Supergirl: Red Dawn

 

sneak

Because sneaking into the bad guys’ base always works…

 

Supergirl’s season is almost over, and there’s a lot left to wrap up. This is the second to last episode, and things are getting complicated. There’s a long overdue confrontation, an end to a subplot I haven’t liked for most of the season, and a big character shift, as well as a revelation that shakes one of the characters up. We also get the Russian fading to English title cards again for “Red Dawn.”  Given what’s going on, the title might be a nod to the movie of the same name from 1984. I thought this was a good episode… right up until the final scene or so.

Back in 2007, the Danvers sisters are out for a walk, listening to music, and talking about the future. Kara is about to go off to college, and isn’t that thrilled about it. Alex teases her, kindly, about a few things, and then there’s a problem from Kara’s powers kicking in unexpectedly. Alex starts awake from this in the present, and talks out her dream with Kelly. Why Kelly is at Alex’s place during the night isn’t spelled out. Alex feels like something is off she can’t quite put her finger on, and then Brainy calls her in for another emergency.

In Washington DC, Kara gets a disillusioning awakening from her attempt to warn the President about what Lex is up to. After some back and forth with her captors about the rights of journalism, Kara escapes… all the way to the door, where Red Daughter is waiting with a glowing green surprise. Brainiac 5, Lena, and Alex catch each other up on what’s going on. Lena has the most surprising information, and gets criticized for how she delivers it. Twice. Brainy makes a surprising declaration and goes off to hunt missing aliens with Dreamer, while Lena, very out of character naively, reassures Alex that Kara is fine.

Kara is not fine, she’s bound to a chair with a rock of Green Kryptonite on her lap. She and Red Daughter debate their philosophies and beliefs. Kara pulls an escape drawing on her superior experience, but only after Red Daughter has injured her. She flees to J’Onn, who is surprised to see her all banged up. She’s more worried about the loss of her evidence than the hurt she’s suffered, which is about right for her. She’s also worried about Alex being in danger with Lex knowing her secret, but J’Onn cautions her about revealing the truth after the mindwipe. Brainiac bursts in about this time, telling them what’s going on. Kara, still fretting about Alex, takes off, leaving Brainy to ask J’Onn for his help in finding the missing aliens. Lena pays a visit to her mother and uses some very Luthor tactics, and a gift from the DEO, to make Lillian cooperate.

Supergirl gets to the DEO and warns Alex about what’s going on. Alex at first isn’t happy to see the Girl of Steel, but starts listening as the hero reveals more detail. Lockwood is finding access to high places not working as it should when Lena confronts him in a parking garage. He’s defiant and boastful at first, as he’s wont to be. When she presses him for answers about Lex, he’s annoyed at first, and then finally the pieces fall into place. Speaking of falling, he’s losing hair suddenly. Lena goes back to James, telling him Lockwood didn’t know what was going on. When the Secretary takes off at high speed, they decide he might have more to tell them after all, and follow.

Brainy and J’Onn work the scene of one of the recent raids that rounded up aliens, looking for clues. A distracted Brainy wants to tell Dreamer about how he feels, which amuses J’Onn. Brainy is startled when Dreamer suddenly pops up, and puts off his revelation when she gets a vision off something they found that leads them to a shell company of Lex’s. They find the alien detention site, and argue about how to get in, and Star Wars. J’Onn expresses some decent doubts, flies off to scout the site, and then Dreamer and Brainy go ahead with a bad idea after Dreamer derails Brainy’s attempt to express himself. Their bluff fails, and you can practically hear J’Onn’s eyes rolling as he watches this happen.

Alex and Supergirl are at the DEO, figuring out a way to track Red Daughter, when Colonel Haley unexpectedly returns. Haley isn’t happy about Supergirl being there, and then suddenly, randomly, has a change of heart as she learns more about what’s going on. Brainy and Dreamer get separated, which leads to a sort of touching scene as Brainy freaks about what they’re going to do to her. The thugs dismiss Brainy as not being useful to them, and taunt him that Dreamer is going to be interrogated next, in between torturing him. J’Onn sneaks around in a good disguise while the thugs work Brainy over more. They go too far, and Brainy has a very disturbing monologue as he eventually gets free. J’Onn gets there for the aftermath, and is surprised at what he finds.

Alex, Supergirl, and Haley study various files and, between that and Alex’s new program, narrow down where Red Daughter has been spending her time in National City. I will say there’s a plot hole here, because if Alex is tracking Kryptonian solar signatures here, she should have noticed Supergirl spending a LOT of time at Kara’s place. Supergirl takes off to confront Red Daughter, telling Alex to stay behind. Because that always works so well. Supergirl makes a disturbing discovery at her doppleganger’s apartment. The new, not-necessarily improved Brainiac paces around and worries J’Onn a bit.

Lockwood goes to confront Otis about Lex’s involvement in everything, and discovers the oafish henchman playing video games. They talk, and Lockwood gets a lot of surprises. So do Lena and James, who have followed and are listening in. Lockwood, infuriated, attacks Otis, but James jumps in because they need Lockwood alive. Otis’ Metallo upgrades screw with James but don’t seem to bother Lockwood much. Lockwood takes some definitive action to end Otis’ threat. Brainy goes ahead with the plan, but with some really un-cool tactics added in, upsetting Dreamer and then J’Onn. Brainy ignores their objections and goes ahead with his scheme. Alex catches up with Supergirl at Red Daughter’s hideout, and notices a few things that don’t make sense. Before Alex can really focus on that, Eliza calls Alex to say Kara just came home to visit. Since Supergirl knows she isn’t in Midvale, she tells Alex to warn Eliza and flies off to Midvale at top speed.

Supergirl gets home, and she and Red Daughter argue more while Eliza looks concerned. The argument upgrades to a fight, and Red Daughter has picked up some high-tech armor somewhere along the way. Remember how I said it was a good episode up until near the end? We’re at that part now. The fight rages on, and somehow or other, Red Daughter punches Kara from mid-afternoon to middle of the night. Whatever effect they were going for there, it didn’t work, and this bit made no sense. Red Daughter gets the upper hand and beats on Supergirl badly, as Alex arrives and gets her memories back in bits and flashes. Alex tries to intervene, but in the stupidest way possible and gets swatted aside. Supergirl is near death when Red Daughter hears something and flies off, leaving a grieving Alex and worried Eliza over the fallen hero. Alex cries and pleads, and then something really weird happens that I’ve never seen a Kryptonian (or Daxamite) pull off, aside from maybe one odd panel in The Dark Knight Returns. Supergirl recovers for a big family hug.

Lena brings the ailing James to Lillian, and there are several surprises, both emotional and scientific. Lillian calls Lena’s bluff, and it sounds a lot like Lena wasn’t bluffing. Brainy’s plan proceeds, to Dreamer and J’Onn’s dismay. How the thugs neutralized someone as powerful as J’Onn, I’m not sure. Haley finds something in the DEO files and calls Alex just a bit too late. The reunited sisters watch the tv in horror as we see Lex’s plan is in full swing and has claimed casualties already. Wow, they have a lot to deal with for the season finale next time.

What I liked: Brainy had a lot of good scenes, from comic relief to something a lot nastier. Lena’s handling of her mother was fun to watch, especially Lillian’s horror when she discovered she couldn’t do something she always does. I’m so glad Alex got her memories back; I was getting really sick of that plot. J’Onn got in a few good lines.

What I didn’t: Dreamer didn’t get to do much more than be damsel in distress, and the show is usually better than that. With Brainy’s new outlook, I’m not sure why he made a few cosmetic changes along the way. That final fight had so many things that didn’t make sense, like the sudden time shift and Supergirl’s miracle cure.

I liked most of this until the end got so screwy. Taking that into account, I’ll drop my rating to a very low 3 out of 5. It only scores that high because of some of the really good things they pulled off.

 

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