Supergirl: Phantom Menaces

The team carries on without their lead.

Supergirl’s sixth and final season is off to an odd start. The Girl of Steel herself has been exiled to the Phantom Zone, so she’s away from all her friends and allies, which is an odd choice for the show winding down. Her team of friends and allies are dealing with the complications of trying to rescue her, with phantoms causing problems back on Earth. And Lex is lurking around, having improbably been acquitted at trial. They have a lot of subplots going on, as well as a Star Wars nod in the title, with “Phantom Menaces.”

Following the end of last episode, J’Onn and M’Ggan rush to Silas’ place, to find the apartment is wrecked and their new ally has been badly beaten. J’Onn belabors the obvious by saying they missed a phantom in the last fight. Ya think? Batman hasn’t complimented J’Onn’s detective skills for nothing. In the Phantom Zone, Kara and her dad try the first step in her escape plan. Things go badly, and they fall afoul of some other Zone residents, but she gains an ally in a very strange woman. In addition to everything else, Supergirl has been hurt, and is really missing her invulnerability about now.

At the Watchtower, Brainy is going over maps of the Phantom Zone and fretting about Kara. He sees Lex on the news and has a fairly impressive temper tantrum, stopping just short of destroying things, and that only because the Martians return with the badly beaten Silas. Silas warns them about his missing roommates before passing out, and the team scrambles to help him. Dreamer, we learn, has been called away on a business meeting, and Alex went home to get some sleep. J’Onn goes on again about his idea about acting more like a soldier than a father, and that everyone is essentially going to have to suck it up. Speaking of Alex, she’s at home on the couch, watching Supergirl’s goodbye holo and sobbing. Kelly comes in and finds her, and tries to offer some encouraging words, but Alex is too deep in despair to really listen. She also ignores a call from J’Onn. It’s a bit odd she actually has him listed as “J’Onn” on her phone. I get that he’s pretty much abandoned his secret ID, but really, that seems like a very non-secure way to store some important information.

Lena arrives in her office and gets a “thoroughly unpleasant surprise” as she finds Lex there. Lex is annoyed at something Lena and Brainy did to block his access to LuthorCorp (weren’t they calling that L-Corp for a while?). Lex snaps out a few orders, and then switches to threats when she doesn’t immediately comply. Alex has finally managed to get dressed and join the others at the Watchtower, and listens as Brainy goes over the history of the phantoms. The lesson gets a pointed illustration as Silas succumbs to the next stage of being infected by a phantom. This gives Alex flashbacks, so she stands and stares at the others subdue and contain the former Silas. J’Onn snaps out orders, and Brainy warns everyone how dangerous these things are before going off to build another gizmo. J’Onn and M’Ggan have a chat on the balcony, and M’Ggan now seems to be regretting telling J’Onn to act more like a soldier. Alex then gets her turn with J’Onn, asking how he can just go on with Kara missing, and he points out that this is how they’ll get her back.

In the Phantom Zone, Kara blames herself for her father being in danger now (self-blame is a recurring theme of the episode). She learns a bit about her mysterious new ally, and finds they have a connection of sorts. Kara also finds out her injuries won’t heal here, and struggles against the damage, seemingly not able to learn that if you couldn’t walk a moment ago, it won’t have changed a heartbeat later. The new woman, whose name I’m abbreviating as Myx for my sanity’s and finger’s sake, has a little toy and uses it to help find the missing Zor-El. M’Ggan argues with J’Onn about how to proceed with the phantoms. He warns her against a risky approach (remember that for later), and she looks very displeased about this.

Lena has a holo-conference with Brainy (this was a great use of the various tech they all have) as they plot another move against Lex. They do something pretty clever with a sort of Robin Hood flavor, but then Brainy has to go when there are more problems at the Tower. The Phantoms are acting weird, and they figure out there’s something going on elsewhere in town. This is when everyone realizes that both M’Ggan and the dangerous gadget she wanted to use are gone. To quote a crime-solving dog, “Ruh-Roh.” The crew gets there to find a few phantoms, who they capture, and a badly wounded M’Ggan. She apologizes for going against J’Onn’s orders, and for some inexplicable reason he starts blaming himself. Although he explicitly told her not to do this. J’Onn does share one piece of information he kept back for some reason or other, but it still doesn’t make any sense for him to blame himself.

Myx helps Kara figure out where her dad is, and shares her backstory. They really do like the abusive male theme on this show. Kara gives one of her patented pep-talks, and then, after establishing that her father is going be sacrificed, they decide to wait until morning to try and rescue him. Because… reasons? Lex finds out what Lena and Brainy did earlier, and makes various ominous threats. Otis gets mentioned, but never actually shows up this episode. Those threats manifest shortly, and Brainy and Lena see the coverage on the news, looking horrified. Somehow, they haven’t realized how ruthless Lex is? These two geniuses? Myx works at something that’s been bothering her for a long time, and then manages to get her magic back, which she immediately uses to heal Kara. Of course, far as I know, someone as powerful as one of these 5th dimensional Imps should be able to just teleport home, or at least out of the Zone, but for some reason that doesn’t happen. Probably because the rest of the season needs to happen, as they’d say on the very entertaining Pitch Meeting series on YouTube. Myx and Kara talk about weird images they are getting of other lives, which I’m sure ties back to Crisis somehow or other.

Lena and Brainy deal with the aftereffects of Lex’s newest stunt, having a conversation that takes a very dark turn. Lena, who has seen a lot, is surprised at some of the things Brainy says before he has a major temper tantrum. This does seem to be an episode of emotional extremes. Lena tries to talk Brainy down and he vents his rage before things turn maudlin for both of them over the missing Kara. Alex has rebounded from apparent depression to taking her turn being the morale officer, as she tries to pull J’Onn out of his own slump. The team sets up for their newest plan to save M’Gann, which involves yet another convenient Martian ritual, Kelly helping J’Onn, Alex and Brainy fighting phantoms, and Lena looking concerned while frantically typing, a stage direction I suspect Emily Bett Rickards got often while playing Felicity over on Arrow. Eventually, the good guys win, some phantoms are captured, and M’Gann is saved. So we’re back to where we were at the start of the episode.

Lena gets another scene with her utterly evil brother and manages to surprise him again. She does something that’s going to be good for her which he can’t comprehend, since it involves doing something he’d never even dream of doing. It’s going to be very interesting seeing how that plays out in future episodes. This sets us up for some short wrap up scenes.

J’Onn and M’Gann have a talk on the balcony, with J’Onn saying a few more things that don’t make a lot of sense. Seeing this, Alex is inspired to go see Kelly and take a major step in their relationship that I thought they had done a while ago. Lex, seeing confirmation that Lena did what she said she was going to, says something ominous and uses one of his portal gadgets to start doing whatever he’s up to now. In the Phantom Zone, Kara and Myx manage to do the first part of their plan, and hopefully begin the process of escaping.

What I liked: As I keep saying, Jon Cryer is an amazing Lex Luthor. Lena and Brainy’s plans were smart and would have worked if Lex was a bit more rational, considering what he did didn’t actually undo anything. Sentinel/Alex has a cool new quick change ability.

What I didn’t: This was a very uneven episode at best. Characters were going to emotional extremes so quickly I’m wondering if they all need therapy and/or medication. Lena and Brainy had some reactions that don’t track with who they are. J’Onn blaming himself for things made no sense at all, and no one called him on it, despite all the pep talks and notional group hugs.

This was not one of the better episodes. I’m giving it a 2.5 out of 5.