Supergirl: The Bottle Episode

Lex Luthor: "Yes, that’s right, you killed me, but that is all in the past."

Lex Luthor is back and he’s worried about Leviathans.

The writers have pushed the reset button in an interesting way. There’s only one Earth now. And this happens to be an Earth where Lex Luthor is not just in charge, but he’s revered as a saint and is the boss of Alex Danvers and Supergirl. But these two, along with the rest of our heroes, remember the real history and they’re not happy about it.

Lena Luthor also remembers everything, and is wondering whether or not to trust Kara. We’ve seen this before, and her perpetual resentment is becoming rather tiring. What is odd is that she decides to work with Lex instead, which we have to suspect is a really, really bad idea. He convinces her by using the truth snake. And that makes me wonder: has Lex been changed by death? Does he really want to save the world? He really does seem to want Lena’s company and he really does seem freaked by the Leviathans.

Anyway, suddenly our world is full of lots of Brainies, which was a lot of fun, because Brainy is the show’s most amusing character and having a whole bunch of them is even more amusing. It’s amusing, but alas, it’s also confusing. One of them is trying to restore seven billion souls that he has trapped in a bottle. Bottling seven billion souls is bad, except bottle-Brainy wants to save them, but to release them might kill everybody, so I don’t understand why is he trying to do that? Turning to others on this Earth for help seems so logical – and the Brainies are inherently logical – so why didn’t bottle-Brainy do that first? And if his goal is to free his seven billion people, and that can only be done from the outside of the bottle, why would he go inside of the bottle?

We learn the origin story of the buttons on our Brainy’s head; it’s due to his sympathy to his mother when she bottled a planet with snow. The buttons are psychobabble – I mean psychoinhibitors – and they have prevented him from operating at peak performance.

The witches were also confusing. First they were a potential threat, then they were into cheap tricks (I wanted to see what Supergirl’s palm said about her), then supposedly they were able to help bottle-Brainy with the bottle. They were able to stop the heroes but then decided they wanted a fight (giving viewers the de rigueur fight scene that occurs in every episode of Supergirl) which made no sense because the witches lost the fight. Perhaps they were so contradictory because there were three of them and they didn’t agree with each other? Then they went into the bottle with bottle-Brainy, which means getting rid of them as characters for as long as the writers want, possibly forever.

The other extra Brainies also leave, going to a different level of existence in the Big Brain. And this leads to something that keeps getting mentioned but never really getting explored. It seems there are many different realities, aside from the multiverse. There's the Big Brain. There’s the virtual reality that Andrea and Gemma are talking about. Is this a good thing? A bad thing? From Kelly Olsen’s perspective, when it’s used as therapy, it’s a good thing, but isn’t it sort of fake to pretend you’re making real anthropological discoveries when you’re not? There’s also life in the bottle. Is any existence real or is reality irrelevant?

The female Brainy tells our Brainy, based on her experience, he has to work with Lex Luthor to save the world from Leviathan – and that he can’t tell anyone. I can understand the first part, but the second part makes no sense. Nevertheless, our Brainy accepts it without question, and breaks up with Nia and goes and offers his services to Lex.

We end with some tantalizing tags. William Dey, whose memories have not been restored, is nevertheless suspicious of Lex Luthor. And Lex shows our Brainy a picture of Winn Schott, who is Back from the Future, the title of the next episode.

Title musings. The title of this episode is “The Bottle Episode,” which on the face of it refers to the major plot point of one of the Brainies having put the seven billion people from his Earth into a bottle. The phrase has another meaning; a “bottle episode” for a TV series refers to an episode that is shot on sets that the series already has, and is done to save time and money, usually because the budget has been blown on sets and special effects for other episodes. As this episode follows the Crisis crossover episodes, which surely cost a lot of extra money, this is the classic bottle episode in terms of money. This title is perfect.

Bits and pieces

OK, the meetings of the many Brainies was really funny.

Brainy’s anecdote about his mother bottling a planet so he could keep snow made me think of snow globes. What if snow globes aren’t kitsch but are trapped planets? Should we be doing something about them?

I wonder why they made Brainy green when he was healed? Is green healthier than blue?

If you’re thinking that female Brainy looks a lot like the usual male Brainy, it’s because the actors, Meaghan Rath and Jesse Rath, are sister and brother.

The Man of Tomorrow is a great-sounding award, but it seems presumptuous not to let the people of tomorrow choose for themselves. And why isn’t it the Person of Tomorrow?

Quotes

Alex: the DEO is a hellmouth now, so there’s that.

Alex: I work for Lex Luthor. This is worst-case scenario.

J’onn J’onzz: I did what I had to do. I disobeyed orders. … the honor comes in running toward the bomb.

Female Brainy: You’ve been one step behind us at every turn.

Female Brainy: What I’m saying is love is not meant to minimize you.

Kara: Because you’re loved. And the people that love you will always fight for you.

Lex: Success isn’t worth much if you don’t have anyone to share it with.

Overall Rating

Fun, but a little confusing, and somewhat inconsistent, making great strides with things that don’t matter and little progress on issues that do. Two and a half out of four truth snakes.

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

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

Definitely fun, and definitely a bit confusing. I really enjoy Brainy, and it's interesting to see him so serious. It felt a bit like they were about to write him out. I hope they're not.

Excellent review, Victoria.