Supergirl Season 2 Reviews: Episode 22, “Nevertheless, She Persisted”
Well, that’s a wrap for season 2 of Supergirl. It hasn’t even been 24 hours and the post-season depression is already setting in. Let’s just get right to the recapping then, before we start crying again! We miss it already!
We open where we left off last episode, with Supergirl and Superman duking it out on the Daxamite mothership. Rhea has taken control of Kal with silver kryptonite, which is apparently one of the many forms of kryptonite that rained down on Daxam during Krypton’s destruction. This particular type of kryptonite causes powerful hallucinations, and Rhea has somehow used it to make Kal see Kara as General Zod. This wasn’t quite what we were expecting from the early preview material on Zod, but we’ll go with it.
The two most powerful beings on earth proceed to slug it out the way only two Kryptonians can. Kara keeps trying to talk Kal into stopping the fight, like she does, but Kal isn’t capable of listening to reason. Kara takes Kal down with an uppercut that would knock the head off of any other sapient being in the universe. We all suspected that Kara was stronger than Kal. Now we know for sure!
Though she won, the fight took a lot out of Kara. There’s a brief dream sequence where Kara is cuddled up to Mon-El in her apartment, wanting to stay in bed as long as possible. She shows Mon-El the necklace her mother gave her, and explains its significance in a way that reeks of foreshadowing. Dream Mon-El informs her they can’t stay in bed because this is a dream, and we’re suddenly at the Fortress of Solitude!
Kara has flown both Alex and Kal to the Fortress of Solitude despite being barely aware of her surroundings. We’re not sure if Kara had the presence of mind to let Alex grab a snow parka, or if she just has them at the fortress for guests, but Alex is appropriately bundled up. Kal wakes up and is appropriately confused.
Before we learn why Kara took them to the fortress, we check in with Lena Luthor. She’s not doing so great: she downs a tumbler of hard liquor and smacks the pieces on her office chessboard around in frustration. Lillian, lurking in doorways like no one else can, reminds Lena that the chess set is a Luthor family heirloom. Lena snarks back that Lillian cares more about the chess set than she does about her. You’re probably not wrong, Lena.
Lena then continues to spit at her mother that what happened was in part Lillian’s fault. Lena’s desperation for motherly approval blinded her to Rhea’s true intentions. Katie McGrath and Brenda Strong continue to build on the complex dynamic they’ve been killing all season. While Lillian is still clearly the villain, there’s a delicate nuance to her relationship with Lena. Is it healthy? God no. Is it compelling? Hell yes.
Lillian apologizes, though you’re never entirely sure how much she means it. There is a twinge of honesty to her words. She admits that Lena’s portal is genius, and that perhaps she’s been backing the wrong child all this time. Lillian pulls out the device that she took from Lex’s vault back in “Luthors”, and reveals that it was a device designed to rid the world of Superman. She also believes it can be modified to save the world from the Daxamites with Lena’s help.
Back at the Fortress, Kara and Kal talk through the fight they had earlier. Kal says that silver kryptonite is “a new one,” which makes you wonder what other terrifying colors of the kryptonite rainbow remain unseen by our heroes. While Kal is talking he gets a lot of heroic trumpets and brass in the soundtrack, which is nicely reminiscent of the original Superman score. Blake Neely has done some phenomenal work with all the DCTV shows, but we personally love Supergirl’s score the best.
Kal tells Kara that she beat him while he was at full strength. Awesome! Kara and Alex tell Kal that they need a new weapon, something comparable in strength to the cannon he destroyed last episode. Kal doesn’t have a new cannon, but he does have some information: the Daxamites have an archaic tradition called Dakam Ore.
But we’ll have to wait a few minutes to find out exactly what that is, because it’s not a season finale without more dramatic tension than you can shake a stick at. The trio flies back to the DEO, where Winn once again falls all over himself at the sight of Superman. His brain short-circuits when Kal remembers his name. We still think Winn has a little crush on him. He literally mouths “I love you” as Kal turns to address Mon-El.
We’d like to take a moment to tell you all that Mon-El calls Kal “Sir,” which is hilarious. He’s her cousin, not her father, bro. Superman tells him that he must be a good guy if Kara is with him. The validity of this statement is… debatable, but we’ve gone over that at great length before. For now, let’s take it at face value as our heroes move to formulate their plan.
Kara tells the group she’s going to challenge Rhea to Dakam Ore. Mon-El obviously objects, but Kara is insistent. She demands that they call Rhea as the Daxamite fleet starts to target the city again. Kara invokes Dakam Ore to Rhea, who accepts the challenge.
When we return from another nail-biting commercial break, we finally find out what this ritual is: a single combat duel. The Daxamite ships power down their weapons, but the fact that Mon-El objected to this makes us think that Rhea isn’t going to fight fair. Mon-El continues to object, citing that the ritual is as old as Daxam’s civilization. He calls the ritual “barbaric,” but we’d like to think two fighters deciding a war is significantly more humane than the alternative. Kara knows this, and tells Mon-El he needs to buck up and be brave for her.
Meanwhile, J’onn is still in a coma, but is able to reach out to M’gann! Oh M’gann, how we’ve missed you! Welcome back! She assures him that everything will be fine. Her psychic connection to him is what finally gets him back on his feet, ready to assist the Superfriends however he can. Winn runs over to him and calls him Papa Bear; it’s officially canon that J’onn is Space Dad.
There’s a huge media circus going on about Kara’s impending duel with Rhea. J’onn tells Kara to go to CatCo to ask Cat to reign in the journalists. Not for censorship, mind you, but because J’onn doesn’t want any civilians to put themselves in danger while trying to watch the battle of the century. Kara agrees and heads to CatCo immediately.
Cat Grant is frantically trying to keep up with the event of the century, but is all flirty smiles the second Clark Kent walks through the door. Kara is irked by this as usual, but hey: it’s not his fault he got all the classic charm.
Cat demands that Clark talk some sense into James, and we learn that Clark is not aware of what his best friend has been doing with his free time. Oh, James. You thought Kara gave you an earful, just wait until Clark gets his mitts on you. Also, we learn that Cat has never seen a Star Wars movie. For shame, Cat! Maybe when this is all over she can marathon them with the Superfriends. We dare to dream.
Kara and Clark trade an exclusive interview with Supergirl for Cat Grant toning down the ‘sensationalist’ tone of her media coverage on the upcoming duel. Cat reluctantly agrees.
It’s been too long since Kara has rushed immediately to Lena’s side, so guess who calls the Supers up for a meeting? Lillian is abrasive as ever, and Lena has had it up to here with her mother, but they keep it civil long enough to explain their last resort plan to the Supers. The device from Lex’s stash was originally intended to fill the atmosphere with kryptonite, making the planet uninhabitable for Kryptonians. Lena, clever girl that she is, believes she can modify it to spread lead through the atmosphere, making the planet uninhabitable for Daxamites.
Okay, we’re gonna stop for a second because sometimes you really pull a muscle while stretching that suspension of disbelief. We’re not usually bothered by deus ex machina solutions if the show is otherwise enjoyable, but this one doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The reason why the kryptonite disperser makes sense is because humans aren’t poisoned by kryptonite. Humans are most definitely poisoned by lead, however, especially when it’s cumulative exposure over time.
So… are the Daxamites so vulnerable to lead an amount that isn’t dangerous to humans can decimate them? If that’s the case, Mon-El should be dead several times over between the bullet to the knee and the amount of lead you find in any human city. Hell, Kara lives in an old building. One that is probably filled with lead paint or even lead pipes.
We’re certainly not the first critics to point out this problem, and we’re guessing we won’t be the only ones either. In fact, one of the few flaws of Supergirl is its over-reliance on simple, single-episode solutions to really complex problems. It’s not that we think the writers aren’t clever: we know they are. The focus of Supergirl is far more on the relationships between the characters rather than science fiction accuracy, which is fine most of the time, but this is a case where it isn’t.
Some explanation for why this isn’t going to poison every human on earth in addition to the Daxamites was needed here. It doesn’t ruin the season, or even the episode, but it was definitely immersion breaking. We wanted just a bit more from them, here.
Moving on! Lena makes sure to specify that “Rhea’s son” would also have to leave earth, and asks Supergirl if she knows that he’s dating Kara Danvers—
Okay wait, we’re gonna stop for another minute. Is Lena just playing the long game here, or does she need to get contacts prescription updated? We’re fully aware of the Glasses Effect. It’s totally true that one change to your face can make you unrecognizable to most people. Elizabeth recently dyed her hair red and gave her general manager a heart attack because he thought a total stranger just waltzed into the keypad-locked office door. People are hilariously change blind from a distance of six to ten feet, is what we’re saying.
But both Kara and Supergirl have stood right in Lena’s face, for several minutes at least each time. We know from 2.19 “Alex” that a significant amount of time has passed over this season. You’d think that Lena would have put two-and-two together by now! Or are we saving this big reveal for season 3? Perhaps it will be a running joke for the rest of the series? Inquiring minds want to know why the smartest woman on planet earth hasn’t noticed that her only two friends in National City are actually the same person.
But we don’t have time to puzzle this one out. Kara has a duel to win. She practices with Kal in the DEO training room to make sure she’s ready for the fight. Kal teaches her a few new tricks which Kara picks up immediately. Kara admits to being terrified of losing: literally everything she loves is on the line here. Kal reminds her that it’s possible to have everything you want, as long as you’re willing to fight for it. He fights with Lois in his heart, and assures Kara that as long as she keeps her loved ones in her heart, she’ll succeed. We certainly hope that Kal is right.
Kara and Mon-El meet Rhea and her general on a rooftop. Kara and Rhea decide the terms of the duel: if Rhea wins, planet earth will surrender. If Kara wins, Rhea will pack up her bags and leave forever. We’re sure Rhea has every intention of honoring this agreement. She’s handled losing so well in the past. She’s such a good sport.
Though Teri Thatcher is in no way equipped for a heavy hand-to-hand combat sequence, the magicians in Supergirl’s editing room manage to splice together this fight well enough to make it feel dynamic. Elizabeth is reminded of the editing magic used to cobble together Liam Neeson’s fight with Christian Bale in Batman Begins.
Of course, Rhea is no match for Supergirl, but Rhea has no intention of fighting fair. The Daxamite fleet attacks anyway, so J’onn and Superman head out to do some damage control while the duel rages on. Alex is left at the helm at the DEO, and Maggie’s got her back. Elizabeth’s heart is gonna explode.
Doubling down on that whole not fighting fair thing, Rhea reveals that she’s been err… infused… with kryptonite. This feels like a little less of a stretch than some of the other reaches this episode. We’ll just assume it’s like radiation. That’s fine. It’s a bit convenient, but we needed something to level the playing field a little bit here—
Okay wait. Why hasn’t it affected Kara before? Why did Rhea wait until now to use it? We know, we know. Dramatic tension. But there’s only so much you can throw stuff in like this before it starts to detract from the story. This needed more setup, or it needed to be something… else. What, exactly, we don’t know. We’re sure we’ll have a dissertation on the topic sometime this summer, though. Something to ponder while waiting out the agonizing months until the season 3 premiere.
Back at Lena’s office, Winn is unsuccessfully trying to convince Lena that he does well under pressure. He jumps at every explosion, but Lena’s got nerves of steel. Lena finishes the device, and Lillian snatches it up. She tries to activate it, but surprise! Lena built in a remote control and gave the detonator to Kara to ensure her mother didn’t do exactly the thing she just attempted to do. God damn, we love this woman.
The entire city is in chaos as the Superfriends fight off the Daxamites. J’onn is cornered by a whole squad of Daxamite soldiers, but guess who flies in to save him? M’gann! Now Kori’s heart is exploding. M’gann has also brought some white martian allies with her, and they utterly decimate the Daxamite ranks.
The battle between Rhea and Kara rages on, and Kara is getting tired… but wait! The music swells and Kara overcomes the kryptonite influence, taking down Rhea with the kind of punch that could shatter a small moon. Of course, Rhea isn’t going to surrender peacefully; Alex tells Kara that the Daxamite fleet is now targeting every school, hospital, and municipal building in National City. Everything will be destroyed and millions of people will die if the Daxamites aren’t stopped immediately.
We knew this moment was coming, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Kara pulls out the detonator. Mon-El nods his head in acceptance. Kara presses the detonator. And the battle is won. The Daxamites immediately flee to their ships to escape the newly toxic environment, except Rhea, who is turned to stone. Kara begs Alex to tell her how to save Mon-El, but it’s hopeless. He only has a few minutes left, so Kara has Alex bring out Kara’s old pod. Before she sends him away, Mon-El promises to be the man Kara believed he could be. Kara gives him her mother’s necklace.
Look, we know that Mon-El is a pretty divisive character. He’s nothing like his comic book counterpart, except maybe in the final hour, and he’s taken far too long to get up to speed this season. But at least he finally got there in the finale. We already knew this was coming a long while back because Kevin Smith let it slip that this romance was doomed to be a tragic one. But his departure is open-ended enough that it leaves the possibility of a return. Either way: Kara is heartbroken, and we’re heartbroken with her.
The battle has been won, but Kara has weathered a devastating loss. Kal has a heart-to-heart with her, and tells her that he couldn’t have made the decision she made to send Mon-El away.
“I’m humbled by you. I’d like to think that if it came down to a choice between Lois and the world… I don’t think I could. You are so much stronger than me. Stronger than I ever will be.” —Kal-El
M’gann briefly catches up J’onn on the Mars situation. Fortunately for her cause, she’s not the only white martian who regrets the past. (And then she and J’onn kiss. We think it’s weird. Kori is having a hard time throwing away years worth of comics canon where M’gann is younger and essentially J’onn’s niece. Different adaptations, different canons. Okay. Fine.)
Back on the balcony, Alex tries her hand at soothing Kara’s pain by reminding her that she will always be there for Kara, just like Kara has always been ride or die for her. She says that Kara telling her that she was proud of her didn’t necessarily make her feel better at the time, but it was something to hold on to. The subtlety of this scene is as exquisite as it is heartwrenching.
Alex offers to stay over with Kara tonight, but Kara declines, telling Alex that she should be with her girlfriend. The world doesn’t stop because of her loss, and Kara wants to see her friends happy with their lovers. Oh, Kara. You are the true paragon of our age.
Kara tells Alex to never let Maggie go before departing. We then see that Maggie was waiting patiently back by the doors, and she comes out to Alex and puts her head on Alex’s shoulder.
If that weren’t enough to kill Elizabeth, Alex decides to take her sister’s words a little more literally than we expected. She asks Maggie to marry her right on the spot.
SO DID SHE SAY YES, SUPERGIRL? YOU CAN’T JUST CUT IT WITH MAGGIE SMILING. WE WANT TO HEAR IT. DON’T DO THAT TO US.
Fine. We’d better get a solid five episodes next season devoted to wedding drama.
Back at CatCo, Kara goes to Cat like she always does when she needs the inspiration to carry on. Cat immediately picks up on Kara’s distress. Kara admits that her relationship has “ended,” and that everyone she knows is in a happy relationship, so she thought she could have that too. You hear that? That’s the sound of our hearts shattering into a million pieces. But of course, Cat Grant gives the greatest advice on planet earth, and this pep talk is no exception.
Cat: Take it from someone who’s been married four times. Well. It would have been five but I turned down Rob Lowe. Twice, actually.
Kara: It feels like this pain isn’t going to go away.
Cat: Yea well, that’s what I said about childbirth. But it did. And it will. Now, see: the thing that makes women strong is that we have the guts to be vulnerable. We have the ability to feel the depths of our emotion, and we know we will walk through it to the other side. And by the way, you have accomplished great things this year! Your articles! “Slaver’s Moon”, “Alien Registry”, “Alien Fight Club”… it’s all very powerful. And your prose… your prose is not bad. I mean it’s not great, but it’s not bad!
Kara: … you read them?
Cat: I did. It’s 2017 and they have wifi in the Himalayan Mountains. But you, my dear, are on a Hero’s Journey. Like Joseph Campbell would say. And yes, you have hit a bit of an obstacle, but you will soar right over it. Just like I would. Except of course you won’t be wearing Louboutins.
The scene closes as Kara overhears an emergency on one of Cat’s many televisions, and after she leaves the room, Cat says to herself:
“Go get ’em, Supergirl.”
As the episode winds down we see Mon-El in his pod and Kara flying through National City, which gives us a second to compose ourselves before the final teaser.
Back when Krypton was going kaboom around 35 years ago, on another part of Krypton a super ominous group of Kryptonians are also hatching a plan to launch a Krypto baby to Earth. We never see the child, all wailing and wrapped in black cloth as it is. One of the Kryptonians places her bloody finger on the baby’s forehead (we assume at any rate) and the infant stops crying. One of the other shadowy figures asks what will happen when the child grows up on Earth, and the shady lady says it will reign. Cut to the cliffhanger.
Thoughts & Feelings
Kori is currently having a conniption fit over the ending cliffhangers. What is that wormhole Mon-El was sucked into? It better freaking be a loop to the future so he can get his Legion of Superheroes on, dammit. And that baby? Like the Gaping Skull Crest isn’t ominous or a clear sign that these are not good guys. For a split second, Kori thought it was the Black Zero cell until her brain caught up with her. Now she’s still stuck on the ceiling and screaming about how that baby had better be the actual Worldkiller herself, Reign.
In all honesty, it would make quite a bit of sense. Reign was a recent addition to the DC Comics canon, created circa 2011-2012 to be a Supergirl specific foe (during the Supergirl run where Kara was a super edgelord and took a shift as a Red Lantern, etc. Eh, it’s not the worst thing to happen to her in comic canon.) Having a mega-powered villain specifically for Kara to fight, one that has a surprising amount of pathos to explore throughout season three to boot, would be delightful and go a long way to silencing comic purists’ complaints about the show only giving Supergirl some of Superman’s leftover villains to fight. Reign would be pure Supergirl mythos, and a legitimate super-powered threat to boot.
Elizabeth is sort of halfway down the post-season depression rabbit hole already, though she did get an epic laugh over Alex’s impulsive proposal. Remember how everyone was saying that the relationship was moving really slowly for a lesbian relationship? Guess we were wrong! Elizabeth can’t wait for all the drama this is going to cause within the Danvers clan. Please, please let the drama stay lighthearted. We don’t need any breakup nonsense. Let this be the one fairytale romance the wlw community never gets outside of their own media. Sanvers seems to be written explicitly as a rebuttal to the Spring Slaughter of 2016, and we hope this continues on into the next season.
And we are getting another season! Thank Rao. Not that it was necessarily up in the air that much, but it’s a relief to not have to sweat it out like we did last year. Supergirl will be back in the fall, and our butts are already in the seats. We can’t wait to see where this series takes us next!
Next time on Supergirl: Season wrap-ups, think-pieces, and analysis! Oh my! Don’t worry everyone, we still have plenty to say about season 2 of our favorite show, we’re just taking some extra time to compare notes and compile our thoughts. What did you think of this season as a whole? Let us know in the comments! Until next time!