Supergirl: Both Sides Now


Yep, that’s an engine all right…

Supergirl gets to her last episode before another long break in “Both Sides Now.” It starts with a major show of force as the Girl of Steel, the DEO, and Mon-El go to the suburbs to find Purity, the next of the world-killers. It’s a really impressive gathering, so of course it doesn’t go as expected. It’s an interesting little mission that goes awry spectacularly in several different ways. Eventually, Purity, AKA Julia Freeman, is in custody and things get even more complicated.

Lena and Sam have a nice scene, with Lena doing her best to take care of Sam, no matter how much she objects. Sam seems defensive and worried, Lena is really being both a great friend and going way above and beyond as a boss. She advises her friend to go spend as much time as possible with her daughter. Finally, Sam agrees. Really, when was the last time a boss had to work THAT hard to get someone to take the day off?

Back at the DEO, Purity/Julia has been locked up, and everyone is trying to figure out what to do next. They have found a crystal like what Superman has in his Fortress, and they hope to trace the world-killers to the Fortress of Sand-itude. Mon-El is worried about Supergirl, since Purity’s power signature seems custom tuned to harm Kryptonians, and everyone agrees there’s something way off about their new prisoner.

Alex and Supergirl go to interrogate Purity, and get nowhere. Part of this might be that they’re not so much playing good cop/bad cop as completely getting in each other’s way. While the ladies see to their new guest, the guys, in true stereotype fashion, go putter in the garage. Mon-El asks J’Onn for some help repairing the Legion cruiser, and fanboy Winn persuades them to let him tag along. Mind you, I’d want to go too, I’m not picking on Winn.

Supergirl goes to talk to Julia/Purity, trying to get through to her. It doesn’t go well. Purity is a really annoying, smug, mocking pain in the ass. Supergirl keeps trying, and gets a lot of rhetoric in return. Alex then barges in again, being annoying and disruptive. They need to get on the same page, and even Purity comments on that.

While Samantha takes Lena’s advice and collects Ruby for a day of hooky, Mon, Winn, and J’Onn pay a visit to J’Onn’s disguised spaceship, that powder blue convertible we’ve seen before. Mon and J’Onn technobabble at each other, and Winn is just generally amused/entertained at the whole idea of working on a spaceship.

Supergirl keeps trying to get through to Julia, and Purity keeps mocking her. Julia, she insists, was just a part she was playing. Supergirl touches a nerve when she shows a picture of Julia’s best friend, but then Alex barges in again. Seriously, Agent Danvers needs to take a Valium and sit this one out.

The repairs on the ship go badly, and Winn doesn’t help by making a crack about a user’s manual. Saturn Girl finally turns up, and she and Mon are suddenly bickering for no apparent reason. After she storms off, Winn scurries away from the awkwardness, and J’Onn tries to reassure Mon-El, who isn’t really going to listen at this point.

Alex’s much less friendly approach to Purity doesn’t get any farther than Supergirl’s try. Purity listens to Alex’s threats, then turns the tables and make some really nasty, cutting observations about Alex’s life. Alex finally storms off, leaving behind a puzzled Supergirl and a laughing Purity.

While Ruby and Sam enjoy their day off, Winn tries to comfort Alex. She takes the hug but then pushes away. Winn is about to go after her when the crystal they captured finally starts doing something, and he needs to focus on that instead. Purity and Supergirl’s argument in Kryptonian gets interrupted when the crystal manages to short out power and let Purity escape after blasting everyone in sight. It’s not a great day for the DEO. By the way, if this “secret” organization felt the need to abandon their cave headquarters (works for Batman) for a skyscraper downtown, how do they keep explaining things like escaping prisoners bursting through windows, sending deadly shards of glass down to the streets below, and aliens repeatedly attacking them? Do the neighbors think the insurance business has gotten really, really competitive or something?

Mon and J’Onn continue the male stereotype by going from working on cars to drinking and talking about women. It’s a nice heart to heart where Mon actually opens up some, and J’Onn offers some advice as someone both formerly married and much, much older. We learn a big secret about Mon and Imra’s marriage, and then everything gets interrupted by the alert that Purity has escaped.

Samantha goes Reign again, abandoning Ruby. Not sure what else to do, Ruby ends up calling Lena, who comes to get her and is very reassuring. Lena really is going far out of her way to be good to both Sam and Ruby. While they have their emotional scene, the DEO tracks down Purity and Winn outfits the heroes with some special gadgets to deal with her, enjoining them to “go do superheroic stuff.”

Reign goes to her fortress to get her marching orders from the guiding spirit or whoever that is hiding in there (IMDB unhelpfully calls her the Dark Kryptonian). Purity lurches around in the subway before being confronted by Supergirl. Purity blasts her, nothing happens, and Supergirl foolishly shows off Winn’s new toy. Nothing like giving the enemy major tactical information in the middle of a fight. Supergirl is joined by Alex, Mon-El, and J’Onn, who all surround Purity. Not being an idiot, Purity escapes by using her powers in a different way, putting more civilians in danger and forcing most of the heroes to deal with that issue. Supergirl appeals once again to Julia and finally makes progress, which is right when Reign shows up. After some more fighting, Reign flies off with Julia, leaving the heroes beaten in her wake after a weird, tearful confession from Alex.

A battered group of heroes gets patched up at the DEO, and Supergirl muses that maybe they’re not supposed to beat the world-killers (which is good, because they haven’t come close to doing that yet), maybe they’re supposed to save them. We get to see that Julia isn’t having a good time at the Fortress before Imra and Winn team up to fix the Legion cruiser. Imra and Mon have a heart to heart about his complicated feelings on finding himself side by side with Kara again, and then Imra drops a major bombshell about their mission.

Alex and Kara meet up for some more sisterly concern and bonding in the Bar That No One Dares Speak It’s Name (or no one knows it). Kara tries her best to reassure Alex that her life will get better. The episode ends, and the show goes into break, with Lena witnessing one of Sam’s blackouts when they argue about Ruby, and then Lena saying she knows what’s going on and is going to make Sam better. Somehow, that’s not a reassuring phrase from a Luthor, even Lena.

What I liked: It was nice seeing Mon-El and J’Onn actually doing something in a fight again. Lena is doing a fine job of showing she’s not at all like the rest of her family. Supergirl’s compassion knows no bounds, and she leads with her heart, making her the center of the show for more reasons than the title. Imra’s reveal about their mission leaves me really curious, and we’ll be wondering for at least the next few months. Jimmy Olsen wasn’t in this one, but really, not only was there not time for him, but there was nothing either Olsen or Guardian could have done, so good choice there.

What I didn’t: Supergirl showing off Winn’s toy in the fight was just pointless. It was stupid in character, and for show reasons, do the writers think we won’t remember what was discussed in the previous scene? The women talking about emotional stuff while the guys go screw around in the garage seemed kinda hit you over the head stereotypical, which I somehow expect the writers to be better than. Where is Brainiac hiding during all this? I really didn’t like Alex’s attitude, and the attempt to explain seemed more like retroactively justifying the way she was acting than actual motivation.

The episode was a bit uneven in my opinion. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.

Supergirl now goes on break for a few months, giving her time slot to the returning Legends of Tomorrow.