Supergirl: Prom Night!

Why did we let the alien from another time pick the wardrobe for this?

This final season of Supergirl has, to be kind, not been their best. I’ve seen a lot of odd things, inexplicable decisions, and generally questionable writing. I’m not sure exactly what it says that they put out a much better episode that had most of the cast, including their main character, either absent or in a greatly reduced role. At any rate, the Superfriends, as they seem to be calling themselves, trespass on the Legends of Tomorrow’s turf by doing some time traveling back to an important few events in not only Supergirl’s, but, as it turns out, a few other characters’ pasts in “Prom Night!”

Last episode they discussed the need to get some of Kara’s DNA for their quest to find her in the now-splintered Phantom Zone. Skipping over the weirdness of that episode, we’ll move forward to them deciding the best way to do that is in the past when Kara ended up bleeding from a run-in with a meteor. I’d think that even Krpytonians leave trace DNA in their apartments or offices/workplaces, but sure. Let’s do the time warp. Since only Brainy and Nia are judged to be able to travel back then safely (J’Onn or M’Gann were in Midvale in the past?), those two get fitted out to infiltrate a prom and take a trip courtesy of Briany’s Legion time travel tech (time travel has been a big part of the Legion of Super Heroes at various times). After a parting threat from Alex, the two go Back In Time.

Back in 2009, Alex is back from college, and not happy with what she’s learning about Kara’s activities while Alex has been away. Their friend Kenny is back again, his death one of the many things Crisis allowed them to reset. Although I’m really curious about how he knew Kara’s secret, was such a big part of her early heroic career, and has been utterly absent since then. Presumably this will be explained at some point. After some more lines about Brainy’s recent stress-eating habit, the pair arrive in the past and, immediately after they talk about how careful they need to be, run into the younger versions of Alex and Kara, and Kenny. Also, just to make things more complicated, there’s a younger Cat Grant prowling around, trying to sniff out her first big story to get out of her gossip column. That was a nice touch, since the comics, Cat did indeed start off as a gossip columnist.

The Legion ship doesn’t fare well on its trip and breaks some important pieces. In short order, it’s decided that Brainy will hide out at Kenny’s house, Nia will crash with Alex and Kara, they will hide everything from their mother for… reasons… and they’ll work on fixing the ship. As the group pools unlikely powers and gadgets in a way that we’ve never seen before, we see the other complication of the week. Naxim Tork and his henchman, aliens who run a unique zoo, have apparently just had a bad encounter with Superman, and decide they might find easier prey elsewhere. So they, too, have come to Midvale, although how they zeroed in on the town isn’t really clear.

We get a glimpse of Kenny’s homelife, and another joke about Brainy’s stress eating, as well as the differences in technology from the present to their current time. Kara and Nia have some fun bonding moments in their sleepover, comparing powers and their experiences, and then Alex comes in playing cranky parent. For a college kid, she does a great middle-aged adult. Kara and Nia talk some more and settle in for a night’s sleep, which doesn’t go smoothly as Nia gets another one of her odd and unclear prophetic dreams. Come morning, the women go off to sneak into Eliza Danvers’ lab in search of some rare element they need for repairs. Kenny sneaks Brainy into the school lab which they somehow upgrade to do what they need, albeit slowly. Cat shows up at Eliza’s lab, and Alex stalls her while Nia and Kara sneak off to steal what they need.

In completely predictable fashion, Brainy doesn’t do what he’s supposed to and has an encounter with a recalcitrant vending machine and an over-excited glee club teacher. Despite the fact that Midvale doesn’t seem like a big place, no one seems surprised at Brainy popping up in various school activities throughout the day. Kara and Nia accomplish their mission with more help from Nia’s Swiss Army Knife powers. Kenny finally finds Brainy and manages to more or less rein him in.

Kara tries to convince Alex things aren’t as bad as they seem with Cat’s interest when they almost get into a car accident. Nia uses a flash of her powers to figure out what’s going on, and we see that the aliens have a pretty good villain playbook. Alex tries to be calm, but Kara and Nia ignore her and spring into superheroic action. They manage to stop the runaway truck, narrowly avoiding discovery by Cat, who just happens to be in the right place. Tork and his sidekick end up fleeing as things get complicated when their sensors pick up not only Kara as a Kryptonian, but Brainy and Nia’s alien heritage as well. Brainy makes a passing reference to an alien from Bismol, which is an in joke to a minor character from the Legion.

For some reason, Nia is working on the ship instead of Brainy (I do wonder where she got her knowledge of 31st century technology) and gets frustrated about her dreams and her inability to figure them out. She finally decides to do something a bit rash, against their mission parameters, and that shouldn’t at all work. Kara and Alex argue over pretty much everything, and we get drama flakes about Kara and Kenny’s relationship. While Kara stalks off, Brainy uses the DEO database to look up their alien adversaries, and then gets a big surprise. To quote The Terminator, “The future is not set.” Cat gets some unexpected help from a bartender and then recruits a kid to help her out.

Kara and Kenny go for a walk, and Kara complains about what Alex is doing. Kenny has a big surprise for her, which inadvertently puts pressure on Kara, and gives us a visual callback to the Kent barn back on Smallville. A frustrated Brainy yells at his computer, and Nia ends up blurting out what she did. It’s interesting watching his body language shift as he tries to process what she said. It’s one of the first times I’ve seen him act like his comic book counterpart. That moment doesn’t last as we go back to Brainy dealing with stress, and get an unexpected call out to Dolly Parton. Things get even more tense with Kenny and Kara, which may end up explaining why he’s not around in the modern era. Nia and Brainy decide to go handle things themselves and walk into a trap that shouldn’t be able to hold them, but gives us a nice cliffhanger for the infamous “To Be Continued.”

What I liked: This was a lot better than the rest of the season has been, which was nice. Weirdly, not just for the time travel reasons, it felt a bit more like a Legends episode. The casting of young Alex and Kara was fantastic, as was Cat’s younger self. I’m a fan of Dolly, so working her music in was an unexpected treat.

What I didn’t: The reasoning for who was going on this mission was flimsy. Nia was unexpectedly skilled with technology from the far future. Cat being here at just this time is a bit convenient. Aside from maybe having trouble casting young Eliza, I’m not sure why she’s being left out.

Even with a few flaws, this was an improvement over the rest of the season. I’ll give this a 3 out of 5. Hopefully some of my lingering questions will be cleared up in part two.