feel guilty that she’s out saving people instead of lying in bed? And what is this “as long as your superheroing is done for the day” business? All we got from this supposedly romantic scene was that he has zero respect for her desire to save people.

After dismissing her gesture of romance out of hand, he flat out ignored her reasonable and meticulously explained request to keep their relationship secret. No matter how ‘cute’ they try to frame his lack of respect or how ‘culturally conditioned’ he is to throw parties when people hook up, He. Still. Can’t. Listen. Mon El’s failure to respect her wishes at dinner is less of a surprise than an expectation at this point. It’s really not funny anymore, or healthy. We’re tired of the message, intentional or not, that women are responsible for coaching disrespectful and clueless males into becoming suitable romantic partners.

A big part of the problem is pacing, which has been atrocious. They’ve failed to show any significant character growth for Mon El over 9 episodes. Every time he seems to take a step forward, he takes another one (or two) backward. Him getting actual character development now feels like too little, too late. The damage has been done in terms of investment and believability. Even if he has a great arc moving forward, we will have a hard time buying or wanting it. And that won’t stop us from criticizing what we’ve seen on screen thus far. Mon El finally learning how to listen to Kara and respect her ought to have happened before they started dating, not after he insulted her to her face and in front of the DEO last episode. And then spent another entire day acting the same way.

What makes it worse is that Winn was the one to finally make it all click. Frustrated that Kara yelled at him and sent him away, Mon El makes a totally justifiable decision to get advice from Winn, one of Kara’s dearest friends. Winn proves why we love him now by telling Mon El to let Kara protect and show off herself; she does a mighty good job of it just being Kara. Mon El’s response—“then what’s left for me”—reflects the persistence of Mon El’s paternalistic and stereotypically gendered approach to dating Kara. He’s the man, he should be the one protecting her, showing her off, bringing flowers, and he resents when he cannot fill that role. It also solidifies Gretchen’s (and Kylie’s) impression that Mon El shares similar character traits with Mako from Legend of Korra.

Anyway, Winn once again gives Mon El good advice to ask Kara what she wants from him and then listen and follow through. Great job, Winn! You’re a decent guy and we like you a lot. We can tell Lyra is pleased with you, too (you lucky boy). What bothers us about this is that Winn tells Mon El all the things Kara has been telling Mon El to do. The writers most likely meant this as a “Mon El finally figures it out” moment, which isn’t bad in itself (apart from occurring way later than it should have). But if Winn basically repeats what Kara herself has said to Mon El (multiple times and in multiple episodes, we might add), what’s different this time? Winn. The implication, intentional or not, is that this time, the message sticks because a man tells Mon El how to act, not Kara herself, a woman.

And his ‘progress’ is still minimal. Mon El has a palpable need for reassurance at every tiny step forward in the final scene supposedly showcasing him ‘comforting’ Kara. She still needs to coach him, and he still make it about himself. It comes across as ‘look at me being nice and listening to you!’, especially given how it was preceded with Maggie’s instinctive and effortless consolation of Alex. We’re beginning to wonder if showing these two alongside each other is meant to make Mon El look worse somehow.

This is how you do comfort.

The situation with Mon El reflects oddly on Kara’s character development. She’s had the exact same argument with Mon El now that she had with him almost two months ago. Even if he makes a change for the better now, the fact that she put up with this behavior for so long reflects poorly on her. She continues to take back and believe in a person who repeatedly lies, disrespects her, and does not acknowledge her agency. It’s great she stands up for herself when he acts that way. Yes! Yay! Set those boundaries! Her dialogue is well-written, and we love it. And, she has continued to date him despite the persistence of issues she has been upset with him about most of the season. That he repeatedly apologize for, promises to change about, and then never does.

She ends up coming off as wishy-washy, precisely because she keeps taking him back. Every time she lets him treat her that way, even when he apologizes and promises to change, she looks a little bit weaker. Her arguments fall a little bit flatter the inevitable next time she has to have them. And what guarantee do we have that this time will stick when no other time will? The main basis for their relationship thus far has been the tension and chemistry derived from their disagreements. We’re not sure we have faith that the writers won’t fall back on more Mon El asshole behavior to ‘spice things up’. Though maybe the upcoming Mon El prince of Daxam reveal will take the place of that.

One other point, Mon El being right in the end underhandedly justifies him being an asshole to Kara and her family. It’s okay that he acted that way, because he was right. Kara should have listened to him. He has good instincts, but is not a healthy emotional support for his girlfriend (*cough* Makorra). Yet, he knows how to have a non-dickish conversation about it, just look at the scene with Winn. Mon El made sense, was calm, and didn’t devolve into insulting behavior or being disrespectful. Is it really just impossible for him to be gracious to Kara when they talk? Intentional or not, what we’re getting here is that he has more respect for Winn’s advice and intelligence than he has for Kara.

All of these factors combine to make the romance between Kara and Mon El deeply frustrating to watch. Kara repeatedly having to spell out boundaries only to have them ignored again and again is not enjoyable content. If Kara were our friend in real life, we’d sit her down for an intervention: spell it out for him, lay out the consequences, and stick to them. He isn’t going to learn anything without consequences, clearly.

Another reason to dislike all this drama with Mon El is that it’s throwing more weight on the already strained relationship between Alex and Kara. We’re still pretty damn irritated that the writers had Alex tell Kara to go for it with Mon El, especially since Alex has witnessed most of his less-than-stellar behavior or has surely heard it from Kara. But Kara and Alex’s friendship hasn’t exactly been seaworthy this season. They have a big ol’ wedge between them that has just been simmering in the background for 12 episodes, and precious little attention has been paid to it.

We are glad that this conflict took a backseat when Alex was figuring out her feelings for Maggie. That was lovely, and required. But we’re approaching the back-end of the season and we still haven’t even really started to address Kara’s abandonment issues, which are clearly clouding her better judgment when it comes to Mon El. This has been a huge undercurrent through the entire season, but they’ve yet to do something of real substance with it. Time’s a’wasting, Supergirl. You are running out of time to wrap up this arc, if you intend to address it at all.

Alex has some issues simmering on the backburner as well. We’ve mentioned it in passing a few times, but it’s getting to the point that Alex’s drinking habits are really worrisome. Hats off to Chyler Leigh for nailing the portrayal, especially considering her personal connections to the subject matter. It feels like Leigh has a specific reason she’s portraying Alex this way.

Last season we had an explicit flashback to when J’onn saved Alex from a DUI by recruiting her to the DEO. This season, we have had a lot of shots of Alex working her way through a bottle of hard liquor by herself. She was absolutely hammered at Thanksgiving, and eagle-eyed viewers will notice that she stole the whiskey out of Kara’s freezer when nobody but the camera was looking. That’s in addition to all the wine she coiffed at dinner. And the beer Kara took away. She’s almost always got some form of alcohol in her hand unless she’s at work, and this episode she jumped up real quick when Jeremiah offered to make drinks.

At the end of tonight’s episode, Alex is once again wobbling her way through a bottle of hard liquor, alone. We don’t really know if she invited Maggie over or if Maggie just stopped by (we do know the Danvers sisters need to lock their damn doors, please!). We loved Maggie’s reaction. Her stopping Alex felt like a subtle way of displaying that Maggie understands it’s a maladaptive coping mechanism. She tries to get her to talk instead of drinking, and when that fails, she goes for full-on soothing nicknames and hugs. We take full offense that this was juxtaposed the scene with Kara and Mon El. These two situations were not even remotely analogous because Maggie doesn’t need Winn to tell her to listen to her girlfriend. She gets it.

Anyway. Back to Alex’s drinking. It has us worried because this is a deliberate acting choice on Leigh’s behalf, and likely a directional choice as well. If they are building up to something with this, we’re finding ourselves checking our watches. Once again, time’s a’wasting, Supergirl. You can’t just leave this hanging around in the open and not do anything with it.

Not that we want a PSA about alcohol. Considering how badly Arrow managed to flub a Very Special Episode on the same subject matter, we can understand the writers’ hesitance to commit to this as a canon plot. But you can’t deny it’s all there. Alex checks off an alarming number of the warning signs for alcoholism, and we are really hoping that the writers aren’t just going to let this float around in the background like it’s no big deal. This is a very big deal. This is something that honestly should have been inching its way into the plot five or six episodes ago. We want to believe this is actually going to go somewhere, but with the pacing being so horrendous all-around this season, we would put even money on it never being addressed at all due to time constraints.

Alex’s scripting in season 2B is really just one more example of a larger problem. The show has way too many balls in the air, and it’s dropping them all over the place now. Whether or not you are interested in the Mon El plot/romance (we obviously are not), you must admit it is a tight fit in a season that was already bursting at the seams with plots. We have the Alien Amnesty Act (we’ll get to that one in a little bit), the Guardian plot, the Cadmus plot, the Luthors Legacy plot, the Sanvers coming out plot, etc. etc. etc.

We’ve wasted 9 episodes of the season on Mon El that could have gone to fleshing out any of the other plots we already have going with previously established characters. We got M’gann for what felt like 30 seconds at best, who would have been an infinitely better use of this time than Mon El’s undeserved redemption arc. James’ Guardian arc could also have been smoothed out with more screentime, a plot that we very much wanted to work better than it did.

Look, we don’t actually know who’s fault it is that Mon El is such an attention hog, or why he was written this way in the first place. It’s probably not the network, because to be perfectly blunt this kind of writing is pretty typical of the other DCTV shows. He’s not the devil, he’s just a douchebag. In fact, he’s not even that atrocious of a douchebag, it just stands out more because of the type of show Supergirl used to be. It’s not that Kara isn’t allowed to have a love interest, but… you know. She had one. One that was much better than this.

We’re tired of him because he’s flipping boring, to put it simply. He’s boring and he’s stealing screentime from the half-dozen other plots that are much more worth exploring. We’re trying to be as professional and diplomatic as possible about this, but it’s kinda hard because he’s just… nothing. He has the substance of whitebread and holds up about as well under pressure. Elizabeth is still holding out hope he’s going to die heroically, but she will accept a demotion to tertiary character. Just fix this awful narrative detour and don’t make the same mistake next season, Supergirl writers, alright?

Randomness

  • Two episodes in a row without James 🙁
  • Mon El’s “What a gentlemen” line was kind of weird. It almost felt like an underhanded insult.
  • Seeing J’onn J’onzz fight as a Green Martian is so badass. We love him phasing through things
  • I dig the fancy thumb drive they used, even if it I’m not sure it would work.
  • We kind of knew that Mon El’s dad, the king of Daxam, would be a bad dude since he’s played by Kevin Sorbo.
  • Why did Jeremiah’s bionic arm not show up on scans? Alex says something about nerve damage being extensive, but that begs the question of how they didn’t notice the big metal shafts in his arm while poking his nerves to assess the damage? We headcanon that it gives off fake X-rays.
  • We have so many feelings about the casual way that Eliza calls Maggie “sweetie”.
  • “There’s no man on earth good enough for Alex Danvers, so it would have to be someone like you.” Squeee! What a good dad.
  • We also love how Maggie flatters herself when she says “Alex deserves the best”.
  • I will never understand the “you’ll have to shoot me” false dilemma. Just shoot him in the kneecap, Kara will be back soon. That’s all you need to do. To be fair, Alex is still using that badass Noisy Cricket-esque gun she nabbed from the Slaver Planet, so a single shot would easily take off a limb. But she’s got to have a regular sidearm, right?
  • Props for Dean Cain threatening Mon El. And Winn. Geez, this many people telling Mon El to be decent to Kara ought to say something about how unhealthy that relationship is. Everyone sees you jerkface!
  • Whoever chooses Kara’s wardrobe keeps putting her in very…um…queer coded outfits.
  • That railroad scene…*swoon*. We love seeing Kara be strong. It had an Atlas-like feel to it with the railroad tie on her shoulder.
  • Oh, and we adore Winn/Lyra.

In Conclusion

Pacing issues galore. We’re a bit confused by the existence of the National Alien registry. The last time this came up on the show was in Episode 3, where one of the villains opposed alien amnesty on the grounds that it would result in registration. So now this registry actually exists. And zero waves or fuss has been made by any of our characters. Which is, quite frankly, bullshit. No way Kara, J’onn, M’gann, Alex, or James would not notice this being put into place, much less store that list in the DEO. And do so without argument. We’re scratching our heads at how we’re meant to swallow such a huge jump forward in a plot we haven’t seen mentioned since Episode 3.

There ought to have been multiple and heated discussions regarding the ethics of an alien registry. In our Episode 3 review, we were hoping to have a full fledged discussion about that, given its similarity to the plot of the Marvel film Captain America: Civil War and the comic event the film was based on. We expected Supergirl to tackle the concept of creating an alien registry with greater depth and sensitivity, not fast forward to it’s existence to be used as a minor detail in service to a greater plot point. It ought to have been the plot point for most of this season, not a footnote.

And that has us thinking: what actually have we gotten out of the intervening episodes? We’re not saying cut everything. We got some great emotional beats and some lovely character growth. We wouldn’t lose the Martian healing arc for the world, or Sanvers. But, much of the Mon El and Guardian arcs from the past 11 episodes could have been cut, which would have made greater space to explore the social implications and complexities of xenophobia and alien refugees as Kara and the DEO took on Cadmus. Kara’s work with the DEO could have dovetailed with her and James at CatCo leading the media charge for truth and defending alien amnesty. Although they might have been able to fit the Guardian in this season, it really should have been saved for S3 James, as a CatCo arc for both him and Kara would have fit much better.

It all comes down to pacing. The pacing of the main conflict with Cadmus is as uneven and inconsistent as Mon El’s ‘growth’ arc. We have 8 episodes left in the season to deal with an arc that ought to take at least 12-15 to handle well. They just might be able to squeeze it in with what we have left, but the Cadmus anti-alien story really ought to have more room to breathe given its socio-cultural relevance in American society.

The show had a very excellent opportunity to be topical with its themes this season, and even we must admit they couldn’t have possibly dropped the ball harder on this. We’re currently living in a terrifying dystopian reality where travel bans are real, ICE is going AWOL, and a registration list for Muslims is starting to seem like an inevitability instead of a nightmare. The 3A plot for Supergirl is filled with narrative analogs for immigration and the immigrant experience in the US. This is such a slow pitch, Supergirl, why aren’t you swinging at it?

Sophomore seasons for television shows are often a bumpy ride. In addition to being a season 2 show, Supergirl also had to adjust to a network shift. We understand the logic behind a lot of the missteps this season, but we really want to see some concentrated effort on fixing these missteps going forward. If we must be stuck with Mon El, stop telling us he’s going to get better and actually make him get better. Of his own volition, preferably, though we suppose that would be arguably out of character for him at this point. We also need to take some pruning shears to the B plots in the future. It’s okay to save things for later seasons, guys. We would prefer it, actually.

Tune in next week for Alex being a badass, more complicated Danvers family dynamics, and Cadmus kidnapping aliens!

This is the kind of content we live for.


Images Courtesy of The CW

When not working on her degree or at her actual job, Elizabeth pursues her true passion of complaining at great length about pop culture on the internet. She serves as a Managing Editor for The Fandomentals. You can find her on Tumblr, Twitter and Steam @ohemgeelizabeth

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Kylie
Admin

This highlighted everything so perfectly, and what is frustrating is how good the show can be when it’s good. I don’t know why Mon El is monopolizing all the screentime to the point where the end scene was 100% about him having learned his lesson about listening for the 8th or 9th time, instead of Kara and Alex having a conversation, given that they’re SISTERS and both had to watch their DAD be compromised. Maggie comforting Alex was delightful of course, but the fact that this wasn’t about the family in the end was really distressing. I don’t get it.… Read more »

Bo
Member

And what’s worse is that the episode was just as much about Kara learning to listen to Mon El. You know, since he was totally right and we had to turn all our characters into idiots to make an episode where he’s right.

So what lesson did he really learn here? To hug Kara when she’s upset from time to time? He certainly didn’t learn a lesson about listening to her and respecting her because he was rewarded for not listening to her. Yet again. He is continuously rewarded for refusing to respect her.

Man, this was BAD.

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

OK I think you missed the point of what the writers were explaining. The lesson was for him to just SHUT UP! and ask kara what she wanted, also his opinion is not the only one the matters

Bo
Member

I did not miss the point, but it was undermined by Mon El again being rewarded for not shutting up and listening to her. So what did he really learn when yet again, he refuses to and gets to be with her anyway?

So the episode ended up being just as much about Kara listening to Mon El as the other way around.

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

What did Winn tell him to listen to her and be there for her when he walked in to her apartment at the end he was just going to talk but realized that he needed to not say anything and ask her what see wanted keep in mind he did it twice the lesson was about listening and doing not listening and commenting which is what he would have normally done before talking to winn

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

This might not be such a frustrating path to take if 1) Winn did not repeat what Kara had already told Mon El more than once this season, with the implication that Mon El can only really understand he needs to shut up and listen if another male character tells him to; 2) this weren’t a ‘lesson’ Mon El has had to learn almost every single episode since he was introduced. This is not a one-off lesson. This is a recurring character flaw that he has yet to actually learn from or change in a substantive way. Since, every time… Read more »

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

OK fine but why did he not listen his emotions got the better of him and why are we acting like this happened over 10 times I don’t recall that, but what I can say is if we are going to talk about Mon el ignoring kara when they into a relationship let’s start from the point of the relationship. Believe me I will be looking at all episodes over once season 2 ends because you said this was going on since S2 started

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

Mon El has only existed as a character since Ep 3. Here are a handful of examples of him not listening from the latter half of the season (episode 9 onward): 1) Kara tells Mon El to buzz off, he pesters her instead (ep 9) 2) Kara tells Mon El to ‘keep his mouth shut’ when they meet up at Catco, he immediately starts talking in the elevator (ep 9) 3) Kara tells Mon El to go get the DEO for help, he follows her through the portal without contacting the DEO (ep 9) 4) Kara tells Mon El to… Read more »

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

So, unless it is normal on Daxam for males to treat their female partners disrespectfully, Mon El’s failure to listen to or respect Kara’s agency is not, in fact, a cultural norm. As depicted on screen, it is a personal flaw in how he relates to Kara as an object of romantic interest. “He’s from Daxam, that’s just how they are” therefore, does not readily apply.

JoPayne
Member
JoPayne

You deserve a slow clap for that point-by-point example of exactly why Kara still giving Mon-El the time of day is so frustrating. I hate to say that these last few episodes have undone all the good messages the first season gave us, but the sad fact is it’s getting close. Watching Kara subvert her own feelings and cave repeatedly to Mon-El’s whining and weak apologies that he never follows through with is painful. Knowing that this show is being watched by tens of thousands of girls and young women who, over the course of Mon-El’s story arc, are being… Read more »

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

If you’d prefer, we can head on over to the forum to continue talking, as that might be more conducive to a fuller discussion than a comments thread.

Kylie
Admin

It was Peacekeepers, let’s be real. But at least there Korra and Mako were given the latitude to break-up.

Bo
Member

Definitely, by that point it was blatantly clear they wouldn’t work out and finally they did break up. Here we’re supposed to support Mon El, I guess? Or think somehow this was good for him and Kara?

No. Not at all how it played out.

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

It was not about the sisters which kind of does make sense because now both sisters are in a relationship

SuperYakGirl94
Guest
SuperYakGirl94

God, I am just so sick of Mon-El. He’s just taking over so much screen time and he’s just not interesting enough to justify that! I’d love to take his screen time and give it to M’gann. Or Maggie. Or just use it to flesh out the Alien Amnesty plot and the CADMUS plot! (I felt so vindicated when the AV Club review of this episode pointed out that it was weird and grating how much screentime Mon-El is getting. The reviewer likes him, but she doesn’t find him more interesting than the other characters. I definitely agree.) I feel… Read more »

Bo
Member

Yeah, the plot holes were horrific and inexcusable, mainly because they had to mess up the characters to work.

Kylie
Admin

I couldn’t believe there was no scene between Kara and Alex. It’s such an oversight I’m wondering if it’s building to something intentional there–both their issues come to a head maybe? Or I could just be being too hopeful

SuperYakGirl94
Guest
SuperYakGirl94

That’s what I’m hoping for. It just seems too blatant to be a mistake. Not having a Danvers sisters scene at the end of a episode that was supposed to be Danvers family centric? Especially after Jeremiah’s betrayal? I’m hoping this is deliberate and that this will end up being a conflict that makes their bond stronger than ever with their issues coming to light eventually. (Hell, now Alex has firsthand experience with having her biological parent betray her, just like Kara did in season 1.) Honestly, if something like this doesn’t happen and their bond stays as tenuous as… Read more »

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

That’s a great point. This is an episode that’s supposed to be about family. And, no matter the wedge between Kara and Alex, they would find some way to console each other rather than nursing their grudges alone. I could see Alex staying away, maybe afraid that Kara would be upset that Alex called her out. But Kara not rushing to Alex to remind her it’s okay, that it doesn’t matter, that Alex may have said hurtful things but them being together matters more. THAT surprises me.

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

Understandable but let’s keep in mind as oppose to s1 both sisters are in a relationship now.

Kylie
Admin

Yeah but given how what they’re going through is specifically related to their dad, it feels odd. Like, I know despite my relationship status I’d be seeking out my sister at the end of a day like this.

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

You make a great point but at the same time both sisters were alone because they needed time to process why their father would do what he did both Mon el and Maggie went to kara and Alax to be there for them neither sister wanted to talk to anyone if something like that were to happen to you I bet there’s a 90% chance you would not have wanted to talk about it with anyone. I know I would have wanted to be by myself to.

Kylie
Admin

There are definitely Watsonian reasons we can think of for why this makes sense. What concerns me is the Doylist choice of having Alex and Kara no longer communicate at the end of something like this as they would have. To me, it seemed as though it was the result of wanting the Mon El/Kara scene to close out, prioritizing his growth (and the unfortunate implications pointed out by Gretchen and Elizabeth) over her own narrative. It’s not that in isolation this is an issue, but there is a definite pattern in how they’re scripting the Kara/Alex relationship, and it’s… Read more »

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

I agree it was maybe goin to be better with kara and Alax but the Alax and Maggie was an amazing idea but at the same time it’s not like any sister went somewhere they were just at home and people came to see how they were doing. It’s like if a family of 3 losses their father I would not have wanted to talk to anyone I would have just went to my room by myself to be alone with my feelings and knowing my mother she would have came to me and ask me how I was doing… Read more »

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

That’s my thought. The writers seemed to be driving a wedge in Ep 2, when Kara wanted to leave for Metropolis with Clarke and Alex dropped the “he abandoned you” bomb. Then we have Kara feeling left out because Alex has been so focused on Maggie. It all seems intentional right now. But if they don’t deal with it by the end of the season, I’ll be the first to call them out on it.

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

OK how to get to the forms I’ll open this up on my laptop

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

At the top of the screen there is a menu option for “forum”. If you click on that, it should take you to a page to register. I’ll create a thread for this review under the “Supergirl” forum, which is listed under the “Television” menu.

Gretchen Ellis
Guest
Morty
Guest
Morty

“We’re beginning to wonder if showing these two alongside each other is meant to make Mon El look worse somehow.”

As someone who doesn’t watch this show, I’m going to take a wild guess and say “no”.

Kylie
Admin

It feels soo intentional though because the contrast is that strong. But I worry you’re right

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

^That’s precisely my thought.

Bo
Member

I hate to say it, but this episode was flat out terrible. One of the worst in the series. I’m not sure how they took such potential and completely messed it up. Really, it did come down to Mon El. By making the choice for him to be right about Jeremiah, the decision was consequentially made for everyone else to be wrong. This led to decisions and plot holes which had experienced, intelligent people making ridiculous decisions and somehow missing things they would never miss in a million years. For some reason, no one was suspicious except Mon El. They… Read more »

Lilian Halcombe
Guest
Lilian Halcombe

Your second paragraph is my main issue with the episode. Even disregarding the bionic arm it is simply impossible that a top secret government facility would allow someone to just wander about without an escort after they’ve been in the hands of an enemy organisation for more than a decade. Yet Supergirl seems to use this complete lack of security as a plot point on multiple occasions (like with Parasite). Sometime the writers of these show seem to think that their characters doing completely illogical things is okay if it achieves the story result they want and then they have… Read more »

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

I actually did not like this episode because: 1 1) I absolutely ABHOR situations when a character is being Reasonable and other characters are dismissing it because of Emotion and it leads to Second Hand Embarrassment and Fabricated Conflict. Like, I have watched this trope unfold in so many teenage shows (good lord, The OC alone when no one wanted to believe in Ryan…) that I have become completely allergic to it. I had to stop watching this episode SEVERAL times every time that someone told Mon El to shut up when what he was saying made PERFECT sense. I… Read more »

DJ Shiva
Guest

Pam gif FTW.

Morty
Guest
Morty

Archer is refreshing in its crude and irreverent way, because it owns up to everyone there being awful people, unstable, or both.

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

Your first point let’s remember that if they did not use emotion to block judgement the episode was only going to be 15 min long. Also pay attention they wanted to make mo el the bad guy in the episode in order to introduce the secret he’s been hiding which will come into play in episode 16.

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

“This had to happen so the plot would work” is not always a sign of good writing. Plot contrivances that defy belief should be avoided if there are other alternatives. And there are actually ways they could have used a mixture of emotion and skepticism to forward the plot and kept most of the characters consistent. Its like with the “Luthors” episode. The only one with a legitimate reason to doubt Kara’s belief in Lena was James. And yet, everyone did anyway even though they could have kept the same plot with a mixture of belief and caution. In this… Read more »

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

OK with this point understandable yes I agree with you but and it was bad that they just let him back in but everyone just wanted to be happy if you were in that situation please tell me what you would have done cause I would not have supect that my own father so instantly he was abducted for crying out loud for over 10 years the writers played it off as emotions blocking judgment in this episode. Yes you are right they did not need to make mon el the good guy but you can understand why they did… Read more »

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

We’ll have to agree to disagree on ‘if the writers played it smart the episode would only be 10-15 mins long’ because I think they could have accomplished it differently it. I also understand that at the end of the day, it made sense to you to have it written this way. Again, I just don’t happen to agree. It doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy myself or like many aspects of the episode, but part of the point of how we write reviews here is to analyze all the potential flaws in the way a story is told, even if… Read more »

XanDany
Member
XanDany

This episode was incredibly frustrating to watch, and it only highlighted why everyone (except the Karamel fans) are so disturbed by Mon-El. That first wake up scene COULD have been cute, if it wasn’t undercut by Mon-El ONCE AGAIN not listening to Kara- and then “outing” their relationship to the entire DEO after she SPECIFICALLY ASKS HIM NOT TO. I think I said this last week but it seems like they keep hitting the reset button with Mon-El, and they did it AGAIN this week. I’m tired. I’m tired of seeing him have to be taught by Kara or Winn… Read more »

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

OK however let’s try and keep in mind how Mon el grew up on his planet and the writers making Monel the prefect guy instantly would have been the stupid move to make he grew up objectifying women so you can understand why he would ignore kara

XanDany
Member
XanDany

I didn’t say he should be perfect, but we now have what- 4-5 episodes where he is making the SAME mistake of not listening to Kara? There is no growth there. And the “he grew up on Daxom” argument is way too close to “boys will be boys” for my comfort. It’s not up to Kara to change him while she’s in a relationship with him.

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

Well the 4-5 episode thing is dramatically incorrect counting this episode it was 3 but that’s not the point. You can make the argument that kara is trying to change him but keep in mind that all she wants him to do is listen to her, this is a normal perfectly normal relationship to me. That’s why we got the Winn and mo el moment after we had the moment at the end where he learned to listen and no talk. And being from another planet makes all the difference in the world because things just instantly changer for him… Read more »

Drowmonk
Member
Drowmonk

We can quibble about how many episodes he’s had the same issues rehashed with minimal/no progress, but the point is that he’s only NOW starting to be at a minimal level of progression. Mon El is a poorly written character at this point, Chris Wood is doing his best with what he’s given, but the fact is that Mon El as written would be awful even if Morgan Freeman was playing him. I can understand him being written the way he is and then slowly progressing into a decent person, but this is WAY too slow. Compare Mon El to… Read more »

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

You make a good point but based on his character I would have to say the writers are just moving slowly because hes a huge arc for this season which will start to be reintroduce in episode 16 and going forward so I can understand stand your frustration. And you trying to compare season 1 Winn to mo el makes no sense because he did something he shouldn’t have and the episode thing will matter because it’s not until mo el had feeling for kara he should have start listening to het. FYI that Winn thing lasted for 1 epiosode… Read more »

Drowmonk
Member
Drowmonk

“It’s not until he had feelings for Kara that he should have started listening to her.” Really? So you mean when he kissed her while he was dying of Medusa? That was episode 8. Again, we can quibble about how many episodes he’s been not progressing. The point is that he has not progressed (much if at all) and that’s a issue. “FYI that Winn thing lasted for 1 episode ONLY so it was completely pointless to bring that up.” No. It was introduced in episode 1 of Supergirl, he was clearly pining for her the whole time since then,… Read more »

DJ Shiva
Guest

The problem with the “slow arc” excuse is the damage it does in the meantime. Young women watch this show. Telling them that “if he disregards your express wishes and stated boundaries, it’s totally okay as long as he apologizes and hugs you while you cry” is further cementing the idea that women should put up with anything just to land that cute guy. And it’s bullshit. It’s also the basis for some potential abuse down the road. What we are seeing is “Daxom” being used as an excuse for “entitled shitbag” and for every step his character takes forward,… Read more »

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

OK you can made the point of young woman watching the show and how the show is showing them the behavior is okay it’s not the news if your parents did not teach your what you see on TV is not real I’m sorry, and stop trying to ignore the him growing up on Daxame thing because it matters on a planet were if a women whishes to please a man the man must do it, imagine if you grew up in a country were the people did things like that then moved somewhere else were they don’t he did… Read more »

XanDany
Member
XanDany

You can’t, on one hand, say it’s a normal relationship (like you did in a reply to me) and argue the “what if you lived in a country like that” and then turn around and say it’s not real life and that “its just a show.” You completely invalidate your argument.

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

I only said that because what that person said in his comment

XanDany
Member
XanDany

That….doesn’t make any sense. It’s clear we aren’t going to change each other’s minds. But you are also the only person in this comments section who thinks Mon El’s story with Kara is good, and I don’t think you will change anyone’s mind with your arguments.

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

I don’t want to change minds my main point is I personally understand why their moving so slow with his character development. However I think it’s over if not it’s just going to end at the end of the season

DJ Shiva
Guest

“it’s not the news if your parents did not teach your what you see on TV is not real I’m sorry”

We consume media from our positions in reality, surrounded by TONS of “real life” examples pushing young women to cater to men regardless of bad or abusive behavior.

Fictional media both reflects AND INFLUENCES “real life”. To act as if it doesn’t is foolish and you’re showing your lack of understanding of how popular culture works.

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

OK I ACCEPT what your saying. Belive me I’m not lying I know one to many families were the wife caters to a man and I hate it and I know we’re your anger with the episode is coming from. All I’m trying to get across to you is you should not join a chat room about a sifi show with talk like that because that’s not what the show is trying to tell us I am not saying you should not view it like that yes young woman might watch the show but let’s remember the type of show… Read more »

Drowmonk
Member
Drowmonk

This is a discussion thread on a site that has a analytical lean to it, we will talk about the greater cultural impact of media from time to time. Also we do remember what type of show it is, and what audience it is for. It’s a superhero/scifi show aimed at teens/young adults (in particular at young women in those demographics). So yes, we will bring up when the messages the show may be unintentionally telling are harmful to that demographic. I’m not trying to be harsh here, tone of voice is hard to convey in text. I’m just trying… Read more »

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

Yes you are right my apologies the that comment

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

OK I looked at at it from your perspective and decided your right. I still trust the writers and it will be pushed in a more positive direction you might agree with

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

Just so you know, I have a mostly complete list of the times Mon El has failed to listen to Kara posted below. It started as a recurring pattern in Ep 9, and he started as a recurring character in Ep 3, so that’s half of his in-season arc (6/12 episodes), with NO lasting or significant change in behavior.

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

OK we can start the form but are you able to invite me to it

Em
Guest
Em

I haven’t watched this episode yet, and honestly I think I’m not going to watch until Mon-el isn’t on the show anymore. Maybe I’ll tune in for the Lena episodes and the musical crossover, but at this point even that’s a maybe. Also I think a lot of people have talked about how the season has just been all over the place, and holy crap that’s true!!! I watched a bunch of season 1 episodes last weekend and not only did the narrative seem tight in comparison the DEO seemed like sort of crack military organization in comparison to this… Read more »

Kylie
Admin

It’s funny because last season definitely had growing pains in places, but it is so much tighter. What’s frustrating is that when this show is good this season, it’s GOOD (*cough* Lena episodes *cough*), but whatever momentum the beginning set up is just gone.

Maggie just wanders her ass into the DEO whenever she wants too, lol

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

Maggie going into the DEO like she does can be a problem but they did it with Winn and James also in S1 they probably just have unlimited access I mean I can live with that

Bo
Member

Yeah, season 1 was definitely stronger as a whole than season 2 has been. Season 2 has had moments of excellence, but the quality is all over the place and features lows much worse than season 1.

I worry that the move to CW has ruined the show.

Em
Guest
Em

It’s funny because my biggest worry about them moving to the CW was that it was going to have a much darker tone, since the CW seems to really love having heroes obsessed with battling the darkness inside of them (whatever the hell that means). It never occurred to me that they could end with something like this whole mon-el plotline just because of how female driven the show was.

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

Last season did have a much tighter focus, though it was weaker in other places. Centering season 1 on CatCO, with the DEO being more of a side plot, helped keep the plot centered for the most part. Focusing on the DEO instead this season dropped the focus ball. I think in large part because it required shoehorning in two characters/sub plots—Mon El and the Guardian—that did not easily fit into the DEO as the main locus of action. And you’re absolutely right, the DEO has been lax, especially in allowing civilians in and out. Remember when Kara got in… Read more »

Em
Guest
Em

Also the fact that apparently everyone at the DEO knows Kara’s identity. Correct me if I’m wrong but at least last season they did seem to put some effort into having Kara simply be supergirl at the DEO unless she was interacting with just Alex and J’onn. Like if I remember correctly she was only ever in her uniform at the base and they were definitely times were they would make a point of the fact that she was calling Alex agent Danvers. It wasn’t perfect obviously because near the end of the season Winn and James were there way… Read more »

Silverbow
Guest
Silverbow

God bless you for this review. It has everything I need.

Red
Guest

Ugh, the game of idiot ball was strong in this episode. I have so many issues with this episode I’m just…not even gonna get into it, I’m tired and drunk and can’t articulate my thoughts as well as I want to right now. I will say this, though: When I heard that The CW was picking up Supergirl for season 2 my gut reaction was “Oh no.” I had a very strong feeling it was going to become “Arrow but with ALIENS!!” the minute the CW got ahold of it. I really wanted to be wrong, I wanted to give… Read more »

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

Right? We’ve got a Cat Grant mention or two, but no Lucy Lane, no Maxwell Lord. Heck, they haven’t even mentioned Non, who survived his fight with Kara. I get him being locked up in top security prison or whatever, but he should at least be mentioned? Kara could have brought him up with Lena, or even with Mon El, or James or…anyone really. So many S1 characters just dropped with no explanation. I’d like Lucy back, too. Maybe she’d give James a dressing down for not taking advantage of the opportunity he had to run CatCo and choosing to… Read more »

Red
Guest

I’d even prefer Maxwell Lord being in this season over Mon-El honestly—even though I really disliked him in season 1, season 2 is making me nostalgic for him. I mean at least the narrative acknowledged that he was a shitbag—a shitbag with a solid backstory and even relatively reasonable motivations, and an important role in the narrative as an antihero/sometimes-antagonist who occasionally forms an uneasy alliance with the heroes but still a shitbag. We weren’t SUPPOSED to approve of him (most of the time) or root for him to “win” Alex’s or Kara’s affections or trust or whatever. He wasn’t… Read more »

JoPayne
Member
JoPayne

I believe that at some point in an earlier episode they said that Lucy was at the DEO bunker out in the desert, and that for (reasons) she couldn’t leave. It was weak, and OMG SHE WOULD BE 1000x BETTER THAN MON-EL, but at least they did offer some explanation for her disappearance.

In fact, having Lucy show up with a Phantom Zone projector, zap M-E into it, then say, “Problem solved” would be one of the finest possible moments of the season.

snishy
Guest
snishy

I’m going to print this review out and frame it on my living room wall. Jokes aside, this episode was disappointing. And what made it doubly disappointing is that it was supposed to be a Danvers family episode. What we got instead was plot canyons (we’re way past plot holes) and government agents being very dumb to service Bland (I think my favorite insulting nickname has to be Mongrel-Eel). Sure, I wasn’t expecting it to be a 100% joyous family reunion episode; we all knew something was going to go wrong. But how it played out was so damn frustrating.… Read more »

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

OK I can agree with you on the way the DEO instantly trusted him might have been wrong but the point was to create conflict against mo el which is why the writers made mo el did what he did in the first part of the episode which obviously we knew was pointless but they did it so we can create conflict against mo el inorder for Alax and kara father to tell him off

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

I’m a bit confused by your argument here. Mon El telling the DEO that he and Kara were dating had no bearing on Jeremiah confronting him after dinner. Jeremiah wasn’t even in the DEO when that happened; Kara and J’onn hadn’t rescued him yet. Jeremiah confronts Mon El because of his behavior at dinner. Jeremiah may not have known that Kara has politely asked Mon El to refrain from questioning Jeremiah and to get to know him prior to dinner. However, Mon El was rude to Jeremiah at dinner, and Jeremiah caught the tail end of Kara confronting Mon El… Read more »

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

I’m typing on my phone so I might mix up some of my points☹️. but I was trying to say they used the first time of mon el not listening to kara in the take they had before Jeremiah came in the room so they could have used the baseball reference which kara explained to him she nor baseball they are in a relationship 3 sticks does not mean we break up I just want you to respect my opinions.

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

Do you mean that the writers contrived a needless disagreement between Kara and Mon El so that Jeremiah could then confront him?

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

Yea they kind of did, because they wanted to introduce Mon el secret because I know some info on the episodes to come and that augment made it possible for kara father to confront mon el. ( It was a stay out of my way type of situation because kara would not like to find out. This is also were the first part of the episode comes into play because if Mon el did not take about the relationship he would not have been at the dinner and the writers could not intriduce the secret. I learned to truly understand… Read more »

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

The game of idiot ball this episode was pretty strong. I do give Alex the benefit of the doubt more so than other reviewers have that I’ve seen. She’s doesn’t handle either anger or vulnerability well (which is why she snapped at Kara). While normally skeptical, Alex’s one weakness in that regard is her family. She will absolutely stand by and defend any member of her family against all comers. Kara under Red K, J’onn imprisoned. She sticks by them no matter what. And just look at how she responded to Lord going after Kara in S1. Her father, who… Read more »

Ian
Member

Maybe not relevant, but I was recently re-reading an older DC comic event (Sinestro Corps War) and they had this Daxamite Green Lantern. I didn’t know the character or his race, so when he was acting like an entitled douchecanoe, I thought “who is this, Mon El?” Then they outed him as a Daxamite later on and I was thinking ok, I guess all Daxamites are just dicks?

So maybe this is a DC comics thing that Daxamites just suck, I dunno.

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

If they mad Mon El an unrepentant dick, that might work for me better than characters saying he’s ‘changed’ when his actions prove otherwise.

His arc seems to be “dick learns to be decent”, but they’re barely skating by with that. There’s little evidence for change other than that he learned to drink club soda and have casual sex anymore. The core aspects of his personality flaws (entitlement, unwanted protectiveness, not listening to or respecting Kara) have not changed.

Ian
Member

No argument here. I literally boo at the TV whenever they kiss (which bothers my wife). Being an asshole and saying “deal with it” would be infinitely better.

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

As weird as it sounds to say “being an asshole and saying ‘deal with it’ would be infinitely better”, I agree with you.

Ackeen Henry
Member
Ackeen Henry

I looked into it your points are correct. But I won’t give up on the show yet

SuperYakGirl94
Guest
SuperYakGirl94

I’ve actually heard that Mon-El was actually a decent stand-up guy in the comics, and not an entitled jerk like this version. I don’t know though, I’m not much of a DC comics reader.

Patricia Daniela Manchisi Delg
Guest
Patricia Daniela Manchisi Delg

There’s one thing I simply cannot wrap my head around: why were Alex, Kara and Eliza moping alone at the end of that episode?? I mean, don’t get me wrong, the Sanvers scene was lovely, but– they all went through a truly awful thing that affected the three of them, as a family, and they just… broke ranks? What happened to the Danvers togetherness that was so amazing in S1??? They should be together now more than ever!

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

We didn’t even get to SEE Eliza, did we??

Drowmonk
Member
Drowmonk

Alex goes to her in the DEO after they fail to bring Jeremiah back. After that no, we don’t see her.

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

Grrrr. Now I’m even more frustrated with that final scene.

Patricia Daniela Manchisi Delg
Guest
Patricia Daniela Manchisi Delg

Not even a single pan to her face after all the sh*t went down!!! It made 0 sense.

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

Hey all! If anyone is interesting in a further discussion on the narrative structure or how/why the plot did or didn’t work for you this episode, head over to the forum: https://www.thefandomentals.com/forums/topic/homecoming-narrative-discussion/

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[…] Homecoming Highlights This Season’s Pacing Issues – February 28, 2017 […]

Television

Honest Conversations and Unfortunate Insensitivity on Cloak and Dagger

Bo

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Content Warning: This review discusses suicidal ideation and attempted suicide, as depicted on the show. 

Last week’s episode of Cloak and Dagger ended with Tyrone and Tandy together and finally ready to discuss why exactly they have new superpowers insistent on bringing the two of them together.  Both their lives have been tossed upside down, and the only consistent thing in the tragedies of both their lives is each other. Maybe it’s time to sit down and talk about it? That’s exactly what “Call/Response” did this week. Unfortunately, to mixed results.

cloak and dagger church

Time to Talk

“Call/Response” continued Cloak and Dagger’s attempts at interesting episode structure by weaving together forward plot momentum in and out of the previously mentioned conversation between its heroes. This conversation lasted through the entire episode as Tandy and Tyrone hashed out what their powers are, what they do, how they experience them, and what their dreams from last week meant for each of them. These two had a lot to talk about.

For a good 90% of this conversation, I liked the direction of it. The honest and open-ended nature was refreshing. For the first time since they acquired their new powers, they held nothing back regarding what had changed, what they were going through, and how it affected them.

It moved both characters appreciatively forward. Even better, you could see how the conversation positively affected both in the scenes from the next day, when both acted on everything they discussed. Cloak and Dagger thus did a good job timing subjects of conversation with next-day action. Like you’d expect, these scenes were not exactly subtle about it, but so long as the point is made what does that matter?

Through their conversation, Tyrone and Tandy finally started acting against their instincts. They challenged their perceptions of the world. Tandy made an honest effort to learn about her mother’s boyfriend Greg and found out he was genuinely interested in her mother and trying to help. She made an effort to embrace the hope she always rejected before. Her experiences have shaped her towards cynicism in everything. Life is a giant scam where everyone uses everyone else to get ahead, and you see this in her own method of making money. For her to open her mind to the possibility of Greg proving her wrong was a significant step forward.

Tyrone faced his own challenged perceptions, naturally based around his brother’s murder and murderer. He considered Tandy’s argument about his place in the world and where his privilege truly stands, as well as the destructive path his actions led him down. The failed trip to the police station was one important step, but the truly important moment was his field trip with his father to Otis’s old Mardi Gras Indians stomping ground.

(By the way, add another cool twist on New Orleans culture to Cloak and Dagger’s credit.)

Through this trip, Tyrone found new perspective on his father and brother, as well as his own anger. His father stressed the importance of finding a channel for his anger. And he might have found his way via the suits the Mardi Gras Indians create, and the taking on of his brother’s unfinished suit. Tyrone needs this outlet and focus for his anger. He struggled with it throughout the first three episodes, even to the point of trying to shoot Detective Connors.

Even better, all this character development provided the biggest plot movement yet.  Tandy’s determination to get along with Greg led to direct involvement in the Roxxon lawsuit he represented her mother in. It also led to Roxxon killing Greg for presumably getting too close. There should be no escaping the consequences of Greg’s death. Tandy’s mother will suffer. Who knows whether her determination to take the corporation down will wax or wane. Tandy herself visited the burned office to retrieve documents from Greg’s safe, so she certainly won’t let this go.

Tyrone’s plot movement was not so direct, but still meant something. He learned of his brother’s training to be a “Spy Boy” for the Redhawks, a role in Mardi Gras parades involving moving ahead of the Big Chief but was described in this episode as someone responsible for scouting the unknown to seek oncoming trouble. The unfinished suit Tyrone adopted also largely resembles the signature look of Cloak in the comics.

And of course now you also have to wonder if Roxxon will involve themselves with the Redhawks.

There was definitely a lot of good content in this episode. At this point Cloak and Dagger is close to establishing a base quality that this episode certainly matched. Unfortunately, the end of the episode left a real sour taste in my mouth. One reason due to plot, and another for some poor handling of a very sensitive subject.

Insensitivity and Stalling

You saw the content warning, so let’s dive right in. The episode-long conversation between Tandy and Tyrone breaks down at the very end, when conversations about privilege turn into insults and eventually lead to Tandy admitting to suicidal thoughts. In his anger, Tyrone tells her that if she wants to die so badly, she should just do it.

The next day, in the aftermath of Greg’s murder, Tandy restrains her hands and feet and jumps into the ocean, clearly planning on killing herself. She eventually resurfaces when her powers trigger and she cuts the ropes binding her hands.

I will say this: my final judgment will depend on how this is handled moving forward. Right now it feels like a really cheap use of suicide. There are some things you must always take care to portray responsibly when telling your story, and this did not feel like a particularly responsible way to handle Tandy’s thoughts of ending her life. I worry this was nothing more than an attempt to end the episode with high drama, and that the distasteful implications are unrecognized.

Now, we do need to see where it goes from here. If Tyrone recognizes the terribleness of what he said and apologizes for it, and there’s a genuine effort to understand the mistake he made, this can pass by without issue. And it’s not like the idea that Tandy might have suicidal thoughts came from nowhere. Considering her immense survivor’s guilt and lack of connection, I can certainly understand how thoughts of suicide enter her mind. Thing is, I don’t think you can just throw it out there, have a main character yell at her to just go ahead and kill herself, have said character try, and then move on from it. It all happened so quick and dirty that I can’t help but feel like it may have just been there for drama.

I hope it’s needless to say that using suicide just for drama is an awful idea.

Cloak and Dagger needs to follow up respectfully on Tandy’s attempt. Suicidal tendencies are a serious concern that must be handled delicately and with a purpose. And unfortunately, this is an easy fallback too many shows rely on without the proper care needed. I hope Cloak and Dagger doesn’t.

My second, lesser, and plot-related concern is the argument that led to Tyrone’s insensitive words. Namely that, to me, it came completely out of nowhere. The two of them spent the entire episode having  a calm, respectful discussion. Even sensitive subjects between the two caused little drama. Then all of a sudden a piece of genuine advice blows it all up and leads to an unnatural argument over privilege. Which leads to Tandy mentioning her suicidal thoughts and Tyrone’s comment.

This development renewed my worry from last week over these two being kept apart too long. It seems clear that the real, ground-shaking forward movement on Cloak and Dagger won’t take place until Tandy and Tyrone unite. “Call/Response” spent 90% of its runtime heading in this direction. Then it all fell apart.

I certainly understand how a conversation over privilege could lead to heated tensions, especially with backgrounds like Tandy and Tyrone have. Still, this felt so artificial. It almost felt like Cloak and Dagger attempting a superficial, ham-fisted discussion of privilege without any real meat. The main goal seems to be keeping the two main characters apart. It’s the absolute worst attempt the show has made regarding the privilege debate. Scenes like Tyrone walking into the police station and looking around, only to find a sea of white faces, speak volumes more than this conversation did.

While we’re certainly not back where we were at the end of the second episode, we’re a little too close for comfort. Both characters seem like they will tackle the plot alone. And you know they will tackle it ineffectively. The whole idea (at least to me) is that they won’t truly make progress until they team up. I’m also reaching a point where I will start to distrust the moments where they appear ready to team up if this goes on for too long.

In one moment, they undid a great deal of the work the 40 minutes before hand strove hard for.

I’m all for character development, but here’s hoping Cloak and Dagger avoids this mistake in the future. And here’s hoping Tandy’s suicide ends up as more than a way to create drama feeding this mistake.

Other Thoughts:

  • I was delighted when Greg turned out to be a good guy. Damn shame they killed him in the same episode he turned out as such.
  • Tandy’s mother is seriously tragic. I worry we’re heading in a self-harm direction with her as well.
  • I also loved learning more about Tyrone’s father, Otis. He seems to harbor a lot of the same barely repressed anger that his son does. I hope we get more of him and his history with the Redhawks.
  • Roxxon is still paying for the rights to the plot of ocean with the collapsed rig. This suggests to me that whatever gave Tyrone and Tandy powers still slumbers beneath the water.
  • Sometimes Tandy and Tyrone have some really good banter…and then sometimes I wonder how it can be so off.

Images Courtesy of Freeform

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The Expanse Wanders Among The Wreckage

Barbara

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The Expanse is on its penultimate week, and with an episode called “Fallen World,” showed us the aftermath of a disaster.

Recap

When the episode starts, Holden is unconscious, so Bobbie picks him up and they head towards their shuttle. However, she realizes the speed limit might have decreased after her commanding officer threw the grenade last episode, and tests it. Turns out she is right. They get out and stabilize Holden. However, many Martians and Earthers are both dead on their ship, as the quick deceleration was a massive shock.

Naomi survived, but her skiff is no longer able to move, so she abandons it and steps into space. Drummer and her first officer are both pinned by heavy machinery, and have to cooperate to get out of the situation. Anna wakes up and goes through her ship, watching the scores of dead people. Those who are bleeding severely are lost as well, since in zero gravity, there is apparently no way for the blood to drain. One would expect they’d have some sort of vacuum pumps for that, being a space-faring civilization, but whatever. Anna is horrified and offers her help, being a trained nurse.

Holden’s brain scans show frenetic activity, but he’s not waking up. A MCRN soldiers feels like Bobbie is more loyal to him than to them, and suggests she kills him, because dying might be the best fate for him right now.

Drummer and her first have now gotten to the point of sharing life stories and singing together, since they are out of viable solutions for their situation.

When Clarissa wakes up, she think she successfully killed Tilly. But as Anna is helping fix her broken arm, Tilly contacts Anna on her hand terminal. Anna goes to find her, and Tilly tells her what happened before she dies. Clarissa, meanwhile, escapes the ship just as Anna catches up with her. She is left screaming that, “she cannot escape, only beg for mercy.”

Naomi arrives at the Roci and finds Alex, mostly all right, and Amos, who was hit in the head with a heavy tool and so is less alright. Drummer’s first starts coughing blood from his punctured lungs. For some mysterious reason, Drummer decides that means she should sacrifice herself, even though from what we have heard, doing so gives him a really low chances of survival. Still, she moves the machine back onto herself, freeing him, and he calls for help.

Clarissa reaches the Roci and manages to get inside. Naomi hears the impact and goes to check what is wrong. Clarissa tries to kill her—of course she does—but Anna, who apparently followed Clarissa, saves Naomi.

Drummer’s first, after hearing about the large number of wounded they have, gives the order to spin the drum of the ship, creating artificial gravity. They are unsure it will work, but they manage successfully. The first, who is not the captain, then opens a channel to other ships around them and invites everyone to transport their wounded to their ship.

MCRN seems to have more stupid ideas about how bad it is they are being saved by the “skinners,” apparently a name for the Belters. Bobbie effectively tells him he is an idiot and goes to see Holden, who woke up, and now tells her he had a vision of the end of everything.

Review

Overall, this was another good episode with solid pacing and clear progress forward. But there were still plenty enough things left that bother me.

First and foremost among them would be the storyline happening aboard the Martian shuttle. For one, the MCRN marine was acting completely ridiculous. The Expanse has always had trouble with depicting the less open-minded military types with any nuance, but this might be a new low. In particular, I am talking about handing Bobbie the gun to shoot Holden.

It made no sense at all in context: their orders were to bring Holden in. I don’t expect MCRN tortures their prisoners, so the argument with “might be the best for him” hardly made sense. Most of all, it felt like a test for Bobbie, but if so, it was a test of a kind I’d expect to see in Star Trek Discovery‘s Mirror Universe, not among the Martians. The Expanse show adaptation has always depicted the Martians worse than the books do, and this continues in the same vein. Bobbie is gaining the very uncomfortable overtones of being the “one good apple.”

On the other hand, Bobbie’s own role here was scarcely better, particularly her strange obsession with Holden. She is acting like they became best friends in the first half of this season, which is definitely not something I noticed. No matter how ridiculous the marine’s desire to have Holden shot was, he was perfectly right that it looked like Holden was controlling the protomolecule. We know it was because Miller was controlling it for him, but Bobbie doesn’t.

At the same time, it doesn’t follow she would immediately jump to the conclusion that Holden is a villain. He could be controlled by the protomolecule. In fact, he was, to a degree. Or, he could have simply gone insane. Once again, he had in a way. There are many possible explanations that don’t lead to wanting to have Holden executed, but which at the same time don’t lead to Bobbie insisting to her marine crew that, “Holden wouldn’t do anything wrong.”

It is doubly irritating because this is Holden of all people, everyone’s personal favorite white boy. Of course she would be all up in arms about him. Meanwhile, women of color were in danger or outright killed left and right this episode.

Speaking of which, Drummer. On one hand, when we first saw the situation she was in, I was worried it would develop into a mutual attempt at killing the other and saving themselves. I am truly, deeply grateful it didn’t. And even the idea of her sacrifice could have been a brilliant one, really, in the right circumstances. The way it played out here, however? Just after it is implied her first has a low chances of survival, without any particular indication that she is in serious trouble herself? It just feels very much like, “all right, the brown chick was the captain for a bit too long, time to give it to a white guy.”

The scene between them was acted excellently though, I have to grant them that much. Naomi was very good this episode as well, and were her Rocinante boys.

The one character who continues to be a disappointment is Anna. Her very last intervention was badass to be sure, but it’s not the kind of strength I expect from Anna. She’s not there to beat people over their heads. And until that moment, she was as insufferable as before. The most ridiculous moment was shouting after Clarissa. I understand she was meant to be upset, but it just looked stupid. Tilly repeating Anna was “very good at this,” meaning her pastoral duties, only made me roll my eyes once more. Show, don’t tell, please. At this point, such assertions about Anna are about as convincing as all the characters telling Tyrion he was clever on Game of Thrones.

The season finale next week is a double episode. At this point, I feel like it can go in many different directions, and I am all impatience to see which one it goes for.


All images courtesy of SyFy

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Reverie Sows the Seeds of Doubt

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From NBC

Last week’s episode of Reverie ended on a cliffhanger. Mara realized that she wasn’t actually at her late sister’s house, talking to her late niece (she was actually pretty sure on that last one). This leads to an obvious question: where was Mara, really. Unfortunately for her, she was in the middle of a road, with a car on its way. Before the car runs her over, Mara is saved by a mysterious man who knows her name. Turns out Mara’s savior is Oliver Hill, who claims to be suffering from de-realization as well. Hill has been following Mara, out of supposed worry. Before Oliver was a concerned stalker, he was a founding partner of Onira-Tech. He has something to explain to her, but he needs food first.

From NBC/screenshot

Oliver Hill V. Onira-Tech

Reverie spends about half of the episode providing two arguments for what’s really going on. Oliver argues that Reverie 2.0 is inherently flawed. He claims that he and Mara, being the two people who have spent the most time in Reverie 2.0, will be representative of the general population. In his version, Charlie is Onira-Tech’s unthinking bodyguard who hates Oliver. The medication that Mara has been given is supposedly useless (which is not a great message, especially when paired with Mara’s previous trashing of her meds). Oliver tells Mara not to tell Onira-Tech about their conversation, but that lasts for about 3 minutes. Mara is scared and she needs answers, and she tries to test Oliver’s claims against Onira-Tech’s personnel.

On the other hand, Onira-Tech claims that Oliver Hill was unstable. Charlie claims that Oliver is dangerous. Paul shows Mara Oliver’s brain activity, explaining that he had issues before Reverie 2.0. Alexis tells Mara that her partnership with Oliver was founded in a romantic relationship. That relationship went badly, and Alexis doesn’t want to be defined by that failure, hence his erasure from the company. 

By the end of the episode, Mara agrees with the latter form of events. She seems to be finally persuaded by Alexis’ detailing of her and Oliver’s romantic partnership. However, it’s not clear that the narrative agrees with Mara. Mara doesn’t know where to turn, and Reverie loves drawing tension from that. It thrives off of Mara’s (and the viewer’s) disorientation.

It’s certainly clear that Oliver has other plans, since he offers to buy a Reverie system at the end of the episode.

Episodic Woes

This episode also included a client of the week. Part of the reason the Onira-Tech team started out the episode on edge was a theft within the building. Someone stole a copy of Reverie, and modified it into a form of “Dark Reverie.” The “Dark” version doesn’t have restrictions. Our client of the week, Glenn, is using it to plan a heist. Since last week’s episode involved a bank robber, it’s likely Glenn needed the jailbroken version for the detailed specifications.

Glenn is a man with a stereotypical form of OCD. He avoids daylight, and hates the color blue. In a twist that should not surprise the viewer, Glenn doesn’t want to commit the heist for himself. He’s been watching the single mother and son across the street. The son has a rare disease, and Glenn wants to save his life with a trial drug. Despite mostly living inside, Glenn’s motivation is that he feels like part of the pair’s family. This entire plot feels like a math problem. Sick kid + adult with stereotypical OCD + moral heist = episodic plot.

Glenn offers to sell out “Dark Reverie” sellers and give his system back on one condition: help him do the heist. Mara complies, but Charlie and Monica have other ideas. Instead of letting Glenn steal the medication, they make a deal with the medicine company CEO. The heist goes through, but is spinned as a test of the company’s security system. Glenn gets the meds for the kid, and doesn’t get a felony on his record. Smiles all around.

Conclusion

Reverie‘s season arc plot wildly outstrips its episodic plots. This week’s episodic plot was probably the worst so far. However, the arc’s plot twists easily, without feeling gimmicky.


Images courtesy of NBC

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