Superman on Television
Supergirl: Episode Reviews
Season 3 - Episode 21: "Not Kansas"Reviewed by: Marc Lax
Originally Aired: June 4, 2018
WRITTEN BY: Gabriel Llanas & Anna Musky-Goldwyn
DIRECTED BY: Dermott Downs
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 (Dark Kryptonian)
Esmé Bianco (Thara Ak-var)
Rating - 3 (out of 5): "I was haunted for a long time by the end of our planet... It wasn't easy to regain a sense of peace." - Alura
Often, this show does well when treading topical ground. But it's an easy line to cross. Step a little too far towards topical hotspots and you'll find fans balking at the brashness of your writing, rather than admiring your bold relevance.
Gun control is undoubtedly a touchy subject in the US (and elsewhere), to the point where the ever-present threat of finding yourself caught up in a shooting likely haunts many people's daily lives.
So when fans complain that they watch shows like this for escapism - to get away from such daily concerns (even if they just mean seeing it on the news), I get where they're coming from. And it doesn't help that the writers handled the subject with the subtlety of a laser beam to the face.
With Kara leaving for Argo (a plot design to land her face-to-face with the only enemy of left, for the moment - this nefarious cult), this left National City unguarded by a Kryptonian. This gave our DEO characters (which, woefully for us, meant more Guardian) the opportunity to see how they handle threats alone, without Supergirl.
This threat (all too conveniently) turned out to be very grounded and beatable - we got a very earthly problem; top secret, high grade weapons getting out onto the streets. James firmly took anti-gun stance, while Lena adopted the contrary view. The writers had the sense to present both sides of the argument, but where things fell apart was the solution.
It ended with the forced disarming of the DEO - an agency who, without doubt, need lethal weapons to do their jobs safely (it's especially important given they often battle otherworldly beings). This means the anti-gun side won, but not with democratic decisions or a rational compromise; with a person in power (J'onn, here) making a sole decision by himself, without consulting anyone.
Before this point is jumped upon - I'm not pro guns (far from it), but it seemed a mighty one-sided way to end the debate. A debate that shouldn't really have been the focus of a Supergirl episode anyway. Comics can and should be topical, sometimes, but when it's done, it needs to be done deftly, or not at all.
Thankfully, the rest of the episode shined (outweighing the gun content and levelling it out at a flat 3 out of 5). On Argo (it's so great to be able to say that), Kara soaked in the 'normal' life (no powers) - at least until Mon-El gave her his Legion ring. She came across first as the graceful, long-lost daughter, then as the almost-insane, paranoid outsider, for a heartbeat, before she caught her stalker and proved her suspicions right.
We got a very similar scene to the opening of Season 3, which was then directly called out as such (I'm not sure they needed to make that direct comparison - it was obvious enough). Then Mon-El expressed his lingering feelings for Kara, pulling in the relationship angle once more, which I don't think the show needs, at all (at least, any time soon).
Reign seemed defeated - the episode opened with a very shoddy-looking separation of Reign from Samantha and it looked like we might be rid of her. Until the episode's closing scenes, which saw Samantha pause - something clearly amiss.
Eve Teschmacher got a lot more screen time this week. I'd love it if they upgraded her role to something of a series regular, allowing her to get involved more (whether she learns about the DEO and Kara or not). There's no harm in giving Andrea Brooks a little more room to shine - she's already proven herself a fan-favourite minor character.
This was a gun control guffaw that was elevated by a true look at Argo - importantly, with ample time to take it all in. Seeing Alura sit down with her daughter, watching Kara greet old friends and witnessing the calm culture of Argo (and knowing we probably won't have this for long, no matter what Kara says about staying) made this episode something a little bit special.
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