“The Darkest Place” is a messy episode of Supergirl as it is basically three very different episodes jammed into one. With the four-way CW superhero crossover coming up soon and all the plot threads left dangling in “Changing,” Supergirl has a lot of ground to cover. The crossover will probably change a great deal of things for the rest of the season, if not the series as a whole. It is probably a good idea to give some of this season’s storylines a sense of closure in “The Darkest Place.” Still it doesn’t help that this episode is trying to cover as much story as possible into one hour. The three stories have almost no connective tissue between them, and there are wildly different results in the telling of each.
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Blasts from the Past
The strongest story of the episode revolves around Mon-El’s capture by Cadmus. Kara is contacted by Lillian Luthor, who tells Kara that if she doesn’t come to Cadmus immediately, Mon-El will die. When Kara arrives, she is “greeted” by a man wearing Hank Henshaw’s face — the real Hank Henshaw. Henshaw didn’t die as assumed but was saved by Cadmus and turned into a cyborg. Hank is now going by the name Cyborg Superman, which is … a weird move.
The Cyborg Superman from the comics was literally a cyborg clone of Superman. Supergirl‘s Cyborg Superman is just a very angry, powerful and melodramatic version of J’onn J’onzz. This Cyborg Superman just does a lot of yelling and really hates aliens. He is really obnoxious and not at all interesting. Thankfully, Supergirl has the charismatic Lillian Luthor to be the real villain of the season because Cyborg Superman really doesn’t impress in his debut.
Kara is defeated in her fight with Cyborg Superman. For all his faults, he does make for an impressive fight scene, and Kara is caged up with Mon-El. Lillian Luthor shows up in the flesh and tells Kara that she has to do a bit more to save Mon-El’s life. Lillian wants Kara to deplete herself of all her radiation energy so that she become “human.” Once Kara is powerless, Lillian will experiment on her. Kara agrees only to save Mon-El’s life.
Lillian, being a supervillain, doesn’t exactly hold to her deal. After Kara is experimented on by Lilian, Kara is thrown back into a Cadmus cell with Mon-El. It looks hopeless, but the pair is rescued by the arrival of Jeremiah Danvers, another supposedly dead character coming back to life.
Maybe Supergirl should have spread out the reveals of Jeremiah and Hank’s survivals for longer than one episode, but whatever. It was pretty much assumed that Jeremiah was alive after the season 1 finale. It also comes as no big shock that Jeremiah doesn’t make it out of Cadmus with Kara and Mon-El. Jeremiah stays behind, and Kara is once again separated from her biological dad.
Back out in the real world, once again there is a Guardian plot thrown into the mix. James is getting his lumps as a vigilante, and that means being accused of a crime he did not commit — a standard vigilante plot. A man begins to impersonate Guardian, but he kills his criminal enemies. This makes the public think that Guardian is a killer.
It’s a pretty boring story that does nothing to sell you on the idea of James as a vigilante. Supergirl just assumes you are in or out on the story. Much like James himself, the story is just kind of there. With Winn’s help, James eventually tracks down his impersonator and defeats him. Guardian clears his name and bores everyone in the process.
The highlight (and saving grace) of the story is that Winn is unable to keep James being Guardian a secret from Alex. Alex, learning that James is a vigilante, realizes there is no way that Guardian can be killing people. Alex goes to Maggie to tell her to back off of trying to arrest Guardian for murder. Really, though, it becomes a scene where Alex gets to tell Maggie about how hurt she feels from Maggie’s rejection of her. Alex basically tells Maggie that she came out entirely to be with her, and now she doesn’t feel liberated or happy being out. Alex feels rejected and unloved. It is another excellent scene by both Chyler Leigh and Floriana Lima, who have consistently nailed every romantic and complicated scene Supergirl has thrown at them.
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Another Martian Beatdown
The worst plot of the bunch, though, is what is happening with the real J’onn. J’onn starts receiving hallucinations because of the blood that M’Gann transferred to him to save his life. Alex and J’onn run tests and discover that M’Gann is a White Martian. This revelation causes J’onn to rush after the woman that he was falling for and try to kill her because of his (understandable) hatred of White Martians.
It’s basically a rerun of M’Gann and J’onn’s fight from “Survivors.” The only changes are that J’onn is the aggressor now and M’Gann has to talk him out of it. There is also a lot more unconvincing CGI than in the first fight. The topper, though, is that the fight scene involves a lot more of David Harewood yelling at the top of his lungs, which turns out is the one emotion that he cannot convey convincingly or sympathetically. Maybe the underwhelming debut of Cyborg Superman is swaying my feelings for J’onn’s reaction to M’Gann’s identity, but it can’t be helped. M’Gann and J’onn fighting each other should be a big deal, but it feels like Supergirl is just going through the motions with the brawl.
What is Medusa?
Supergirl then spends the last 10 minutes of the episode setting up a lot of twists in very rapid order. M’Gann is imprisoned for being a White Martian. She informs J’onn that because of the blood transfusion, J’onn is also turning into a White Martian. Mon-El realizes that he has feelings for Kara. Maggie accepts that she has feelings for Alex and asks to spend more time with her (just as friends). Most important, though, is that Cyborg Superman shows back up in the episode. This time, he arrives at the Fortress of Solitude.
The reason why Lillian Luthor wanted to experiment on Kara is revealed. The real Hank Henshaw uses Kara’s blood to fool the Fortress of Solitude into thinking that he is actually Kara. When he accesses the Fortress of Solitude’s computer, he has one request. He wants to know everything about Medusa.
What did you think of the episode? Which storyline was the most engaging for you? Do you think we will find out what Medusa is in the next episode, which is the start of the four-way crossover? How do you feel about Cyborg Superman as a villain?
Supergirl season 2 airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Supergirl Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of The CW)