With Elizabeth on vacation, Kori is flying solo this week, and now everyone has already had their first pun. Let’s strap in and take a trip down memory lane!
So this episode is kind of fillery in the sense that Benoist and Leigh were likely off filming the crossover event and we have all the flashbacks. But that’s okay; we’ve wanted more focus on the Danvers Sisters since season two, and so far season three has been giving us this in spades.
We open with Kara driving herself and Alex back to Midvale in J’onn’s sweet, sweet ride. I am envious of that ride. Their trip down is a somber affair. Alex is very freshly single after the end of her relationship with Maggie last episode, and Kara is still trying to find her way back from losing Mon-El. Both sisters are currently experiencing some pretty darned significant heartbreak, and a trip back to “mom” to try and self-care is just what the hero ordered. Eliza welcomes her girls with open arms and a mother’s sympathy, and we’re off to the plot.
First of all, I’d just like to say “holy cow, casting department.” It is creepy how much Izabela Vidovic and Olivia Nikkanen look like a younger Melissa and Chyler respectively. Especially Vidovic. A-plus job, casting department.
In the flashback, we’re now seeing Alex and Kara as teenagers (seriously, can someone please decide what Alex Danvers’ age is supposed to be?). While the sisters are currently the closest sibling bond we will likely ever see on television, they apparently weren’t always that way. We’re treated to an average morning with the sisters, who share a room: we watch them wake up, race to the bathroom and fight over who gets to go first, and then continue to bicker as they go about their day.
Look, these two are being super teenagery here. Kara is still adapting to trying to feel human, we’re post-Jeremiah Danvers at this point, and Alex is still upset at the massive upheaval in her life. She even says as much to Kara in the episode, at her absolute meanest. On Kara’s part, she takes to one-upping Alex in everything at school. But for all that they’re at each other’s throats, they’re still the epitome of teenage siblings, and we see the genesis of their current bond develop.
It really kicks off with Kara’s classmate and probably closest friend, Kenny Li (Ivan Mok). Kenny loves looking at the stars and imagining what’s beyond. He and Kara have “observation nights,” going out to the woods and taking photos. This night, however, Kenny tries to kiss her. Kara quietly freaks out and leaves. It’s understandable; she’s an alien who is still fresh off of losing literally everything, trying to fit in on a new planet and keep a giant secret.
But Kara never gets to apologize, because Kenny is found dead. Kara is, predictably, gutted.
The episode turns into something of a Nancy Drew story with Alex encouraging Kara on her quest for justice. Kara has her powers, the same as Clark, but she’s not used to using them, nearly blasting Alex with her eye lasers at one point. But she can also use them for good, and does so when she finds Kenny’s laptop that he’d hidden in the woods. With Alex, we get glimpses of the pragmatic, very skilled agent to come. She believes Kara that something wasn’t right about Kenny’s death encourages her to search for the truth. And when Kara finds this laptop, Alex also stops her from going straight to the sheriff, because she realizes that they’ve now tampered with evidence and that Kara was the last person to see Kenny alive.
Quick side note, love the reference to Smallville when Kara recruits Clark’s “weird” friend Chloe to help with their tech needs (after all, Kara and Winn have yet to meet).
The plot culminates with Alex confronting the sheriff (David Chisum) by herself, only to realize he’s the killer. He wanted a cut of that sweet, sweet Canadian drug bust money, you see. Kenny had recorded the sheriff in his illegal activities, and, well, the sheriff covered his tracks. Alex stalls long enough for Kara to zero in on her location and find her, saving the day and taking out Kenny’s killer. At the end, Alex is now ostracized from her circle of friends and goes to sit with Kara at lunch.
Kara shows her the final set of photos that Chloe had scrubbed from Kenny’s laptop: they’re of Kara, soaring in the night sky. Kenny knew about Kara’s other identity, had known for some time, and had kept her secret. With this knowledge, and still missing him, Kara tells Alex if Kenny were here right now, she’d kiss him with no hesitation. He knew all of her and liked her for all of it. Made her feel human for probably the first time. Poor Kara and Kenny.
(Also, did anyone else have an overwhelming urge early in the episode to yell at their televisions “They killed Kenny!”? No, just me? Fine.)
In the present, Alex is struggling. A lot. She snaps at Kara and is generally a grump of the highest order. It’s understandable—she’s just lost her fiance, and is facing the daunting task of now going back to National City and her empty apartment.
However, she does begin to feel better. Getting some space, coming home and being around people who love and support her gets her over the hump. She sees Kara looking in the telescope the next morning and apologizes. Kara tells her not to worry about it; it was her turn. They talk about Kenny, and reaffirm their love for one another, realizing they’ll get through this patch like they do everything else. Together.
At the end, Eliza does as mothers do and packs them an overloaded bag with sandwiches and drinks for their trip back to National City. She hugs them both, and they both assure her that they’ll get there. One of my favorite moments is seeing Alex admit that she’s not brave or strong just yet, and Eliza tells her that it’s okay. It’s okay not to be strong all the time and to feel vulnerable. Eliza and Kara aren’t going to judge her for it.
Then in a delightful scene, Alex demands the keys from Kara, saying she’d like to get back home in one piece. Kara tries to argue that the opossum on the way down came out of nowhere (because of course, Kara swerves for woodland creatures). Interestingly, Alex admits she cares about surviving the trip back to National City when previously, she hadn’t minded the thought of getting in an accident on the to Midvale. Some have pointed out their concern over that line, and while it is certainly something to keep an eye on, well… Sometimes when grief is at its freshest and most visceral, it’s hard to care about anything over how badly you’re hurting. (Seriously, though, if you’re struggling in your life and can’t seem to find a way around your pain there are resources available to you.)
Alex already seems to be limping over the worst hump, at least, and she and Kara end the episode singing to the mountains as they drive home.
As I said at the beginning, this was a filler episode, but I didn’t mind. I’m always here for more Danvers sisters, and I love seeing their history fleshed out. We also get to see Eliza being a good mom to both Alex and Kara. She advocates for Alex to lean into her pain, and not run away from it. She also tells Kara that she needs to spend some time to let herself heal from her losses as well.
It’s refreshing to see Eliza, and now Sam, as positive examples of motherhood especially contrasted again Lillian Luthor and Rhea of Daxam. Eliza, especially, is very nurturing and doesn’t advocate running away from, or trying to compartmentalize pain. She reiterates to her girls that it’s okay to hurt, and not be okay. You’re allowed to need time for yourself, but you’re also allowed to let yourself heal as well, and be whole again.
The next episode is set to be a doozy with the return of Mon-El (Chris Wood), or at least someone who looks an awful lot like him. After that we’re headed into the big crossover event, so buckle up everyone!