There is a famous Superman story written by Alan Moore titled “For the Man Who Has Everything.” The 90s era animated justice league show adapted this, and like that, I thought this episode of The CW‘s Supergirl did a great job paying homage to that story.
The gist is that an alien parasite called the Black Mercy attaches itself to a host, and gives that host a dream that allows them to live out their perfect fantasy, with the catch being that all the while the Mercy is killing it’s host. Kara was attacked by the Mercy at the end of the last episode, and this week we get to see what her perfect life would be. She immediately knew that she was in a dream state, but Supergirl did a good job of showing how she slowly was forgetting what was real, and buying into her fantasy. Like last week, when Kara quickly figured out Max was behind Bizarro, I’m happy to see that Kara is picking up on various situations quickly. However, that didn’t stop the Mercy from chipping away at what she knew to be reality.
While it made perfect sense that we saw Kara’s parents, and even a young Kal-El, I was pretty surprised to see that Astra is included in her “perfect fantasy.” I would have thought that after the events of this season that Kara would no longer have had such affection for her aunt, but clearly she is remembering a happier time from her childhood. Immediately after the episode I was a little bummed we didn’t get more screen time with young Kal, I later realized that would have been pointless. Having him there shows she wishes she could have fulfilled her mission of protecting him (something they were able show when she was stepping between him and a suspected intruder), but there was no actual way for her to know what he was like at that age, so it wouldn’t have been an accurate representation of Kal anyway. And with the episode feeling like a lot happened, it’s probably for the best Kal didn’t get any more time.
Begrudgingly, Hank allowed Alex to bring James and Winn into the DEO in an attempt to aid Kara. After discovering that they couldn’t forcibly remove the Mercy without killing Kara, Alex attacks Max in an attempt to get him to confess to being behind it. While that turned out to be a dead end, Astra betrayed Non and actually went to Alex to tell her about the Black Mercy. She explained that Kara had to reject it, from inside her dream, or she would be lost forever.
Through the wonders of comic book science, Max helped the DEO develop a headset to allow Alex to interface with Kara’s mind, and insert her into Kara’s dream. I felt like they missed an opportunity to have Hank use more of his powers, and enter Kara’s mind himself, or at least to be the conduit to get Alex in. Perhaps on the show he isn’t as powerful as he has been depicted in some other media. (He certainly didn’t seem to have fine control when trying to wipe the mind of the security guard a few episodes ago).
Alex was able to snap Kara out of it, and then reveals that Non was behind the Mercy. I really appreciated the focus that Kara showed during that scene, and loved her reaction and anger when confronting him. It reminded me a lot of Superman’s reaction to Mongul back in the original comic. That said, it did seem like she had a relatively easy time with him. Perhaps Non was taken aback by the unexpected attack.
Even better than that, I loved seeing Martian Manhunter and Alex confront Astra. I was shocked when Hank was revealed as Martian Manhunter but I absolutely love how they are using him more and more. Their fight ended with Alex stabbing Astra through the chest with a Kryptonite laced sword. While Supergirl did get the chance to say her goodbye’s to her aunt, she was left believing that Hank was the one who actually killed Astra. That deceit has got to come back to bite Alex at some point, but for now the episode left off on a happy note.
Supergirl continues to get better and better and this episode was no exception.
* While Kara was out of commission, Cat was going on a rampage looking for her, and told Winn that if she wasn’t there within the hour she would be fired. This dominoed into Hank posing as Kara in an attempt to save her job. Those scenes were fantastic. I loved them and thought that Melissa Benoist did a great job playing
Hank posing as Kara. I absolutely believed she was really Hank.
* Alex convinced Max to help by telling him that Non and the other Kryptonians were coming back. Obviously Max is still in the “bad guy” category, but I’m now wondering if his battle with Supergirl will be delayed until Non and the others have been dealt with. The enemy of my enemy is my friend after all.
* I have been thinking the last few episodes that Winn didn’t seem to have anything to do, so I really appreciated Hank asking him to help the DEO look for the Kryptonians. I would love to see Hank recruit Winn away from Cat.