Supergirl gets to her second season finale with everything stacked against her. The writers aren’t even trying to be subtle anymore with their political analogies, titling this one, “Nevertheless, She Persisted.” This is a reference to the political controversy last year involving Senator Elizabeth Warren.
National City is covered by the Daxamite fleet. J’Onn is still out cold from Rhea’s gadget. Lillian Luthor is on the loose. But none of this is the Girl of Steel’s biggest problem as the episode starts. Rhea has a nasty surprise up her shiny sleeve. Superman has been compromised, and he’s attacking Supergirl without pulling any punches. What do you do when your only living relative is doing his best to pound you into the ground at the behest of the woman threatening your entire city?
Apparently there’s a new variation on an old threat now. Rhea has found silver kryptonite, which evidently induces hallucinations. Superman is convinced Supergirl is General Zod, a recurring Kryptonian enemy of the Man of Steel. The fight rages across the bridge of Rhea’s ship, out through the viewport, and then across the city. It’s an ugly, long, brutal affair that Supergirl ends up winning. I get that it’s her show, and I’m sure I’m going to draw some heat for this, but I don’t believe she won that one.
Superman is bigger than she is, which matters with roughly evenly matched foes. He’s been on Earth longer, has absorbed more yellow sun radiation over time, and has a lot more combat experience. He also has more time with their powers, and how to use them. He was fighting, in his mind, against one of his deadliest foes. Aside from “it’s her show,” I don’t see how she pulled that one off. She passes out after the fight, Alex rushing to her side.
After a lovely daydream of being back at her place with Mon-El, Kara wakes up in the Fortress of Solitude. From what Alex says, Kara got back up after passing out, grabbed Clark and Alex, flew them here, and passed out again. Superman wakes up, back to normal, and they plot out what to do next.
Lena, having narrowly escaped Daxamite captivity and forced marriage, is trying to unwind with a drink. Lillian comes in and starts to blame her for working with Rhea in the first place. They hurl blame at each other and continue the dysfunctional family dynamic we’ve come to expect from Clan Luthor. Eventually, they agree to work together on modifying one of Lex’s old anti-Superman weapons to drive the Daxamites off. Lillian, showing her skewed sense of priorities, exults that if they make this work, a Luthor will have saved the world.
Superman and Supergirl go through the Fortress’ archives, trying to come up with a way to stop the Daxamites. They also banter about Kel-Ex, the robot servant Kara was forced to destroy earlier in the season. Finally, they come up with an idea and return to the DEO, where Winn fanboys all over Superman. It’s even worse than Coulson with Captain America. Supergirl announces her plan, which Mon-El really doesn’t like. They don’t have a lot of other ideas, though, so Supergirl challenges Rhea to single combat, which she’s honor-bound to accept. Rhea looks annoyed, but agrees. While the others argue about what’s going to happen next, J’Onn gets an unexpected visitor and finally wakes up.
Cat Grant is covering the challenge in her usual sensational way, and J’Onn is worried that innocents are going to come watch and get hurt. Rhea hasn’t exactly displayed any concern for bystanders so far. Clark and Lois ask her to tone it down a bit, and she does, lured in by a promise of a later interview with Supergirl and her ongoing crush on Clark. Cat also expresses concern about James’ career as Guardian.
Superman and Supergirl get called to Lena’s, and the Luthors share their plan. The device was originally designed by Lex to fill the atmosphere with enough Krytponite to make Earth uninhabitable to Kryptonians. They plan to modify it to do that with lead for the Daxamites. Mind you, lead in the atmosphere isn’t good for humans, but they gloss over that point. Of course, if they go that route, it’ll get Mon-El, too.
No one loves this plan, but no one has a better one. So Supergirl will fight Rhea and they’ll keep the atmospheric machine in reserve. Supergirl and Superman go to spar and chat about their relationships. There’s still no explanation as to why she won the fight. But, on to the next fight!
For some reason or other, the fight is being held on a roof in the city. Seems perfectly safe to me. Supergirl is accompanied by Mon-El, and Rhea shows up with some general. After some opening threats and salutes, they leap at each other. Supergirl throws a lot of wild haymakers, which aren’t really ever a good idea in a fight. They batter each other back and forth all over the place, and then Rhea pulls a nasty surprise. She has a really unique medical condition. Around the city, Mon-El, Superman, and J’Onn go about fighting the invaders and saving people.
Meggan returns from Mars just in the nick of time, and she brought friends. This starts tipping things against the Daxamites. After a brutal beating, Supergirl somehow gains a new power and shrugs off Rhea’s trap, in one of the parts of the show that makes the least sense of anything I’ve seen so far. Lillian tries to backstab Lena and her friends yet again, but once again the heroes are smart enough to see it coming and take precautions. Rhea also proves to be completely untrustworthy, ranting about going after Metropolis and Star City next. Supergirl finally has no choice but to use the backup Lena rigged for them. There’s a very tearful farewell as Mon survives the activation, but has to leave. The last we see of him, it at least looks like he’s heading off for his fate with the Legion of Super Heroes.
Superman leaves to go back to Metropolis after saying goodbye to a stricken Supergirl. Alex offers her some kind words, and then Supergirl flies off. A nice little touch- the balcony that’s the scene of all this is still damaged from the fighting. Alex and Maggie have a chat that ends with something I loved and that will infuriate some people. J’Onn and Meggan get a good scene, too.
In Cat’s office, the big story is Lilian claiming credit for defeating the Daxamites. I’m not sure how she’s doing that since she’s still wanted for multiple felonies. Cat calls that fake news and then has a heart to heart with Kara about heartbreak and loss. Kara rushes off and we see that Cat knows one of the show’s big secrets. There’s a really creepy end scene that I think bodes ill for next season.
What I liked: The teamwork was great. I really like this version of Superman. It was great to see J’Onn back in action finally, and I loved Meggan showing up with her friends. It’s sad that Mon left, but I like what they seemed to be doing at the end. It’s great that Lena saw her mother’s betrayal coming. And Cat was in this one, too. I’m hoping this was the last we see of Rhea, much as I like Terri Hatcher.
What I didn’t: Where’s Guardian? He was a decent size part of the fight last time. Did he give up? Supergirl’s being able to suddenly ignore Rhea’s trick made even less sense than Supergirl beating Superman. Do they know lead is incredibly bad for humans, too? Unless Cat is staying, which seems unlikely, why is she redecorating the office? And have they really decided that Kara’s just not allowed to be in a relationship?
I thought this was a decent but uneven episode. It could have been better with a few small tweaks. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5, and I’m looking forward to the return next season.