Season Two, Episode Four — “Survivors”
By Molly Jane Kremer. Is it cynical to say that the last three stellar weeks of Supergirl made this inevitable? We were probably due for a lull at some point this season, though sadly the first dip in quality occured with last night’s “Survivors”. (They can’t all be “The Last Children of Krypton”, now can they?)
J’onn learned more about his secretive fellow Martian, M’gann, this week (but not as much as we did, in the episode’s final moments), Alex and Maggie teamed up once again (thus nudging Alex, and Supergirl‘s audience, closer to a reckoning), and Mon-El convinced Winn to take him out on the town (and they got totally wasted, brah). Villain of the week, Roulette, and her alien fight club served as the episode’s primary source of acrimony, but other than giving us an opportunity to explore M’gann’s plight and the broadening relationship between Alex and Maggie, not much else happened this week that felt necessary to, well… much at all.
There’s Mon-El, of course, who got a fully realized origin tale this week, but… while he’s not completely unlikable, the writers of Supergirl did their damnedest to emphasize how frat-tacular this guy is. It seems in wanting to make Mon-El a similar yet opposite of Kara (cause, like, opposites attract and stuff) they went the easiest route possible by making Daxam a “hedonistic” planet in contrast Krypton’s apparent scientific stuffiness. (Insert obvious eye-roll here.)
There was a more thoughtful route Supergirl could have taken here, by embracing the canonical politics of Daxam, given its traditionally xenophobic culture — incredibly congruent with the season’s themes and our current events. But that would have gotten in the way of the oh-so important montage of Mon-El and Winn boozing it up like a couple nineteen-year-olds with their first fake IDs. It’s an uncomplicated — and for myself at least, unappealing — way to give Mon a semblance of personality past “hunky, slightly blank, obvious future love interest.” But hey, we’ve got seventeen more episodes for this to hopefully pan out for the better.
A case could be made, first with the inclusion of Cadmus as big bad — and now the introduction of Roulette’s superpowered cage matches, that Supergirl’s writers are cribbing a bit from the Justice League Unlimited animated series. Until we see a white-clad clone of Kara making a mess of things and going by Galatea, I’ll continue to assume any similarities between the two shows are simply the not-unimaginable side-effects of using the same comic book storylines as sources.
“Wanna see a dead body?” – Detective Sawyer. Maggie and Alex flirting is my favorite thing.
Winn: “You’re strong.” Mon-El: “As strong as Kara?” Winn: “Ha. No. Not even close.”
“It’s gonna take more than a steel cage death match to get rid of me.” – Sweet loyal J’onn, who might rethink that statement when he finds out M’gann’s true colors.
BEST MOMENT: In a lackluster episode, no one scene truly stood above the rest. There were a couple fun quasi-moments in M’gann’s final scene reveal, Kara fighting Draaga (more on him below), and Alex periodically cute-ing it up with Detective Sawyer, but anything meaningful in this episode was mainly setup for future storylines. The across-the-board bonding and relationship development will yield greatly in future episodes, at least.
EPISODE’S MVP: Chyler Leigh has been killing it these last couple episodes as Alex, finally given some material to really sink her teeth into, and her performance this week continues her streak of awesomeness. CW Alex been has been an endearing and moving addition to a show that already aims straight for the feelings, propelled by a masterfully understated portrayal. When Maggie’s partner steps up and plants a smooch on her, Leigh’s Alex communicates quiet heartbreak afterwards without saying a word. It’s some of the better pathos this show has shown in quite some time.
– Mon: “Do they play garata here?” Winn: “What’s garata?” Kara: “It’s like soccer… with dragons.” Wait a sec. Does that mean they ride dragons, and the dragons kick the ball? Or that they play soccer against dragons? Or that they kick around little dragons? If it’s the latter, I don’t think I like Daxamites very much. But the first option sounds pretty fun.
– A Martian “good morning”? Dang, M’gann’s bar is open early. Those aliens must like their boozin’.
– Hmm, M’gann, you’re putting a lot of emphasis on this one good-hearted White Martian that “saved you”. Whyever would that be…
– Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer Calling Each Other By Their Last Names is my OTP.
– Ah, the first appearance this season of Laura Benanti’s holo-Alura. Even a projection of Kara’s mother insults poor Mon-El.
– OK, this might be the first time that I’m excited about the music on this show (although it’s much improved from the CBS season) because that’s muhfuggin’ Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” playing at that beer-pong-fest of a bar.
– Roulette’s speech, where she references Michael Vick, in a pathetic attempt at relevancy, is badly written and badly delivered. This might have been an attempt at more of last week’s timeliness, but even so, it was painfully off the mark.
– Ooh, dang — total Warworld namedrop right there. Mongul’s artificial battleground planet made its first appearance in DC Comics Presents #27, in November of 1980. A potential Season Three storyline?
– So, uh, does Roulette not own any other dresses? Or clothes? This is in the alley behind your club in broad daylight. I understand owning your look, but this might be a bit much.
– Interestingly, Roulette’s Dichen Lachman, already done some TV superhero time on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (as Jiaying), is now achieving the Nerd Quadruple Crown in having also appeared on a Whedon show (Dollhouse) and on the Whovian Torchwood. I hope those other shows at least let her wear more than one dress…
– I truly hope Lena gets more screen time soon, and something to do, because Katie McGrath is got-dang magnetic in the role, and each scene with Melissa Benoist so far has felt substantial and essential.
– “Cadmus, people like Roulette, they say we’re dangerous. That’s what they want everyone to believe. Don’t let them be right about us.” Ah, a hint of last week’s social awareness, but only a hint.
– Snapper: “Your nut graph is too long, you had multiple run-on sentences, and you’re not using AP style, write it again.” Yes, I just looked up what a “nut graph” is, and I’m assuming if you did, you too are devastated it’s not the foreshadowing of a Squirrel Girl crossover.
– Welp. Anyone who already knows the character M’gann M’orzz saw that final shot coming from eons away.
5.5 out of 10
Next: “Crossfire,” soon.
Before: “Welcome to Earth,” here.