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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Supergirl S2E5: Crossfire

Series 2, Episode 5

You know, the episode titles this series are all pretty bland. Come on, guys, put a bit more pizazz into them, won't you? Honestly.

In this week's episode, a group of thieves, armed with alien weapons by Cadmus, execute a series of violent heists, pushing Jimmy into donning a mask and attempting to stop them, with less than optimal results. As Jimmy asks Winn to help him be a superhero, Kara attempts to integrate Mon-El into human society by having him work as an intern at Catco, a job which he doesn't take remotely seriously. After Maggie breaks up with her girlfriend, Alex ends up questioning her own sexuality. Meanwhile, Lena prepares to hold a charity gala, making her a target for the thieves, and the identity of the Cadmus doctor is revealed.

So, the subplot that probably everybody is going to be talking about is Alex doing some soul-searching and eventually coming to the conclusion that she might be a lesbian -- noting that she's never really enjoyed dating or intimacy with men, and had always wondered if there was something wrong with her because of it. As far as coming out subplots go, it's kind of rushed (it really only gets about four short scenes in the entire episode) and it's not exactly the most original in fiction, but it definitely rings pretty true for a lot of gay people, especially those who didn't realise they were gay until they were adults. 

Chyler Leigh's performance really sells it, and Floriana Lima's solid performance as Maggie certainly doesn't hurt either. All in all, it's a pretty sweet subplot, and it paves the way for us to see an Alex/Maggie romance in upcoming episodes.

Kara and Lena, meanwhile, continue to also make googly eyes at each other.

The other big subplots are Jimmy's and Mon-El's. I had kind of expected Jimmy's subplot to be more of a feature in this episode, since the previews very clearly presented this episode as a Jimmy focus episode, but instead, he only gets a few scenes, and the result is that his desire to become a superhero comes kind of out of nowhere. While Jimmy's aversion to sidekickery is pretty firmly established by now, it's a leap to go from that to 'wanting to be a superhero,' and this episode doesn't even try to earn or justify that leap -- instead, it just goes 'yeah, Jimmy wants to be a superhero now,' and expects the audience to nod along.

Instead, the emphasis of the subplot is Jimmy convincing Winn to help him, and Winn kind of caves a bit too easily: He gets two conversations where he's firmly against it, before suddenly deciding he'll help Jimmy at the end. I would have liked the episode to have focused more on Jimmy and to have made this whole subplot feel a lot less abrupt and out of the blue.

Mon-El's subplot, meanwhile, is -- also there? Okay, no, I did actually enjoy Mon-El's subplot, and gives us some of the biggest comedic beats of the episode, both from Mon-El's lackadaisical attitude and from his inability to figure out human society. That having been said, it doesn't really tie into anything -- Jimmy's subplot intersects with the main plot, and Alex's subplot is obviously setting us up for a longer and more involved subplot, but Mon-El's is totally disconnected from everything around it.

Glasses suit Mon-El.

The main plot, meanwhile, revolves around Cadmus arming a band of thieves with alien ray guns, all of which shoot out pretty lights but don't really have any kind of concrete powers or effects other than that. They're ray guns, they shoot rays, and that's basically it. The thieves aren't really this episode's villain, though -- instead, they're just an obstacle, with the episode's real villain being the Cadmus doctor.

The episode gives us a lot more of an insight into her character, as she speaks at length about her belief that Earth is facing an 'alien apocalypse,' and mentions that she is doing what she does for the sake of her children. We also get to find out that she's Lena and Lex's mother (so, presumably L[something] Luthor), creating a pretty solid parallel with how Astra, an older female relative of Kara's, was the villain of the last series. Well, some of it, at least.

As a plot twist, this is actually pretty well set-up, since the Luthor family's distaste for aliens has been established pretty thoroughly in the series so far, with even Lena shown to not be completely above it, and since the episode itself has the Cadmus doctor talking about her daughter and her son.

I honestly can't tell if this party is taking place indoors or outdoors.

It also means we'll probably see a lot more of Lena, which I definitely approve of. This episode also establishes that Lena is something of a risk taker, which I suspect we might see come back to bite her at some point.

All in all, this was an entertaining episode, and it advanced the plot in some pretty important ways, as well as giving us some set-up for what will presumably be key plot points going forward. It was fun, had good pacing, and had some good character moments, but it mostly suffered from trying to do too much in forty minutes. Definitely not the worst case of an over-packed episode, but bad enough to be noticeable.

Next week looks like it's going to be some kind Stephen King esque infection plot, so we'll see how that turns out.

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