“Supergirl” Episode Review – S03E22 “Make It Reign”

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

Check out his review of the 22nd episode of Season 3 in which Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) learns the true depth of Serena’s (guest star Anjali Jay) nefarious plans for Earth. Supergirl, Mon-El (Chris Wood) and Alura (guest star Erica Durance) must devise a plan to stop her before Serena gets to Earth. J’onn (David Harewood) prepares to say goodbye to his father (guest star Carl Lumby).

Make It ReignOriginally Aired: June 11, 2018
WRITTEN BY: Ray Utarnachitt and Cindy Lichtman
DIRECTED BY: Armen V. Kevorkian

Melissa Benoist (Kara Danvers/Supergirl)
Chyler Leigh (Alex Danvers)
Jeremy Jordan (Winslow “Winn” Schott)
Mehcad Brooks (James Olsen/Guardian)
David Harewood (J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter)

Odette Annable (Samantha Arias/Reign)
Chris Wood (Mon-El)
Katie McGrath (Lena Luthor)
Anjali Jay (Selena)
Chad Lowe (Thomas Coville)
Andrea Brooks (Eve Teschmacher)

2Rating – 2 (out of 5): “I promise you – I am not dying today.” – Samantha

Sometimes the writing on this show can grow lazier as we drift into the final act of a season. Season 2 suffered a little from that and now Season 3’s currently suffering from the same problem.

New writer Ray Utarnachitt scripting their first ever episode of the show (alongside seasoned Supergirl writer Cindy Lichtman) might have something to do with it, but I don’t think the whole blame should be placed on them (Utarnachitt has written a whole bunch for Legends of Tomorrow and that’s show is often solid). More likely, it’s byproduct of lengthy, 23-episode seasons and a lack of collective ideas in the writers room.

I say collective, because writing on micro scale was good – everything from Winn’s pleading call for “ALEEXXX” to Eve’s tiny additions was spot on (and it’s not the writers’ doing, but I loved Alura’s outfit too). But the writing for the wider arc of the episode wasn’t. When you bottom line the plot, it was about three old witches – none of whom we care about – conniving to destroy the Earth.

Selena’s been a villain for a while, but she was only credited with a name recently (before that, she was simply credited as ‘Dark Kryptonian’), which highlights how unimportant she’s been along the way. Even her murder of Thomas Coville was poorly conceived – a villain killing an underling who helped them, for no real reason other than being evil, is tiresome and cliche.

Her two companions were even more pointless – two haggard, old witches, who the writers tried to characterise a bit with lines like “You’ve always been stupid,” but who came across as nothing but irritating. The writers didn’t leave Purity and Pestilence around long enough to allow us time to care about them (yes, I’m still not over that), so them asking us to care (in the liking-them-as-villains sense) about these two backdrop she-devils is far too big of an ask.

Amidst the chaos, we had Winn showcasing his latest (non-lethal) invention (something so useful and brilliant, it’s difficult to believe he could come up with it on his own) – a belt that shields your entire body (with a close field) at the push of a button. This all-too-convenient plot device paid off later on, when Winn used it to avoid death, then Demos (Curtis Lum) found it incapable of withstanding the laser beams of all three witches simultaneously, and lost his life.

This week was directed by the great Arrowverse visual effects supervisor Armen v. Kevorkian, who Kevin Smith praises a lot, and who had his second outing directing on Supergirl here (‘Ace Reporter’ was his other episode, which was also sub-par) and his fifth time directing in the Arrowverse as a whole. As Smith will tell you – a director doesn’t have that much sway on how an episode turns out, so the pitfalls here might not be Kevorkian’s fault (my theory is they deliberately choose to give him the bad episodes to direct, so he can test the waters directing without rocking the boat if he gets things wrong).

The penultimate episode of any season should be steeped in endgame content centred around the primary villain – the one we’ve spent 23-or-so hours investing in; Reign. While the goal of our crinkly Kryptonians was to revive Reign fully (by stealing the blood of Purity and Pestilence), the episode had little-to-nothing to do with Reign herself.

Instead, it was gap-bridging filler content designed mainly to do two things: to set up Reign’s return for the finale and to give our heroes a reason to scurry back to Earth. Now, we have a worldwide outbreak of natural disasters, with Reign close to her goal, but we also have Samantha voluntarily in The Dark Valley.

I think she’ll be key to saving the day next week. A lot of this season has been about overcoming and driving out your private demons (Kara’s overcoming her heartbreak, Alex overcoming her break-up, the hosts regaining control of their Worldkillers and so forth), so it makes sense that Samantha will be pivotal in taking down Reign, hopefully (as she promised), without losing her life in the process. And Ruby will be her muse and motivation.

The writers on this show know how to start seasons really well and they know how to throw in some great episodes along the way, but there’s a trend in them not knowing how to end a season with any expertise or grace. The finale next week will be the moment to truly decide that, but based on this week, it’s not looking promising.

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

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June 13, 2018 12:38 am

That’s interesting. Personally I found this episode a huge step-up in quality over last weeks. I thought overall the pacing was good and there were a lot of good character moments for everyone except James. Which is fine IMHO – not every character on a show has to have a major presence/scene in every single episode. My biggest bugbear has more to do with baggage that has carried over from the last two episodes – that being how underwhelming Kara’s reunion with her mother was. I actually think this weeks episode did a better job of mother/daughter scenes between them… Read more »

June 13, 2018 1:27 pm
Reply to  andramus

I noticed the three Kryptonian reference to superman 2 as well. I think it’s mostly used for a plot point for the season finale. Instead of doing the whole alien army invasion thing again, they decided to take some plot points from superman 2. Did anyone else think that Reign looked a bit different? I don’t know if it was her finger nails or her mask and eyeliner. Something seemed different to me.

June 13, 2018 1:38 pm
Reply to  Superman2878

I think Reign’s fingernails were a reference to Nuclear Man from Superman IV.

There have been a number of references to the Christopher Reeve movies in the last few episodes.

The scene where Reign goes after Ruby in Lex Luthor’s mansion walking through all the traps was a direct reference to Superman the Movie where Superman walked through all Lex’s traps.

June 13, 2018 7:06 pm
Reply to  andramus

I think you are right about Reign’s appearance andramus. On a side note, I noticed that Miss Tessmacher has been given more screen time this year. I wonder if she will have a bigger role next season

June 13, 2018 8:59 pm
Reply to  Superman2878

Never know on this show spidey! Miss T has gone from getting coffee at the paper to working with Lena.

June 13, 2018 9:01 pm
Reply to  andramus

You caught the gauntlet scene also did you? I didn’t reference the nails but now that you mention it makes sense. They’ve about pilfered about all they can from Sup1 and 2.

June 13, 2018 9:05 pm
Reply to  Superman2878

Yea spidey…good call. One would have thought that sense she split from Sam, that would have been the end. This whole season they’ve been one and the same and the split somewhat contradicts what’s been happening. The writers seemingly do things that are mind baffling.

June 13, 2018 12:32 pm

I’m going to agree with a lot of what you said andramus. I thought this was actually one of the better episodes. Considering that there have been higher grades given to some of the past episodes I am some what surprised that in was only considered a 2 out of 5! One other mention. Saying that Legends of T is often solid when it is the most rinky-dink of them all was a shocker to read. It was IMO a strain to get through while Supergirl was on hiatus. And is there anything that Winn can’t invent?? Goes from working… Read more »

June 13, 2018 1:46 pm
Reply to  redcape

I didn’t really like Legends of Tomorrow much in it’s first season but really enjoyed it’s second and third seasons. The show started working for me when it stopped taking itself too seriously. It’s just a fun ride where even the “big bad” is more of a joke than a serious threat. On the topic of Winn I think he is probably at least a 10th level intellect. In the comics the Toyman was capable of inventing things that gave Superman a bit of trouble so I don’t really have a problem with Winn being able to invent devices that… Read more »

June 13, 2018 9:13 pm
Reply to  andramus

Regarding Legends of T. I watched them all but when the stuffed animal was involved in the BIG fight I was in dis-belief! But I have found most of the time travel in this show to be at many times absolutely adolescent. Cornball deluxe!!!

Their running Supergirl again tonight and nothing else is on so usually once is enough BUT tonight I’m going to make an exception and watch it again!

June 14, 2018 12:27 pm

Well I did watch it again last night. And all things considered, I’m rating this episode 4 out of 5!