I’ve had a few episodes with the writing and choices on Supergirl at times. This week’s episode both proved to be of better quality, and showed that the work environment must be pretty good. A lot of characters who have left the show come back for this episode, and that’s not something you see a lot. There were two notable absences, but, from what I’ve read, that was from scheduling conflicts. They also take a character who is usually damned irritating and make them actually kinda fun in “It’s a Super Life.”
Last episode ended with the return of the cosmically powerful Mxyzptlk (from here on, Myx, for ease of typing). The character has been recast, which they not only acknowledge, but offer an explanation for, another thing you don’t see often. He’s now allegedly trying to help those he’s wronged in the past, after an encounter with 5th Dimensional justice, and he offers Supergirl the chance to go back and edit her past. Considering how many crippling doubts and waves of guilt she’s been suffering from of late, it’s an offer she’s intrigued by. There is some very entertaining teleporting around the room for comedic effect. Kara discusses the offer with Alex and J’Onn. When J’Onn comes in, he’s carrying a pizza ridiculously, so I suspect that either Martians treat pizza very differently and he hasn’t adapted in his decades on Earth, or there were a lot of takes of that scene and the actor got tired.
An ongoing joke on the show is how Myx shows Supergirl events from her past to pick through and try and change. We get a movie projector, Myx-Flix, and later, Beta-Myx. I’ll give them points for having some fun with the writing on this one. After Alex and J’Onn are sent off for a fun distraction to keep them occupied, Myx goes to work with the Girl of Steel.
The first time Supergirl tries to change things, we see that Sam Arias/Reign is back. Supergirl tells Lena her secret much earlier in their history. This starts to look better, but as the dominos fall from events being altered, there’s a tragic death that affects the main characters very badly. Oddly, this glimpse of the past featured the flight to Kasnia, and one of the scenes that never made any sense at all on the series. I’d think they’d be trying to forget that one. Taking advantage of Myx’s offer to “try before she buys,” Kara hastily abandons this timeline.
Searching through various pivotal points in her history, Kara goes back in time yet again and tries to tell Lena her secret much earlier in the relationship. This, too, goes badly, ending in a big confrontation at Sam’s mother’s house and an impressive body count. It also gives us the return of Mon-El, played by Chris Wood, Melissa Benoist’s (Supergirl) real life husband. It was actually nice to see him again. I know a lot of people didn’t care for him, but I did.
After more banter between Kara and Myx (all those bits were written well and were entertaining), she Quantum Leaps back further, to when she and Lena first started becoming friends. The reveal goes well, and things seem to be lining up to make this the new reality (because that’s what the world needs, to be changed again on the heels of Crisis. Poor reality). Myx narrates like a 1920’s movie announcer, which was amusing, and then trouble arrives in the form of Ben Lockwood, the ever-annoying Agent Liberty. Coville, the cult leader, returns as well, and the history gets very complex quickly. There’s a lot of rushing around and the return of the buffoonish Otis Graves (sadly, not Mercy) before things go full scale ugly and Kara decides this isn’t the timeline she wants, either.
This is where things go even worse. Depressed about none of her efforts working out, Kara wonders what it would be like if she and Lena never became friends. Well, she doesn’t have to wonder with Myx there, but this look into another reality goes weird from the start. Myx is along for the ride, and the dystopian timeline does bad things for almost everyone involved right off the bat. What’s left of National City is under dictatorial rule, and it’s not a good time for anyone. Supergirl clashes with a Lex-O-Suit before meeting Dreamer, who helps lead the resistance, which consists of Alex, J’Onn, Winn in his Legion gear, and Mon-El. It’s a very powerful lineup, that. They compare notes on what’s changed and we see both what the major turning point was, and the reasons behind someone’s performance issues. What was a nice little nod was this explanation also told how a character we’ve seen in the past got a very powerful artefact, and linked it to Myx’s comic book appearance. A desperate plan is formed, there’s a lot of fighting, and we see Reign, Evil Brainy, and Lena with a new look. One minor flaw is that within moments of Brainy described as “having no emotions” in this world, he goes all villainous-gloaty about enjoying fighting the heroes. Pick one. After a really big and ugly fight (which does give us another glimpse of Kelly using James’ Guardian shield), the good guys triumph and Myx and Supergirl return to the right reality.
Back and stunned by all she’s seen, Kara has a few revelations. Having Myx there gives her a convenient person to talk to so we can hear her thought process as she comes to some realizations that, I think, were long overdue. I’m hoping my least favorite ongoing drama subplot is over now as a result of this. Another small thing I liked; Myx seems genuinely disappointed he didn’t help Kara with what they were trying to do. He pops off to go enjoy himself, and it’s the first time I’ve seen any version of the character that I find myself hoping comes back.
Buoyed by her recent insight, Supergirl goes to pay a call on someone. It’s not a dramatic, angsty scene, which I appreciated. She was calm, adult, and composed as she delivered her message. It was a nice punctuation for what she learned throughout the episode. She delivered some unwelcome news in a simple, factual way, and the person she was talking to needed to hear it. The episode ends with Kara, J’Onn, and Alex gathered at Kara’s place with a truly ridiculous amount of food, courtesy of Myx, who sort of gets a little cameo at the very end.
What I liked: I’m truly impressed at how many people came back for this episode. For a special 100th show, they pulled out a lot of stops and delivered a nicely done story. I particularly enjoyed seeing Mon-El, and wish he’d come back more. Thomas Lennon deserves a freaking Emmy for making Myx a likable character, and the bits with him in the apartment were really entertaining. I missed seeing Cat and James come back, but if it was just scheduling issues, I get that. Although I’m not sure what either of them are working on at this point.
What I didn’t: This is the second time we’ve seen Kelly using James’ Guardian shield, and I hope that’s not where she’s heading. James suddenly going from being a photographer to a master fighter/superhero was hard enough to swallow. I don’t see how Kelly is supposed to morph into a ninja. Speaking of, are she and Alex still together? It’s never mentioned any more, and I can’t even recall when the two of them were in the same scene at this point.
I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. It was very well done. I’m giving it a 3.5 out of 5, and I’m surprised to hear myself saying I hope Myx returns.
Happy 100, Supergirl.