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TV Review: Supergirl - Season 2, Episode 7 - "The Darkest Place"

EPISODE 7: THE DARKEST PLACE

SYNOPSIS: Guardian must clear his name after being accused of a murder committed by another vigilante; at the same time, Supergirl comes face to face with Cyborg Superman while on a solo mission to rescue Mon-El, who has been captured by Cadmus.

REVIEW:

Wow! What a difference a few months off can make, huh? One of the things I’ve noticed about this season of SUPERGIRL - and particularly about tonight’s episode - is how balanced the show feels. I’ll admit that perhaps tonight’s adventure  was rather Guardian-centric, though I can’t help but feel like we’ve made a decent amount of headway in other areas as well. For one, let’s talk for a moment about how this was the very first episode in which Mon-El wasn’t an insufferable and irresponsible drag on Kara and her team. I think what we have here is a case where being abducted by Cadmus has served to humble Mon-El , while simultaneously bringing him and Supergirl together. They say that living through dangerous situations can help bring people closer together, and that certainly looks to be the case as it’s clear that, by the end of the episode, Mon-El is clearly falling for Kara.

Surprisingly, I’m cool with this. When Mon-El first appeared on the scene, I was quite underwhelmed by his contribution to the show. Now, after having learned several lessons the hard way, Mon-El’s slow-burn transformation from zero to hero strikes me as genuine and earned. It’s that classic switcheroo, right? The writers take an unlikable character, and through careful planning and a series of life-affirming events, steadily transforms them into someone the audience can feel good about rooting for. Personally, I think those moments inside the Cadmus cage did Mon-El a heap of good. Not only was he able to prove his mettle to Supergirl, he did it selflessly and with a sarcastic dignity, if you will. Granted, I’m not about to give the guy a gold medal for bravery or anything, but he’s certainly earned my optimism and I’m looking forward to seeing how he becomes a real asset to the team as the season continues.

Moving right along, let’s talk about James Olsen for a minutes, and his wondrous combat skills that he appears to have honed in only a matter of days. Okay, so, while I appreciate James and Winn teaming up to fight the good fight, these two have got to get their act together if they’re going to keep at it. First of all, did Winn really splash all of those prisoner files on James’ monitor wall? Winn, buddy, what the hell were you thinking? While I understand that, as an audience, we’re supposed to accept that bystanders are never really paying too much attention to what’s going on around them, even this was a stretch. James’ office is a wide-open space, and plastering intel all over the walls is not going to help you keep your secret, guys. I’m just saying, maybe knock it off with that nasty little habit?

You think I’m nitpicking, don’t you? Perhaps, but c’mon, tell me this stuff doesn’t get under your skin just a bit when you’re watching these shows? I fully support James’ transition from media mogul to super vigilante - I just wish that we could slow it down a little. So far, the only explanation we have for James’ performance as an enforcer is that he’s got a black belt in karate. I don’t know about you, but I kind of want there to be more to it  than that. I understand that Winn is feeding him intel as James dishes out his own brand of high-tech justice, but it wouldn’t hurt to see a training montage or two. I’m just saying, it’s a lot to swallow in such a short period of time. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I think the gradual nature of Mon-El’s journey feels more organic than Jimmy’s. With any luck, the Guardian’s identity will be revealed to Kara in due time, and after she’s done being angry about having been lied to, she can teach James a thing or several about how best to serve the team.

Another interesting element of tonight’s episode was the breakdown of J’onn and M’gann’s trust for one another. Hank’s character has always struck me as being a might unhinged - like at any moment he’s going to transform into his green martian form and commit an act of violence that he won’t be able to come back from. To be fair, J’onn did just find out this episode that the blood of his enemy now courses through his veins. Not only that, but that nasty stuff is doing something rather funky to his perception of the world around him. If you stop and think about it, J’onn has had it pretty rough since the show began back in October of 2015. He’s without a doubt the character that strikes me as the most emotionally complex. Tortured by harsh memories of his late family, J’onn has wanted nothing more than to not feel alone since the moment he assumed Hank Henshaw’s identity.

Then, he found comfort in M’gann - only to have that sensation of trust and friendship ripped away from him at the discovery of M’gann’s white martian heritage. Even if I do find David Harewood’s over-the-top delivery to be a tad laughable at times, it doesn’t stop me from enjoying his performance. Needless to say, I’m interested to see how the blood infection changes J’onn, and whether or not he and M’gann can find a way to place their differences aside - if only for the sake of salvaging the comfort they once found in each others company.

Let’s talk about tonight’s big reveals, shall we? I have this habit of not looking too far ahead when in regards to the spoilers and surprises that this show has to offer. When I write these reviews, I want my viewing experience to be fresh, and as unbiased as possible. For example, I was totally confused when the original Hank Henshaw rolled up into Cadmus and started putting the hurt on Supergirl. At first, I was like, “Okay, so Cadmus managed to salvage what was left of Hank and then used him as a guinea pig for their evil experiments.” It turns out that I was right, but only in-part. In truth, the original Hank Henshaw has been fully converted into a killing machine by the name of Cyborg Superman. For me, diversity has always been a staple of SUPERGIRL, and I’m happy to continue being surprised by the new and exciting roles that they apply to existing characters.

Of course, it’s not a SUPERGIRL review if we don’t talk about Alex and Maggie’s “it’s complicated” relationship status. For me, I really enjoyed the way Alex laid all of her thoughts and emotions out for Maggie to consider. I know that some viewers aren’t enjoying Alex’s transition into being a member of the LGBTQ community, but I sure am. As this sub-plot progresses, we’re being treated to what feels to me like a solid representation of what it’s like to come out. Yes, it’s dramatized, and yes, I do admit that there have been times when I thought that maybe I’d accidentally switched over to the Lifetime channel. Though in my opinion, SUPERGIRL is executing this delicate character development with nothing short of class. I genuinely want Alex and Maggie to end up together ... for a few reasons.

As I’ve said in the past, I think Maggie’s character has done wonders for Alex’s personality and drive on the show. Additionally, I think Leigh and Lima’s on-screen chemistry has without a doubt been a highlight of this season. That being said, I wonder what will happen to them when and if Kate Kane AKA Batwoman makes her way to National City? This might just be wishful thinking, but there have been rumblings of both Barbara Gordon and Kate Kane joining this stellar second season. If that’s the case, Kate’s appearance could serve as a wedge between Alex and Maggie - considering that it is comic book cannon for Sawyer and Kane to end up married to one another. At this point, the last thing I want to see is  Alex and Maggie at odds with one another. That said, should the writers feel the need to create some relationship drama between the two characters, introducing Kate Kane is how you do it.

Ah, we’ve reached the part of our review where I get to gush about the forever-adorable Melissa Benoist. What else is there to say other than that she continues to serve as a beacon of light in the CW’s DC Universe? Benoist has this way about her, doesn’t she? When she’s being sincere, you really feel it. When she’s confused and angry, you’re afraid for her. I really enjoy the way Supergirl is able to pause life for the people around her, and speak to them - from the heart - about what’s causing them pain. It wasn’t long ago that we watched Alex come out to her sister, and after a bit of initial shock, Kara soothed the situation with encouraging words and understanding. Tonight, she got real with J’onn about his feeling for M’gann, and comforted him when he needed it most. It’s moments like these that proves her character is about so much more than punching and taking down alien threats. She’s an outsider who is steadily learning to be part-human, and in her spiritual journey, manages to affect the lives of those around her in mostly positive ways. Hey, it’s not her fault if an alien threat wreaks havoc on National City every now and again. Trust me, she’ll be there to lend her unique talents to that situation as well.  

SCORE:

STINGER: Episode 8: Medusa Eliza (guest star Helen Slater) comes to town to celebrate Thanksgiving with her daughters. Alex (Chyler Leigh) decides it’s time to come out to her mother; Kara (Melisa Benoist) is shocked when Eliza suggests Mon-El (Chris Wood) has feelings for her, and Winn (Jeremy Jordan) and James (Mehcad Brooks) consider telling Kara the truth about the Guardian. Meanwhile, CADMUS unleashes a virus that instantly kills any alien in the vicinity so Kara enlists an unexpected ally – Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath).

Extra Tidbit: Hey, is anyone else wondering what ever became of the whole "the President has glowing eyes" thing? I suppose Linda Carter has a rigorous schedule, but I'd like to see the writers return to that thread at some point in the near future. For now. it's just sort of hanging out there, right? Eh, comics.
Source: joblo.com

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