Series 2, Episode 11
The Martian Chronicles.
I'm just going to come out and say it: M'Gann doesn't interest me much as a character. I mean, if you gave me a choice between her or Mon-El leaving, I would definitely have Mon-El leave and never return, but M'Gann is not that much more compelling. It's not for lack of potential, either: Her character has oodles of potential, except the show's writers seem unwilling to explore any of that potential except as a prop for J'onn. All of her storylines revolve around having J'onn come to some kind of realisation, or giving him emotional development, rather than just revolving around her and her struggles.
This episode is no different.
When M'Gann's husband comes to Earth to kill her or take her back to Mars, the DEO goes onto high alert -- and even moreso when the building ends up under lockdown with one of them replaced by a White Martian. With the building set to explode in fifteen minutes, Kara, Alex, Hank, M'Gann, and Winn must find a way to stop the explosion and expose the White Martian infiltrator -- something that becomes all the more difficult when they discover there are two White Martian infiltrators hiding among them.
|Lots of bright red lighting in this episode.|
You know, you could easily get an entire half-series arc, or even a full series, out of a White Martian invasion, which raises the question of why instead we're just kind of getting a single episode to hurriedly wrap up M'Gann's arc in the show, and then put her on a bus (or on a transmat beam, at least). The White Martians have so much potential, and it feels like they're being horribly wasted.
Apart from that, though, this episode is fine. Not fine across the board: The A-Plot, about a White Martian infiltration, is solid, as is the B-Plot, about Kara feeling rejected now that Alex is spending more time with Maggie, but the C-Plot, about Kara pining after Mon-El, is where the story falls down somewhat.
This is partly because Mon-El isn't in the episode that much, but also partly because I just don't buy there being any kind of romantic tension between these two. I just don't. They have all the chemistry of a noble gas and a capybara, and Mon-El is not exactly over-endowed in the personality department even at the best of times. So it kills my suspension of disbelief when the show tries to convince me that Kara secretly has feelings for Mon-El and needs to just take the plunge, because that would be like the show trying to convince me that J'onn has feelings for M'Gann.
|And a lot of purplish lighting?|
Which the show does try to do. It doesn't take, and the episode ends with her leaving, so it never goes anywhere, but it was there long enough for me to have an uncomfortable 'their actors have such a huge age gap' moment, and I am glad that I won't have to endure it any longer. It's also an odd and kind of reductive path to take M'Gann's character down -- again, we hit upon the problem of potential wasted by making her a prop for J'onn. M'Gann's feelings are barely touched upon other than her reassuring J'onn and reciprocating his feelings, and the result is that the problem of her feeling more like a Character Development Device and less an actual character is compounded.
There's nominally a D-Plot in which Kara is worried about Winn and Jimmy and doesn't want them to go out and do Guardian stuff, but it barely factors into the episode. They have one conversation about it, and then when the A-Plot is wrapped up, Kara basically gives Winn the all-clear to do as he likes. That's not really a plot, since nothing actually happens in it -- you could argue that it's tied into the A-Plot, since Kara is moved to change her mind by seeing Winn shut off the nuclear reactor, but she already knew he was at least somewhat good under pressure and very technically proficient. This is not new information for her.
|J'onn about to drop the sick eurodance track of the season.|
The A-Plot does give us some good tension, though, and even a pretty good reveal when we find out that there are two White Martians instead of one. We even get a pretty good fight scene near the end. Like I said, I did enjoy this episode, even if it felt like it had a lot of wasted potential.
Next episode, we have another Smallville-esque will-she-won't-she-turn-evil episode with Lena, and god, I hope she doesn't end up turning evil. Lena is a much more interesting character when she's on Kara's side, and if she turns evil -- or heaven forbid, die -- now it would just feel like the show pruning away characters who Kara has more chemistry with in order to make her romance with Mon-El more viable.