Series 2, Episode 15
I saw one news outlet describe this episode as 'not pulling any punches,' I am reminded of how incredibly unusual it is for Americans to actually try their hand at structured criticism of authority figures, and how ugly the reprisal is for anyone in the US who tries, and how, as a result, their bar for what counts as a scathing, hard-hitting critique is ludicrously low.
Because this episode did pull its punches. It pulled its punches a lot. There have been a few political episodes on the CW's stable of DC Comics shows lately, and none of that have had any kind of force behind them. This episode is arguably the best of those political episodes -- it's certainly better than Arrow's middle-of-the-road let's-not-offend-anyone gun legislation episode -- because it does, at least, take a stand, and make entirely clear what that stand is.
In this week's episode, Cadmus begins abducting aliens off the street, growing bolder and more aggressive each time. Alex, still reeling after find out that Jeremiah was working for Cadmus, is desperate to find him and bring him back into the fold. Meanwhile, Kara attempts to convince Snapper to publish a news story about what Cadmus is doing -- only for Snapper to shut her down, owing to her lack of verifiable sources. When Lena locates Cadmus, the team goes to stop them, only to find out that Cadmus' plan, already in motion, is to forcibly deport all the aliens they've captured.
So, good news: The focus has been eased off Mon-El this week, which is great, because the few scenes that he is in are painful. He comes across as so tonedeaf, and so uncaring about Kara's feelings, and that's even more noticeable in an episode which heavily features not only Lena and Kara acting way more like a healthy relationship should work, but also both Maggie and Alex and Winn and Lyra.
(Mon-El really is my biggest bugbear with this series right now.)
|These two are so sweet.|
Instead, the focus is squarely on Alex and Kara, and the conflicts they have between their jobs and their lives outside their jobs.
We'll start with Kara's, which sees her butting head with Snapper, ultimately culminating in her blogging her warning to the people, getting dressed down for not doing things in the proper journalistic way -- that is to say, finding sources, verifying them, and so on, and so forth. Of course, the audience knows that Kara's information is correct, and she herself is a primary source, but Kara can't tell Snapper that.
It makes for a neat little aesop about the role of the media and the importance of accurate reporting -- and given that the episode directly drops in the idea that bad reporting could lead to a fascist taking office, seems to be scolding the US news media somewhat for their role in helping Donald Trump to take power last year, through their willingness to entertain him and his nonsense and their preoccupation with tearing down Clinton.
|These two are not.|
I doubt it'll last. Eventually, Kara will get her job at Catco back -- unless they're using this as an opportunity to cut down on the amount of sets they have to maintain, in which case Kara might just end up becoming a full time blogger.
Alex, meanwhile, has a storyline about her slowly going off the rails because of her fears about Jeremiah -- culminating in J'onn suspending her from active duty, and then her basically immediately going rogue to hunt down Jeremiah and thwart his and Lillian's plans.
Most of that plotline is pretty good, but the ending stretched my suspension of disbelief almost to breaking point. Having nearly killed a prisoner, failed an (admittedly unfair) test of loyalty, and then gone rogue (with a dangerous alien weapon no less), Alex is not fired by the DEO and/or imprisoned, but rather given her job back and put back on active duty.
|That's a really nice jacket, actually.|
I realise J'onn is biased in this regard, but presumably there are rules and regulations, and there must be people he has to answer to. I can't imagine a federal agency just happily handing Alex her job back after she broke about sixteen different rules.
Bad news, however. It looks like next week will not just heavily feature Mon-El, but will actually be a Mon-El focus episode about how he's the prince of Daxam, involving his family coming to -- I don't know, pick him up and take him to wherever the rest of the Daxamites are? It doesn't seem like they're all dead, after all. Either way, it is definitely going to be an incredibly frustrating, infuriating episode, and I am not looking forward to it a single iota.
This one was fine, though. I mean, I guess, at least.