Spoilers ahead for “The Darkest Places,” the latest episode of The CW’s Supergirl!
The short version: Cyborg Superman is (the real!) Hank Henshaw. Jeremiah Danvers is alive, and helps Kara and Mon-El escape from Cadmus. Martian Manhunter is turning into a White Martian after his blood transfusion. Oh, and Alex is still working through her feelings for Maggie.
The good: Cyborg Superman, Mon-El
Trent: The big tease for this episode was the mysterious introduction of Cyborg Superman, and many fans figured the resident Daxamite Mon-El would be turned evil and taking up the mantle in Supergirl’s universe. Well, they’d be wrong. The series took an interesting twist and brought back the real Hank Henshaw, who was apparently recovered by Cadmus and turned into a semi-robotic killing machine. We’ve only seen the real Henshaw via flashbacks and references, and tying him into Cadmus was a clever move. Henshaw ran the DEO as an alien-hunting force of nature, and he’s right — Cadmus has taken up that mantle in the current climate. It’s no surprise he’d find a home there, and it puts a familiar but terrifying face on a new enemy in Cyborg Superman.
The show is still trying to figure out exactly where Mon-El fits into the cast, but his time spent in captivity with Kara certainly gave them a nice bonding experience. His hero’s journey is being handled slow and steady (unlike a certain Guardian of National City), and it’ll be interesting to see where they take him next. Having him fall for Kara is a bit obvious, sure, but after what they went through this episode, it does make some sense. He saw her strength and heroism, and it’s no surprise he’d be attracted to a strong woman.
Dany: For reference, Trent sets up these recaps, week-to-week, so he is the one that likes Cyborg Superman. I'll talk about that situation more in a minute. For now, I'm with the building mystery of Lena and Lex's mother as she relates to both Cadmus and to her children. Does Lena know what Momma L is up to?
And of course, it wouldn't be a Supergirl recap without me talking about how great gay people are. Hi. I'm predictable. Alex and Maggie continue to have a refreshingly realistic story. My favorite part, though, is that, even with some delays, they do eventually talk to each other. Isn't that nice? Sorry, I've just been watching genre shows for the better part of three decades now and basically no one ever talks to each other about what they're actually thinking, especially in matters of love (looking at you, Gotham). So I'm happy that Alex is being clear that she's struggling with her feelings for Maggie, and I'm also glad that Maggie is standing firm on why she wants to just be friends. That's some grown-up tension. I like it!
The bad: Guardian’s going too fast, Jeremiah and Cadmus
Dany: Why even the heck is Hank Henshaw Cyborg Superman? That makes literally zero sense. Why bring this character back? Why would he call himself any kind of Superman? See, now, if Dean Cain was Cyborg Superman then at least we could all wink at each other knowingly like, hey, we've seen Lois & Clark. This is a reference we are all getting. Look how cool we are. Instead, this reveal, for me, just feels like a head scratcher.
And I'm also disappointed in the M'Gann reveal. The idea that J'onn would be affected in some way by her White Martian blood could've been a cool way to tip J'onn off to M'Gann's true nature, but instead we get this angry fight that goes nowhere. And I'm super not sure about J'onn turning into a White Martian, girl. Like, for real? I'll wait and see, but it feels a little on the nose so far.
This was not a great episode, and I'm gonna be really mean and call out whoever was DP for the opening scene. So much circling the actors with the camera ... I thought I was gonna puke. And there were some weird transitional cuts, too. It's like there was an election for who should direct this episode and even, though someone qualified got the most votes, some technicality meant that the least qualified person got the job instead. Thank goodness stuff like that only happens in television!
Trent: It’s been a common refrain, and not much changed this week: James Olsen’s introduction as Guardian is coming too fast and too furious. It’s been just a couple of episodes, and he’s already an established hero on the streets being hunted by the cops (in a fake out, of course, a classic superhero trope). There’s nothing wrong with getting James on the streets, and his motivation makes a lot of sense. He’s grown up around heroes, and finally wants to get off the bench. it’s just too much, too soon. Heck, it’d have made more sense to have revealed James had been kicking around in a hoodie during the offseason, to at least give his hero’s journey some longer legs before letting him suit up. It just feels like they realized they’re on the CW now, so they better have at least one dude beating people up, along with the girl on the title card.
Having Dean Cain back on the small screen is always a good thing, and they’ve teased his connection to Cadmus since Season 1, but Jeremiah Danvers’ appearance in this episode was just silly. So Cadmus captures Kara, and while they’re keeping these good guys prisoner, they don’t think to keep tabs on Jeremiah to make sure he doesn’t help them? Where the heck is the rest of Cadmus’ security? That escape just felt a bit too easy. But hey, great to see Dean Cain, regardless.
They didn’t take much time revealing Martian Manhunter had been poisoned by White Martian blood, and it seems to already be changing him for the worse. The show hasn’t done very much to explore Martian history, but this episode looked to be pulling back the curtain a bit more. J'onn reveals he’s been around since at least the 1800s, and we’ll get to see first hand the effect of his blood poisoning. Can Hank stop the transformation?
So Alex knows James and Winn are working together as the Guardian, and she’s keeping it from Kara? That’s a little hard to believe. At this point, it’ll be hard to string this one out for much longer. The new, random vigilante who framed Guardian was actually Phillip karnowsky, aka the DC baddie Barrage. He might as well have been a nameless, faceless villain. But hey, there’s your weekly DC Comics easter egg. Kara knows Lana Luthor’s mother is running Cadmus, and it’s surprising they didn’t string that one out much further. Where do they go from here? If nothing else, it’s not abundantly clear how Lana gets roped into the action as a recurring player this season.
Cadmus uses Kara’s blood to allow Cyborg Superman to break into Superman’s fortress of solitude. His target? Getting intel on the mysterious Medusa project. What is it? No clue. We’re thinking something not good, especially if Cadmus wants to get its hands on it.
Quotes of the day:
“What's the word for a male floozy?” -Kara
“Daxamite?” - Alex
Up next: Four-show crossover, baby.