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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Supergirl S2E22: Nevertheless, She Persisted

Series 2, Episode 22
Nevertheless, She Persisted.

So, we're finally here at the finale of this series. Thoughts on the series as a whole? It was fun, but not a scratch on the first series, and I think that largely comes down to Cat not being in most of this series -- because the episodes that she's in were all consistently of the quality I'd expect from the first series.

I'm not certain what it is: Maybe it's because Cat's presence forces the writers to work in a healthy balance of Kara's life vs Supergirl's life, rather than focusing exclusively on the DEO. Maybe it's because her being there makes everyone else be better written, since she becomes a focal point for the 'inspirational' aspect of the show. Or maybe it's just that she's the crucial element that ties the show together. She's comparable, in a way, to Harrison Wells in The Flash -- the series can function without her, but it will never be as good.

This episode leaves things on a hopeful note that Cat might be returning as a regular or, at least, as a slightly more prominent recurring character, but I admit I don't know how, since Flockhart is pretty firm on not working away from home. We'll see next series, I suppose.

For this episode, though, we pick up after the end of episode twenty-one, as Rhea reveals that she's used silver kryptonite to force Clark to hallucinate that Kara is Zod. The two fight, with Kara defeating Clark, leaving the problem of Rhea's fleet -- and prompting Kara to call on the ancient Daxam tradition of a trial by combat. Meanwhile, Lena, Lillian, and Winn work on a back-up plan -- a device that will release trace amounts of lead into the atmosphere, making it deadly for Daxamites and forcing all of them, Mon-El included, to leave and never return.

Oh, hey Clark.

Right, let's start off by addressing the elephant in the room: Mon-El leaving. It's intended, of course, as a dramatic, heartbreaking moment, the culmination of a star-cross'd romance -- and it completely fails in that regard, because barely anyone actually likes Mon-El, and the broad and correct consensus seems to be that their romance was irritating at best and abusive at worst.

We know now why this romance was so painfully rushed -- it was entirely to build up to this dramatic moment, where Kara would have to prioritise the Earth over somebody she ostensibly loved, to hammer in that 'Kara is the hero of Earth' message. But it falls flat, because their relationship has never been compelling, nor has it ever made a lot of sense. Mon-El never even came across as really respecting Kara (and even in the finale, he goes so far as to suggest she should just let Clark do all the fighting), and he was barely a fleshed out character, so neither the loss of him nor their relationship has any impact.

Apart from that, the episode is basically split into two duels: Kara's duel with Clark, a very dramatic affair with water and explosions and crashing through buildings, and a relatively more muted affair between her and Rhea, presumably because most of the allotted budget for this episode was spent either on the Kara vs Clark fight or on CGI-ing all those ships above National City.

Alex, put on some red and blue, for god's sake. Get with the aesthetic.

Both of them are well choreographed fight scenes, and both of them have a surprising amount of emotional weight to them -- the first because of the juxtaposition of Clark seeing his greatest enemy, and clearly being terrified of what he'll do, with Kara seeing her cousin; and the second because of the reveal that Rhea has been poisoned by kryptonite, with the implication seemingly being that she's dying slowly and needs Mon-El to take over for her. Kryptonite is radioactive, after all.

(Speaking of, what happened with that clone child? Is that still a thing? Seems like it was brought up and then forgotten about.)

Kara and Cat.

We even get some kind of conclusion on J'onn and M'Gann's White Martian plot, with M'Gann returning with a band of White Martian rebels to help out. Bizarrely, though, we barely see anything of Jimmy, despite him ostensibly being an important character. Guess they have to keep him well out of the way if they want Mon-El to even be remotely believable as a romantic interest for Kara.

All in all, this was a fine finale to a series that, while good, has disappointingly never reached the heights of its first series. More Cat and more Clark in the third series would definitely help that, but I also think it's important that the series remember the sheer joy it had going for it in its first series. But we'll see how things turn out. In all likelihood, the series will return later this year, airing alongside The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, maybe Titans, and maybe Black Lightning. I'll decide then if I want to do it as an ongoing again.

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