While it could mean a lot of different things when superheroes are involved, “Fallout” deals with the aftermath of President Marsdin being outed as an alien on Supergirl. There are protests and counter-protests in front of the White House, in scenes that are heated, divisive, and very much “ripped from the headlines.” I thought that was more Law & Order’s schtick than Supergirl’s. She meets with the President, who explains why she’s stepping down, and urges Supergirl to be the beacon of hope everyone needs. The mobs outside break down their very badly installed barricades and rush each other to fight, with no sign whatever of any actual police officers. Supergirl swoops in when a news truck knocks over a flagpole, leading to a very comic book cover moment of her posing with the flag before lecturing the crowd. She really seems to be trying to out-patriot Captain America.
The President being revealed as a hidden alien isn’t sitting well with a lot of people. We see that when a discussion comes very close to an actual fight in the DEO itself, before Alex breaks it up. I find it weird that an organization that has been helping aliens for years, at least since the show started, has so many anti-alien bigots. Agent Jensen, who got a lot of screen time last episode for a new character, is in interrogation with Alex, trying to get answers from the oafish Otis Graves. Alex baits him into attacking her and drops him easily, after getting him to slip up and reveal a clue. Supergirl flies in, trying to stay all upbeat, and Alex tells her about worsening anti-alien sentiment nationwide.
As Mercy mugs a guy in an elevator, J’Onn is asking around about his missing alien support group leader, Fiona. As I’ve said before, if this is the same alien bar they’ve been using, it got much better lighting. James tries to rally the troops at CatCo, urging them to research their stories carefully, Nia suggests the public needs a strong editorial from him about the recent hate speech. James demurs, trying to remain a neutral news source.
While Kara goes to see her best friend Lena to get more background on ex-Luthor Corp employee Mercy Graves, the woman herself gets back to her base, bringing the stolen laptop to Agent Liberty. The Agent is apparently the head of the anti-alien movement, and a sad corruption of a minor DC Comics hero. Then again, that’s what they did to Red Tornado. It seems a recurring theme on the show. Mercy also shows that she has obtained green Kryptonite, and Liberty cautions her against making Supergirl a martyr. That means he’s the worst kind of fear-monger: a smart one.
Kara brings Lena food from Big Belly Burger, a staple of the CW-verse across several Earths. They talk about the changes in the world, and Lena reveals more of her dark side when discussing politicians. I get she’s trying to be a good person, but the more Lena talks lately, the more she seems to be showing things in common with the villains. Lena does agree to get Kara all Mercy’s files, after they eat. Priorities, after all.
J’Onn stops by the DEO, now wearing a visitor badge to get in. He asks if Alex needs any help. She doesn’t, Brainy comes in to report the lack of progress finding Mercy, and J’Onn leaves before asking for help about Fiona, which is why he showed up. Brainy comments that he misses J’Onn, then tries to suck up to Alex. When she’s not in the best of moods, he comments that she snarks when her blood sugar is low, and that she needs pizza. Alex tells him to go, although whether that’s an order to get the food or just go away isn’t wholly clear.
Nia is out cold at her desk, which her boss James finds amusing. She wakes up and scurries off, babbling nonsense as younger Kara used to do in awkward situations. I didn’t miss the babbling, even if they’ve farmed it out now. Nia’s quest for coffee intersects with Brainy’s pizza order. Kara learns how close Lena and Mercy were in earlier years, and is surprised by it. In rapid succession, Eve bursts in to tell them their head of programming on the image inducer project was killed (the luckless man in the elevator earlier), Mercy starts hacking, and Brainy’s inducer fails, revealing him as an alien to the people in the pizza store. The staff are not exactly open and welcoming. Brainy shows he’s not exactly without combat skills before Nia steps in and shames the attackers, while Lena manages to lock Mercy out of the system and stabilizes the inducers. All this makes me wonder why Brainy is wearing the inducer around the DEO, where aliens are known to be around and his own status should be common knowledge. Mercy hurls her laptop and breaks it after Lena locks her out, showing her fine, even temperament. Brainy tries to befriend Nia after the scene with the pizzas, and I think he knows more about her than he should. Some future knowledge, perhaps?
J’Onn’s new pacifist approach apparently doesn’t bar him using his powers for breaking and entering, as he phases through Fiona’s door to poke around. He finds a few interesting things on her computer, including information on a local cop. Nia talks to James about what she witnessed, and he acknowledges they’ve been getting a lot of calls about similar attacks. She again urges him to take a stand, and he again refuses. I don’t understand this. The man who geared up to become a masked hero won’t publicly disapprove of hate crimes? Did he lose his courage along with his Guardian identity? Nia says this needs to be about justice, not balance, and storms off in a justified huff.
Alex talks with Brainy about his pile of pizzas he still hasn’t shared. Aside from a truly hideous sounding pizza favorite, Brainy also says he has figured out that Mercy’s next move will be to go to L-Corp and try for direct access to the servers there to go after more image inducers. Sure enough, alarms go off at L-Corp and Kara comes up with various excuses to try and get away and change to Supergirl, which Lena overrides each time. This leads to a cat and mouse bit through the building where Kara does her best to covertly use her powers to keep her friends safe from Mercy’s gun-thugs. Eve shows she has some MacGyver-level skills, and shares a seemingly random bit about her past. Brainy, on coms, tries to find places for Kara to hide and change, but he’s rattled by his earlier encounter and not at his best.
Lena figures out where Mercy is headed, and for some reason it’s ok for Eve to go off on her own, but not the very frustrated Kara. They confront Mercy in Lena’s prototype lab, where she’s been studying Lex’s battle armor. Mercy gives the armor a very ugly compliment, and she and Lena engage in a partial armor duel. This does finally let Kara get away, so Supergirl can make a timely entrance. Things between Supergirl and Lena are still cool, but Lena does at least thank the hero for her rescue.
Mercy ends up in a cell next to Otis, which seems like a really stupid idea to me. Maybe don’t let the co-conspirators talk to each other? Supergirl and Alex do an entertaining riff about the Graves being collectors items in their boxes as Mercy spews more hate speech. Alex agrees that changing hearts and minds isn’t her thing, but it is Supergirl’s, and she’s really good at it.
At CatCo, new reporter McKenzie does an anti-alien prank on one of their coworkers, and that finally pushes Olsen over the edge. He gives a not-quite lecture to his workers about not fighting within the CatCo walls. Ignorance is the enemy, not each other. Nia is impressed.
Mercy works her poison tongue on Agent Jensen, and we finally see why he’s gotten so much screen time lately. At a bar, J’Onn strikes up a conversation with the cop Fiona had pictures of, and doesn’t learn anything useful. Brainiac 5 babbles to himself and Alex overhears him. They talk about him being rattled by his earlier pizza shop encounter, and she offers some encouragement that is overheard by just the wrong person at the wrong time.
Supergirl addresses the country on national television with a very reassuring and oddly patriotic speech for someone who is, technically, an illegal alien. Afterward, she and the Vice President, about to become President, talk and get to know each other a bit. Alex figures out something that Brainiac really should have noticed, to the point where I question the writing on this one. J’Onn follows that cop to a rally (he really should have shapeshifted if he was worried about being recognized) and hears Agent Liberty give an anti-alien, fear-mongering speech, which again has connotations about current political issues. The episode ends with the Graves and a new ally firing up something they mentioned earlier in the episode, and it having an immediate and really bad effect on a major character.
What I liked: Supergirl does seem to be clubbing us over the head with morality plays this season, but this was done better than the earlier one. I liked Brainy at least being able to handle himself, and Nia sticking up for him and pressing James to take a stand. Supergirl talking to incoming President Baker make sense, but…
What I didn’t: …when did Supergirl become a Presidential advisor? She’s spending a lot of time in the White House all of a sudden. There were a few things Brainy should have noticed, I don’t care how rattled he is. They seem to be diminishing him to make Alex look better, and that’s not right. J’Onn seems to be walking a fine line with his new attitude about life. So far, I’m not quite sure why Nia is there, or how Eve changed jobs so easily (like Winn did from CatCo to DEO. Everyone poaches from CatCo?). Why in the world would the DEO let Mercy and Otis be that close together? And not keep the gadget they took under better control? I don’t like what they did to Agent Liberty so far.
It was an ok episode, better than the season opener. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.