Supergirl: Resist

 

cat

Guess Who’s Back!!

Supergirl is almost at her season finale, and it’s a really impressive build up. There’s a mounting threat, uneasy alliances, missing heroes, and revelations about characters we’ve seen before. They manage to pack a lot into “Resist.”

Lena wakes up after the fight last episode, and doesn’t get good news. She’s on a Daxamite ship, Rhea is holding her prisoner, and Rhea is still spouting crazy talk about Supergirl. Boy, the woman holds a grudge. She calls Earth a planet of “wasted potential” and is going to make society worthy of Lena.

This takes the form of a massive invasion, as the Daxamite fleet pounds National City, and troops start beaming down all over. Rhea does a holographic address to the city, her fine-sounding claims very much at odds with the violence throughout the city. I’m really confused about the troops we keep seeing. They’re tough, but not bulletproof. They’re nowhere near strong enough to be Daxamites, but what else would Rhea be using? Maybe they’re robots of some kind. Maggie gets a good action scene as she faces several of them down at the police station.

The DEO is being overwhelmed by all the alien signals, then they get overwhelmed in a new way as more of the soldiers transmat in. Over all, the DEO doesn’t do well with this, although we get to see Alex in full kick-ass mode. Even she is forced to retreat, taking a big chance on the way out, but her sister shows up in the nick of time.

Mon-El isn’t doing really well, either. He’s a prisoner on Rhea’s ship, and she’s not at all interested in his opinions of Earth or its people. Rhea is very much acting the royal mother/dictator, and Mon doesn’t get a say. Despite the fact that he’s been on Earth under the yellow sun much longer than any of these others, he doesn’t seem particularly stronger than they are, and his training with Supergirl doesn’t seem to have done him much good, either. Rhea seems oddly confident about Supergirl not interfering with her plans.

Most of the rest of the cast is holed up at Alien Cheers. Somehow, Winn is there, although how he got out of the DEO as the troops stormed it is never explained. J’Onn is still out cold from whatever weird device Rhea used on him last episode, and there’s no word of Superman. Maggie and Guardian are fighting in the streets, so there’s still some resistance going on. They get an offer for help in the unlikely form of Lillian Luthor. On the one hand, you can’t trust her at all, but on the other, alien invasion is what’s she’s built her whole hate movement against. It’s her dream come true, and a chance for her to say, “I told you so.”

The scene with Lillian is very tense. No one in the room has any reason to trust her, but she makes some good points. She also mentions the Daxamites having kryptonite cannons, which isn’t good news for our resident caped hero. Lillian wants to save Lena, just like she knows Supergirl wants to save Mon-El. They finally get Lillian to leave without any kind of agreement.

Rhea sets up a blockade, isolating National City. I wonder why she’s so focused here. Because Supergirl live here? Or Mon-El? This is when we get a return visit from President Marston, as played by Lynda Carter. It’s an amusing name for her. Carter, of course, is best known for playing Wonder Woman, and Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston. A nice nod to comics history, there. Marston and Rhea argue over a comm channel until someone pops up to play peacemaker- the long-absent Cat Grant. Rhea and Cat bicker a bit, and Cat makes a cutting (Catty?) remark about Rhea’s tiara. Rhea, ever reasonable, launches an attack. First the fighter escort, then Air Force One itself get hit. Supergirl saves Cat, and, as they land amid the wreckage, they learn that Marston herself is an alien, and has also survived. Marston says she guesses she owes them an explanation, and the unflappable Cat shoots back, “Tell me you’re still a Democrat.”

Among the things I don’t like here: the intense scrutiny someone running for President gets means there’s no way I buy she managed to fool everyone. I’m glad Cat and Marston survived, but no one seems to care a bit that all the fighter pilots, crew, and Secret Service agents have been killed. There’s not even a passing mention of that, which just seems unlike Supergirl and most of her friends.

There are happy reunions back at Alien Cheers. Winn seems especially happy to see Cat. Cat was in Washington DC when the Daxamites attacked, and of course, she knows the President, because Cat knows everyone. Apparently, they were in college together. Marston talks to Alex, Supergirl, and Winn about her past and coming to Earth when her planet was invaded. The writers keep the links going to the Legion of Super Heroes, as Marston claims to be from Durla, a planet of shapeshifters. Durla is the home of Chameleon Boy in the Legion. It would explain how Marston was able to pass herself off as human for so long, although Durlans can become anything or anyone. Marston seems to have very limited powers in comparison.

Rhea is still pushing ahead with her plan to combine human and Daxamite society, but she’s not getting any cooperation from her prisoners, not that I blame them. Rhea continues to show how reasonable she is; she demands compliance and focuses the fleet’s weapons on Luthor Family Children’s Hospital. She’s seeming more and more like a villain out of a 1920’s movie serial.

After her bombshell revelations, President Marston is packed off back to DC with a few trusted DEO agents. One of those shockers was that there’s a massive proton cannon on the roof of the DEO, which even Winn didn’t know about. The President orders them to power it up and blast the Daxamites, regardless of who is prisoner up there. Supergirl, appalled, goes to Alien Cheers’ infamous back alley to think, and bumps into Cat. They have another of their heartfelt mentor/mentee scenes that I’ve actually missed. Advice delivered, Cat says first, “Now, shoo, up, up, and away, no time to lose,” then, as the Girl of Steel flies off, “That is still so cool.” I missed Cat.

A desperate Supergirl goes to Cadmus. She, Lillian, and Hank Henshaw/Cyborg game a plan to get up to the fleet and rescue the prisoners before the DEO atomizes them. While those three mount their raid, Alex will infiltrate the DEO and get the cannon armed. They talk about needing to distract Rhea, and Cat volunteers. There’s also a small confrontation between Winn and Henshaw. Alex pulls Kara aside and tells her that the cannon will even kill her if she’s up there when it goes off. This both ups the tension and shows how powerful the weapon is.

The raid is staged from the Fortress of Solitude, using a tinkered-with Phantom Zone Projector. We also find out why Lillian has kept Kara’s secret from Lena. I have to admit, her motivations are in character. Lilian really is an evil, manipulative witch.

While Rhea pushes forward on her plan, Winn does a babbling, painful job of trying to cover for James and Kara when Cat asks where they are. Cat isn’t happy about James’ remodeling of her office. Her distraction is masterful, really ticking off Rhea, including calling her Tiara Woman in passing. I kind of liked that line.

The Away Team gets on to the Daxamite ship, and Hank manages to cloak them from the alien sensors. They fight their way among the guards, trying to find the prisoners. Lillian actually calls Supergirl “useful” which is a rare compliment. Lena and Mon-El stage their own escape. Alex and Maggie sneak in to the DEO, with the President backseat driving via communicator.

The two groups meet up on the ship, after Lena and Mon impress each other. Lena is doubly stunned, that Lillian came at all, and with Supergirl at that. We get the expected Luthor double-cross, but Supergirl and Winn had it covered in a brilliant counter-stroke. Everyone gets off except Supergirl, who decides to go give Rhea another chance to surrender. Ok, I like the show being generally positive and not all dark/grim like Arrow usually is, but there comes a point, Kara. Really.

The last few scenes are some good ones. Cat and Winn get attacked by alien troops, and Cat says, “Well, it’s been nice knowing you,” to Winn just before Guardian smashes through the window (not sure from where since they’re so high up) to save the day. Guardian’s secret ID lasts about as long as the fight because Cat is very perceptive. The President orders Alex to fire the cannon. Supergirl confronts Rhea and gets a really nasty shock that explains one of the loose ends from earlier. The cliffhanger they leave us on is going to make for a hell of a season finale .

What I liked: It was good that everyone contributed to the effort. I get the alliance of necessity with Lillian and Supergirl. It was good to see Marston again, and even better to see Cat return. “Tiara Woman” still makes me laugh. I like that Lena and Mon didn’t just wait to get rescued; they’re both better than that. The doublecross and Winn and Kara’s counter was really nicely done.

What I didn’t: The gizmo keeping J’Onn out of action seemed like a cheap way to keep a powerful ally off-screen. When it comes up several times that people are worried if Kara is fast enough to get everything done, how does no one think of calling Flash for help? Sorry, but if you carefully build a shared universe, people like me are going to remember it’s a shared universe. Where are all the powerful and dangerous prisoners the DEO is holding during all this? Why is Mon relatively powerless, when he’s been about at Supergirl’s level until now?

It was a good episode with some really good bits. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5, and I’m so glad Cat is back.

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