Spoilers ahead for “Welcome to Earth,” the latest episode of The CW’s Supergirl!
The short version: President Lynda Carter shows up to give all aliens U.S. amnesty, and is immediately attacked by an alien. Supergirl tracks down Mon-El, but he’s not really behind the attack. Oh, plus James Olsen and Skipper Carr get into a pissing match at CatCo. Then a few big twists in then.
The good: Lynda Carter is stunt casting at its best, big social Qs, and girl power
Trent: This episode went all-in with the fun and gimmicks, but man it was totally worth it. We finally got to meet President Lynda Carter in the flesh, and she brought every bit of the Wonder Woman gravitas to the role. She’s strong, she’s hopeful, and Kara can’t stop geeking out over her. We can’t really blame her, because it's Lynda Freaking Carter. There were jokes about jets! Kara even got a legit Wonder Woman spin when she was set on fire. Carter made a great addition to the cast, and with Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant hitting the road, it’s nice to have another strong female character hanging around.
President Lynda Carter comes to National City to push her pro-alien social policies, led by the Alien Amnesty Act designed to give aliens full U.S. rights as citizens. This is a fascinating story, and it’s one that really could’ve used some additional exploration. But it was still great to see Supergirl tackle a tough story. The question of refugees and illegal aliens (both literally and figuratively) are a hot topic in the real world, and Supergirl framed its moral story this week right around it. Even Kara has to face her own prejudices, as she has trouble getting over her preconceived notions about Mon-El and his alien world Daxam. That story also intersects with Kara’s burgeoning career as a reporter, as she tries to do a hatchet job on Lena Luthor over her proposed alien detector. If Kara really wants to be a reporter, these are lessons she’ll certainly need to learn. It was a bit heavy-handed, but it will be interesting to see how her reporter training affects the way she sees the world as a superhero. As a recovering newspaper journalist, I can see the ripe potential in that idea.
This episode also introduced Detective Maggie Sawyer as the resident alien investigator on the National City Police Department, and she certainly hit it off with Alex (though they brought her into the super-secret DEO headquarters pretty darn quickly, right?). Considering Kara is pretty busy these days, it’s about time Alex finally gets a few supporting players for her story (apart from the resident comic relief Winn, of course). Seeing Kara, Maggie and Alex take on the fire starter was a great moment for a show built on the idea of girl power.
Dany: This feels like the first true episode of Season 2. We get a completely new set with the alien bar (very Lorne from Angel), Maggie Sawyer, Miss Martian shows up, Maggie Sawyer, Madame President Hillary Clin- I mean Olivia Marsdin, Maggie Sawyer, Mon-El is awake ... and, hey, did you notice Maggie Sawyer? She, too, was there. And gay. And not white. Which she says out loud. To make sure we got it. Trust me, sis. I am here for you. You don't need to tell me. I know.
Yes, this episode is a super-not-thinly-veiled allegory about refugees finding a new home in the United States (p. topical, Supergirl), but it's got layers, man! It's about internalized bias, it's about the complex relationship between powerful, private citizens and an also-powerful governing body.
And it's about Mon-El with his shirt off (truly you are playing all my favorite hits today, Supergirl) and Alex Danvers taking a long stare at Maggie Sawyer. This is the episode that wants you to say "Cat Who?" and, I gotta admit, it's making a compelling case.
Big shout-out to Lena Luthor for being a maybe-villain who we can actually relate with. Her story of Lex being her hero until he went full dark side really connects. I feel like most of us know what it's like to have someone we look up to really let us down. Like your uncle you didn't realize was that racist until you got older and couldn't not notice the lingering whiskey smell on his breath. Who else is looking forward to Thanksgiving, hands up!
And on that familial note, it is way exciting to see M'gann M'orzz in the CGI flesh. She looks great and, hey, if she's like how she is elsewhere, she's got a heck of a secret to spill. Nothing like uncomfortable backstories! I'm really looking forward to seeing how the bond between her and J'onn plays out.
The bad: Newsroom pissing match
Dany: I swear I'm gonna give Snapper Carr a chance, but he is already working my last dang nerve. Whether he's being used as a subtle dig against bloggers and their "biased writing" (I see you, Supergirl writers) or talking down to his black boss and his female reporters, he's just not great so far. We get it, show. Mansplaining is a thing. But don't we get enough on the reg here in the real world? Maybe dial Snapper down a notch. He can be surly without feeling like a card-carrying member of some garbage Men-Barfing-Their-Own-Way Subreddit.
Also feel like they could have gone a few more episodes before dropping the whole "the president's an alien" riff on us. Slow down, show. Take your time. We're building a mood here.
Trent: If you were wondering how the office dynamic would change without Cat Grant, we got a pretty good indication of that this week. It wasn’t great. Snapper Carr needs to get a bit of nuance, fast, because the jaded A-hole thing is getting tired. We got to see him verbally spar with James Olsen over control of the CatCo editorial direction in a weird and lame scene that was really frustrating for a lot of reasons. No. 1: This show has been led by a strong woman in control of that company, which is relatively rare on television, and now we have two guys fighting it out. Yawn. No. 2: James seems weirdly unqualified for this role. Like, Snapper was handing out solid assignments and James just seemed annoyed.
There are quite a few. Most importantly: What’s really going on with President Lynda Carter? We see her eyes flash as she walks away, revealing she’s actually an alien in disguise. So what’s the story there?
Introducing Mon-El was the big cliffhanger from Season 1, and now that he’s conscious, we’re curious to see how he’ll fit in with the gang. He has all the powers of Superman and Supergirl, but how will he use them?
Miss Martian arrives! Martian Manhunter hits up the secret alien bar without a disguise, and finds himself face to face with another Martian survivor.
Lines of the week:
“Should I get a blow out?” -Supergirl
“Oh dear God.” - Martian Manhunter
“I flew here ... on a bus.” -Kara
“If you think that's cool, you should see my other jet.” - Lynda Carter
Up next: It’s alien fight club! Just don’t talk about it!