Supergirl: Magical Thinking

What? I’m just another blue-eyed blonde.

The final season of Supergirl is, in my opinion, dragging. I don’t know if they’re suffering from bad writing, bad editing, or some combination, but a lot of what’s going on isn’t really making sense. I really liked this series when it came out, and some of my favorite characters are on this show, but this just really isn’t working. There are more contradictions aplenty in “Magical Thinking.”

One of the nice recurring touches in the series is game night. It’s a humanizing bit that makes for some fun scenes. They do a different spin on it this week, and it works well. There’s a passing reference to Brainiac 5, and that’s all we see or hear of him this week. They also use this scene to set up several bits for the episode, including William working at the Tower, Lena struggling with her new magical abilities, and Supergirl’s odd link to Nxy, which seems to have changed from last week. Whether that is things evolving or writer inconsistency is open for debate. Nxy herself has her sights set on the next totem, and her sidekick Mitch is urging her to be careful.

In other plot threads, Kelly goes to check on Esme, the precocious kid we saw a few episodes ago. Esme has been placed in a foster home and is utterly thrilled. The parents seem happy to see her, too, and Kelly is thrilled that it’s all working out. Esme gives Kelly something as a thank you gift. At the Tower, William gets brought in, walked through the space, and told the ground rules for his reporting. There’s some back and forth over that, and one of the characters is a bit more menacing than was probably required. Their warning system alerts them to Mitch’s ship appearing (isn’t that what Brainy was supposed to be doing?) and the team takes off. We get some minor attempt at characterization from a few extras before the Imp shows up to attack and claim the totem. Nothing goes as expected, and Supergirl and company end up dealing with some odd problems. While this seems like something that would be easy for someone with superstrength and superspeed to handle, Supergirl appears rattled and calls for back up. Why? No idea.

The news covers some of what’s happening, and the heroes try and deal with another of Nxy’s messes. They come up with a theory about what happened that seems a stretch based on what they know, although it proves accurate. Dreamer produces some gadgets and makes a cutting comment about being smart. She has to do this because Brainy is… elsewhere not doing what he was assigned to do. They form a vague plan and Supergirl is ridiculously optimistic. Given her mood swings this episode, I almost wonder if she’s developing some mental health issues. A bit later, Supergirl and William walk through the base, and he disagrees with some of their limitations they’ve set on his writing. I actually agree with him on this one, and Kara at the very least should know better. After yet another in-joke about what night the show airs, there are more disturbances, and Supergirl exits on a decent one-liner. Already dealing with some of the chaos, Guardian and Sentinel get in some amusing relationship talk, set against them fighting. This, too, is a good scene, if maybe not the greatest security for secret identities.

Speaking of mental health issues, Andrea drops by William’s desk to let him know she’s spying on him and generally be a horrible boss and overall not great person. Lena keeps trying to tinker with magic, because dealing with something powerful you don’t have a handle on in the midst of a crisis is a great plan. To no surprise, it goes badly, and Dreamer gets a new comedic side effect as well as a glib remark about something serious. Supergirl comes in, not in the mood to listen, and pushes Lena to do more. RIGHT NOW! Mitch is tinkering with something never actually defined or explained; it’s just an excuse to show some changes in Nxy. He finds the next totem they need and she continues to act in a very uncharacteristic manner.

William, who I guess is wandering back and forth from the Tower to CatCo at will, which is a great way to keep things secret, drops in on Lena. She’s not in the best mood given her problems with magic, and babbles on to William. He makes an analogy about magic and baking that actually kind of holds up, at least to a lot of what I’ve read. That one bit was a nice piece of writing. Esme’s new mom tries to reassure her, but things take a turn for the worse. Someone randomly displays superpowers, I have no idea why, and Esme does something unclear. Supergirl and Martian Manhunter try and figure out what’s going on, and let something else secret slip in front of William. Lena has a new idea, and there’s a field trip in the team’s future.

In another series of rapid cuts, the team goes to a park and Nxy indulges in international travel. Lena once again misfires a spell, and Nxy has totem side effects screwing up her plan. Nxy has a small breakdown and William gets attacked by a little old lady. Later, Lena is worried about her lack of control and precision, as she should be, and Supergirl keeps pushing her. Maybe some of Nxy’s instability is getting transferred by the weird link they seem to have forgotten about? Nxy continues to act really strangely, and Mitch gets increasingly worried and uncomfortable both.

Well, I spoke too soon, as Supergirl returns to the tower and relays what she’s feeling over the link. The team manages to follow the same logic Nxy and Mitch did about the Totem’s effects. Supergirl makes a suggestion that seems entirely out of character, and Lena is shocked. Where are we when the House of El is making ruthless suggestions and the Luthor is saying, “No, that’s not right”? They have a long conversation about why this is the wrong thing to do and both agree not to do it. William argues with the others about the censorship of his reporting, and no one is happy with how the conversation is going. Then Lena and Supergirl walk in,  completely reverse the decision they just came to, and free William from his restrictions. Is this the “Magical Thinking” the title refers to?

The team embarks on this very questionable plan, and chaos ensues. The heroes do what they can to counter it, while at least part of it works and Nxy is dealing with even worse side effects, bemoaning the plight of the snow leopard among other things. Esme ends up in a lot of trouble and gets saved at the last minute by Guardian and Sentinel. How they knew she was in trouble, I have no idea, and Guardian should have just blown her secret ID in this scene. Nxy decides to free herself of her problems and does something risky that Mitch doesn’t like. Supergirl breaks up a mugging and blows most of the show’s visual effects budget doing it, looking a bit bored. Why some of the citizens in the expanded area aren’t affected by what’s going on is, like many things, unexplained.

Nxy does what she needs to, snaps back to normal, and Mitch helps her escape again. Supergirl claims the Totem and everyone goes back to normal. The team regroups, and talks about Nxy’s likely reactions, William’s upcoming article, and what to do next. Dreamer helps pick out what totem to go after next. Remember a while ago when it was established that they needed to go after the Totems in a particular order? Neither do they. Andrea loves William’s new article, gets really pushy, and shows what a petulant wench she can be. Kara and Lena talk about what happened and what’s coming up as they share food and no doubt send the people who ship the two characters into overdrive.

Kelly and Alex go deal with some developments with Esme. Neither of them are happy, and they share a lot of significant looks. They seem to be angling towards doing something that makes no sense at all and is a really, really bad plan. So I’m sure that’ll happen next episode. The episode ends with Nxy and Mitch plotting for the next phase of their plans.

What I liked: The game night scene was well done. Kelly and Alex’s talk was fun to watch. William’s pep talk to Lena worked well. William did a great job standing up for himself against both Andrea and the heroes.

What I didn’t: Just about everything else. Lena and Kara have a big talk about what not to do… and then do it anyway. I feel like an important scene or exchange got edited out there. What Alex and Kelly are hinting at near the end makes no sense at all. Some of the extras got reused to the point where it was like there were only about six people in the city, and they kept getting extra lives like video game characters. The explanation of why Brainy wasn’t there held up for roughly one scene. Bringing William to the Tower seems like a really bad idea, no matter how nice a guy or how good a reporter he is. Guardian’s new secret ID should be gone already. Supergirl seems a lot more reckless than usual, and while that might be due to the Totem, that should have been made clear if it’s the case, not left for me to guess at. Andrea needs counseling, or an intervention, or something.

I liked this show when it started, and some characters I really enjoy are on it. That said, this season has been pretty bad. I’m giving this episode a 2 out of 5. It might well be lower if not for the few good points above.