Supergirl: Event Horizon

Supergirl: “Pants!”

Lena knows. Lena’s pissed. It’s a bad idea to piss off a Luthor.

Lena Luthor learned the truth about Supergirl’s identity at the end of the last season and she is furious at having been lied to. Her anger expresses itself in various forms: she beats up Supergirl in a virtual reality simulation; she sells CatCo, simultaneously taking revenge on her ex, James Olsen, and Kara, for lying to her; she makes arrangements to reveal Supergirl’s identity to the world.

The sale of CatCo brings up journalistic issues that are familiar to many people today. CatCo has been purchased by Andrea Rojas, the owner of Obsidian North, a tech company that does a lot of virtual reality. Rojas wants more clicks, and points out that even though Kara Danvers is being awarded a Pulitzer for her story that forced out President Baker at the end of season 4, readership is down. She wants shorter material, and seems unimpressed by truth and averse to nuance. Rojas brings in another journalist, William Day, who intends to rewrite Kara’s stories. By the end of the episode, James Olsen quits and Kara has yelled at her new boss – but Kara plans to stay, and agrees to learn to write shorter pieces.

We have another debate going on in the episode, this time about tech and especially virtual reality. Is it good or not? Like most tech, the answer is, it depends. If you’re using it to help people get over PTSD, then yes. If you’re using it for violent fantasies against someone you’re angry with, maybe not. Maybe you need to speak to a real person, rather than Hope, the name of Lena’s new artificial friend. The artificial friend, called Hope, is an artificial intelligence/computer - as lonely, lied-to Lena no longer feels as if she can trust other human beings.

And that gets us back to the heart of the episode. Kara wants to tell Lena who she is, but is afraid to do so, while Lena is angry about it. There’s the usual delay in confession (this time by a little girl / shapeshifter / T-Rex that has somehow appeared in a museum) but the writers didn’t drag it out. Kara confesses to Lena – Lena appears to accept and forgive. The apology also prevents Lena from revealing Supergirl's secret identity.

The purchase of CatCo by Andrea Rojas, Obsidian North is a great move for the season. Is the new owner the season’s big bad? (I didn’t relate at all to Midnight, the actual villain in this particular episode.) Or will it be Lena Luthor?

We have some teases at the end of the episode. James quits CatCo., which will let him either do interesting other things or else disappear; a shapeshifter claims he’s J’onn’s brother (but the reunion is not a happy/peaceful one); Nia and Brainy finally kiss. And, most importantly, we also learn that Lena has not forgiven Kara for having lied to her for years.

Title musings: Following the tradition of Supergirl, “Event Horizon” is the title of another work, a science fiction movie from 1997 that performed poorly at the box office but then developed a cult following. However, the main meaning comes from science: event horizon refers to the edge of a black hole – anything within that edge cannot escape. (The Event Horizon Telescope array took the first picture of a black hole in the spring of 2019, in a galaxy we’ve labeled M87, probably around the time the show's writers would have been breaking this episode.) As this episode involves Midnight trying to create a black hole, the title fits literally.

The title also works on a metaphorical level. When something is at the event horizon, we don’t know if it will fall into the black hole or if it will escape. This has been the case with Lena throughout the episode, who has been angry with Kara/Supergirl, and has been planning her revenge. At the end we still don’t know what will happen, and Lena could go either way. We have the same uncertainty with the fate of CatCo under new ownership, James Olsen in unemployment, and J’onn J’onzz with the shapeshifter that claims to be his brother. An excellent title.

Bits and pieces

Pants! Yes, they worked in some pants for Supergirl! I actually think the little red skirt looks better, but that may just be because I'm used to it. I also think that wearing pants would be a lot easier for a superhero, and I’m all for it.

Obsidian North is the name of the company that has bought CatCo. Obsidian is also a super black material that is also incredibly sharp (used in making surgical equipment).

Notice the black motif in the episode: Obsidian, the villain Midnight, the creation of a black hole.

Hans Gruber is the main antagonist in the movie Die Hard.

Miranda Priestly is the boss in the movie The Devil Wears Prada.

Kelly Olsen and Alex Danvers are still happy together, which is nice to see. Brainy and Nia are having issues, but that’s because Brainy (who loves Nia) has the guilts for what he did to Nia in a prior episode.

Quotes

Lena: I trust in technology. Not people.

Lena: I’m not a villain. I don’t want to kill Supergirl. I just want her to experience the same hurt that she inflicted on me.

Brainy: This Earth custom that the girlfriend is always right is illogical and frustrating.

Tour guide (during dinosaur attack): Where’s an asteroid when you need one?

Andrea Rojas: Everything is about clicks.

Supergirl: We can’t let bad odds or whatever it is we’re afraid of stop us from doing what we know is right.

Lena: Forging a path to the truth isn’t a piece of cake. It’s more like climbing a mountain. Arduous and painful at times, and just like us, Kara can sometimes slip. But she always gets back up and pulls through in the end. … Thank you, Kara, for reminding us that the truth is important, even when it’s not easy to accept.

Alex: How do you guys change so fast?

Nia Nal: I want to be the person you let your guard down with.

Overall Rating

Great start to the season; it has a lot of potential. Three and a half out of four ripped-up capes.

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

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Lovely review, Victoria -- I liked this one, too. I like the pants, and I like Brainy's new whip-off-the-glasses way for Kara to slip it on. And it'll be interesting to see these changes in CatCo.

I'm sad about Lena, but I spent seven seasons of Smallville liking Lex so much that I hoped he wouldn't turn evil, even while knowing he absolutely would. I've been feeling the same way about Lena. The way she pulled back after Kara told her the truth made me hope that maybe not, but I guess it's inevitable.

No one thinks Darth Vader is the greatest movie villain of all time? :)

Victoria Grossack said...

I thought the whip off the glasses technique was really good, too! My only objection is that the changing scene took rather long, which was of course so the viewers could appreciate it, but would be inconvenient if any of this were real. Maybe Brainy can tune it to go faster.