Supergirl Season 2 Reviews: Episode 21, “Resist”
Okay, so we know that almost every week Elizabeth says that this episode was the best episode so far. But this episode was definitely the best episode of the season thus far.
In the past, Supergirl has always been very good at ramping up the tension in the final hour, and on this front, season 2 lives up to the wild roller coaster ride of season 1’s two part finale so far. We’ve got Maggie Sawyer with a shotgun, yet another fantastic Sanvers kiss, lots of Lena Luthor’s rebellious attitude, Rhea flexing her villain muscles, a healthy serving of Lynda Carter, and last but not least… she’s back:
The episode opens with Lena waking up (in a stunning black dress) on the Daxamite ship. Rhea tries to put a little spin on the situation but Lena immediately shuts that nonsense down, despite Rhea’s lavish flattery. Rhea isn’t bothered by Lena’s coldness, however; she’s got Big Plans for Lena and Earth. She’s not going to let Lena’s resistance rain on her big parade. We say this practically every episode Lena appears in, but oh, poor Lena.
The big parade is actually the Daxamite Army beaming down to Earth to start rounding up the humans.They’re met with tough resistance from the NCPD and Elizabeth’s favorite character on the entire damn planet, Maggie Sawyer.
After sending a few Daxamite soldiers to meet their makers via a shotgun almost as big as she is, Maggie calls Alex to tell her there’s a war going on in the middle of downtown National City. The call is cut off and the DEO is plunged into chaos as Daxamite soldiers beam into the headquarters. Alex gives the order to evacuate, calls Kara for backup, and takes out a few enemies with her favorite gun before swan-diving off the balcony like freaking Lara Croft.
Of course, Alex knows that Kara is going to catch her, and she does with only a moment to spare. Rhea has set up a giant projector in the center of the city, where she condescendingly explains that Earth will soon be New Daxam.
We then cut to Mon El giving his mother some much deserved attitude. She explains her plans for Earth, and it predictably involves enslaving the entire human race and anyone else who happens to call Earth home. Apparently, the upper class of Daxam survived the planet’s destruction, and they’re here to impose the same order they used to back home. Bankers and slavers and military strategists, oh my! Mon El warns Rhea that Earth will not simply roll over and surrender like she expects.
She doesn’t seem convinced it will matter, as she’s already moving forward with the Daxamite tradition of arranging a marriage between a member of the royal court and a member of the race of a subjugated planet. Well, we know what she needed Lena for now. And we’re ready to jump through the screen and fight her for it.
Meanwhile, the Superfriends rally their forces at the alien dive bar. James reports that the Daxamites are all over the city, and Kara mentions that she hasn’t been able to get a hold of Kal-El. Alex suggests that he’s already somewhere in the city, busy ruining Daxamites’ days, but it’s definitely out of character for him to not at least do a flyby so everyone knows he’s there. We’re getting a sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs.
But there’s no time to find Superman now: the Superfriends have a city to save. Maggie shows up, thankfully unharmed, and Alex immediately runs over to her. Elizabeth swooned a little. While the Superfriends start to formulate a plan, who should walk into the bar? Lillian Fucking Luthor. She gets exactly the welcome she deserves.
The Superfriends listen to Lillian’s proposal to work together to save both Lena and Mon El, but put their feet down hard about not working with racists. Just in case someone *cough* Kara *cough* is easily swayed by appealing to emotions, Lillian leaves a burner phone with Kara where she can be reached in case the Superfriends change their mind. Kori couldn’t help but cackle at Lillian’s appearance. Somewhere in the back of her genocidal mind, you have to know she’s preening and thinking “finally, my time as come.” Ugh.
Back on the Daxamite flagship, Rhea is hailed by the President of the United States, [Wonder Woman] Olivia Marsdin. She makes sure to emphasize that she only speaks for the United States, not all of earth, but is firm in letting Rhea know that the humans have absolutely no intention of surrendering quietly. In fact, President Marsdin is on her way to National City herself… with Cat Grant in tow.
Watching Calista Flockhart, Lynda Carter, and Teri Thatcher act off of each other is an absolute wonder to behold. If you had told us two years ago we would have these three actors together in a superhero show, absolutely killing it, we’d call you crazy. But it’s not crazy, it’s totally happening. Don’t pinch us: if this is a dream we don’t want to wake up.
To Cat Grant’s surprise, her stellar negotiation skills actually fail her, and Rhea attacks Air Force One with both Cat and the President on board. Air Force One is shredded to pieces, and while Kara is able to get there in time to save Cat… the President is not so lucky.
But wait! She survived the plane crash! President Marsdin emerges from the rubble, in full alien form, to the gobsmacked surprise of both Cat and Kara. The President admits she has some explaining to do. What a laughable understatement that is! (Seriously, the look on Kara’s face is delightful.)
Kara brings the two ladies back to the Supersquad basecamp, where Winn gives Cat a big hug. D’aww. And she remembered his name! D’AWWW. *Ahem* Anyway.The Superfriends explain their affiliation with the DEO, and what the DEO is. Cat is predictably unbothered by this new information, and immediately moves to start poking buttons on the DEO computers before Winn stops her. When Winn asks Cat how she got onto Air Force One, Cat reveals two juicy tidbits of her backstory. 1.) She went to Radcliffe with Olivia Marsdin, and 2.) she was a stoner in college. Supercat fanfic writers, we can’t wait to see what you do with this new information.
The President explains that she too is a refugee of a conquered planet. Kara smartly points out that this is why she was such a staunch supporter of alien amnesty. But hold up a second: the President of the United States has to be a natural born citizen. That means that if anyone else finds out about this, she’ll be impeached. We’re sure we’re not the only viewers who noticed this. Granted, this is not her primary concern right now, but we hope it’s a thread that gets picked up in the future.
The President informs the Superfriends that there is a cannon on the roof of the DEO that is capable of destroying literally anything in the universe. She officially acknowledges that Alex is the acting head of the DEO while J’onn is out of commission, and orders her to get to that cannon and blow up the Daxamite flagship.
Speaking of the flagship; Mon-El and Lena are shuffled into the throne room like a couple of kids getting sent to the principal’s office for fighting. Both of them firmly insist that they have no intention of cooperating, but Rhea has an ace in the hole. She brings up a satellite image of the Lena Luthor Family Children’s Hospital and threatens to destroy it if Lena and Mon-El don’t play along.
It’s a truly twisted thing to use as leverage, but Rhea’s heart is about as black and gnarled as they come, so we aren’t at all surprised she’d stoop that low. We’re also not surprised that it works. Neither Lena or Mon-El are willing to pay that price, so they agree to go through with the marriage.
While the Superfriends gear up for the final battle, Kara and Alex have an argument over the details of the plan. Specifically, the fact that the plan involves blowing up the flagship with Lena and Mon-El still on it. Alex’s hands are bound by the chain of command, and Kara predictably argues that she should disobey a direct order from the president. Kara asks Alex what she would do if Maggie was on board. Alex doesn’t really answer the question, and is deeply torn.
Kara storms out into the alleyway for some air, where she finds Cat perched on an empty oil barrel, stargazing. Cat, of course, knows that there are people who Kara cares about on the ship. Kara has a crisis of faith, saying that her desire to save her loved ones is selfish. Cat Grant gives her a trademark motivational speech, and reminds her that your loved ones are what make life worth living.
“I could conquer the earth at CatCo, or sit twiddling my thumbs in a yurt, but the loneliness was still the same because I was missing… the point. It’s not about what you do. It’s about who you love. And there are two people you loved trapped in an evil spaceship. Wanting to rescue them is not selfish. It’s… it’s everything.”
While we take a moment to stop sobbing over how much we have missed Cat Grant’s inspirational speeches, Kara makes up her mind to go save Mon-El and Lena. Unfortunately, her best option is to go to the devil herself, Lillian Luthor.
Necessity makes strange bedfellows, and Lillian brings Hank Henshaw along for the ride. Lillian reminds the group that Daxamites are weak against lead, so some good old fashioned American firearms are all they need to level the playing field. We admire the writers’ restraint in not making a joke about the 2nd Amendment here. The Superfriends gear up while Alex and Kara make up after their fight. Alex makes Kara promise to get out of the flagship before Alex has to use the cannon, and we’re in tears again.
Kara brings Lillian and Hank to the Fortress of Solitude, which contains a teleportation field originally used to send prisoners directly to the Phantom Zone. How charmingly draconian. Why is there one on Earth? Nevermind, we’ll get back to that in season 3 we hope. Kara asks why Lillian hasn’t revealed her secret identity to Lena. Lillian tells her that when Lena finds out Kara is lying to her, it will utterly destroy Lena. Lillian is certainly giving Rhea a run for her money in the Worst Mother Ever rankings.
On the Daxamite flagship, Mon-El and Lena make sure Rhea knows exactly how much they don’t want to go along with this. Undeterred by angry glares, Rhea begins the wedding ceremony.
Back on Earth, Cat and Winn head to CatCo to set up a live broadcast to stir up resistance against the Daxamites. Cat is disgusted that James has redecorated her office with free weights and *gasp* sports memorabilia. Cat also comments that James should not be MIA during what is probably the biggest news story of the century (until next season, of course). Snaps for Cat for being one of the only people this season who thinks that James should be doing his actual job!
Alex and Maggie break into the DEO, secret agent style. Maggie comments that the two of them first met after the president was first attacked, so them working together for this is like things “coming full circle.” On any other show, we’d be sure this was going to be the episode where Maggie dies because of that line. But this is Supergirl. No dead lesbians on this show, buddy. Just girlfriends kicking ass and saving the world. Together.
Back on the Daxamite mothership, Rhea continues to bloviate through a ridiculously long wedding ceremony. Seriously, lady. You’re in the middle of an invasion. Speed things up a bit before someone can conveniently stop you. Oh, wait…
Cat Grant’s face shows up for a mass broadcast and delivers an inspiring message that calls back to season one’s finale. Her speech has some fairly stark undertones that could easily refer to our current political system in the United States. More over, she talks about unity. Standing up, and fighting back. She also tells Rhea (whom she calls Tiara Lady) that she came to the wrong planet. Rhea reacts as predictably as you’d expect and orders her soldiers to kill Cat Grant.
Cue Kara, Lillian, and Hank continuing their rescue mission. They clear out a round of guards and Lillian actually compliments Kara. She says it’s a shame her politics are so intractable (yay for continuity on Kryptonian rigidity!), and Kara rightfully reminds her that she thought her alien genetics were the problem. Lillian tells her to take the damned compliment. Kara flounces around and calls Hank “R2-D2”, so he confirms the comparison by having an R2 like probe shoot out of his hand and into the ship’s mainframe. Hee.
Mon-El gets into a scuffle with their guard that Lena ends by picking up their fallen gun and point blank shooting them. Lots of callbacks to episode 2 here. Also, Lena is a million percent DONE with everything.
At the DEO, Team Ride or Die have reached the room where the cannon is controlled. Alex begins to boot up the weapon and President Marsdin reminds her that she is expected to fire on the Daxamite ship when the weapon is ready.
On the mothership, Lena hotwires a door to open with her pointy tiara, Mon-el and Kara are finally reunited. As is Lena with her step-mother. This was a gut punch. Lena is absolutely flabbergasted to see Lillian on board an alien ship, working with Supergirl, to save her. Katie McGrath’s face is wonderful in this scene, as we see what is probably the only time in her life that she realizes Lillian does care about her.
Of course, this is where Lillian pulls a Lillian and leaves Kara and Mon-El stranded on the ship to die. Turns out, Kara kinda already foresaw that and had Winn bug Hank and give her a mini teleporter trigger so she could beam them off the ship.
Kara sends Mon-El back, but stays on the ship to give Rhea a chance to surrender gracefully. Oh, Kara. You noble-hearted idiot.
Over at Catco, Winn and Cat are attacked trying to leave the building. James gets his own hero moment when he swings in to save them, also dousing the Daxamite soldiers with lead dust to even up the fight. After the fight, Cat immediately thanks James for the save. When James tries to protest that he’s the Guardian, she comments that she can see his eyes right through the slit in his helmet.
So wait, she knows James is the Guardian, but she’s still buying that Kara and Supergirl are two separate people? Wha?
Kara confronts Rhea, who reveals she killed Lar Gand and then beams up the positron cannon. She can because Alex hesitated just a second too long in firing on the ship that has her sister on board. Whoops.
We end the episode with Rhea taunting Kara before a new figure lands a punch that launches her across the room. When Kara sits back up, we see none other than Superman.
DUN, DUN, DUN!
Thoughts & Feelings
We have to say, we love that Lena has finally hit her breaking point. She is so utterly and indescribably done with everything that’s going on around her. We also love that the show just continually doubles down on Lena being a good guy. It’s not over yet, but we’re so damn close to getting a heroic Luthor. We really hope her writing doesn’t take an abrupt turn towards the evil side of town in the final hour of season 2. Please, let us have this one. She’s fought tooth and nail to be good this entire season, and she deserves to stay good. She also deserves a nap. We’re sure Lena will want to lay down for a straight week after this is all over.
So, Mon El’s gone through some really major character changes, especially across the second half of the season. He’s definitely changed for the better and learned a lot while on earth. It wouldn’t be Supergirl if he didn’t, as the show leans very heavily on themes of self discovery, acceptance, and improvement. He’s not a paragon like Kara, but of course nobody is a paragon like Kara. Not even Kal.
Speaking of: what in Rao’s name does Kal think he’s doing? That was a cruel, cruel cliffhanger to leave the audience on. It’s going to be an excruciatingly long week until the finale.
We’re so thankful that Calista Flockhart came back for the finale this season, because she really is second to none. Just her presence on screen seems to elevate the game of every actor working with her. Both the character and the actor are one of a kind. We miss seeing Cat Grant each week, and this episode is a bitter reminder of what we’ve lost, but we also understand that sometimes things just don’t work out with filming locations and schedules. We’re just grateful to have Cat Grant back, even if it’s only for a few episodes.
As we’ve said in past articles, the season 1 finale of Supergirl set an absurdly high watermark in more ways than one. Thus far, season 2 is living up to that lofty legacy, but we’ll reserve judgement for which finale is the best until after next week. We’ll also have a lot more thoughts and definitely a lot more feelings next week, once we’ve seen the finished season. For all its missteps and wobbles, Supergirl is still one of the best shows on television right now. Unless something really absurd happens, we don’t imagine the finale will change our minds on that.
Next time on Supergirl: the season finale! See you next Tuesday!