Supergirl‘s big season 2 cliffhanger of Mon-El leaving Kara (and Earth) was a well-acted but rather hollow moment, as it was obvious the character was not gone for good. Supergirl season 3, however, has kept the twist up for a surprisingly long time by allowing Mon-El to appear only through dream sequences or quasi-flashbacks. Yet with this episode, titled “Wake Up,” Mon-El finally returns and it goes exactly as expected; it’s an unbelievably huge bummer.
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Reunited and It Feels … So Incredibly Awkward
“Wake Up” reveals that the spaceship that has been lodged on the ocean floor since the season 3 premiere doesn’t have anything to do with Reign. Rather, it contains Mon-El and a crew of mysterious passengers, which Kara and the gang discover when the ship finally gets uncovered enough to show up on the DEO’s scanners. Once Kara, Winn and J’onn find their way onto the ship, they discover that Mon-El, bearded and uncommunicative, is the only passenger awake.
Kara is overjoyed to have Mon-El back, but he is much, much less happy. Mon-El says nothing, reveals nothing and blames his silence on just waking up from hyper sleep. This is incredibly frustrating, as it takes what should be a five-minute conflict and stretches it out for almost the entire episode.
However, Chris Wood does do a rather excellent job of portraying a deep sense of hurt, as he (obviously) lies to Kara and the rest of the DEO. (Sadly, Supergirl never really justifies why Mon-El is lying besides that’s just what he does at this point.)
Kara Loses Mon-El Once Again
Wood’s work does, however, pale in comparison to Melissa Benoist. Eventually, Mon-El stops being sullen and tries to escape his medical bed in the DEO. In the process, Mon-El ends up knocking out two guards trying to get back to his ship. Afterwards, Kara can no longer deny that there’s something with Mon-El, and every inch of despair and worry pours out of Kara in one big outburst. Supergirl season 3’s decision to have Kara go so dark is maybe misguided, but it’s hard to deny that Benoist isn’t doing a wonderful job with what she’s been given. Kara’s desperate and angry outburst to Mon-El is the perfect emotional climax to her journey so far.
The hurt for Kara just keeps coming, however. Mon-El swindles Winn into helping him (it’s nice that Supergirl hasn’t completely forgotten that Winn is a character and that he was close with Mon-El), and all of the Daxamite prince’s secrets come out. Kara ends up confronting the two in the spaceship, as Mon-El tries to save his fellow crew members.
Mon-El explains that although he’s been gone seven months for Kara, it’s been seven years for him. Mon-El ended up in the future when he was sent away in his rescue pod in season 2. Now, though, Mon-El’s back with this team and they’re all there to serve some very important mission. To twist the knife even further, Mon-El has also found a new love, Imra. She’s not just his casual girlfriend either. Imra, aka Saturn Girl, is Mon-El’s new wife.
Supergirl is laying it on a little bit thick, but to the show’s credit, it does make the depature of Mon-El mean something in season 2, even if it’s now only retroactively. Unless Imra turns out to be evil, which is a distinct possibility, it doesn’t appears that there will be any romantic rekindling for Kara and Mon-El because neither seems like the type that will be in an adulterous relationship.
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Finding Your (Alien) Roots
While Mon-El’s return and his new wife are the biggest emotional gut punches for Kara, “Wake Up” has more depressing twists in store for the audience. Sam finally decides to get answers on her mysteriously emerging powers. After visiting her adoptive mother, Sam figures out, in short order, she’s an alien and she came to Earth as an alien in a pod.
Of course, we know there’s much more to it than that, and Sam uses the knowledge of her alien nature to keep digging further. Eventually, Sam ends up at some isolated location in the desert and, responding to an artifact that Sam found in her pod, a whole structure pops out from under the ground.
Once inside, Sam is informed that her destiny is to become Reign, the ruler of this world and many others. Sam was engineered to be the ultimate weapon. Most tragically of all, the option to become this evil monarch isn’t up to Sam. It’s something that will happen to her and it’s only been delayed because of the birth of her daughter, Ruby. Then without very little warning, the transformation begins to take hold in its final stages. After shrieking in pain, Sam “wakes up,” red eyes and all, as Reign.
Hopefully, Supergirl has more to do with Sam than just having her suddenly flip the switch to being a villain. Otherwise, that would be a very underwhelming way to take the character, who began the season with a lot of promise. Odette Annabelle shouldn’t just be playing Reign the rest of this season; there should be glimpses of Sam. Regardless, though, Sam turning is an appropriately dour ending to an already depressing episode. “Wake Up” is far from Supergirl‘s best hour, but it might just be the most bleak.
What do you think? Is Sam’s transformation totally complete? Was “Wake Up” too dark of a Supergirl episode, even for season 3? Is this the end of Kara and Mon-El? Should it be the end? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Supergirl season 3 airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Supergirl Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of The CW)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.