Supergirl: The Quest for Peace

Red Daughter: You betrayed me. You betrayed Kaznia!
Lex Luthor: What can I say? I’m proud to be an American.

Lex Luthor is back to steal the powers of aliens. And the show.

The season finale had a lot to do. It did most of it, with most characters ending up where we wanted them to be.

Last week I complained about a few things that were missing. How we never saw the invasion by Kaznia, nor Lex Luthor’s “rescue” of America. Well, they put that in, all set to Jon Cryer singing along with Frank Sinatra’s “I did it my way.” In fact, it went on a little too long, especially as acting within one of those space helmets, where all the directors can do is to show the head, is pretty limited. Singing, at least, was a different choice.

Last week I also hoped Red Daughter wasn’t dead. And she wasn’t! (Not yet. She dies during this episode, after apologizing to Kara, and her death seems to be real, as she turned into a mist.) Of course, the only reason Lex Luthor could even pretend to kill her (and announce to the world that he had killed Supergirl) was because he thought Red Daughter had killed the real Supergirl. Unlike my relief at Red Daughter being still among the breathing (but my relief was short-lived, as was Red Daughter), Lex Luthor was not at all pleased to discover that the original Supergirl is still alive. Actually, I was surprised that Lex’s discovery took as long in the episode as it did, given that Kara Danvers had written the story connecting Lex Luthor (and Lex knows that Kara=Supergirl). Everyone else was reading the expose, but not Lex Luthor? Doesn’t he have alerts for important stories with his name in it? Given how he is always so many steps ahead, how could he miss that? Later in the episode he castigates Red Daughter for being stupid/naïve/both when she didn’t do any research on him to realize that he hates all Kryptonians, yet he is as guilty himself.

We learn that Lex Luthor has been behind President Boxleitner Baker’s rise all along, explaining why President Baker has been such a jerk. Lex Luthor “invites” his mother and his half-sister to the Oval Office, and they had some interesting exchanges. Like Lex pointing out that he has finally cleared the family name by getting puppet Baker to pardon him (after the dead-once-more Otis left a note confessing to all the crimes that we know were committed by Lex). And Lex also pointing out that his family means a lot to him. This psychologically makes sense, as even if he hates his mother and his half-sister, they are his audience. The people to whom he wants to prove things. He couldn’t do that if they were dead, could they? Lena is hostile towards her half-brother, but Lillian is more accommodating, insisting that they share some polonium tea.

Lex Luthor is behind the rounding up of the aliens, where he has been siphoning off their extra powers for actual power. Like in turning-on-the-lights power, or using that power for weapons (it seems bizarre to me that you could use the same technology on all aliens, but it's a one-size-fits-all power siphoning device). Oddly enough they leave a few aliens out of the power-siphoning pods, for work, relying on the superpower dampeners surrounding Shelley Island to keep the aliens from creating trouble. The fact that they’re not trapped in pods gives some of our heroes (J'onn and Dreamer and some random aliens) the time and space in which to create a diversion. Which they do, first by fighting with each other, then with the guards, and then getting out so they can turn off the superpower dampeners and get an astral projection message to Brainy. So our unlocked-up heroes – James, Brainy, Supergirl and Alex – go to Shelley Island to rescue their friends and the rest of the aliens.

Before our heroes can enter the complex to rescue the aliens, they find themselves in a fight with Ben Lockwood and the Children of Liberty. Even though Ben Lockwood has learned that Lex Luthor, whom he despises, has been behind his own meteoric unbelievable rise to success, Lockwood still hates aliens and now that he’s souped-up with superpowers, is eager to take on Supergirl. It makes sense that Lockwood would not have a complete change of heart, and is satisfying, too, because we get to watch him go to prison when he’s defeated.

Brainy gets into the complex (our other heroes have other tasks) and the first priority is to turn off the machine that is about to annihilate Argo (which is where Superman and the rest of Supergirl’s family are). I loved the scene where Brainy realigns, and goes from telling them that the odds are poor, to being terrified for his friends (and the woman he loves) to encouraging them and telling them that they can indeed, do this. That is, use their psychic energy to overload the weapon that is being sent to destroy Argo.

Supergirl does some necessary fighting, and she gets to watch her clone die, but not before her clone apologizes for being wrong about, you know, everything. I don't really like it when a character is so (as Lex put it) stupid and/or naive. Supergirl thinks Lex is dead when he refuses to let her save him but drops to the ground. This is another logical problem with the episode: there’s no reason that Supergirl couldn’t have zipped down and gotten a better grip on him and stopped him from hitting the ground. He may have said he'd rather die, but you should never trust Lex Luthor.

Lena figures out that Lex didn’t die when he plummeted from the sky (how did he escape? teleportation?), so she comes to his lair to remedy the matter. She shoots Lex, at which point Lex (who doesn’t seem to be showing much pain or coughing up blood despite being shot) tells his half-sister that Kara is Supergirl. We have been waiting for Lena to learn the truth for several seasons now, and of course she learns it in the most uncomfortable way possible.

The writers put in many bits that can make us viewers content while we wait for Season 5. Kara declares that she can do anything with her sister at her side – this didn’t quite have the resonance that I wanted but I still appreciated it. Colonel Haley announces that Supergirl is welcome; Ben Lockwood in prison while his son George Lockwood is on TV, asking everyone, humans and aliens, to just get along. Alex and Kelly share their first kiss (saying that they’ve been through so much together, but I think this is the first time to see them share the screen in this episode), while Brainy and Nia walk by, hand-in-hand, which is especially sweet.

And we have some lovely teases for the next season. Lex Luthor may have not died (you don’t waste a good villain). Lena knows Kara=Supergirl, but Kara hasn’t told her yet. There’s some excitement for J’onn. And, the most delightful of all – Eve Tessmacher is being tracked by some group of beings, which explains why this brilliant blonde was such a fool for Lex. She was being compelled to for some other reason.

Title musings: “The Quest for Peace” is also the title of Superman IV, from the series with Christopher Reeve. As this is the end of the fourth season I guess it was why the writers chose that title. It seems strange to pay homage to Superman IV, as it was such a lousy movie. I suppose you can always say that Supergirl wants peace, she didn’t seem to really be on a quest for peace in this episode, but mostly in the mode of stopping the bad guys. I understand why the writers chose it, but the title’s not inspired or inspiring.

Bits and pieces

Very satisfying to see the traitorous President Boxleitner being thrown out by the application of the 25th amendment. We all know why it was satisfying.

So both Lillian (polonium in the tea) and Lena (gun) have tried to kill Lex. Maybe he won’t be so accommodating next time?

Quotes

President Baker: Not that I don’t trust the plan, but shouldn’t I be in a bunker somewhere?

Lex Luthor: From zero to President with a snap of my fingers. Are you seriously asking me if I’m sure about something?

Kara/Supergirl: I will not let fear win. And with my sister by my side, anything is possible.

Brainy: That is a rather strong emotional reaction for such an insignificant detail.

Lena: Your murderous son has duped the world into thinking he’s Earth’s hero. This is hardly Thanksgiving dinner.

Overall Rating

There was a lot in this episode to like, which is why this review goes on and on. But the episode also has spots where the logic was faulty, or where they are telling instead of showing. Three out of four cups of polonium-spiked tea.

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

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Definitely a fun finale that just didn't stop. The opening sequence was just too funny -- who knew Jon Cryer would turn out to be such a terrific Lex Luthor? I was relieved that Brainy "recovered" and that Alex connected with Kelly. And that finally, Lena found out about Kara, something they'd been teasing for way, way too long. It feels like Lena is going to go dark side now. I sort of don't want that to happen, even though it's inevitable.

This was an excellent season, wasn't it?

Victoria Grossack said...

Yes, it was an excellent season. I have to hand it to the writers for going *there* - tackling such a difficult set of issues, especially at the beginning. Of course, much of the alien v. human tension was ginned up by an evil third party. I think the season had some weaknesses, some things that weren't well executed, but overall, it was well done.