Supergirl: Crime and Punishment

Supergirl: "Years of helping people, wiped away with one lie."

This is one of those episodes where I simply enjoyed, or at least appreciated, nearly every moment of the various storylines.

I felt the profound dismay of Supergirl at how she is currently being called a traitor for something she did not do. Even when she rescues someone who was trapped in a car that was about to explode, he turns on her.

I appreciated Mehcad Brooks’s excellent acting when he was being treated for PTSD, especially the terror with which he reacted when the doctor tried to approach him and to reassure him. Of course he’s having some other problem (becoming a real superhero?) due to the super drug that Lena whipped up for him. Can we hope that Lex is also having some after effects?

I admit I didn’t enjoy Ben Lockwood’s appearances so much. That doesn’t mean that his appearances, or President Baker’s scenes, were not well done. I think that’s because I’m reacting viscerally with negativity to the characters.

Brainy had an off moment when he shouted his intention of being clandestine (by now he should know better) but the rest of his scenes were excellent. It was fun watching him make his way to the restricted area, how he tricked the security systems and then bluffed his way past the guards. But what was better was his hesitation when he was about to do something illegal. He doesn’t know if his action could backfire.

I thought the thread showing how Alex asked James’s sister Kelly for advice about how to work with her boss was also excellent. The advice apparently backfired; Colonel Haley saw straight through Alex and knew she was being manipulated. Nevertheless, at the end, Colonel Haley finally came down on the side of the good guys. I would argue that the manipulation actually worked. Note to everyone: when you’re trying to persuade someone, don’t expect instant conversion; often your efforts need a little time to take effect. Haley’s speech at the end was a little on the nose (Supergirl is not especially subtle) but it was also cathartic.

The scenes between Brainy and Nia Nal were enjoyable and witty. I liked how, while holding a pastry, she said that she was suffering and couldn't eat (obviously able to eat). Still, I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that Nia Nal refused to help by dreaming for him. I suppose her refusal to help (or rather, her delay in helping) was needed for the episode, but it felt unnecessarily petty.

I thought Stryker’s prison, with the corrupt warden, and all the other prisoners, was very well done. We met the warden earlier (and now he’s dead, so we never will again). Lex’s cell was over the top (of course) and so was his manipulation of his half-sister from afar.

The best new character was Steve Lomeli, the man who is in prison for releasing DOD documents. That was a crime (and such things have to be crimes) but he did it out of overall conviction. I liked how he can’t stand Supergirl but has a tremendous amount of respect for Kara Danvers. The best moment for Steve Lomeli was when the prisoners were all dropping to the floor, and Lomeli reached out his hand to hold the hand of another prisoner who was trembling with terror.

And then, my favorite bits of the episode: Supergirl turning back into Kara Danvers for some interactions in the prison, and how she ends going back to Stryker’s to speak with Steve Lomeli, another member of the fourth estate.

Title musings: “Crime and Punishment” is the title of the episode, and it is also the title of a book by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Admittedly it has been decades since I read the book, but the episode doesn’t strike me much like that particular book. However, there are plenty of crimes and plenty of punishments to go around.

Bits and pieces

Ethan Hunt, referenced by Brainy, is the name of the protagonist of the Mission Impossible series.

At the end of the last episode, J’onn J’onzz was seen flying off in his shapeshifter spaceship to go to Mars to bury some sacred objects, so he wasn’t around in this episode. As much as I enjoy David Harewood, I think this was good. Following another storyline on Earth would have been difficult – J’onn hasn’t been that integral to the main plot ever since he left the DEO – and I really didn’t want to try to become invested in a whole bunch of new characters on Mars.

We also didn’t see Lex Luthor or Red Daughter. I’d like to see how Red Daughter is reacting after her attack on the White House.

There’s been no mention for a while now that Supergirl cannot let her dear sister know that she is both Supergirl and Kara.

Of course "Stryker's Island" was created to sound like "Riker's Island."

Quotes

Lena: Justice. What a crock!

Supergirl: If the government wants to stop me from helping people, let them try.

Brainy: Ah, spruck! There is a perfect 50/50 chance that what I am about to do is absolutely wrong.

Kelly: You can’t change people. But you can appeal to who they are.

James: I’m Guardian. And I protect people. … I feel like I shouldn’t need help. I feel like I should be strong enough to get over this. Of course, if you have a magic pill, I’ll take it.

Nia Nal: What does your gut tell you?
Brainy: That decisions should be based on facts, and not on intestinal inclinations.

Overall Rating

I feel as if the series is working particularly well now. Part of this is due to the introduction of Lex Luthor, as having a worthy villain is always good. But Lex Luthor, with all of his contraptions, can sometimes be over the top, and although his influence was felt in this episode, he didn’t make an appearance. I think the tension is due to the fact that our main character, Supergirl, has great conflict going on. Her whole thing is saving people, and that is being taken away from her. I love, too, how she is going to fight back – using her arsenal as a reporter. Even though this episode had a few minor flaws, I’m giving it four out of four mighty pens.

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

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