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Supergirl Takes a Tumble in ‘Reign’

Well, it’s finally here. The big Reign reveal with a showdown between the Worldkiller and the Girl of Steel. Let’s get to it.

Recap

I’ll get this out of the way. I’m an emotional wreck. My poor babies don’t deserve this. Sam doesn’t deserve to have that alien Manchurian Candidate mandate activating inside of her and turning her into essentially a walking death machine. Kara certainly didn’t deserve to have the ass whooping of her life. Ouch.

One of the more painful aspects of Reign is that we know Sam is still in there. The warm, loving, caring, kind Samantha Arias isn’t gone, but she’s not exactly in control anymore either. And when something pushes Reign’s buttons, well, Sam’s not in the driver’s seat anymore.

While we open the episode with Reign essentially laser-eying Kryptonian crop circles all over National City, it’s not until that slimeball Morgan Edge makes another murder move that she decides to “rain” down righteous fury.

But let’s backtrack to cover our bases a little.

Kara obviously knows that the symbol is Kryptonian, but thanks to Krypton’s insistence on banning or destroying any form of superstitious material, Alura’s hologram can’t tell her what it means, other than it was from the old, old school matriarchal society that existed on Krypton before the worship of the sun god, Rao, developed. Luckily, there’s another expert on Kryptonian religion around; you might have met him, Thomas Coville (Chad Lowe), in “The Faithful.” Whenever that Kryptonian culture pod was sent, it must have been before the final superstition purge. He tells Kara about an old doomsday prophecy and warns her that the Worldkiller is here. And, hearkening back to his last episode, he tells Kara that stopping the end of the world, defeating the Worldkiller, is her purpose.

Speaking of purpose, wow does Kara get clubbed over the head with that in this episode. Imra (Amy Jackson) and Mon-El tell the Super gang that they’re from the 31st century. After Mon-El wound up there and saw that people needed protecting, he formed the Legion and emulated the group off of the ideals he learned from Kara. Imra seems a little star struck, meeting Kara.

She claims that learning about Kara’s heroism, her compassion, gave Imra her own purpose and it’s why she joined the Legion and led her and Mon-El to their marriage. Oh, Imra. I do adore your fangirling and the starry eyes you’ve got going for Supergirl. On the other hand, Kara’s had enough purpose/this all happened because of you talk for today.

Anyways, their ship was on a mission, and they got blasted 12,000 years into Earth’s past thanks to a wormhole. They’d programmed their ship to keep them in cryo-stasis until it was their time again, but those torpedoes Morgan Edge fired at the shore bank knocked their systems offline. So now at least two of the Legion are awake and stuck in our present day and need the DEO’s help to get back home.

In decidedly non-alien settings, James and Lena finally play off the sparks that have been flying all season. I’ve been on board this ship (GuardianCorp?) since the beginning of the season when we saw a room full of arrogant, rich white dudes trying to talk down to the lone man of color and the only woman.

Finally!

Seeing them essentially circle the wagons for each other, and then begin to work together to keep jerks like Morgan Edge on notice has been delightful. Same as watching them spar together over ideas. Yes, Lena is a successful businesswoman. No, Lena has no experience running a media empire. So they’ve butted heads over her level of involvement, advertorials, and more.

But they’re both uncompromising on integrity and wanting to serve the public. When Morgan Edge framed Lena’s anti-Daxam device on causing the illness of several children, Lena readily agreed with James that she needed to step down from running Catco. Because she was too close to the situation, and it would have damaged Catco’s ability to report to the public. Conflict of interest is a thing, but James still stood beside her when she went to give her press conference, and he still took a bullet for her to save her.

This episode finally breaks the champagne bottle on the ship, as the two have a lovely go at it over what looks to be some high-quality scotch. Also, I’m a sucker for tie-pulling.

Sadly, their newfound physicality is interrupted because remember that bit about Morgan Edge trying to kill the absolute WRONG person? 

Yeah, Reign’s here. Morgan’s about to die. Or, at least he would die, but Supergirl is too pure to let him go that way and confronts Reign head on.

And here we see Kara have her ass handed to her on a silver platter. I know there was quite a bit of debate on this fight, with some commenting that it made no sense for Kara to be beaten this badly. Canonically, while they altered Reign’s background, the Worldkillers are still more powerful than Kara in the comics.

Furthermore, they’re setting Reign up to be Kara’s biggest challenge yet. Her “Doomsday” if you will, though hopefully without the whole killing thing because we just went through that on the big screen with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.

This is a staple of hero series, as the hero progresses in their competence, their villains must also advance in threat level. A superpowered Kryptonian Worldkiller is undoubtedly a massive one up in the antagonist department, as we see when Reign essentially beats the stuffing out of Kara with little effort.

Yes, Kara was unprepared and completely blindsided by this newcomer, and yes, her concentration is completely scattered thanks to the Legion being there. That said, our girl still had her ass kicked 50 ways to Sunday. It’s a visceral image, to watch Kara bleed profusely, unable to even stand on her own by the end.

That’s gonna leave a mark.

I know a few people commented that it was weird that she didn’t just fly away when Reign dropped her off the building. As someone who has, more than once, had her butt handed to her in such a manner, I would like to introduce everyone to the concept of “punch drunk.” You get hit enough, and you don’t think clearly. What’s more, your body hits a limit that it won’t cooperate with you, even if you can still think clearly.

Kara was already unable to stand by the time Reign picked her up and dangled her off the building, and we saw her essentially pass out on the way down. We just need to accept it, our girl lost, and lost hard.

But! We ended on a well-built cliffhanger, wondering about Kara’s fate (she’ll be fine), we’re teased with seeing the Legion unite together to help Kara, and now we get to spend the entire hiatus biting our nails to the nubs worrying about Ruby. Can it be January yet?

Analysis

Holy cheese and crackers what a freaking cliffhanger!

I’ve talked about this several times before with Supergirl, but it bears repeating: it is possible to create a humongous amount of dramatic tension by putting your characters in real danger, without actually killing them off in the process. I know logically that Kara is going to be fine, but I’m still incredibly worried she won’t be. I caught myself holding my breath several times through the end of the episode when I had to gasp for air.

The show also seldom uses graphic violence, at least the kind of violence that is scary or visceral. So when it does use it, it’s incredibly effective. I’m not typically a fan of the Monster Movie Shaky Cam, but this episode used it well in a few places to make Reign seem more frightening. Not that she isn’t incredibly frightening already; the contrast between Sam and Reign is incredible, and watching Sam transform into this season’s Big Bad is as rewarding as it is heartbreaking.

Pictured: Sam, a precious good who does not deserve this.

The fight between Supergirl and Reign was incredible. I know that budget constraints mean that they can’t do these huge punch-out sequences that often, but I love every single one of them, and this one is the best by far. I love when a fight scene is juxtaposed against a cheerful tune, so the section of the fight that tore through the office holiday party was an early gift to me.

It’s rare for Supergirl to be fighting an enemy that is an even match for her, let alone a challenge, at this point in the series. To see Supergirl get her ass kicked was incredibly tense and terrifying; it properly sets the stakes for the second half of the season, and I for one am thrilled that Supergirl is going to face off against a villain that can actually kill her. It might sound weird to phrase it that way, but it’s good to have high stakes, even when your protagonist is practically a God. Alex being scared of Reign just ramps up the stakes even higher, because Alex Danvers isn’t scared of anything (except maybe losing Kara.)

So Supergirl had a pretty bad day, but Kara wasn’t having a much better one. To be fair, everyone involved in this unfortunate love triangle is being an adult about it. What Kara says about it is right on the money: “We’re just three good people stuck in a crappy situation.” I suppose there isn’t an exact real-life equivalent for this since a lot more time has passed for Mon-El than Kara. But it does suck to see someone you’re still in love with move on, especially when you haven’t made a lot of progress on moving on yourself.

There isn’t much else that can be said on that, so let’s move on to the newest ship, Guardian Corp. First off, I was sobbing into my Captain Crunch this morning because Kara finally has best friends. We all know that Lena has never had close friends before, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that Kara had a really hard time relating to her peers as well. Granted it was for completely different reasons, but still. I love that Sam and Kara encouraged Lena to pursue James because God knows the girl could use a win.

I really like Lena and James as a ship. I liked them as friends too, but I like this ship. They compliment each other well, in that James’ Boy Scout attitude tempers Lena’s ruthlessness. They are both people who have an incredibly strong urge to do good but don’t always find the best outlet for doing so. Just one of them at the helm of Catco would be unstoppable (now that James is actually doing his day job again) but both of them could change the world. I eagerly anticipate how this relationship is going to develop further.

J’onn introducing his father M’yrnn to Christmas was a treat. One of my favorite things in media with aliens is the cultural exchange, and Supergirl scratches that itch well. I love how J’onn embraces the cultures of the planet he has come to call home and the family he’s made there. More of this, please.

So that’s it until the new year, everyone. We’ve got several weeks to obsess over where the show is going next, how the team will rally against Reign, and whether or not Kara is ever gonna catch a break this season. See you next year!

Pictured: A Super-pupper in need of a break.


Images courtesy of the CW

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    Part time gamer, full time complainer. Gotta go fast cuz I’ve got ADHD! Nonbinary, they/them. El serves as a Managing Editor for The Fandomentals. You can find them on Twitter.

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