In this episode of Supergirl, titled “In Search of Lost Time,” the series tries to do a lot. Everything that was left ignored for the Winn standalone episode comes rushing back in this one. It’s a little disorientating how much is stuffed into this one episode, especially since the story also involves something no one was asking for: a cape fighting training montage. However, as busy as “In Search of Lost Time” is, Supergirl manages to tie most of it into one thematic, but very angsty, bow.
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The Karamel Truth Comes Out
Though Supergirl touches on a lot of the season’s bigger stories, the driving force of “In Search of Lost Time” is the recently revealed dementia of J’onn’s father, M’yrnn. While at first it seemed like M’yrnn’s disease would just purely be an emotional and intimate story for J’onn, this episode takes things several steps further. It turns out that when a powerful telepath gets a neurological disease, they’re not the only one affected. M’yrnn’s deteriorating mind ends up sending out waves of destructive psychic energy that begins to influence everyone around him.
J’onn takes M’yrnn to the DEO, thinking that he can control his father, but really everything goes haywire. Mad at what his disease is doing to him, M’yrnn spreads that anger out to nearly every sentient being in the DEO. The only mind unaffected is Mon-El’s because his Legion ring protects him, but that doesn’t stop Kara, Winn, Alex and every other DEO agent from losing their damn minds.
There’s some morbid fun to be had in an angry Alex wrecking everyone in sight, including Winn, because bad-ass Alex never gets old. The real focus here is on Kara. She starts training with Mon-El to defeat Pestilence. Since Mon-El has had his costume restored by Winn, that means a lot of learning how to fight with a cape. It’s ridiculous but only in the best way. Cape fighting is not at all practical, looks ludicrous and isn’t why superheroes wear capes at all, but the effort to make it sensible is appreciated.
Really, though, all the training is just there for Kara and Mon-El to have a desperately needed talk screaming match. With the influence of M’yrnn’s uncontrolled powers, Kara finally lets loose on Mon-El. Mercifully, Supergirl doesn’t go the easy route and have Kara vent her aggression on Mon-El about him being back from the future with a wife. Imra isn’t mentioned at all. Instead, the show has Kara explode with all her frustration about her entire relationship with Mon-El.
Kara gets to speak for a wide swath of the audience as she yells at Mon-El that he was selfish, arrogant and disrespectful throughout their entire romance. None of that is okay now that he’s a new and improved version of himself. The outburst is not only incredibly true but also a long time coming. It’s a glorious bit of catharsis for Kara and the audience. Mon-El’s previous immaturity has hung over his every scene, and it’s gratifying that someone is mentioning it but especially Kara.
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The Father Becomes the Son, and the Son Becomes the Father
Kara’s emotional explosion is a huge moment for the episode (and the series), but it’s not even the real emotional climax. Instead, Supergirl really does focus on J’onn and M’yrnn’s relationship, as the son slowly realizes that his father is a danger to himself and others. To help M’yrnn, J’onn (like many children with mentally ill parents) is going to have to treat his dad like a child.
Relating M’yrnn’s condition to real-world circumstances shouldn’t be possible. There’s nothing relatable about a Martian turning everyone around him into rage monsters. Against all odds, Supergirl somehow makes it work.
The complicated emotions of J’onn wanting to help his father and keep the ideal of his father intact is sold beautifully. J’onn wants his father to protect and guide him. He doesn’t want to belittle him. It’s heartbreaking and tremendously affecting. Even though J’onn eventually convinces M’yrnn that he needs help, stopping the mental attacks and putting M’yrnn under his son’s care, the road getting there is a beautiful tragedy.
Obviously, this story isn’t going away for a long time, but Supergirl still needs to give J’onn much more to do, and this episode is proof positive. Actor David Harewood can do anything the show throws at him and more.
A Luthor to the Rescue
Even more impressive than making M’yrnn’s Martian disease relatable, though, Supergirl finds a way to connect it all back to Reign. As M’yrnn loses control of himself, Sam finally learns that she can lose control of her own body. Lena has found out exactly what’s going on with Sam, Lena knows that Sam is Reign, and she’s going to fix her no matter what it takes.
Supergirl does go through the rote but expected story of Sam not believing Lena, and Lena forcing Sam to change into Reign to show her the truth. Yet that’s all secondary to the excitement that Supergirl is finally turning a corner on the Sam/Reign saga.
Lena may not succeed in curing Sam, but at least Sam knows the truth. It’s only a matter of time until Team Supergirl learns the truth too. Reign has always been a highlight of season 3, but now that Sam is aware, things just got much more deliciously complicated.
What do you think? How did you feel about Kara’s outburst at Mon-El? Will J’onn be able to cure his father? What about Lena and Sam? Are you happy that Sam finally knows the truth? How much longer until Kara learns what’s going on? 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)