Superman on Television
Supergirl: Episode Reviews
Season 3 - Episode 7: "Wake Up"Reviewed by: Christopher Hart
Originally Aired: November 20, 2017
WRITTEN BY: Gabriel Llanas and Anna Musky-Goldwyn
DIRECTED BY: Chad Lowe
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)
Odette Annable (Samantha Arias/Reign)
Carl Lumbly (M'yrnn J'onzz)
Emma Tremblay (Ruby Arias)
Chris Wood (Mon-El)
Amy Jackson (Imra Ardeen/Saturn Girl)
Anjali Jay (character unknown)
Rating - 4 (out of 5): "Nothing is ever lost for good" - M'yrnn J'onzz
Mon-El's departure has been an open wound for Kara since the season began. A scar that's been healing, but very slowly. She's pined for her lost love relentlessly - yearning for his safe return more than anything else. It's "all I wanted," Kara admitted here. In a cruel parable about being careful what you wish for, the show answered Kara's prayers this week.
That submerged pod that seemed like it belonged to Reign and the Worldkillers was revealed to hold Mon-El. Now bearded and claiming to have lived 7 years in the future (while only 7 months passed on our world), our charming Daxamite returned to our screens. But this time a different man - he felt far more weary and far more guarded, like someone with a truth that he couldn't or wouldn't share with Kara and the DEO.
Mon-El's return could easily be construed by some as a giant step backwards for the show (a retreading of old ground), but instead - in more than one way - this was an episode full of giant leaps forward. It's all in how the writers handled him.
They used Mon-El not as some 'it's not really him' ploy, or as some temporarily-evil version of himself, like Justice League did (rather well) with Superman (which brings a whole new meaning to: "I saw Clark do this once"), but as a vehicle to deliver a new character. Someone long-promised, for those who have been keeping up with news surrounding the show. That new character is Imra Ardeen, A.K.A Saturn Girl, played by Amy Jackson. A telepathic heroine straight out of the comics.
Right from the moment that Mon-El mentioned his time lapse, I had a suspicion that he'd found a new partner in that other life. When he showed desperation to break Imra from her pod, that confirmed it for me. And I feel like Kara knew from that moment too, whether she admitted it to herself or not.
Her posture grew guarded almost immediately - she crossed her arms, frowned and watched the situation with a curious fear. It seemed to me like she was hoping against hope that it wasn't true - that Imra was a friend and nothing more - but that final (rather inconsiderate) kiss, shared in her presence, cemented it.
That moment wasn't a realization of new information for her - it was instead the acceptance of a notion she'd already arrived at. The final wall of hope dropping away for her, and that's why the tears almost flowed. It's almost like she lost Mon-El more fully this way - he didn't die when he left, but he grew to love someone else instead. Only a necklace and some lingering respect now tethers him to her. In a way, that's a harder outcome to swallow than if he'd crashed or been lost forever.
Alongside the introduction of Saturn Girl, we were finally granted the full birth of Reign. Rather than plodding along with Samantha's small realizations, as they have been lately, the writers instead placed their collective foot on the throttle, giving us more than we could have hoped for.
After deciding to visit her mother, to hunt for answers, Samantha learns that she's not from Earth. Just like Kara and Kal, she arrived on a ship in her youth and relics from Krypton allowed her to unveil her own fortress - a Fortress of Sanctuary; dry and hot, in contrast to Kal's frosty Fortress of Solitude. If anyone deserves such similar origins to the Man of Steel and Maid of Might, it's Reign, as Krypton was her home too (albeit one that she was crafted to "kill").
Apart from some rather over-the-top acting from Odette (she's an acting pro in Banshee, so I'm not slighting her abilities) when her final transformation began, which took me out of the scene quite a bit, everything we were given was great. I loved the way Samantha walked in bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, secretly happy with her new powers and expecting to be "like Supergirl," only to be told: "they will not call you 'hero'" and that she will "forget all mortal trappings," including Ruby.
What I don't like about it is that it's almost being presented like a possession - as if Reign is inhabiting Samantha in some way, with a Darth Vader-esque resurfacing of her true self probably planned for later. But it's all about how you frame it - if you choose to believe instead that Reign is her true self and that Samantha was the false version of her, then the red-eyed reversal is far more palatable.
Between the arrival of Saturn Girl and the arrival of Reign, this episode held a lot of really exciting reveals. We knew that both were coming, but being granted both simultaneously almost feels like we're being spoiled (in a good way) by the writers. It feels like they've raised the bar for the remainder of the season. All they need to do is keep up that quality and momentum, and we'll be in for something spectacular.
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