Supergirl: Lost Souls

When did these things get ice powers again?

I have to admit, I’ve found the Supergirl series to be uneven as it’s gone on. They’ve had some great ideas, some poor execution, and a few great moments. I will be forever grateful to the show for introducing the Tyler Hoechlin version of Superman, which is the best take on the character I’ve seen in years. This sixth and final season, plagued by both COVID complications and issues when the lead actor of an action show is pregnant, has had some issues. “Lost Souls” seems to end one subplot I wasn’t loving, but has a great many small and large problems along the way.

When they started, all the Arrowverse shows had introductory voiceovers, which they’ve gotten away from recently. Supergirl brings hers back, with I believe the same words as last time we heard it, but new images. After the intro, we see Supergirl, Zor-El, and Nyx have a very rough landing as they seek their way out of the Phantom Zone. They seem happy enough with what they’ve found, and make one of those broad positive statements you just know isn’t going to work out. On Earth, M’Gann wakes from a very disturbing nightmare, suggesting that the complications from her close encounters with the phantoms aren’t over.

In the main room of the Tower, the team is worried that they are running out of room in their containment modules for all the captured phantoms. I guess they’re doing too good a job? Brainy agrees to build more cells, and Alex frets that Supergirl would have found a way to end this by now. Just as Dreamer finishes giving Lena her tour of the Tower, M’Gann stumbles in and tells them about her dream. Brainy offers a less-than-encouraging diagnosis, and J’Onn worries about M’Gann. M’Gann herself points out an upside, and the team has a new plan. Lena came to her first real day with the team bearing gifts, and we get a pretty obvious nod to Ghostbusters. At least they acknowledge it themselves. Brainiac does make a condescending comment to Lena on the way out, but no one seems to notice.

Arriving at the scene of the latest phantom attack, the team finds a lot of ice (I don’t remember that from the earlier events) and a pretty trashed train station. Combat erupts, and once again, a Martian, some of the most physically and psychically powerful beings in the DC Universe, are using blasters. I really can’t think of any way at all that makes the remotest bit of sense. Lena’s new toy does well by Brainy, and then, as victims are transformed, M’Gann goes to trace where their energy is going. Oddly, the bits of energy considerately fly around various buildings, so they are easier to follow. Then again, Martians can phase through things, so I guess it was just odd writing. M’Gann gets in trouble, and J’Onn flies off to find her as Dreamer and Brainy finish up the fight and Brainy makes more movie quips. While J’Onn pulls off a last-minute rescue, Supergirl and her new team find out their escape won’t be as easy as they thought, and Zor-El immediately slips back into deep depression. When/if they get him out of there, they need to get that man on some meds.

Kara takes control of the situation with another pep talk, and they figure out a Plan B. Or this more like Plan H by now? They split up to go to work on the next way out. Somewhat recovered, M’Gann tries to explain what happened to her. Brainy extrapolates off her accounting, and comes up with some grim predictions. This fits in with some of the history they’ve unearthed, and things aren’t sounding good at all. They figure out a way to use M’Gann’s new affliction, but it’s leading toward a choice between defeating the phantoms and saving all the National City victims versus a way to track down Supergirl. Alex takes over for her missing sister to be head cheerleader, and Lena backs her up. Lena and Alex go back to the lab and start reworking one of Lena’s old projects to do what they need here.

Brainy and Dreamer talk about out-of-control visions and stress eating. The search for another way out hits a snag as Zor-El gets attacked and injured. They do find what they need, but now logistical issues arise, and Supergirl has another tough choice to make. This seems to be a recurring theme of the episode. They finally come up with a plan that no one likes, but is the best option of what’s available. Alex and Lena watch Supergirl’s memory crystal and agree she’s very inspirational. Then science takes a complete and total vacation as Alex, allegedly a scientist, deduces that you can get DNA from a recording, and Lena, also a scientist, agrees. There were so many ways to make this work, and this was none of them. The writers were really having a tough time with a lot of things this episode, and I guess that showed, since, according to online information, this is the shortest episode of Supergirl. It certainly had some of the thinnest plot points. Somehow, this DNA extraction bit is going to wipe out the recording, so they won’t have it anymore. I guess whatever weird tech this is doesn’t do backups? J’Onn works on his part of the plan, combining Dreamer’s ever-shifting to plot convenient powers and M’Gann’s telepathy and phantom infection. Dreamer gets an idea where the bad guys are, but finds enough to realize they are running out of time.

Brainiac works out they have about an hour before the Prime Phantom becomes essentially unstoppable. M’Ggan comes up with a way to help, although it puts her at great risk which J’Onn isn’t happy about. Lena has finally fine-tuned the newest gizmo, but now they need to redo it to find phantoms and not missing Kryptonians. Lena worries they will lose their chance to find Supergirl if they do this, but Alex is adamant that this is what Supergirl would want. Alex then somehow Force-grabs the gizmo away from Lena (A Jedi is this one?). Supergirl and Nyx get their escape more or less set to go, and then things take a dark turn. Once again, we look at hard choices, and Supergirl does something a lot of people wouldn’t to protect the ones back on Earth.

As often seems to be the case, the trail leads the team to the sewers (although the cleanest sewers I’ve ever seen, and yes, I’ve seen real ones). Following the path to the bad guys, they end up attacked by yet more phantoms. For reasons that probably made sense to someone, somewhere, but not me, J’Onn is now fighting with some kind of glowy escrima sticks because I guess it looks cool and we don’t see the stick fighting scenes on Arrow anymore? J’Onn tells the others to run as he gets overwhelmed (should’ve used your powers, J’Onn), and then the same fate befalls Brainy. With two main characters down in moments, you know some kind of reset is coming. Alex/Sentinel and Dreamer make it to the end boss, and Dreamer’s Plot Power™ allows her to make a tunnel for Alex to run down to use the tracer they made to beat on the big important crystal. Really? This was the plan? Take your new toy and beat on a rock with it? Of course this works, and cures all the Phantom’s victims, and lets them capture the Prime Phantom. Yay for beating on rocks with scientific instruments?

In the aftermath of Supergirl’s choice in the Phantom Zone, she ends up fighting with a former ally. Their knocking each other around ends up triggering the ever-popular self-destruct feature, although I think that’s a Trope Violation. This place was supposedly built by a good guy, not a villain, and why would you booby trap your emergency exit? Who planned this? There’s a big explosion, and I’m not sure, but I think we lose two characters in the blast. It certainly seems like it, anyway.

The episode winds down with Wise Conversation on the Balcony, a staple of the show at one time. We haven’t seen it much lately, but then, we rarely see the Cat Grant Memorial Balcony anymore. In this case, it’s Alex and Lena who share drinks and concerns. Lena isn’t sure she should be with the heroes, and talks about her doubt during the earlier events. Alex reassures her that she had them, too, and talks about drawing on her training as a soldier to get through it. Did I miss something? When was Alex a soldier? She was a DEO agent for a long time, and did a lot of college and, I think, med school. When the heck was she in the army? Government agent and soldier are not the same thing. They end up bonding over shared experience and Scotch. There are worse bases for a relationship, I guess. Inside, Brainy and Dreamer talk about their mutual feelings of despair in the face of their lack of progress in rescuing Supergirl. J’Onn and M’Gann get a cute few moments together. Then, based on an incident that sounds important but we’ve never heard of before, we get the premise for next episode as they borrow a bit from Huey Lewis because they have to go Back In Time!

What I liked: The heroes do make a good team. They are working together well in the absence of their central figure, and that doesn’t always happen. The group has a really diverse pool of abilities and skills, and they make good use of them. Kara, even in the bleakest surroundings and situation, remains an icon of hope. Then again, that was her Paragon gig in Crisis.

What I didn’t: Sorry, but a lot. When was Alex a soldier? Why were balls of light flying around buildings instead of through them? How, precisely, does one get DNA from a recording? Why does something so important have no backups? When did Alex get Force powers? Why are the vastly powerful Martians fighting with guns and sticks? As a sort of aside, while I know the heroes all had to leave after Crisis, but what the heck is the DEO doing during all this? Do they not fight aliens anymore? I’m really getting a bit tired of Dreamer’s Swiss Army knife powers. It’s like the Silver Age Batman’s utility belt- anything you might need is in there, no matter how improbable.

On the one hand, I’m sort of sorry to see the show go. On the other, this season hasn’t really been that good. I’m giving this a 2 out of 5, and that might be generous. I guess we’ll see what happens over the final 16 episodes.