If you love someone, set them free. If they come back to you, they’re now over a thousand years from the future and married? Well, at least they aren’t programmable sleeper agent babies. Look, Kara and Sam had a rough go of it in “Wake Up,” so let’s dive right in, shall we?
There are three main plots weaving together this week, and I’m going to address them one by one for brevity’s sake. And maybe for some mild ranting.
J’onn and M’yrnn
The last time we saw the J’onzz family together was technically “The Faithful,” but mainly “Far From the Tree.” After journeying to Mars with Kara based on M’gann’s distress call, J’onn found out his father, M’yrnn (Carl Lumbly) was still alive.
In this episode, Alex and Winn push for J’onn to spend more time with M’yrnn who, after being held prisoner by the white Martians for centuries, is struggling to adapt to his new home. J’onn takes M’yrnn outside to a nearby park and introduces him to the joys of coffee, which M’yrnn rightfully delights in. However, there was a giant wasted opportunity to have him mispronounce it as ‘covfefe’, and I am only slightly bitter.
As they walk, M’yrnn spots other older men playing chess in the park, and it reminds him of a similar game of strategy they had on Mars. He tells J’onn they should play, but J’onn is once again checking his smart devices.
M’yrnn finally calls him on it, saying the only one who is a prisoner of the DEO is J’onn. It’s not exactly inaccurate. J’onn has built his life around the DEO ever since Jeremiah’s death/disappearance, and this was after spending centuries on earth as a refugee. His entire adoptive family revolves around the DEO, and he’s made it his mission to keep that place reformed after the horrors Hank Henshaw inflicted on it.
It’s admirable and understandable. But unlike Alex who DOES make time for her family outside of work, J’onn has yet to strike a balance, which M’rynn rightfully points out. Space grandpa also reminds his son that what they have lost is never truly gone for good, also playing up that M’yrnn was the high priest of the green Martian religion. Maybe J’onn is struggling because having his father back is also a fresh reminder of everything else he lost?
J’onn ultimately ends up buying an apartment off the DEO base so the two can spend some actual time together reconnecting. Awww.
Oh, Sam, my precious want-to-do-good baby. You didn’t deserve any of that.
In “Damage,” we last left Sam with the realization that she’d been shot by the crazed mom at the LCorp press conference. Only she was perfectly fine. Hadn’t even felt it! Had a nice little smashed bullet souvenir floating around the fabric of her coat.
This episode we see her testing the limits of her newly discovered invulnerability. Which, like, okay. I get that curiosity, but lady, couldn’t you have tried something small first like a paper cut, and not boiling water? That is terrible scientific method!
Anyways, she is luckily not a partially cooked lobster after her tests and decides to visit her very, very estranged mother. She tells Ruby she’ll be back and goes to meet the lovechild of Lillian Luthor and Katherine Grant. Boy, I’m glad we got to see Eliza last episode, because yikes!
Sam brings herself to knock on Patricia Arias’s (Betty Buckley) door, and I just want to hug her. My baby is too good for this, and it’s a testament to her true character on how she decided not to perpetuate the cycle her mother started with Ruby.
The visit goes about as well as you’d expect, and we find out Patricia pretty much kicked Sam out after she got pregnant. Bad mom! Anyways, Sam leaves and then we have this whole set of occurrences with pods in barns, Sam finding the world’s most trippy glow stick, and then raising what we are told is a sanctuary fortress-like Superman’s and most definitely NOT the grand temple of Proserpexa here to end the world.
Sam is so excited for a brief moment when she’s talking to the shady Kryptonian hologram lady. She honestly thinks she could be a hero like Supergirl, and then like some kind of high tech Manchurian Candidate switch, the bad hologram lady essentially flips a switch and activates Reign. Oh, Sam tries to fight it, and Odette Annable knocks all of her scenes out of the park. Ultimately Reign takes over, and we end with Sam’s eyes glowing red claiming Reign has awakened.
Maybe we can pacify her with some covfefe?
Oh, Kara. You didn’t deserve any of this either. Just when she’s starting to pick herself back up and truly move on, we get a future spaceship and a surprise! Mon-El. The scene where the two see each other again for the first time is wrenching, and Melissa Benoist absolutely kills it. But Mon-El is not well, so they go back to the DEO and the infirmary.
Alex is the best sister ever, like, EVER ever. Even though she’s fresh off of her breakup with Maggie from “Damage” and “Midvale,” she zooms back into the DEO like she’s on fire to go be with her sister. And she’s genuinely happy for Kara that her little sister might have her heartbreak fixed. Alex, I just love you, okay?
Except it’s never that easy, and Kara catches Mon-El sneaking through the DEO trying to get information. So it’s back to the brig for him and a confrontation with Kara where he stone-faces her questioning. It’s hard to watch because it’s obviously hurting him not to be able to tell her, but it hurts Kara more, and she drops the next hot Adele lyric of “Shame on me for having a human heart” as she turns around and leaves Mon-El to be miserable.
Eventually, Mon-El talks Winn into letting him go, and they race back to his spaceship. When Kara confronts them, Mon-El reveals that he was sucked into a wormhole and it spat him out way, way, waaaaaaaaaay into the future. Also, it’s been seven years for him compared to the months it’s been for Kara.
Look, Mon-El. I know you’re trying to be the responsible time traveler dude, but when has withholding vital information “for the greater good” ever actually worked out? Take a page from the Legends and learn from Rip Hunter. He’s now awaiting trial because he’s an ass who routinely betrays everyone for what he thinks is the greater good while not explaining things to them. Take Sara Lance’s words to heart and learn from Hunter how not to be a cold son of a bitch.
Before he can finish explaining, the power to the ship malfunctions and Mon-El can’t reroute the power to all the stasis pods. He becomes desperate as one of his companions begins to drown in her own pod and tries to break the pod. He can’t, it’s made of white star material, but Kara sure can and shoves him away to shatter it.
A woman, Imra Ardeen (Amy Jackson) was in the pod and buckle up, kids, this is going to hurt. I don’t care who you shipped for this show, this part sucks.
Kara and Mon-El are trying to talk after Imra’s rescue, only to be interrupted by Imra running to embrace Mon-El and kiss him. Right in front of Kara. Mon-El then introduces her as his wife. Imra is way excited to meet Kara finally, having obviously heard about her from both Mon-El and the history books, and then thankfully reads the damned room because PAINFUL and then everything is just awful and awkward.
Sam and Kara need a spa day.
However! We do know that Querl Dox is coming right after the hiatus and we’ve been promised that his relationship with Kara is supposed to be fun. In the comics, Querl a.k.a. Brainiac 5 was one of Kara’s canonical love interests, so I’m all for the SuperBrain ship to sail out of the harbor.
So Kara and Sam aren’t having the best day are they? That’s probably the understatement of the year. Or possibly the century.
Before we dive into the return of Mon-El, I want to talk a little about something that Sam’s adoptive mother said to her: “I just wanted you to have a normal life.” This is a recurring theme throughout Supergirl, and I’m glad they come back to this from several different angles. The show often deals with the conflict between what parents think is best for their children, and what actually is best for their children, and how these two things don’t always line up. While Eliza’s and Jeremiah’s best intentions ended up working out quite well for Alex and Kara, it’s good that the show revisits this particular theme in other ways as well.
It’s also interesting that Sam’s origin story, as it were, is following a lot of the usual beats that the traditional Superman origin story follows. The show is long past a Clark Kent origin story, so this is a nice way for the show to have its cake and eat it too. I also think it’s an interesting parallel that both Sam and Clark were far more alone in their journeys of self-discovery, compared to Kara’s upbringing with the Danvers. One of the best ways to write a tragic villain, in my opinion, is to parallel them to a character who didn’t go bad because it emphasizes the importance of personal choice and the tragedy of making the wrong ones.
Also, I like that J’onn’s relationship with his father is somewhat awkward and strained. It’s expected, when you haven’t seen someone in centuries, and I imagine more so when you thought that other person was dead. I don’t like when shows drop threads like this, because it implies that family togetherness is a given: like these relationships don’t require work. Getting to know someone again after not seeing them for a long time can almost feel like meeting someone for the first time, and it takes time to get back into the old rhythm of things. Or into a new rhythm, if the situation calls for it.
That brings us to Mon-El. It seems seven years hasn’t put a damper on his tendency to lie when he really doesn’t need to. Whether it’s out of habit or there’s more than just a wife he’s hiding, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
I’m probably more fair to Mon-El than some other people might be. I actually find elements of his character relatable, as I am not the kind of person where heroism comes naturally. I too need a swift kick in the ass from my betters before doing the right thing sometimes. But I know he’s a divisive character, and his reintroduction to the show is probably not going to do him any favors for those who are still on the fence about him.
I was sort of hoping the reason he was so evasive with Kara was not going to just be “I have a new wife.” I can understand the reluctance he had to tell her that seven years has passed, as that’s a lot to take in right away, but I also don’t really understand why he’s being as evasive as he is. I was sort of waiting on some sort of reveal at the end of the episode about the ship, but we really don’t have a lot of information to go on yet.
I know Kori has far more to say when it comes to speculating on this plot, because she’s the resident comic nerd, but all I have to go on is what’s in the show and what I’ve absorbed via osmosis from Kori and The Fanfinites. And going off of just that, I actually can’t predict how all the threads are going to come together. It’s exciting, but it’s making me nervous, for Kara’s sake.
I’m hoping that the conversation between Mon-El and Kara gets some forward momentum next episode, and I hope that she’s not going to have to go through the Lying Game over and over again. I’m all for giving people second chances, even thirds, but even Mon-El isn’t dense enough to think he’s going to get away with playing his cards close to his chest. This whole Lying Game cycle was one of the primary complaints last season from a large portion of the viewers, and I really hope we aren’t going to be doing that song and dance again.
The last thing I’m gonna comment on is Winn. Winn, buddy, what are you doing? When in the history of your friendship has lying or sneaking around Kara’s back ever worked out for you or anyone else? I’m finding it a little hard to believe that all it took to get Winn to let Mon-El out of his cage was a little puppy eyes from our Prince of Daxam. I know Winn is a bit of a pushover but I really feel like we’ve long passed the point where he should know better. It never works out buddy, if Kara doesn’t kill you, Alex will.
Closing Thoughts: Major shout-out to Melissa Benoist for that monologue tonight. This show has one of the best ensemble casts ever assembled, and every member of it can stand tall on their own.
Next week starts the crossover, and now we have all the context we could possibly need to know why Kara and Alex decided noping off their earth for a few days would be a great idea. See you next Tuesday!