There are a lot of things you don’t want to be doing in the opening of any sort of adventure/sci fi/superhero show. One of them is be in an isolated research station. That just never works out well. True to form, the scientist running an outpost dedicated to studying global warming gets a nasty surprise as most of his team become the designated redshirts in “Changing.”
A lot of the cast is hanging out in the alien dive bar, if it has a name, I missed it and can’t find anywhere. Maybe it’s taking the place of the largely nameless place the cast used to hang out in during Season One. Kara and Mon-El are doing shots, which gets interesting. J’Onn and M’Gan are talking about how glad they are they’re not alone anymore. And Alex comes in, still trying to figure out what to do about her new girl-crush, Maggie Sawyer. Maggie, when not on duty, spends all her time playing pool and drinking as far as I can tell.
After some uncertainty from Alex about what to do about her new thoughts and feelings, the DEO gets word about the scientific research station in the opening. With Kara temporarily out of service, Hank and Alex go check the station out. I’m not sure why, even in his human form, Hank/J’Onn needs a parka. Martians have problems with fire traditionally, not cold. When we learn the surviving scientist is named Rudy Jones, most comic book fans learn all they need to know about how this episode is going to go. Bizarrely, Professor Jones, while stationed at the Norwegian research center, seems to work out of the university in town. Even more strange, the DEO’s fancy gadgets, designed to gather intel about aliens with help from at least one alien, don’t register the changes in Professor Jones.
What I presume is the next day starts with Mon being knocked through a wall. This is apparently Supergirl’s version of training him to use his powers. All the scene really does is make Mon look like a goof and Supergirl is maybe enjoying batting him around a little too much. He also tries to explain to her (again) that he might not be the hero she is.
Alex and Kara go for a walk. In a very painful, awkward, but well done scene, Alex tries to follow Maggie’s advice and come out to Kara. One of my favorite lines on a now-cancelled comedy series was, “Ok, now I think she’s trying NOT to understand.” Kara does seem a bit dense during this, but is at least supportive once the penny finally drops.
Jones goes back to work and has an interesting night. He’s apparently aware of the alien changing him, but doesn’t seem to mind. He’s making notes on the process, which is a bit odd. His boss then decides to fire him over his views on climate change, which is next to impossible at the college level. Unless somehow Jones was in charge of a research facility but didn’t have tenure? Winn finds the video from the station and alerts the DEO about what’s going on. Supergirl and Alex go to the Professor’s lab, and they find out that his changes make him dangerous, even to Supergirl. Since this is only round one, he of course gets away.
Supergirl gets checked out at the DEO and then sent home. Olsen comes by to check on her and then he and Winn get into an argument. Olsen is all desperate to get into the fiiel in his new vigilante identity (I wonder if he’ll be part of the big crossover coming up?) and Winn tries to explain the suit isn’t ready. I kinda wonder how Winn is managing to make something at the DEO without being noticed, but maybe I’m thinking too much.
Alex drops by Kara’s place for more talk about what’s going on with her. I’m glad they’re addressing this, but I kind of wish they’d at least mention her very obvious interest in Maxwell Lord last season. Or are they just trying to pretend that didn’t happen? Their heart to heart gets interrupted by an alert about an alien attacking someone.
The alien attack isn’t at all what is seems to be. Kara shows up and gets very, very disappointed in what she learns. After some angry words, Kara goes back to the DEO in a foul mood. Conveniently, they have found the alien for her to go work out her frustrations on. Unfortunately, Jones is more powerful than they thought, and drops both Supergirl and J’Onn. After this, he changes into his more recognizable comic book form, or at least a lot closer to it.
Supergirl is recovering nicely under the DEO solar lamps. J’Onn isn’t. Somehow or other, they decide the problem is that he lost a lot of blood, despite the fact that there was no blood on the scene, and we never saw him get cut or stabbed. Mon-El is shaken by this and leaves. Olsen and Winn argue more about Olsen’s debut, and Olsen pushes ahead. I’ll point out this is not the agreement Olsen made with Winn last week.
Alex goes to the alien bar to get M’Gann’s help with J’Onn. While there, she sees Mon drinking up a storm. Alex isn’t particularly nice to Mon about his choices. After they bicker, M’Gann agrees to go with Alex, although she’s not happy when she learns why Alex brought her to the DEO.
The big fight happens, and a lot of people get involved. I’m not quite sure how Mon-El knew where to go, but he fights Rudy/Parasite first. His “I already regret this” comment was amusing, and that’s about all he was good for. Then Olsen shows up in his new gear. He goes by Guardian, and has a shield like the comics’ Guardian, but looks a LOT more like an agent of Checkmate. Winn is nearby giving advice, and calling Parasite Grimace, which was entertaining.
Mon-El manages a few heroic moments almost in spite of himself, and Guardian does a lot better than Olsen did against unarmed thugs recently. But let’s not forget whose show it is. Supergirl shows up and overpowers (literally) Parasite in a plan that I’m not sure really made a lot of sense, but it worked. Guardian drives off on his motorcycle, and Supergirl finds out she can’t x-ray vision his suit.
They do the usual collection of wrap up scenes. Winning this week’s can’t catch a break award is Alex, followed closely by Mon-El. Neither of them have good endings, but in very different ways. J’Onn is going to get a nasty surprise down the road which will be not so good for M’Gann either. And from the previews, it looks like Guardian is getting one of the hero tropes thrown at him next week. Although this week he and Winn congratulate themselves and make a joke about “Superfriends.”
What I liked: It was good seeing another version of a classic Superman foe in live action. Alex’s scenes were painful to watch, but they worked. I’m not quite sure what’s driving Olsen’s sudden drive to be a masked hero, but he did well as Guardian, and they got the shield down pretty well. Olsen and Winn make a good team on that front. Mon-El catching a car looked a LOT like the cover of Action Comics 1, which was Superman’s first appearance.
What I didn’t: I don’t get how J’Onn was bleeding from that attack. And if Greens and Whites are separate races, I don’t see how the transfusion worked. Olsen/Guardian got better at fighting really quickly. Cadmus seems to have taser-like devices that work on an improbable array of physiologies. And we are just pretending now that Alex was never interested in Max?
It was an uneven episode. I’ll give a 3 out of 5, and I may be being a bit generous.