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Supergirl: Rather the Fallen Angel

Agent Liberty: "Guardian stands for everything my followers strive for. Human exceptionalism."

Episode description: "James falls in deeper with the Children of Liberty in his efforts to meet Agent Liberty. Meanwhile, Supergirl and Manchester Black follow a lead on Agent Liberty's location, but things take a dark turn. Lena kicks off her first set of trials."

At last, an episode that feels as if it’s on the right track! This episode was much less scattered than other recent episodes. "Rather the Fallen Angel" has two major plot threads, and both work.

The first plot thread is the action storyline. James, who wants to meet with Agent Liberty, has allowed himself to be taken (blindfolded) by the Children of Liberty to a secret location. Agent Liberty, however, will not meet with him and plans to compel James/Guardian to blow up the equivalent of alien Ellis Island. The DEO, Supergirl and Manchester Black all work together to rescue James, while the Children of Liberty plan to use James/Guardian to kill Supergirl. All of this works: the twists, the emotions, and the action. Everything feels organic.

The second plot thread is quieter. Lena has recruited a volunteer to test a procedure that could make humans invincible. The problem is that she estimates a 15% chance of its killing the test subject. Some of this plot thread drags a bit – Lena and Adam seem to spend a lot of time talking rather than engaging in the experiment – but it also has some excellent moments.

Usually I leave the section Title Musings to the end, but in this case the title is relevant to understanding the episode. “Rather the Fallen Angel,” comes from a quote from Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein: “Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed.” The connection to Frankenstein is obvious, as Lena is attempting to create a new, superior type of human (and test subject 0331’s real name is Adam).

The novel Frankenstein hearkens back to other, even older stories – John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost, and Genesis in the Bible. Who are the fallen angels – the Lucifer/Satan – in this episode of Supergirl? Manchester Black is definitely one. James also feels as if he failed, and J’onn made a terrible mistake. Others, including Lena and Adam, also express the sensation of having fallen or failed.

The one character who still seems to be walking in the light is Kara. Kara/Supergirl still doesn’t have an existential conflict of her own, but at least in this episode she was able to do some great Supergirl action and there were several moments where she truly connected with other characters. One was with James, near the end, when she listened to him and then told him that he should go speak to Lena, because he finally understands why Lena went behind his back and spoke to the DA to keep James from getting in trouble for his vigilante deeds as Guardian (maybe James and Lena won't break up). The second was with J’onn J’onzz. I was glad that Kara was suspicious of Manchester Black almost at once; she only agreed to work with Black again because she cares so much for J'onn. But Kara was right (she should have trusted her instincts), and J’onn is devastated when he discovers Black’s murders.

Another thing that I appreciated about this episode is how it shines a light on the underlying problem in so many of these situations (the human/alien conflict), expressed by Lena and by Agent Liberty: people will fight not to be or to feel inferior. Darwin rules, and for good reason. Stronger creatures can easily take everything away from those who are inferior. Liberty/Lockwood wants to solve this problem by getting rid of the aliens, while Lena is trying to make humans invincible. I like Lena’s approach better.

Bits and pieces

I loved Lena’s story about the spider. Really interesting.

On the other hand, I disliked Lena’s story about her mother drowning. I don’t think she would tell a stranger that story, although perhaps given the fact that the stranger might die (and does die) it’s a bit more plausible.

Calling the alien equivalent of Ellis Island “Shelley Island” is another homage to Frankenstein, as the novel’s author was Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

The episode’s title may be from Frankenstein, but the quote also references John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Earlier in the season we had an episode called "Parasite Lost."

We had less of Brainy and Alex, and no Nia Nal. I missed Brainy’s usual funny dialogue. On the other hand, in this episode, Manchester Black’s lines were much better.


Agent Liberty: By tomorrow night, Supergirl will be dead.

Eve Teschmacher: If you level the playing field and make humans super, you could be preventing another civil war.

0331: Expiration, as in death, right, lab tech? You make it sound like a carton of milk.

Supergirl. We don’t hurt innocent people. What is wrong with you?

James: But what is reputation? It’s nothing.

Lena: Bad luck doesn’t make you a bad person. Bad choices do. And I would know because I’m a much worse person than you.

Manchester Black: I believe disloyalty should be rewarded.

Overall Rating

Very enjoyable, compelling episode. Three and a half out of four spiders in the bathtub.

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

1 comment:

  1. I didn't notice that Frankenstein homage. You truly are a reviewer of vast reading, Victoria!


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