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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Supergirl S2E17: Distant Sun

Series 2, Episode 17
Distant Sun.

So it seems like 'evil mothers' is going to be the theme of this series, as our main antagonist slots are currently filled with two evil mothers (Lillian Luthor and whatever Mon-El's mother is called), with the possibility of the President, a semi-maternal figure (especially for Kara) as a third. After all, the President has been revealed to be an alien with semi-transparent, stretched thin white skin and sharp teeth, a set of features shared by the White Martians and the Dominators, making it practically the show's shorthand for 'evil aliens.'

Regrettably, this is another Mon-El focused episode. How many of those have we had in a row? It can't be more than three, but it feels like twelve. It just feels like it's been so long. When will I see the light of the sun once again.

This week's episode, now with Kara and Mon-El back together, hope everyone watching also watched The Flash, sees a bounty put on Kara's head. As literally two bounty hunters gun for her, Mon-El comes to suspect his parents of hiring them -- a suspicion that is confirmed when he learns that his mother has become obsessed with killing Kara. Meanwhile, Alex meets Maggie's ex-girlfriend, and learns about Maggie's past.

This subplot is a bit of a problem.

We'll start with the B-plot: It's meant to frame Maggie as someone who hides things from others to stop herself from getting hurt, but it doesn't really work -- because Maggie doesn't come off as cage-y or closed off in this episode, she comes off as manipulative, selectively telling little bits of the truth while lying about other things in order to build a certain narrative, one that not only conceals the fact that she cheated on her ex-girlfriend, but also frames her ex-girlfriend as a terrible person.

That makes this entire episode slightly weird, because it becomes less about Alex helping Maggie be honest, and more about Maggie manipulating Alex into accepting her, and that's really not the theme I want for one of the only lesbian couples on television right now. Do better, Supergirl writers. Do better.

The A-plot, meanwhile, is just kind of a mess. Look, Mon-El is boring. He's so boring. He's just so, so boring, and that's terrible, so having a story that revolves predominantly around his feelings and family drama is just an instant recipe for failure. 

Honestly, I'm with Mon-El's mother on this, Mon-El absolutely should go to another
planet that the CW doesn't have the budget to film.

This story is clearly trying to riff off Romeo and Juliet, giving Mon-El's parents a distinctly Shakespearian feel and going so far as to openly namedrop the play, and it just doesn't work. Quite apart from the fact that Romeo and Juliet is about teenage idiocy, not the great love story the episode wants to frame Kara and Mon-El's relationship as, the comparison also just highlights how poorly constructed Kara and Mon-El's story really is.

The whole bounty hunter plot thread is oddly underutilised, as well. All of two bounty hunters appear, both with laughably ineffectual plans, and then the plot immediately shifts to how Mon-El's mother has some kryptonite sai, which -- actually seem like really ineffective kryptonite weapons? And also not a brilliant elevator pitch for a central conflict?

For all that that is a really, really dire idea for an episode, and for all that I hate anything Daxamite focused -- literally, when the end of the episode revealed this arc wasn't over, I had to pause the video and take a few deep breaths to regain my composure -- there were some nice moments in it. Oddly, all of them come from J'onn. J'onn and Random Telepathic Bounty Hunter having a mental battle could have been ridiculous, as it primarily involved the two of them standing and staring at each other, but Harewood's acting really sold it. Later on, we get a reveal that the Kara fighting Mon-El's mother was actually J'onn, and it actually works as a really good reveal, even giving us a moment of Melissa Benoist doing her best David Harewood impression.


We also briefly got a nice Winn moment with him capturing a bounty hunter by pretending a stapler was a gun. I always like more moments where Winn is being a badass, so I'm completely fine with this.

Also, can we just not have Jimmy becoming Guardian anymore? It doesn't add anything to the series, it hasn't even fundamentally increased his role on the show. He just kind of shows up, usually gets his ass kicked, and then is immediately forgotten about. I saw someone remark that Guardian was their favourite part of the show, and that has stuck with me as the weirdest thing a person could say.

Next episode, apparently Kara will be facing off against an evil reporter? Who's working for Lena? It looks like Lena will be finding out about Kara's secret, so we can expect some fallout from that, and if we're really lucky then Mon-El will barely be involved. That would be nice. That would be so nice. 

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