Season One, Episode Eleven – “Strange Visitor From Another Planet”
By Molly Jane Kremer. Taking a swift turn from last week’s Winn-heavy, daddy-issues-filled Toyman episode (and its baffling “girl feels guilty that boy has crush on her” conclusion) “Strange Visitor From Another Planet” focuses on a more otherworldly threat. But there’s more than one guest from faraway: while J’onn Jonzz gets a blast from his Martian past in the form of an on-the-hunt killer White Martian, Cat Grant’s long-lost son Adam visits thanks to a Kara-forged letter. Amid all that, there’s even some excellent action amid the compelling drama.
WHAT WORKED: Episodes that have a lot of Cat-content are usually the better because of it—especially when Calista Flockhart gets to push her beyond “mean boss”—and this one was no exception. Her typically clipped dialogue and haughty façade is vividly dropped when she sees her estranged son for the first time, and her subsequent interactions with Adam (Blake Jenner) are plausible and even moving at times. There was also, delightfully, very little reference to last week’s idiotic Winn “friend-zoning” plotline: just a couple quick glimpses of him through a closing elevator door, and a mention of how much Kara misses him, as her friend. Girl, your sister won’t say it to you, so I’m gonna: he is not your friend if he’s gonna treat you like this because you didn’t reciprocate his feelings. Drop. His. Ass.
The spotlight on J’onn J’onzz this week (partially why I finally feel like we can refer to him as such and not as Hank or Hank/J’onn) was earned, and really paid off. His story is a great one, and David Harewood is doing an extraordinary job portraying the Martian Manhunter; he’s as perfectly suited for the part as Benoist is for Supergirl.
WHAT DIDN’T: There are very few things wrong with this episode. Supergirl is really finding its rhythm. Aside from alluding to the fact that Kara is still kicking herself for Winn’s overstepping of boundaries, the only thing that bothered me was some of the special effects. There was a lot of them this episode (because Martians, duh) and while most were passable for a CBS television series, there were a couple shots – especially of the White Martian – that looked like mediocre video game animation. Easily forgivable, since the quality of content greatly outweighed any visual snafus.
Alex: “Just give him space. And time.” Kara: “I hate space and time.”
“I’m going to find its lair and when I do I will drop this human coat I wear. I won’t freeze; I will break its body in half and bury it in the dry sand.” – J’onn getting almost poetic about how much he wants to murder that mean ol’ White Martian.
“She felt responsible for what happened on Krypton. Dying must have seemed honorable. But dying is a lot easier than getting back up when the world’s ended.” – Kara, speaking of her mother.
“I lost everything; everyone. It makes a hole in your heart. But you can’t fall into it. You have to fill it. You have to fight.” – Supergirl, giving a peptalk to J’onn as to why he should not, in fact, murder that mean ol’ White Martian.
Adam: “Have you seen Kara around by any chance?” Cat: “She’s probably in the bathroom picking muffin out of her hair.” I don’t know why, but Cat’s line here made me laugh hysterically for a good five minutes. And it wasn’t because I routinely get muffin (and other kinds of) crumbs in my hair. Nope. Nosiree.
“You incinerate robots and you prevent buildings from collapsing. You can handle a date.” – Alex, to Kara.
BEST MOMENT: Though it probably wasn’t the most challenging scene she’s had on Supergirl—giggling over the guy she’s actually married to in real life—Melissa Benoists’ Kara is the goshdurn cutest bumbledy goofus when Cat’s son Adam (played by hubs Blake Jenner) asks her out at the end of the episode. It was terribly cute and sweet, coupled by Cat calling out from her office that Kara is indeed available. Plus, this makes Kara’s love triangle between the otherwise-engaged Jimmy and (ugh) Winn into a love quadrilateral. (Yeah, I know, a “love square” would work too, but nope. I like quadrilateral.)
EPISODE’S MVP: David Harewood’s J’onn J’onzz is so, so good in this episode. When explaining to Alex his history and his guilt over losing his family, a scene that could have been trite and formulaic became heart wrenching. When telling her afterward how much he wants to kill the heck outta that White Martian, he gets downright unsettling with his cold determination. And later, upon informing Kara that he intends to rejoin his family and allow the White Martian to kill him, it’s with a quiet, eloquent acceptance.
– During the opening fire-rescue scene, we see that Kara is wearing shorts under that skirt. Yay! Remember, only six years ago, when that was (excuse my eyeroll) a controversial move?
– I’m really confused as to why there was a poppy cover of Hall & Oates’ ‘Maneater’ playing during Cat and Adam’s first, mostly awkward, dinner together; extremely strange choice there. I guess this means a return to the one-crappy-cover-song-per-episode we had earlier in the season. Sigh.
– “[Supergirl’s] efforts to protect me and National City taught me that not all visitors to our world are the enemy, and as a nation we cannot let fear dictate our future,” says Senator Miranda Crane at the end of the episode, and it’s about time we saw some allusions to how shitty current xenophobic and fearmongering politics are.
– Now that we’re really getting into the meaty parts of J’onn Jonzz’s character, there’s a question that MUST be asked: when are we going to see him chowing down on a whole ton of Oreos?? When, CBS???
9 out of 10