“Supergirl” Episode Review – S03E09 “Reign”

Superman Homepage writer Christopher Hart reviews episodes from the “Supergirl” TV series, airing on The CW.

Check out his review of the 9th episode of Season 3 in which Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) investigates a mysterious symbol popping up all over National City, tracing its origins back to an ancient prophecy and the mark of the World Killer, Reign (Odetee Annable). Meanwhile, the tension between Lena (Katie McGrath) and Morgan Edge (guest star Adrian Pasdar) continues to build, causing James to step in and offer up some protection, and possibly igniting a spark in the process.

ReignOriginally Aired: December 4, 2017
WRITTEN BY: Paula Yoo and Caitlin Parrish
DIRECTED BY: Glen Winter

REGULAR CAST:
Melissa Benoist (Kara Danvers/Supergirl)
Chyler Leigh (Alex Danvers)
Mehcad Brooks (James Olsen)
David Harewood (Hank Henshaw/J’onn J’onzz)
Jeremy Jordan (Winslow “Winn” Schott)

RECURRING CAST:
Katie McGrath (Lena Luthor)
Odette Annable (Samantha Arias/Reign)
Adrian Pasdar (Morgan Edge)
Carl Lumbly (M’yrnn J’onzz)
Emma Tremblay (Ruby Arias)
Chris Wood (Mon-El)
Amy Jackson (Imra Ardeen/Saturn Girl)

GUEST CAST:
Chad Lowe (Thomas Coville)

4Rating – 4 (out of 5): “You’re no god, just as I’m no devil – all I am is truth.” – Reign

Mid-season finales are a tricky thing. Writers want to sling into the hiatus with a bang and a tease – to attract viewers to return – while at the same time saving their true gold for the back end of the season. This makes most mid-season finales feel like something part way between a normal episode and a (full) season finale. This week Supergirl broke that rule (as well as Kara’s face), in an episode that felt superior, in power and delivery, to all of the show’s finales up until this point – mid or otherwise.

Early on, Imra – with her superb accent and “Greek-goddess looks,” as Kara put it – mentioned the Legion. The Legion of Super-Heroes is a team-up that the show has long-teased by showing us a ring and dropping a mention here and there. Finally, it looks like we’re going to see the Legion band together and form. If you watch the promo for Supergirl‘s return (which will be on January 15), you’ll see a very brief scene where three hands, sporting rings, align in a row.

The callback to Thomas Coville was skillful writing. It showed that ‘The Faithful’ wasn’t just a (very worthwhile) detour, to explore the notion of Supergirl as a god – it had an extra function too; to place Coville in a position where he could later inform Kara about the history of the glyph. “The lost gods must fall for a new god to rise,” he told her, speaking of a “dark god” and of a goddess before Rao. “She will reign, unless you stand and fight her,” he warned.

This ultimately led to one of the best battles we’ve ever seen on the show. Yes, it was placed among jaunty holiday songs, Christmas parties and flying presents, but that festive levity didn’t detract from the brutality of the fight. Kara bruised and bled, under Reign’s ruthless blows (no kryptonite was used, which means Reign’s sheer strength accomplished this).

Kara more than held her own, too – likely bolstered by Alex’s plea: “I’ve been trying to get you to embrace your humanity, but forget that; be cold, be Kryptonian… Be alien” – but ultimately Reign devastated her. I actually feared for Kara’s life by the end (as comics and the DCEU have shown, it’s possible to kill a Kryptonian and then bring them back to life), but the promo for January shows her slow recovery and reminds us that we should ‘never underestimate the Girl of Steel.’

Just like Kara, Edge nearly met his end at Reign’s hands, but his lead-lined panic room and quick thinking saved his life. Part of me wanted Reign to kill him – as great as he is to have around, it would have been the punctuation mark (along with pummeling Supergirl) that showed how formidable Reign really is. But I’m happier that they kept him around, as there’s clearly far more to come from this intriguing villain, as long as Reign doesn’t overshadow him, going forward.

The Mon-El/Imra/Kara content was very welcome this week. It was really nice to see Imra address Kara so directly and honestly about what happened, trying to assure her that it was no easy change for Mon-El. There’s a theory circulating, however, that Imra has used her abilities (telepathy and mind control) to manipulate Mon-El into marrying her (or to paint the illusion of marriage).

Those who believe this point to the necklace that Mon-El retains as a sign of his mind not letting go, because it knows something’s not right. If this proves to be true, it will be a fluid way to bring Kara and Mon-El’s relationship back into play. However, given that Saturn Girl (Imra) is meant to be part of the Legion that they’ll form, revealing her as an enemy seems counterintuitive to that goal.

The Lena and James romance wasn’t as welcome – I don’t think their sparring at work has ever really hinted that something romantic lay beneath the surface, so their “chemistry” felt a little out of the blue this week. When this eventually translated into a kiss, it seemed more than a little forced to me, from a writing point of view.

No one mentioned the crossover this week, which felt a little odd, given how Reign’s black attire looks so close to Overgirl’s. Some of Glen Winter’s directorial choices were a little strange too. When Reign slays the criminals by the dock, it’s almost akin to a werewolf attack from an 80s horror film – the shots are intentionally blurry, fast and all too quick to follow.

It’s baffling, too, why the episode’s very final shot doesn’t show Samantha’s face, as she turns around to face Ruby. She’s clearly in Reign-mode, but even if her face is full of runes once more, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. It makes me wonder if her physical looks have begun to change and the creators are going for a non-human look after all. Maybe when we come back, she’ll look like something a little closer to the visage of her comic book counterpart. We’ll have to wait until January to find out.

Check out the “Supergirl – Episode Reviews” Contents page.

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37 Comments on "“Supergirl” Episode Review – S03E09 “Reign”"

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Randall1028
Member
Firstly, I just want to say how I much more I enjoy reading an indepth review of the show instead of a 2-sentence synopsis accompanied by just as brief an opinion. So, thank you! Secondly, I completely agree with your take, especially on the fight. I thought it was one of the best ones we’ve seen in the Arrowverse. I got a lot of Doomsday (from the comics) vibes from the fight as it moved all over the city to Kara not using any of her powers other than brute strength. I also liked that, unlike Smallville, it wasn’t just… Read more »
lcmcbain
Member

While I enjoyed the show overall, very tired of the shots it keeps taking at Superman’s expense to “prop” Kara up. It’s not needed and detracts from Kara herself. Typical lazy short sighted writing. Along with the needless stealing of Superman’s mythos. Now the Legion started because of Supergirl? ok…

sman1938
Member

I soooo totally agree with the stop using Superman’s mythos to try to make Kara a better character. He was the hero with the museum and he was the one they got inspiration from. They have so much going for this character already, but I will admit when I saw the clip saying she was the inspiration I almost did not even want to keep watching.

jer
Member
Let me start of saying that I like the character o0f Supergirl…but here it comes… The Superman mythos (history) is filled with inconsistences – mainly due to sloppy, lazy and NOT pay attention to detail writing but this last past decade which started in 2011 with the New 52 waste of time which really tore asunder the universe and changing a timeless classic….down to his a legendary look and costume FOR NO REASON except to adhere to someone whim and personal agenda that has nothing to do with character with the exception to detract from it in destroying cornerstone of… Read more »
NeoRanger
Member
Full disclosure, I no longer watch the show, I dropped it half-way through last season and a large part of the reason was that it’s a phony show with manufactured messages and a format that took a hit after the move to The CW.I keep up with some of the news, out of curiosity and read some of these reviews to have a cursory idea of what’s going on in the show. They don’t have a grasp on Superman’s mythos and they have even less of a grasp on Supergirl’s mythos. They just pick what they think to be too… Read more »
redcape
Member
Great review. I almost would have given it a 4.5! The battle was excellent. And the episode in general was easily one of the top few from the whole series. The CW in general has been stepping it up with the sp-affects in all of their shows. But they really outdid themselves with this one. Kara’s bloody head was quite startling! I find the Superman references to be more surprising than distracting. The only con I could bring up was as mentioned. The ridiculous James/Lena hook up. Why they have to have these awkward attractions in every episode that are… Read more »
Spidey2878
Member
I really do enjoy this show, however I have said in a previous post that I was not impressed with this episode. I saw a lot of problems with the episode. For starters, the way they treated the religious holiday Christmas. Martian Manhunter’s father said that the people “pay homage to an evergreen.” That’s not what Christmas is about. It’s not about a pine tree. Yes the pine tree is a part of tradition, but who Christians pay homage to is Christ. The pine tree is a symbol of renewal that Christ brings. If they didn’t want to reference him,… Read more »
redcape
Member

Christmas and all that accompanies it is mythology. Sounds like you paused it every five minutes and analyzed every detail. In case you’ve forgotten, this is the CW and they have never since day one, done things by way of comic books. The only thing better about it returning in January is the continuation of this episode! (with the exception of James/Lena hook up, stupid to the max)

Spidey2878
Member
Christmas and the Christian faith is not mythology, its religion. Ask any Christian they’ll say the same. You my think its myth but its not. Calling it myth is your opinion. As for the episode, the quote of paying homage to an evergreen says enough to support my claim. I have every right to my objections to this episode just as you have every right to your objections on the critics who disliked the Justice League. I know that they have not done everything by comic lore, but as I have said before I enjoy this show. I have been… Read more »
Randall1028
Member

Pretty sure the line about the tree worship was supposed to be a joke. Just as him calling hot chocolate and coffee “brown water.” J’onn’s dad is built up to observe things very literally here on Earth. To anyone who doesn’t know about Christmas, it certainly can be seen as the Christmas tree is the focus as just about everyone who celebrates Christmas has a tree.

Spidey2878
Member

But then the question has to be asked what’s the significance of the tree? There’s no way around it. There’s no way to take Christ out of his own birthday. I get that not everyone celebrates Christmas, that’s not the issue. The issue is people trying to take Christ out of his own birthday. I find that troubling. If the Evergreen line was a joke, then it was a bad one. To my ears it didn’t sound funny.

Randall1028
Member
Yyyeah here’s the thing: there really isn’t a significance to the tree though in the Christian sense until recently. It was never any sort of representation of Christ, as the Christmas tree is only a 200 year old tradition (roughly). And the whole “The pine tree is a symbol of renewal that Christ brings” is only since 2004, officially, when the Pope declared it. Until then, it’s always been more a symbol for the Pagans during the Winter Solstice. I invite you to read up on the history of the Christmas tree as it truly is a fascinating part of… Read more »
Spidey2878
Member

Actually the history of Christmas trees and its part on Christianity has more history according to this site
https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/trees.shtml
But as I said before, taking Jesus out of his birthday isn’t right. His name is on the holiday after all. The Martian man Hunter’s father could’ve just said that it’s beautiful that people celebrate on this holiday the story of a baby being born. That would’ve been fine in my opinion. While not getting to religious, it would also acknowledge the fact that this was Christ’s birthday.

Randall1028
Member
Your link contradicts none of what I said. Legends and speculations are not facts. The fact, however, is the Christmas Tree, as you know it, is only 200 years old or so. Additionally, no one is “trying to take Jesus out of his birthday.” You keep repeating it so I’ll finally address it: No one is doing that just because it’s not said every 5 seconds and/or every effort is being made to remind everyone of the most obvious thing about Christmas to anyone over the age of 6. There’s no need to fear that fictional Aliens don’t understand the… Read more »
Spidey2878
Member
I find nothing cute about it. The Martian man Hunter’s father may be an alien, but the writers of the show are not. They know the true meaning of Christmas, yet they put that line in anyway. As for my link, the legends are still part of the history of the Christmas tree. I’m not saying that everyone have to celebrate those legends, and I’m not saying that everyone has to celebrate Christmas. Everyone has their own religious holidays to celebrate. I understand that. And what you’ve said in your previous post just proved my point, Christmas is not about… Read more »
Spidey2878
Member
You know what, the episode is done. Time to wait for the next one. I have my own opinion about this weeks episode, and you have yours. That’s fine. I accept that. Some people may agree with me, some people may not. Again I accept that. At this point, I don’t see a reason why to continue debating about this topic. For those who enjoy this episode, good for them. I’m glad that Supergirl is getting some positive reviews for her show. As for me, as I said before I’ve seen better episodes but this was not one of them.… Read more »
Spidey2878
Member

I do have at least one positive thing I can think of from the episode. The design on reign’s costume did look cool to see in action.

Spidey2878
Member

Looking back at this conversation I can see that you were trying to help me understand this episode. I do appreciate the effort.

andramus
Member
Hey Spidey, I’m going to put my interpretation of the “Tree Scene” out there. Whether you choose to accept it or not is up to you. I get the impression you think the scene was either belittling or making fun of Christmas. Or both. To me it was the opposite. The scene was making fun of J’onnz father not Christmas. The joke was that M’yrnn being an outsider got confused about what Christmas was about because at that point it hadn’t been properly explained to him. Even if it had been explained he has so many new things to learn… Read more »
Spidey2878
Member

I guess. I mean I can only speak for myself. I didn’t agree with that one scene, but again everyone has their own opinion. Supergirl is still a good show to watch.
And they did have some nice scenes of characters with their family and friends. That I did like, and maybe I should’ve have mentioned that in my previous post. I do appreciate your views on this subject. It may be different from my own, but everyone has an opinion.
Thank you for sharing your views of this episode with me.

Spidey2878
Member

Andramus,
In case I didn’t say it before,I also wanted to to say thank you for the effort in explaining your views on this episode. I do appreciate it.

SuperFunTime
Member

That’s how I took it too, andramus. :)

Spidey2878
Member

Randall1028,
I wanted to also say thank you for your interpretation on the episode. Sometimes reading about a different perspective on a topic gives insight on what others may think on a topic. Your views may be different from my own, but it is still interesting. Again I say I appreciate your efforts and taking your time in explaining your views on the episode to me.

MattComics
Member
I just watched the episode myself and I enjoyed it. But right now I feel like I’m inclined to agree with lcmcbain’s earlier post with regards to the constant need to cut on Superman to put Kara over. First and foremost she doesn’t need it. They wanted Kara out of Superman’s shadow and that was already accomplished in Season 1. Now sadly this thing of making x character (mostly Batman but also others) seem more “badass” by having them be able to out fight, out dialog, out cool, or just generally out do Superman is not limited to this show,… Read more »
lcmcbain
Member

Well said MattComics. Couldn’t agree more on all of your points.

Spidey2878
Member
You bring up a lot of good points Mattcomics. Especially about Supergirl’s DEO training. I’m hoping that maybe we might at some point get to see what really happened the day Kara came to earth and see Superman’s side of the story. I don’t believe Superman abandoned his cousin either. I do believe there was a valid reason he left her in the care of the Danvers though. Certaintly it wasn’t to abandon her because they have kept in contact with each other mostly through texting or e-mail. If he had abandoned her, I don’t think Kara would know that… Read more »
NeoRanger
Member

I don’t believe Superman abandoned his cousin either. I do believe there was a valid reason he left her in the care of the Danvers though.

Like, for example, providing his twelve-year-old cousin with a stable household that would allow her to assimilate in earth society, receive relevant education and grow up in a healthy environment without being targeted by her very busy cousin’s enemies.

With the focus this show places on family, you’d think there’d be a “thank you” somewhere there, if they weren’t too busy projecting their inferiority complex by sticking it to Superman every chance they got.

Spidey2878
Member

“I don’t believe Superman abandoned his cousin either. I do believe there was a valid reason he left her in the care of the Danvers though.”

“Like, for example, providing his twelve-year-old cousin with a stable household that would allow her to assimilate in earth society, receive relevant education and grow up in a healthy environment without being targeted by her very busy cousin’s enemies.”

“With the focus this show places on family, you’d think there’d be a “thank you” somewhere there, if they weren’t too busy projecting their inferiority complex by sticking it to Superman every chance they got.”

Good point.

redcape
Member

Regarding who’s stronger. Well as far as I’m concerned Superman SHOULD be stronger just by virtue of him being a male. In general men are stronger than women. That is why the end result of the fight they had and the reasoning was ridiculous. It was just more from the stand point of the show pandering to females in general. Which in this day and age in going on everywhere and in everything.

SuperFunTime
Member
I don’t think that episode actually demonstrated that Supergirl was more powerful than Superman. What the fight did demonstrate was that she got more strategic hits on him than he got on her; specifically the face [jaw]. One thing we learn in martial arts is that the body can take a beating; the head, not so much. Basically, she got more devastating hits to his face. Yes, I know Superman hit Supergirl in the face also, but hitting someone with a jab or a cross is not as devastating as hitting them with an uppercut, especially to the jaw. That’s… Read more »
jer
Member

Mon-El the founder of the Legion hmm. History would say Saturn Girl (who is blonde) Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad but a Superman slight of hand and some “Poetic Licence” can change all that.

jer
Member
These show runners fail to realize that with out Superman Supergirl doesn’t exist period end of sentence. I guess they figure that Superman has so much accumulated wealth that they can cherry pick what they like and make it their own with seemingly no consequences or, maybe the writers could not have cared? The writers here could have easily said “your cousin and you” were the inspiration for the legion instead of disregarding history/cannon altogether, if they want Supergirl to stand on her own two feet, this in not the way to do it. Be original, like this Reign character,… Read more »
MattComics
Member

There’s plenty of women who can kick a guys ass. Also there’s nothing wrong with there being more females in the pop culture landscape. We don’t get to use Superman as an excuse to make superheroes a boys only club. But I just think there’s no reason to diss Superman in the process of letting girls play to.

redcape
Member

Really…….who? Female cage fighters? Or while a guy is asleep? Or she walks up behind him and clubs him with a baseball bat when he’s not looking? As far as the females in this pop culture landscape, I’m not sure exactly where you mean. I know over the last 5 years or so Hollywood has distorted what females can actually do on such a ridiculous scale it’s laughable for the most part.

MattComics
Member

Have they or is your estimation of women so low and stuck in the 1950’s that any act of competence would seem like pure fantasy to you?

redcape
Member
Come on now Matt. The only thing I’m doing is pointing out what Hollywood has been doing with female roles as of late. EVERY single TV show and a lot of main stream movies where there is some kind of confrontation between a man and women, the women comes out on top. Karate, judo, boxing, you name it, they all posses them. Take the 4 CW superhero shows. Across the board almost every episode has these women destroying men in physical confrontations. There’s only ONE women that takes a beating. And that’s Supergirl! The rest of them are all products… Read more »
NeoRanger
Member
Yup, which is precisely the problem with this show’s handling of these situations. I will say, I understand people who have a problem with the logistics of that fight; upper body strength, plus more experience fighting bad guys, plus twice as long absorbing “yellow” sun radiation should’ve given *this* Superman the edge. When they reintroduced Kara back before Infinite Crisis, they had her being a little more powerful than Kal, but it made sense back then; according to that origin, she was stuck in suspended animation, exposed to yellow sun and Kryptonite radiation. It made sense for her to be… Read more »