Supergirl: Red Dawn

Red Daughter: This country is a fatted heifer. I am here to cut its throat.

A jam-packed episode. Perhaps a little too jam-packed.

Last week’s episode ended with Kara being taken into custody. Obviously the usual men can’t hold her, but I wondered how she was going to get out of it without revealing who she was. Pretending that she saw a spider was a lot of fun. Having Red Daughter show up was lovely too, as was the fact that Kara has had a lot more time to get used to being poisoned with kryptonite.

An attempt to justify last week’s awful storyline of Alex not adopting was made by having the experience remind her of the fact that Kara was adopted. This is a crack in one of the memory walls that J’onn put up to prevent her knowing the fact that her sister is Supergirl. (Note that it doesn’t justify that ghastly thread; adoption could have come up without its execution being so poor.) After the failed adoption, Alex has a strange dream about her adopted sister, which seems like an implausible memory as they both tumble off a cliff.

Lena goes to her stepmother to get her help with the Harun-El and with finding Lex. Lillian may be in prison, but Lena was able to buy the prison in order to get her way. Lena forces Lillian to tell the truth to her. Lena tells Lillian she has just eaten poisoned food and that Lena has the antidote. Lillian rather doubts that she will need this, but we learn at the end, as Lena hands Lillian an antidote, that Lena did poison her stepmother (seems there’s very little regulation in those for-profit prisons).

Lena seeks Ben Lockwood in order to discover where Lex Luthor is hiding out, but Ben has no idea; he is completely unaware that Lex has been pulling the strings. It was satisfying to see Ben discover he had been played, especially as he went to Otis, but I would have liked to see more of his regret. After all, his prejudice led to the death of his wife and the estrangement of his son. He thought he was weaponizing others and that his actions were those of a free-willed man, while all the time he was a tool. Maybe we’ll see more next week.

The one person who has shown genuine free will all along – who has made it clear that she doesn’t like being manipulated – has been Colonel Lauren Haley. It felt good to see her come down on the side of our heroes.

We also got to see some fun stuff with Brainy. He and Dreamer get captured; when Brainy is tortured (I loved the bit about his only power being that he was blue) he reboots and becomes much more powerful and ruthlessly logical.

Red Daughter and Supergirl square off, and Red Daughter is prepared with an enhancing suit, so she wallops Kara. I loved how Kara was able to pull sunlight out of the plants to recover from her injuries, and how she was encouraged to do so by Alex. So Alex finally remembers that Kara = Supergirl, all while their mother looks on.

I would have also liked to see more (anything) of the invasion by the Kaznians. Instead they skipped that part and showed Lex Luthor carrying a dead version of Supergirl.

Title musings: “Red Dawn” is the title of two films (one a remake of the other) with the same premise: Russia and some of its allies invading the United States (I noticed a while ago that the Supergirl writers are borrowing titles from other fictional works). So, as Kaznia, with Red Daughter at its helm, is planning to invade the United States, that’s one similarity. Dawn is also when sunlight occurs, and it is sunlight (albeit sunlight trapped in the plants) that heals Kara (OK, that’s a stretch for the title). Dawn can also be used as a verb; when it dawns on you, that means you have realized something. Ben Lockwood has an awakening when he learns that Lex Luthor has been behind his rise to power and fame; he has been used by a sociopath; maybe he’ll see red, too. Alex has a more pleasant dawning when she realizes that Kara = Supergirl. Anyway, when I go on this long about a title, it’s making me think, so the title seems good.

Bits and pieces

Having characters in super-suits makes it possible for a double to stand in for Melissa Benoist, and for them not to have to pay Jon Cryer for this episode.

I wonder if Red Daughter is truly dead. She probably is, because Lex Luthor would know how to kill her and she would be an inconvenience to him from now on. But Lex also has to know that Supergirl is not dead.

Kudos to Sam Witwer who plays Ben Lockwood, but this time had to do a scene in which Brainy was playing Ben Lockwood. It was well done.

It’s nice to learn that Lillian does love Lena. Perhaps she has chosen her stepdaughter over her son because her son tried to kill her. But Lena poisoned Lillian too (although Lena gives her the antidote), so that affection may not last.

I hope James and Lena get back together!

Quotes

Kara/Supergirl: You picked on the wrong girl.

Brainy: And I will tell Dreamer that I am in love with her.

Red Daughter: Your life could mean so much yet you fly around in a cheerleader skirt.

Lena: The nice thing about for-profit prisons is that you can buy them.

Lillian: When you find your child was planning matricide it tends to cast a pall over your feelings.

Brainy: I need to tell her, to get it out of my system. Then normal function will resume.
J’onn: I’m not sure that’s how love works.

J’onn: Why does everyone always think getting captured is the best plan?

Lockwood: You’re telling me, all of this – it’s all about money?
Otis: And world domination.

Overall Rating

I was so happy to see some of our characters back together. However, some of it felt stilted and choppy and in several places I wanted more (I suppose that's better than my wanting less). I wanted to see more of Ben Lockwood’s regret. I don’t want Red Daughter to be dead. I have wanted more Kara / Alex interaction in the past few episodes, so you think I'd be happy, but the problem for this episode is due to the absence of interaction between them in prior episodes. When Alex recognized Kara=Supergirl, they told each other how they felt, instead of showing it in prior episodes. I’ve been shuttling between three and three and half out of four for-profit prisons. What do you think? At any rate, I know I'm looking forward to next week's offering.

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

5 comments:

Victoria Grossack said...

One more thing to add to the title musings: Red sky at night, sailors' delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. That's an old saying, and metaphorically here, with the red dawn, things look bad.

Billie Doux said...

Loved Melissa getting to play so many parts in this one: Kara, Supergirl, Red Daughter, Red Daughter as Kara -- had to be a difficult episode for her, even with the supersuits hiding Red Daughter's face at times. A little anticlimactic if Red Daughter is dead and we didn't see Lex kill her, though. And I'm not so happy that we might have Brainiac as a villain, mostly because I've become so fond of Brainy.

I also really enjoyed Lena outwitting Lillian, and Sam Witwer doing a spot-on Brainy impression. I also liked that Alex finally overcame the memory block, because I've hated it. It was time for that particular plot barrier to come down.

Nick said...

It could also be just that the title is a play of Red Son, which is the original elseworld title with Superman. Son-> Sun -> Dawn ?

Did the sunlight out of grass thing not bug anyone else? I'm not the biggest fan of superman, so I don't know if this thing is canon, but it feels super deux ex machina.

Unknown said...

Dc released an alternate storyline posing the question " what would have happened if superman landed in russia instead of smallville?"

Story was called Red Son (( a play on red SUN, communists red, etc etc etc)).

Many of these stories being told in the tv show have had supergirl plug and played into superman stories. Using the terms red dawn, are a way of alluding to the red son storyline as well as the "katznian/russian" element, as well as probablly hinting to the red dawn movie, since the episode is about the Red invading america

Victoria Grossack said...

Thanks, Unknown! And of course, the Kaznian Kryptonian is called Red Daughter, which parallels with Red Son.