Sunday, October 21, 2018

REVIEW: 'Supergirl' - Kara Must Find New and Creative Ways to Confront the Fears of the World in 'Fallout'

The CW's Supergirl - Episode 4.02 "Fallout"

A shocking revelation causes chaos in National City. Supergirl sets out to capture Mercy Graves, while Alex takes control at the CEO. Back at CatCo, Kara decides to write an investigative story on Mercy and asks Lena if she can interview her as Mercy has ties to the Luthors. Brainy meets Nia and the two end up in a precarious situation.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of The CW's Supergirl.

"Fallout" was directed by Harry Jierjian with story by Dana Horgan and teleplay by Maria Maggenti & Daniel Beaty

Supergirl is very much embracing its political themes this season. It verges on almost being too blunt. And yet, that shouldn't be a good enough reason not to embrace this story for all that it is. It is still incredibly topical with stories of inclusion still needing to be on the forefront. This hour truly highlights how quickly fear can spread. Sure, there are some over-the-top villains who present as the clear threat to our heroes' way of life. Mercy and Otis Graves are working with Agent Liberty in order to turn the planet against aliens. They succeeded in that regard by proving that the President was an alien. That forced her to resign because she lied to the American people. It's so aspirational to see our leaders do the right thing even though the idea of lying has become so prevalent in politics over the last few years. It shows just how simple it can be to believe in the truth and justice of the world. And yet, it would be foolish to only see that as well. There are plenty of hardships that shape our cultural identity. Right now, the planet is on the brink of chaos believing that aliens are uniformly bad and must be sent back to the home planets they came from. There is no sympathy for those arriving as refugees due to their homes or species being wiped out. It's all being treated as a metaphor for the crumbling working class lashing out with hate over their increased irrelevance in the world. That comes across in such a chilling way when J'onn attends a meeting where Agent Liberty is the speaker. Sure, it seems like there is a disconnect from the emotion of the words he's saying simply because the character continues to hide behind a mask. The audience isn't able to connect a face to this hatred. Mercy and Otis are the public villains of this cause. They are working together with Agent Liberty. And yet, he is presenting himself as the beacon of hope. That's the mantle that Supergirl has always embraced. Here, she has to find new and creative ways to confront the fear sweeping the nation. That means actually delivering a public statement embracing the best qualities of Earth and championing everything that makes it so great. She believes that humanity has the tools to be as accepting and open as possible. But there is still the agony that comes from any moment possibly taking the turn to disaster. When Brainy is outed as an alien, he is immediately targeted with violence. That shakes him to his core because this kind of hatred has never been a part of his life before. Meanwhile, Nia can speak quite eloquently about CatCo and James needing to release a compassionate statement right away to continue to prove to the world that they have empathy and are accepting of everyone in the universe. That story highlights how she has the makings of a hero as well. All of this is very promising thematic work. Of course, there are some notable plot complications throughout this story as well. After four seasons, it's no longer all that interesting to see Kara trapped in a situation where she is incapable of becoming Supergirl because of who else is there. Meanwhile, Mercy and Otis are released from DEO custody by a complete newcomer in that environment who really has no distinct personality whatsoever. And finally, this season is committed to Kara's identity as a reporter. And yet, she never actually writes a story about Mercy based on the new information that Lena gives her. As such, it mostly seems irrelevant.