Supergirl is back after its winter break, and after Kara’s exploits in The CW-wide otherwise disappointing superhero crossover event, it’s back to business for our intrepid reporter and planet saviour. It’s worth noting at this early stage that there’s no mention at all of Kara’s adventures in the “Flarrowverse” dimension. What we’re treated to instead is a very much painting-by-numbers episode where individual characters have some decent moments, but in its entirety, there are a number of missed opportunities.
The Club Soda Conundrum
Kara is bored with just having to save people’s property and money; she yearns for a true challenge where there are lives and planets at stake. (Her fans do, too.) And anyway, The Guardian seems to be getting most of the credit despite her hard work. When a woman comes to her newspaper looking for help to find her missing daughter – the police presume she’s a runaway – Kara seizes the opportunity to put her talents to the test. Snapper doesn’t care; all he wants is his coffee and Danish. A visit to see Maggie at the alien bar brings up another interesting development: neither Mon El (who’s now working there due to staff shortages) nor Kara know what the hell a club soda is. But Maggie does inform Kara that Izzy, the missing girl, is one of a number of people who’ve recently dropped off the grid.
Winn, who’s sporting facial injuries after a particularly nasty attack where his life was in danger, only to be saved by The Guardian, offers up some research. Each of the missing people, including Izzy, vanished after checking in to a clinic for blood tests. Off Kara and Mon El go, to follow up the lead. It turns out the clinic is a front for some nefarious deeds. The clinician reveals a portal to another planet and attempts to strong arm the super duo through the gate. When the attempt fails, and the clinician jumps through anyway, Kara orders Mon El to contact DEA for reinforcements and follows the bad guy through the portal. Upon arrival she finds she has no powers because of the planet’s red sun. Mon El disregards her orders and follows her through, only for the gate to close behind them. They’re both trapped and powerless.
Meanwhile, back at the DEA, Winn is experiencing a touch of PTSD and rails upon James, quitting his sidekick role for the good of his mental and physical health. Alex, who’s all loved up over Maggie, interrupts their heated discussion with news of Kara’s disappearance, and the team get their heads together, with the help of J’onn J’onnz, to work out that both Kara and Mon El are on Slavers Moon. Alex puts a strike team together, but because the planet’s atmosphere is toxic to Martians, Alex conscripts Winn to the rescue team. Fresh from his recent crisis, he’s none too pleased. When Maggie arrives at the DEA unexpectedly, Alex’s head is all over the place and blows her off childishly. After all Alex went through to win Maggie, I found this action hard to swallow. But that’s just me.
“I am not a Redshirt.”
With the help of a local, Kara and Mon El get themselves arrested and taken to where Izzy and the rest of the captives are being held. Roulette is behind it all. She’s selling carbon-based life forms on the slave market, and is ready to offload everybody there. Although powerless, Kara stands up to her captors and her actions inspire Izzy and the others to fight back. It’s all too damn easy, to be honest. Roulette and the clinician are held back while Kara, Mon El, and the earthlings make their escape. And just in time, too – because the Dominators have arrived to take back what should have been theirs. The superduo lead the escape when something weird happens. When Mon El appears done for, his would-be attacker is ordered to leave him unharmed. The Dominator bows to Mon El, an action that doesn’t surprise the Daxamite in the least.
Alex’s team have arrived just in time. They spread out, leaving Winn solely in charge of getting them back. He’s anxious af, muttering “I am not a Redshirt” repeatedly. He gets his mojo back, however, when he successfully knocks out an alien who was about to put him down. His celebration is a good moment in the episode. He finishes off a good away mission for himself when he manages to restart the portal and get everyone back safely to Earth, with a little help of a Yellow Sun Grenade Alex had in her kit bag, thanks to some forward thinking on J’onn’s part. Back at home, with some rocks he picked up on the planet, Winn resumes sidekick duties with James.
Alex, meanwhile, has some serious explaining to do to Maggie. But her girlfriend understands and gives her another chance. Maggie also knows that Kara is Supergirl.
Back on Slavers Moon, a couple of hooded aliens question the clinician about where Mon El is now. When he tells him he’s back on Earth, the aliens kill the bastard, leaving us with a number of questions.
Supergirl Lives is directed by Kevin Smith, whose own script for a Superman reboot bore the title Superman Lives, and would have starred Nicolas Cage as Kal El. Smith’s daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, plays Izzy in this episode. While it’s a playful instalment that’s hard not to like, I feel there were a couple of missed opportunities. Dichen Lachman as Roulette has a “blink and you’ll miss her” role. An actress of her calibre deserves better, so hopefully we’ll get more from her and her character later in the season. I felt there was very little peril involved for the major players – Winn’s situation notwithstanding – and everything was sorted out too neatly. Though I liked Snapper’s smile at the end, secretly praising Kara’s news article on the alien slave trade. The other upshot of the episode is the mystery surrounding Mon El’s character (his character interplay with Kara is great value, too – Chris Wood and Melissa Benoist have good chemistry). Could he be a Daxamite prince after all? The Doninators hold him in high esteem, that’s for sure.
Supergirl S2E9 = 7/10