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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Supergirl S2E6: Changing

Series 2, Episode 6

You know, the previews for this episode definitely made it look like a slow, menacing, suspenseful horror story set in an abandoned Arctic science facility. False advertising, perhaps, but I can't bring myself to be all that bothered, since I would have most certainly found a menacing Arctic horror story to be boring as all get out and absolutely intolerable to watch, and because it would have meant basically every other plotline in the show grinding to a halt for a week.

In this week's episode, when an environmentalist scientist named Rudy Jones is possessed by an alien parasite, he goes on a rampage, draining energy from people around him. With Kara unable to get close without him sapping her energy, the pressure mounts on Mon-El and James to step up and be heroes in her stead. Meanwhile, Alex struggles with coming out to Kara, and with Kara's seemingly less than idea reaction to it.

Well, firstly, kudos to the writing staff for how they wrote Alex in this episode, and extra kudos to Chyler Leigh for her acting. Good coming out stories are pretty difficult to find in television, which often insists on portraying any gay or bisexual person -- especially when they're a woman -- as being inherently tragic and tortured. While Alex does have her down moments in this episode (such as when she thinks Kara isn't okay with her being gay, and when Maggie rejects her), the story is overall a positive one, as Alex ends the story with her sister's unconditional acceptance and -- well, I mean, it doesn't take a genius to see that Maggie is going to change her mind.

D'aww, sisters.

My one problem with the storyline was Kara's reaction. For drama's sake, the show initially tries to make it seem like she's not okay with Alex being gay, and while this is later revealed to be a misunderstanding (she's just feeling guilty because she feels she hasn't made it easy for Alex to tell her), it kind of flies in the face of her previous characterisation that there would even be a misunderstanding at all.

Firstly, Kara's not human, and Krypton has never been portrayed as having the same bigotries as Earth -- and unlike Clark, Kara's still very much culturally Kryptonian, so I would have expected to see her approach it as a Kryptonian would and see it as a non-issue, which is to say, not even something Alex would even need to talk about. Secondly, Kara's very empathetic, so it doesn't make much sense that she wouldn't be acutely aware of how her guilt looked to Alex.

A better plotline, I think, would be if Kara was almost too dismissive, if she just went 'pshaw, who cares!' because as far as she's concerned, it really isn't relevant to anything, and if Alex felt a little bit at a loss because, well, she cares, and because it would feel like Kara was diminishing her issues. 

The subplot crew.

Our other two subplots this episode revolve around Mon-El and Jimmy, and I admit, I found both of them just tiring more than anything. 

Jimmy's subplot did yield a nice moment where Winn stands up for himself and effectively yells Jimmy down, reminding him that he's not his assistant, which is always good, but for the most part, I find the whole 'Jimmy becomes the Guardian' plotline to be a little boring and unnecessary at the moment.

Not to mention, Jimmy's whole Guardian persona weirdly reminds me of the Green Arrow. The television version, not the comics version. It's very odd.

Mon-El's subplot, meanwhile, is -- there? I don't know what I'm meant to say about it. It's there. Things happen in it. It eventually comes to some kind of conclusion, and then he gets kidnapped. It's a whole thing, which is to say it's just a whole lot of nothing.

Did Jimmy always have a motorbike? I ...

The main plot, meanwhile, is your standard-issue monster of the week plotline, with the same basic structure as every other monster of the week plotline, which is to say it's basically fine. It's not hugely inspiring, and Jones -- while he gets an interesting design in his big Purple People Eater form -- is not exactly a memorable villain, but it gets the job done, certainly. In a way, that's all you really need from a monster-of-the-week episode, since they tend to function more as delivery systems for the episode's subplots.

All in all, a fun enough episode, but seventy percent of that is probably down to the Alex Danvers coming out plot. Obviously, I'm rooting for her and Maggie to get together, and I'm fairly sure they will, in time. It looks like the next episode is a big, blowout plot episode, with Supergirl finally confronting the Cadmus scientist -- who according to the credits is Lillian Luthor.

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