Supergirl: Dark Side of the Moon

Supergirl: “I just wish my day-to-day life didn’t have to be a disguise.”

An episode in which Kara goes to retrieve a piece of rock to put an end to Reign’s potential to be a reign of terror – and finds her mother.

There were several things to like in this episode – the title and its implications are especially good – and several missed opportunities. In most episode reviews I dedicate a paragraph to Title Musings but this time the theme applies to most of the review, so it’s not receiving its separate section. Nearly everything I have to say relates to the title!

The dark side of the moon represents the area where light does not reach. Where communication fails. This is literally true in that when Supergirl and Mon-El travel to the big rock hurtling through space, they are out of communication range for Winn. It is also the metaphor for the episode, because even those who are bathed in brightest light – what we most easily see – have dark corners, hidden selves and painful memories.

Supergirl loves being a hero, but she spends nearly every day in disguise. She has to keep part of herself literally hidden from her adopted world, which means (as seen in prior episodes) that she is not as truthful as she claims to be.

Alura, Kara’s mother, also has her patches of darkness. She had no idea Kara was still alive – something that horrifies her now that she sees Kara – and she confesses her guilt regarding Fort Rozz. I think the latter was a little too pat.

Alex has been stopping bad guys since she was 17, something that seems to be bathed in light and goodness. Nevertheless, her actions have dark repercussions in that some of the bad people she has put in prison resent her and some take revenge. Someone is trying to kill her, and because of the amount of resentment she has generated, she will never escape the possibility that someone may always be trying to kill her. This is a dark realization as her hope to someday be a mother means she would be putting her child in jeopardy. In a way this storyline feels like filler – giving something for these actors to do while Supergirl is visiting Mom in Argo City – but it's legitimate filler. The nice twist with this storyline is that the would-be assassin was not from her list but a relative of someone else (Alex’s initial suspect, Ron Collins, is trapped on the dark side of his own moon, feeling guilty for the murder he committed).

Ruby, right now, is almost entirely in darkness, with the knowledge that her mother may be gone forever, that Reign wants her dead and that she may have inherited evil tendencies herself. What is interesting is how she tries to be a bit of light herself and manages to bring Winn out of his desperate funk. The episode did well by pairing them together, and reminding us that both of them have amazingly bad parents.

Lena is struggling to keep out of the darkness. She desperately wants to save her friend Sam, but if Reign wins, Sam is dead anyway. Plus a whole bunch of other people, including Ruby. The decision seems pretty clear to me (and should be to her) but I can understand that it’s painful.

Oddly, the one person who seems to have no dark side (excluding James Olsen and J’onn, who only give emotional support in this episode) is Mon-El. When he travels with Supergirl to what turns out to be Argo, he behaves like a friend. He points out that in “his” time period he wears no disguise. He concedes immediately to Alura that he is the Prince of Daxamite. He admits readily to her that he is fond of her daughter. He is the one (admittedly he is the one with the time) who returns the cloaks they used to hide when they first arrived. He seems to be the one most at peace with himself.

Finally, in the tag, we discover that Selena from the Argo council – the Selena who cast the vote which allows Kara and Mon-El to depart with the precious piece of rock – is the Dark Kryptonian who has been training the Worldkillers on Earth. As Selena is derived from Selene, the name of the Greek goddess of the moon, we are now discovering her dark side.

What pleased me less: I thought some of the emotions fell short, especially in the interactions between Kara and her mother Alura, but perhaps the awkwardness of such a reunion was realistic (if realistic is a word that can ever be applied to TV shows based on superheroes). Another thing I did not like was the discussion by the council in Argo. Not that I objected to anything that was said – what bothered me were the things that were not said. They have a city full of potential superheroes. They have lots of neat technology. Do they have nothing else to offer the Earthlings? People they could send? Advisers or scientists? Given Mon-El’s medical technology, could Mon-El and Supergirl not make a trade with the Argonauts? I did not like the stark either-or in this episode – but maybe we will see more complicated, three-dimensional options in the coming episodes. After all, the responsibility for the Worldkillers on Earth, if Selena is really stoking them, truly belongs to Argo City.

Bits and pieces

Argo, the name of the city where Kara finds her mother (and canon of the DC universe), nevertheless evokes the word Argonaut, the name of a famous ship from Bronze Age Greece (Jason and the Argonauts) – a ship that traveled very far for its time.

Jul-Us is played by Tim Russ, one of my favorite Vulcans, the security officer from Star Trek Voyager. I hope we see more of him!

Quotes

Winn: You seem more stoic and grave than usual, which, if we’re being honest, is making me like a little bit queasy. What happened? What haven’t you told me?

Reign: Supergirl is your Hail Mary.

Alex: I can’t have some psycho on the loose trying to kill me while I’m taking care of Ruby.

Ron Collins (repentant murderer): I don’t even feel sorry for me.

Overall Rating

There was plenty to like in this episode, but there were also bits that fell short. Several times I felt the music was trying to manipulate me into feeling the desired emotional response. OK, that’s what music is supposed to do, but when I notice that repeatedly, it’s because the acting or the dialogue is not hitting the mark. Three out of four dark moons.

Victoria Grossack loves math, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.

2 comments:

Patryk said...

An entire ship of Kryptonians seems like a plot hole waiting to happen. Shouldn't Reign purify that rock instead of taking it out on Earth? After all Worldkillers were created to be used on Krypton.

Victoria Grossack said...

Excellent suggestion, Patryk, but I'm not sure Reign knows about Argo.