Tuesday, April 13, 2021

REVIEW: 'Supergirl' - Lena and Brainy Express All of Their Pent-Up Emotions Regarding Lex Luthor in 'Phantom Menaces'

The CW's Supergirl - Episode 6.03 "Phantom Menaces"

Supergirl makes a new ally. Lena and Lex battle for control of Luthor Corp.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Supergirl.

"Phantom Menaces" was written by Dana Horgan & Emilio Ortega Aldrich and directed by Sudz Sutherland

Lena and Brainy have both gone down dark paths as a result of their obsessions with Lex. They genuinely believe their actions were the right things to do at the time. Lex is the embodiment of evil who needs to be punished for the various crimes he has committed against the entire human race. And yet, he always finds a way to escape any kind of consequences. This dynamic has defined their stories for a long time as well. That means it has mostly grown stale. The audience knows that Lex can always deliver a counter move that can disarm the protagonists by just how callous and cruel it is. That's on prime display here with him setting fire to a children's hospital. That's how he lashes out after learning Lena has donated all of his money. The stakes are simply that high. It makes it seem like killing him is the only viable solution. But again, that highlights the dark impulses that come out when these people face off with him. He inspires that anger. He disrupts their lives. Their actions never seem to change his world whatsoever. Brainy lost time with Nia. He believed their relationship had to end so that he could be alongside Lex when the threat from Leviathan emerged. He was still deceived and betrayed. He was never fully aware of all that was happening. Lena has tried her best. She wants to change the world for the better. Her actions are always seen through the context of her family name though. She will be perceived as a criminal simply because of the influence her family has. She has long wanted to establish herself as something different. But again, she has always been defined as a Luthor. She feels the necessity of walking away from that. She is willing to completely drop her hatred towards her brother. It's an unhealthy obsession. Lex doesn't believe she is capable of doing this. She has complete clarity though. She hopes that his hubris will eventually catch up to him. The severity of his actions still play out on a global scale. However, he can no longer be the priority in her personal identity. Her sense of self has to be stronger than that. He has long prevented that from happening. Brainy is still just processing all the emotions he has regarding this dynamic. He has to be free to let them out. They must remain hopeful and noble even though Kara is no longer around to inspire their best impulses. They have to lead that way because it's what they believe and hope to achieve. Kara has brought that out of them. They must carry it forward now. Otherwise, she is the only reason the team worked as well and nobly as it did. Those emotions work incredibly well. Meanwhile, it's a good thing that J'onn doesn't stay in his stoic mindset for too long. He believes he has to act as a soldier and cut off all emotion in order to save Kara from the Phantom Zone. In reality, that only placed M'gann in danger. She survives while others are turned by the phantoms. That victory is enough to suggest resolution here. And yet, the threat to the world is still very real and apparent. A phantom is roaming Earth and turning a number of people. He gains strength in doing so. He wields power through attacking and taking over people's souls. Meanwhile, Kara once again steps up to empower others. Her simply believing in Nyxly is enough for her to regain some of her imp abilities. The show is vague with the specifics. This magic may have required someone to believe in Nyxly again. The story sets up a situation where that is easy to achieve. But it also suggests that Kara and Zor-El will break out of the Phantom Zone relatively easily now that they have a magical ally. The audience should probably be skeptical about Nyxly's backstory as well. Imps are known to be tricksters. She details a life of being banished so that no heir to the throne could ever replace her father. She survived by being trapped and prevented from using magic. She regains those powers here. That can be transformational. She tags along with Kara and Zor-El as they plot their escape. Kara believes in her. She is immediately trusting. It would still be rather easy for the show to offer a pivot where Nyxly's motives aren't as noble as they seem in this introduction. That turn could occur. It at least provides some new energy to the proceedings. That too is necessary to provide some spark to this final season.