This season of Supergirl has been uneven at best, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had some good points. This, the final episode before the Crisis begins, has some important themes running through it, like redemption, hope, and the old saying about villains being the heroes of their own stories. One of the newer conceits of the Superman mythos is that the chest symbol stands for hope. They do a lot towards living up to that in “The Wrath of Rama Khan.”
Things begin shortly after last episode ended, with Alex and Brainy somehow teleporting to the Fortress and finding Supergirl trapped by the Fortress’ defenses, where Lena left her. Brainy frees her and a heartbroken Supergirl fills them in on what Lena’s been up to. Returning to the DEO, Brainy manages to locate Lena, and Supergirl takes off to talk to her, ignoring Alex’s protests. Lena and H-Eve are preparing to use the Myriad device to launch Lena’s Non Nocere, change mankind for its own good whether they like it or not, plan. When Supergirl arrives, the base’s automated defenses take over. They were set up by Lex, and, when they switch to lethal Kryptonite energy, Lena proves her claims to not be a villain have some merit. Lena moralizes to H-Eve as Supergirl flies away.
At the Leviathan house, Rama Khan returns, looking very beat up after his defeat at the hands of Lena and Supergirl. Gamemnae, his ally/rival, offers encouragement and warnings when he staggers in, and we get hints at the power structure in Leviathan. The pair of them plot, and it sounds bad for Earth in general, and two characters specifically. The tension rockets upward at the DEO when Supergirl returns, obsessively tries to focus on ways to communicate with Lena, and reluctantly answers some questions from Alex. It’s not sounding great for Lena, and then things get more complicated when J’Onn arrives with Malefic. Alex takes some precautions while they get some answers from Malefic, who tells them the truth to the best of his ability, reinforcing both Supergirl’s and Alex’s opinions of Lena.
When Rama Khan comes calling, Andrea Rojas tries to quit her association with Leviathan, but he’s not in the mood to hear resistance or dissent, displaying his own power, which easily dwarfs hers. Even in this desperate moment, Andrea tries to bargain for her father. With more technological wizardry from Brainy, Supergirl pays a holographic visit to Lena in her lair. The Girl of Steel begs her former friend to not follow through on her plan, but Lena isn’t willing to listen, and is still deeply hurt at Supergirl’s keeping secrets. Alex follows the dual, and slightly opposing, courses of reassuring her sister and pointing out all the questionable things Lena has done in the time they’ve known her. The sisters are clearly not seeing eye to eye here, with Supergirl’s unceasing optimism clashing against Alex’s pragmatism.
Lena’s big triumphant moment falls flat when she learns what Alex has done, which further sets her against Supergirl (understandably, but not fairly in this case). After a bit of self-pity, Lena and H-Eve try to find a workaround for the DEO’s figurative wrench in the works. H-Eve has a suggestion but Lena won’t hear of it. Shaken and doubting herself, Supergirl gets advice from J’Onn, who is dealing with his brother. J’Onn offers some insight, and uses his own life and choices as examples. Between them, the Kryptonian and the two Martians come up with a possible counter to Lena’s scheme.
Continuing to have a bad day, Andrea gets dragged around by Rama Khan as he goes on about his new plan. Rama is clearly indifferent to the massive casualties he is about to inflict on the world, and just as clearly believes he’s doing what’s best for the world. There’s a lot of that going around. Andrea makes a desperate attempt to actually do the right thing, managing to set off a lot of alarms and startle our heroes before getting dragged back by a ticked off Rama. He gets her where she needs to be, starts another part of his doomsday plan in motion, and wanders off to do something or other. Brainy has figured out what’s going on, and it doesn’t sound good for National City. Not happy and having to face some nasty truths, Alex gives some orders and chooses her course of action. Alex asks J’Onn for some last minute advice, and his answer surprises her.
In her bunker, Lena tries to figure out how to beat the DEO counter-measures. H-Eve comes up with a plan, but Lena has some serious reservations about it. After she hears an unpleasant truth she either forgot or didn’t realize, Lena finally agrees. The heavy hitters go tackle one of the disasters in the making, as Supergirl and J’Onn go after Rama Khan. Between them, the heroes come up with a plan, which involves splitting up and tackling a few different problems at once. While the heroes fight their battle, Alex presses Brainy for options, and isn’t loving what she hears.
J’Onn affects a rescue, refusing to give up on someone in danger, while H-Eve and Lena try and do some codebreaking. Apparently, there are benefits to a classical education and knowing how the mind of a major supervillain works. Finally deciding take a chance on a less than sure thing, Alex enlists some aid and tries a risky countermeasure to Lena’s Q-Wave/Myriad general ungoodness. At Brainy’s urging, she goes with an even riskier gambit. Supergirl’s fight is both physical and verbal, as she struggles against Rama Khan, who rants about how people can never change. Supergirl, of course, argues that they can, and then events back at the DEO help her both prove her point and win her battle. Finally, the heroes are triumphant, Rama Khan retreats, and Lena pouts and draws an interesting conclusion from what happens.
Ever notice that groups of bad guys are rarely supportive of each other? Rama Khan gets back to the Leviathan house and learns various unfortunate things from Gamemnae. He sounds like he’s in for a rough time, but I can’t feel too bad for him. Loyal to the last, H-Eve and Lena come up with a plan that won’t save their great effort, but will make things better for one of them. Meeting up and comparing notes, Supergirl and Alex talk over what they just went through, and once again the triumph of hope over, well, logic. Alex goes off for a dinner date, kindly inviting her sister along, but she wants to stay on the balcony and mope. Acrata gets back to Andrea’s office and uses her Obsidian tech to relive some memories.
At a familiar looking garage, J’Onn and Malefic have a friendly parting before the Martian Manhunter sends his brother back to Mars to work with Miss Martian (they do still remember her!), which is a nice ending for the two of them and conveniently gets Malefic out of the way before Crisis starts. Speaking of, the Monitor has been watching J’Onn, and pops up for a chat. The Monitor goes back to what is presumably his base of operations and talks with a surprising ally about what’s to come. The final scene is a lead-in to Crisis, which I suspect will be repeated in all the other tie-in shows.
What I liked: There was a lot of action, and the fight scenes were good. Rama was creative with the use of his powers, and his goal was suitably world-endangering. It was an interesting repeating theme, with multiple villains all believing they were doing the right thing, and some of them repenting and getting some redemption. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of most of them, except possibly Malefic, who might have dropped into the same character limbo M’gann M’orzz vanished into. Supergirl definitely sticks to her guns and determinedly believes the best in people. Alex was trying to do things in a way that made more sense than Supergirl’s hopeful approach. The hints about things we haven’t seen yet in Leviathan were interesting. I don’t really like H-Eve, but she’s certainly loyal and brave.
What I didn’t: I’m not sure Rama’s plan really made a lot of sense, geologically speaking. I think some of the terms they were throwing around didn’t quite mean what they thought they did. I didn’t quite get why Rama needed Acrata to make things work. Is there a connection between shadows and earthquakes I don’t know about? Lena is amazingly adept at denial and self-delusion, and she should be smarter than that.
It was a decent episode, and better than much of the season has been. I’ll give it a solid 3 out of 5.