Superman on Television
Supergirl: Episode Reviews
Season 3 - Episode 5: "Damage"Reviewed by: Christopher Hart
Originally Aired: November 6, 2017
WRITTEN BY: Eric Carrasco and Cindy Lichtman
DIRECTED BY: Kevin Smith
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)
Floriana Lima (Maggie Sawyer)
Odette Annable (Samantha Arias/Reign)
Katie McGrath (Lena Luthor)
Emma Tremblay (Ruby Arias)
Robert Parent (Pilot)
Rating - 3 (out of 5): "If I had an enemy, I'd crush her, without mercy." - Morgan Edge
Everyone loves Kevin Smith coming back to direct more Supergirl (especially the cast). His episodes always prove to be solid, if not anything spectacular (except, perhaps, for his The Flash episode 'The Runaway Dinosaur'). Under Smith's helm, it was Morgan Edge's time to shine this week and he's proving to be the dark force that this season needs. While the writers spend (now too much) time slowly moulding Samantha into Reign, at least we have Edge to fill that roguish void. He's bold, sly and fully committed to his villainy.
This week that meant actively poisoning children by swapping chlorine for a harmful compound, just so he could make it look like Lena Luthor was responsible. This was masked by some audacious lies - the boldest of which was Edge telling Lena: "But I didn't poison children; that was you," to her face.
It's a move that very nearly sent Lena hurtling over to the dark side. While drowning in her self-pity, it almost seemed like she was about to give in and become the villain that so many people think she is. "My whole life, I was a pariah," she told Kara, even going on to compare herself with Osama Bin Laden (the second global terror reference from Season 3). "Just stop believing in me, OK? I'm not worth it," she implored.
Thanks to some handy detective work from Kara (Lena asked James for his "best reporter," which means Kara, apparently, even though she's rarely around for her day job) and a nifty gadget by Winn, Lena's innocence was proven. But instead of telling Kara that Edge was behind it, Lena chose to confront him herself.
Here we saw a glimpse of what Lena could have (or could still) become, if she'd chosen to embrace her surname and all that comes with it. She was calm, fearless and didn't hesitate to pull a gun on Edge. "I'm thinking like a Luthor," he says, with a cold look in her eyes.
But the writers have teased us too many times with this now. There were many occasions during Season 2 where it felt like Lena might finally cross over into villainy. Here, again, the writers came close, but they steered away from it at the last second. It feels like they're afraid to cross that line, perhaps because they see the value in Kara and Lena's ongoing friendship.
There's only so many times they can tease us with dark Lena though, before it will start to feel like they're cheating us. And I feel like we're already at that point. Either we need a light, friendly Lena for good or we need the dark, villainous Lena fully let loose - the one that's always lingered behind the curtain.
In the span of one episode, Lena both went over James' head once more (by approving editorials without his consent) and also took an important step towards mending their professional relationship. "I have a rule: whenever anyone takes a bullet for me, they get to call me Lena," she told James, hopefully ironing out the discord between them for good.
Alex and Maggie's relationship reached an impasse, over Alex's desire to have kids. Finally, that disagreement proved too much and Alex ended things between them. That's when things got weird - while distraught and packing belongings, suddenly Maggie beams happily and lures Alex into a dance. This slides into gleeful side-stepping and then sex.
This moment felt so out of place that at first I was sure it was a dream sequence - a fantasy in Alex's head that everything would turn out OK. When it turned out that it was real, I was baffled. Amidst such heartbreak - played so well by Chyler Leigh and Floriana Lima - I don't think either character would realistically be open to cheery dancing, or romance between the sheets. It devalued the emotional impact of the split for me, which really also served as a way for fans to say farewell to Lima.
The episode closed with yet another power of Reign's being unveiled (invulnerability to bullets, just like Supergirl), but Samantha's progress is far too slow for me now. We've seen Reign's suit in promotional material (it's all black and looks nothing like the comic book character's get-up), which hopefully means that Samantha's slow realisation will come to an end sooner, rather than later. Slow builds are nice, but there's a limit, and I feel like we're approaching it.
Edge was truly the saving grace of this episode. Adrian Pasdar plays him with a deep sincerity and diamond-edged villainy. "You capes - you don't have what it takes, do you?" was one of his absolute best lines, because it maligned what makes our heroic Kryptonians so great - a goodness that's far beyond what Edge is even capable of.
He's serving as such a strong short-term antagonist that I'm wondering whether Reign - once unleashed - will even be able to keep up. To play on his own reference - he's the Wile E. Coyote we need; the dastardly villain who will pull all manner of tricks, in an effort to "crush" Supergirl once and for all.
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