Supergirl: The Martian Chronicles

paranoia

Shapeshifting Paranoia strikes the DEO

The writers on Supergirl steal a title from a Ray Bradbury scientific classic with “The Martian Chronicles.” I sort of wonder if they had to pay to use that. The majority of the show revolves around Megan/Miss Martian and Hank/Martian Manhunter. They really do like playing up the alien aspect of this show.

The opening is in the still-nameless alien bar where so much of the “downtime” action occurs at this point. Kara comes in and has a very awkward scene with Mon-El as she tries to tell him why she’s not interested in him the way he is in her. It’s painful to watch, and Mon mercifully puts an end to it by saying, “I’m going to go over there now,” and walking away from her. Alex shows up and teases Kara about being surprised by Mon’s feelings. Apparently everyone saw this coming but her. We then get our emotional subplot for the week, as Kara babbles about her “Earth birthday” (the anniversary of the day she crashed on Earth), and Alex reveals some complications, leaving them both upset in different ways.

Kara tries to drown her sorrows when Megan comes by to check on her, but gets another surprise about Mon-El. Then Megan takes the trash out in the alley behind the bar, and really, when does that kind of scene ever go well? Megan confronts J’Onn about following her, and then we get an ugly surprise as the two of them are attacked by a hulking White Martian. The White kicks both their asses until the timely arrival of Supergirl. I guess Mon-El wasn’t due for a break yet from his bartending duties. Supergirl and the White fight around the city a bit before it manages to get away.

The team goes back to the DEO to compare notes. Even in the midst of a new alien attack, Supergirl can’t stop herself from making snide comments about Winn and James working together on the streets as James’ Guardian identity. She really needs to get over this. Megan stays long enough to confirm that the Whites are hunting her, and that she doesn’t want to endanger anyone else, before storming out. No one at the DEO is about to back down from the fight.

Back at the bar, Megan gets a visit from the White, shifted into a human form. I’m not sure why he bothered, since the bar caters to aliens anyway. He and Megan argue a bit, and we learn something important about Megan’s past, as well as how long she’s been gone from Mars. He leaves after threatening to start killing Megan’s friends. Personally, I’d think J’Onn and Supergirl should be able to hold their own, but the White seems really, really powerful this episode.

In response to this, Megan tries to pack up and leave. J’Onn finds her before she can go, and they talk about trusting in friends. It’s close to the most emotional we’ve seen J’Onn on the series, and shows the depth of his feelings for her. As this goes on, Alex and Maggie talk about their plans for the night and Kara’s being unhappy about it. Maggie proves to be a very understanding girlfriend. She really should get huge points for how she’s handling this.

Alex follows Maggie’s advice and goes to the DEO to talk to Supergirl. Oddly, even though she has plans for later, Alex apparently changed to her DEO black jumpsuit to come have this talk, which seems a bit weird at best. Winn has so far not been able to find anything on where the White might be. Hank and Megan come in, which gets complicated when Megan comes in a moment later. Shapeshifting can make for some complicated issues. After a brief fight, the White gets away, but is now apparently impersonating someone at the base. Hank puts the base in lockdown mode to try and contain the problem.

Since Martians also have telepathy, asking questions that only the real person would know won’t work. But the White is clever, and have generated some kind of telepathic interference so J’Onn can’t scan for him. This may seem like cheap writing, but I was thinking about it. Modern soldiers and police use flashbangs to confuse our two primary senses, sight and hearing. Why wouldn’t the Martians have developed something similar for telepathy? J’Onn has a way to figure out the impostor is, if he can get past the two DEO agents whose only function seems to be upping the general paranoia level in the room. The impostor is revealed and there’s more fighting and then cat and mouse hunting throughout the base.

The hunt takes on a more urgent note when the base’s reactor is set to overload, which will take out about 10 blocks of National City. So now they have to find the White and get Winn to the reactor control, since he’s the only one with the skill to make it stop. It’s good to be a tech geek in modern television. At least you’ve always got something to do.

Alex and Kara have a heartfelt talk about the whole “Earth birthday” thing, and their lives in general. J’Onn and M’Gan have a similar talk about their not-quite-defined relationship. All this, of course, gets interrupted by another surprise revelation and a lot more fighting. Eventually, Winn gets the reactor under control and the White Martian gets killed, which is a bit brutal but makes sense in the context of the scene.

There are a few emotional wrap up scenes. Alex and Kara talk about their relationship and Alex does something really nice for Kara. J’Onn and M’Gan talk, and she comes to a surprising decision which is going to change at least a small bit of the show’s dynamic. Kara gets a surprise at work involving Mon-El, and ends up feeling sorry for herself, which I think she’s brought completely on herself.

What I liked: Winn got a lot of great comic relief lines in this episode. He gives a great “WHY??!!!” at one point that I won’t reveal the context of so I don’t spoil a few plot points. Maggie is a remarkably understanding woman, and doing a great job as Alex’s girlfriend. I liked that Mon ended Kara’s horrifically painful talk near the beginning of the show.

What I didn’t: The impersonation happened way too quickly. The White managed to knock someone out, transport them somewhere else, cover them in weird webbing (and where’d THAT come from?) and get back in pretty much the flicker of a light fixture. They are fast, but they’re not the Flash. Kara is getting mopey as the show goes on, and she really doesn’t need to be. I also don’t feel sorry for her on the relationship front, considering she’s turned down Winn, James, and Mon-El so far in not quite a season and a half. She also really needs to get over her issue with Guardian. I really can’t figure out the relative power levels on this show. Kryptonians are more powerful than Green Martians, but White Martians are more powerful than both?

It was an ok episode. I guess James got the week off this week. Maybe he was actually doing his day job for a change. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5 for the episode.

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