With the penultimate episode of season three under our belts, let’s take a look at what exactly when down in last night’s episode “Make it Reign.” Elizabeth is back from her hiatus just in time for things to get extremely messy, and she’s got a few things to say about what went on while she was away as well. We’ll still be keeping it relatively short in anticipation of having much more to say once the season is complete, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have some things to discuss right now!
Well, that was an episode. I (Kori) have resigned myself to just waiting out the season until we can start the next one with a clean slate, but that doesn’t mean I’m exactly excited about it. “Make it Reign” wasn’t a terrible episode by any means, but as far as Supergirl‘s next to last episodes of the season goes, I was underwhelmed. Again, this boils down to pacing. My issues with Alura’s reappearance and Argo City’s survival haven’t gone anywhere, so these elements don’t have near the weight they honestly should have been given. Still, it’s what we have, so let’s look at some positives.
Alex kicked all the ass and took all the names tonight. She’s been somewhat sidelined as far as action goes with having to take care of Ruby while Sam and her Kryptonian alter-ego were under house arrest. This episode is a return to form as she almost single-handedly leads the resistance at the DEO against the Kryptonian Sisterhood of the Creepy Cult Robes. Yeah, no, I’m not letting that name go.
Anyways, Alex and all of her badass glory was a welcome sight, and I honestly forgot how good Chyler Leigh has become at stunt work over three seasons of the show. Four for you, Alex and Chyler. But speaking of the Kryptonians, what exactly do they want?
Well, they want the blood of Purity and Pestilence and Reign so they can make a Worldkiller, end the world, and then essentially turn Earth into New Krypton. If you’re thinking this sounds familiar, that’s because this plot was CliffsNoted from Man of Steel. (Comic spoilers: This is not what the Worldkillers do in the comics, but whatever.)
Back on Argo, Kara and Alura are, can we say low key Kryptonian panicking? Because I think they’re low key Kryptonian panicking. It would be cute if the circumstances weren’t so dire. Oh, sure, they manage to pop out a warning to Winn. And we get to see some of the famous In-Ze strategizing,f which is nice, but I just really wish this was happening after a season of build up.
Look, this entire plot seems like a spaghetti blender of the Supergirl movie and Man of Steel, and slogging through this episode is, well, slogging through this episode. We get to see a grand episode of Alex being all kinds of awesome, from the aforementioned ass-kicking to the science butt-kick she does when they realize Sam and Reign have some kind of horcrux Harry Potter link going on. We also get to see Sam being such a damned good that I almost teared up. Sam is willing to put herself in danger to try and stop or stall the sisterhood, even after she’s just gotten her daughter back. These are some of the most moving moments of the episode, and that’s because Sam’s journey has put in the time and build up to earn the dramatic moments.
Or take M’yrnn and J’onn. This has been built up most of the season, and M’yrnn declaring he’s willing to die protecting his son’s new home? My tears are earned there, thanks to both the terrific acting put in by Lumbly and Harewood this season and the story building up to it.
Alura having a talk with Kara about Mon-El? Not so much, both because Alura coming back has felt rushed and because this Mon-El/Imra/Kara triangle ran its course several episodes ago. What about Alex and Alura finally meeting? I should have been bawling, and I did feel a twinge. Again, it doesn’t feel earned.
Winn feeling guilty because the DEO agent and tech guy, Demos, that he’s butted heads with throughout the season died at the hands of the sisterhood? That feels earned. James trying to talk to him feels earned.
And that’s the frustrating part. You have a mix of earned gut-punch moments and rushed moments that feel manufactured. It’s tonal whiplash, and it’s honestly in pace with the rest of the last half of the season. I’m just ready for this to be over.
At least next episode the Legion is back (yay Brainy!) and we’ll have a final showdown with Reign and the sisterhood. Maybe if we’re lucky, Imra will have run out of patience with her (still?) husband and finally read him for filth. Here’s hoping.
I (Elizabeth) am back after a several week hiatus for school. I haven’t been writing about the show for the past few episodes, but I have been watching it, and I’ve been watching The Discourse as well. I think it’s about time for me to swoop back through the window like Batman and join the argument before the season draws to a close.
First, I want to establish that I generally agree that the pacing of this section of the season is really wonky. This needed to be a much longer arc, filmed on a much more detailed set. I love the idea of Argo City and the potential of it, but the second production hiatus wasn’t enough time to get this concept to the level it needed to be. There’s a lot to like here, and I like Alura as an actual character rather than just a ghost of the past. But this storyline needed more time. Unfortunately I don’t think it was possible to fix this issue with the way the season got split up into three different parts.
I don’t like that Reign was basically eliminated as the villain, and then brought back in a big plot circle that did nothing but drag out the inevitable showdown. In a weird way, the plot actually treads water for a few episodes specifically so Argo City can be integrated; there really isn’t a solid reason other than killing some runtime that Sam and Reign needed to be separated before the final battle. There’s a lot of ways this could have worked better, but again, I’m not really sure how much could be done with all the production issues this season has had.
I feel like, maybe, I’m the kind of person who just wants to be told a story. This season is what it is; the show has many of the fundamental structure problems it’s always had, though there’s hope this will improve now that there’s been a significant change in leadership. I’ve mentioned this before, but I tend not to notice plotholes if I’m sufficiently swept up in the characters or the forward momentum of the plot. There’s precious few moments in Supergirl where I’m not actively engaged in the plot, as I feel the characters do the heavy lifting.
I’m aware the show is not at its best right now, but come at it differently. I’m coming from a position of “this could have been done better,” while most of the discussion I see is far more aggressively negative. Yes, this is an episode review, but honestly I can’t talk about the show without addressing the environment that the meta currently exists in. I’m not particularly interested in the non-canon meta or shipping, nor in picking apart everything the show fails at. As those topics tend to dominate fan discussion, there doesn’t seem to be as much space for people who, like myself, want to talk about what the show has done well.
What kinds of things? Well, the compelling way the show has handled mental illness, PTSD, and trauma this season. Or why it’s so important that Kara’s identity as an alien refugee is not only fore-fronted, but she’s given the opportunity to choose her native culture over her adopted one and that this conflict is actually explored rather than being treated like a foregone conclusion.
Yes, the show is a structural mess and it still has no idea how to pace itself across a 22+ episode arc, but there was a lot of good being done this season despite that. There are some things that this show does, especially with Kara’s trauma, that no other show does better in my opinion. I want to see how the show expands on its strengths after the inevitable soft reboot at the end of this season. After the finale, I want to do some in depth analysis of the season as a whole to focus on these things.
So, I’ve barely talked about the episode at all, but really, I’m holding out for the finale so I can talk about the season in its entirety. This late in the game, I don’t find incremental analysis all that useful. We are down to the wire, and I’ll have far more to say next week once the season is officially finished. See you next Tuesday!