Supergirl: Menagerie

Kara: “I need to get out of here before I eat all your valentines.”

With his P.I. shingle newly hung outside his office, J'onn welcomes new clients. Trying to take her mind off what happened at the DEO, Kara decides to team up with J'onn on his latest assignment, which ends up tying directly into Alex's current investigation that involves the villain Menagerie. Meanwhile, Lena shares some news with James, but his reaction isn't what she expected. Nia invites Brainy to her Valentine's Day party.

Several threads were extended in this episode. The acting was good, and the storylines believable (you know, as long as you accept the world). But I felt as if things were missing.

We meet a villain, Menagerie, from the DC universe, who conveniently eats human hearts, tying into the rather overdone Valentine Day theme. Alex goes looking for the monster, and Kara – as journalist – tries to help her sister, but the collaboration doesn’t really work. Alex, whose mind-wipe means that she no longer remembers that Kara = Supergirl, keeps trying to protect her sister even when Kara doesn't need protection.

The DEO isn’t the only one in pursuit of Menagerie, but J'onn / Supergirl and the Children of Liberty are chasing her as well. Oh, and Nia Nal finally dons her own superhero outfit and shows up for the fight too, just in time to help Supergirl with the snakes (but why was Supergirl having trouble with the snakes?). Anyway, Menagerie gets caught pretty quickly. This is not an episode with the entire planet, or even all of National City, at risk.

James and Lena, our only real couple, broke up, of course, on Valentine’s Day, after James said that working with the US military on giving super powers to humans was a bad idea, as they would weaponize it. I tend to have more sympathy with the humans on this, because an army can’t afford to bring a knife to a gun fight. Note that this means that the next generation of humans, although descended from the previous generation, will be fundamentally different from them, something that happens much more than people may realize (points, alas, that were not discussed). Although the break-up of James and Lena was, as she pointed out, "inevitable" – they really want to go in different directions as people – it was rude of Lena to break up with him like that, kicking him to the curb, especially after she asked James to serve as her conscience in that very matter. Oh, well, she knows he's the Guardian, so he can take care of himself.

Hmm, does this mean that James will go out with Kara again? Lena's got her research arc, but James has little going on, except as Kara's boss.

Or would we ever see Alex and Kara together? Because they actually love each other the most. I guess that’s incest and forbidden, but they really are the heart of the series.

Agent Liberty was released, allegedly because the president’s staff found a technical reason to do so, but really because he was more popular than President Baker (who I keep wanting to call President Boxleitner, but that’s the name of the actor) and so by releasing Liberty, Baker expects for his own poll numbers to go up.

It looks as if Menagerie will be teaming up with Manchester Black.

So, what was I missing? More conflict and more tugs at the heartstrings for Kara. She has no love interest any more. I don’t sense that people are trying to figure out her identity, when that was such a powerful aspect of previous episodes. One way to do this would to have her succumb to some Supergirl affliction and have to hide it from Alex.

Title musings: "Menagerie" is the title of the episode, referring to the introduction of the new villain. I don’t see that it applies to anything or anyone else. And this is where I wish that they had called the episode “Live in the Moment,” as that was certainly the theme of the episode. We see it in nearly everyone, from Agent Liberty giving that advice to his son, to Nia Nal deciding to put on that costume, to Brainy’s multitasking, to even Colonel Haley having a life.

Bits and pieces

Obviously an episode for Valentine’s Day, but awkwardly placed. It’s unusual to have something like this after the holiday, but given the break between episodes, it would have been even stranger several weeks ago. Maybe the schedule got changed after the episode was already in production.

The National City Heart Association’s Masquerade Ball must have been going on pretty late given that Nia and her roommate had already ended their party, and Nia’s roommate does not look like the type to settle for an early night.

Marshmallow roses look amazingly decadent. I don't think my teeth or my blood sugar level could tolerate even one bite.

Menagerie, at least, has the sense to put up her hair when she’s out doing her thing. Nia Nal’s long dark hair is attractive but that’s got to get in the way of fighting.

Lena mentions to Alex that she has a daughter, humanizing her.

J'onn or the DEO should go after Brainy for stealing scenes. His are always great!

When I read the summary of the plot, I was afraid that they were going to be introducing a whole bunch of new characters, especially lots of aliens, through J'onn's PI business. However, he was being consulted by a human (albeit a very alien-friendly human, the wife of the guy who introduced the Alien Amnesty Act). And we were not overwhelmed by a whole bunch of new characters, so that's good.

Quotes

Pamela/Menagerie: Always underestimate how much people like holding on to their stuff.

Alex: I feel like I have the capacity for so much more lately and I’m doing nothing.

Haley: He’s (the president) dismayed that Ben Lockwood is polling better than he is.

Kara: It’s Valentine’s Day and you’re being a matchmaker.

Lena: If your billionaire girlfriend cannot whisk you away for a romantic holiday, then there really is something wrong with the world.

Kara: They took credit for this one, but the truth will prevail.

Brainy: I am 85% focused, which is equivalent to a very capable CSI team. Now I just have one other matter of importance to take care of, and once I do, I guarantee you 100% of my mind.

Haley: Ms. Luthor, we need to make the US military as powerful as our alien adversaries.

Overall rating

A pleasant hour of television. But it could have been so much more. Two and a half out of four marshmallow roses.

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

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

I am really uncomfortable with Alex not knowing who Kara is. During that big fight scene, I kept expecting Alex to get knocked out so she wouldn't see super stuff, something that happened way too often to Lois Lane.

Victoria wrote: "But why was Supergirl having trouble with the snakes?" Because they were alien snakes? :)