A loose adaptation of a Superman comic book story of the same name, this episode tackled the building sense of loss Supergirl has been struggling with for several episodes now.
When Non decides to incapacitate Kara so that she won't interfere with the final stages of the Myriad plot, Kara is attacked by a creature called the Black Mercy who throws her into a fantasy world where Krypton was never destroyed, and her parents are alive. While the story did focus on Kara in her dream world, it was more about rescuing her from it. Leaving most of the plot to fall on Alex's attempts to save her sister.
There were several really fun scenes involving the team trying to rescue Supergirl while maintaining her cover life as Kara Danvers. Namely we got Hank's attempts to be Cat's assistant, and it was hilarious watching him fail miserably. This did push forward the fallout from Kara's short relationship with Adam, but without Kara to cope with it properly, Cat is now basically looking at Kara totally differently.
This was pretty much the case throughout the episode with some lighthearted stuff balanced perfectly with a darker turn. For example, the scene between Astra and Alex was adversarial, but also a touch bittersweet as Astra realized her niece had an adopted sister. It made that final confrontation all the more powerful, when Alex was forced to kill Astra to save J'onn/Hank.
That loss was probably the real emotional through line of the episode. Kara essentially loses her entire family twice in this episode, first when she is pulled from the dream, and then when Astra is killed and Hank lies about Alex's involvement in her death. Kara is now left with only Clark as a blood relative, and a potential wedge between herself and Alex with this huge lie hanging between them.
For me, though, the scene when Kara is brought out of the dream world and attacks Non is the most powerful. Her anger, her hatred for being forced to touch that alternate life and have it yanked away was gut wrenching. Non didn't even really fight back, as though he totally understood what she was going through and had no defense against her rage.
I was a touch disappointed that more time wasn't devoted to Kara's time spent in the fantasy world.
The Black Mercy was a hilariously bad prop, but it was accurate to the original look of the plant/creature in the comics.
I gotta give Melissa Benoist some major acting props for pulling off playing Hank pretending to be Kara.
In the dream world Alura mentioned Kara had been infected with Argo fever, a reference to the city Kara is from in the comic books.
This plot is similar to a famous Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, "Normal Again".
This is the first time we've seen Kal-El on the show, even though he is a child.
Comic Book Bits:
While the adaptation of this episode utilized the biggest aspect of the original story, i.e. the Black Mercy forcing our hero into a dream world where Krypton was never destroyed, it was also a pretty big departure from that original story. In the original, Superman was on Krypton, married with a teenage daughter. But it wasn't perfect, because his father Jor-El was discredited and distanced from his family because his insistence that Krypton was doomed turned out to be false. Things quickly turned dark, and Superman broke away from the dream on his own, with Batman pulling the plant off of Superman.
James: "If something happens to her, I'm coming back for you."
Hank: "If anything happens to her, I won't stop you."
Max: "Agent Danvers, what a surprise. You haven't visited me since you threw me in my collectible display case."
Winn: "You're basically yanking her out of heaven. I mean, that's gonna be slightly traumatic."
Cat: "Kira, what is the most important thing I told you when I hired you?"
Kara/Hank: "No whole milk in the lattes?"
Cat: "No crying at work. Ever."
Max: "Maybe I help her, you help me. Something like 'early release for brilliant behavior'?"
Hank: "That's not on the table."
Max: "Then how about a case of Dr. Pepper and access to my Netflix account?"
Supergirl: "Do you have any idea what you did to me? You made me lose them, again! My parents, my whole world!"
In the end we have several plotlines advanced; specifically the stuff involving Astra and Non has come to a middle point. I wonder, without Astra holding back on Non's reins, will he be more aggressively evil in the future? Either way, this was a lovely arc episode and a nice adaptation of a classic Superman story.
4 out of 4 Giant Alien Plants
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.
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