This week’s Supergirl was an action-packed thriller that put some much needed focus on the story of the Martian Manhunter. Following last week’s predicament with Winn (Jeremy Jordan), this week takes something of a break from Kara (Melissa Benoist) as the primary focus to instead work on two other major plot points.
First, Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) is reunited with her son, Adam (Blake Jenner) for the first time in twenty-five years. Viewers were treated to a more vulnerable Cat this week, as she struggled to find common ground with Adam. It was a smart move to bring Adam in, as it showcased a few glaring flaws on the smooth surface of Cat’s façade.
And while it’s nice to have Cat be a bit more down to earth, the show didn’t sacrifice her integrity as a career woman in order to shame her for not raising her son. It’s a move that few shows have been able to pull off well, but Supergirl succeeded.
Meanwhile, romantic tension brews between Kara and Adam, presenting a welcome change to the rut she was in with James (Mehcad Brooks) and Winn. While both James and Winn are very sweet, James girlfriend, Lucy (Jenna Dewan Tatum) is sticking around as Cat’s lawyer, and Kara has made it clear that she doesn’t have romantic feelings for Winn. If the show wants her to have a romantic subplot, bringing in someone new is a smart move.
On the alien side of things, this week’s Supergirl introduced viewers to White Martians. Comic readers will recognize White Martians as major villains, and the show bridged the gap between J’onn J’onzz’s (David Harewood, in the show) comic history and his show history with only one major flaw.
In the comics, the Green Martians are slaughtered wholesale by the White Martians. However, the show decided to take that one step further and go for outright genocide. There’s nothing wrong with this, per se, except that they used a lock, stock and barrel replication of the very real Holocaust. Except on Mars.
While what they were trying to show viewers is clear, and while the episode itself was very good, the Holocaust comparison came off in very poor taste, especially given that they even used Martian furnaces and mass graves. It was incredibly uncomfortable to watch as a Jewish viewer, to say the least.
The White Martian herself (Tawny Cypress, as both the senator and the martian impersonating the senator) was a very convincing villain, and watching J’onn struggle with her presence as well as his own humanity was a major highlight of the show. Interestingly enough, both Kara and Alex (Chyler Leigh) deeply discouraged J’onn from killing the White Martian, reminding him that the act of taking a life creates a path that he doesn’t want to venture down. It brings us to our quote of the week: “It leaves a hole in your heart. But you can’t fall into it. You have to fill it. You have to fight!”
It was an interesting stance for the show to take, to say the least. While Supergirl presents herself as a paragon of lawful good, and while the comics will always firmly remind us that heroes don’t kill, authors and creators will often deviate on whether or not aliens, especially ones that don’t appear humanoid, count as “savable life.” The principle is usually applied to robots: a hero will indiscriminately destroy AIs without a second thought.
But Supergirl is taking the path that all life, even extremely evil life, is worth protecting. Whether or not this will come back to bite them remains to be seen, but Kara similar sparing of her Aunt Astra has played out pretty well for her so far. While it’s unlikely the White Martian will ever be an ally, she can still provide valuable information to the team.
Next week, we meet the pet project of Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli): Bizarro Supergirl. Will Kara be able to free this strange girl of her programming? Tune in next Monday to find out!
Supergirl airs Mondays on CBS, 8/7c.