Monday, April 18, 2016

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 20 - Better Angels

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


Non has revealed his secret weapon - a mind-controlled Alex Danvers, empowered by Kryptonite-powrered armor and the sword that killed Astra. Even if Kara can defeat her sister without killing her, can she still save the world from her uncle's invasion?


Grant Morrison's JLA: New World Order (Superman gives an inspiring speech to break the control of alien invaders) and Superman: New Krypton (the central plot of evil Kryptonians attempting to take over then destroy Earth), Superman 2 (The Champagne Trick), Supergirl: The Movie (reference is made to The Omegahedron) and William Shakespeare's Macbeth (Indigo's relationship to Non mirrors that of Lady Macbeth to her husband.)


Apart from giving Helen Slater a chance to be the hero talking Alex down from killing Kara, is there any logical reason a dying J'onn would fly to Midvale to retrieve Dr. Danvers and fly back to National City, shielding her mind, rather than using his dwindling time and powers to break through the control on Alex's mind directly?

For that matter, how the heck did J'onn know Non was going to pit Kara and Alex against each other so that he could go get Dr. Danvers in the first place?

How can General Lane order J'onn to be arrested over Lucy's objections? Previous episodes established the US Army has no authority over the DEO - hence why Lane had to take it over through an executive order.

Why isn't Alex arrested along with J'onn? Isn't she still facing whatever charges were going to see her sent to Cadmus along with J'onn?

Shouldn't somebody besides Maxwell Lord have thought to keep monitoring the same broadcast bands used by Myriad after the fact?  Maybe a certain paranoid general whose equally paranoid daughter is now running the DEO?

Non isn't much better than General Lane, having his entire army of super-powered aliens put themselves into their sleeping pods. Granting he's an arrogant ass, you'd think he'd have a few more minions on-hand so he and Indigo aren't doing all the work launching Fort Rozz back into orbit. But then we wouldn't have had a marginally more fair two-on-two fight between Non and Indigo vs. J'onn and Kara.

The scenes of people suffering from the insane headaches generated by Myriad are painfully hammy.

The CGI for the fight between J'onn/Indigo and Non/Kara is not up to the usual standard.


I defy you to watch  Melissa Benoist's speech tot he people of National City and not be inspired. That is Supergirl, in one scene. Actually, all of Benoist's scenes as she says her goodbyes to the rest of the cast are great moments for her as an actress. But that opening speech says everything that needs to be said.


The montage of people waking up as Supergirl gives her speech is well edited and directed.

Super Trivia

At one point, Maxwell Lord says that he usually loves a good Countdown "but this is bad."  This may be a nod to Countdown To Infinite Crisis - the story-line in the comics which turned Maxwell Lord into a card-carrying villain. It is not well regarded by most fans of the character.

Kara identifies the device being used to power The Myriad Wave as an Omegahedron. She says they were used as power sources on Krypton. Just one is capable of providing the energy to run an entire city.

The idea of Omegahedrons and Alphahedrons were first introduced in Supergirl: The Movie, where the Omegahedron was the Macguffin that Kara Zor-El traveled to Earth to recover.

Writer Sterling Gates introduced Alphahedron power sources into the comic-book lore during his run on the Supergirl comic.

The question of whether or not Kryptonians can survive in space is an open one.  Before Crisis On Infinite Earths, they could.  Afterward, they could manage short trips between planets but still had to make arrangements for breathing. At one point Superman learned a technique of recycling the air inside of his body from another alien, and from that point on he was able to survive indefinitely in a vacuum, so long as he remained conscious.

The general consensus in the modern age is that Kryptonians can survive the cold and pressure of a vacuum just fine but are unable to breathe. This is why you'll see Superman wearing a breathing mask without a space-suit or see Supergirl take a deep breath before flying into space.

It appears that, in the DCTVU reality, Kryptonians have no special protection from the dangers of outer space.


Myriad works by shutting down the connection between the amygdala and rostral anterior cingulate cortex - the parts of the brain that give rise to optimism and hope.

The frequency of Myriad penetrates neural tissue.

With the Kryptonian mind-control plot thwarted, the Myriad Wave is amplified ten-fold and is increasing exponentially by "terahertz jumps". Once the wave reaches its full potential after the frequency is increased, the electromagnetic energy will create enough pressure to make the heads of every person on Earth explode. Max Lord likens this to using an Uzi to kill a mosquito.

 The Omegahedron is a Kryptonian power source, capable of producing the energy to power a whole city.

Dialogue Triumphs

Supergirl: People of National City. This is Supergirl, and uh - I hope you can hear me. We have been attacked. Mothers and fathers, friends and neighbors, children, everyone. Suddenly stopped by a force of evil as great as this world has ever known. Your attacker has sought to take your free will. Your individuality. Your spirit. Everything that makes you who you are. When facing an attack like this, it's easy to feel hopeless. We retreat. We lose our strength. We lose ourselves. I know. I lost... everything when I was young. When I first landed on this planet, I was sad and alone. But I found out... that there is so much love in this world, out there for taking. And you - the people of National City - you helped me. You let me be who I'm mean to be.
(Cut to Winn, at the CatCo offices, who snaps awake as he has visions of helping Kara become Supergirl. He gets up and begins walking to James' office.)
Supergirl: You gave me back to myself. You made me stronger than I ever thought possible. And I love you for that.
(Cut to James, in his office, as he begins to wake up and remember his being with Kara. He looks up and sees Winn standing in his doorway.)
Supergirl: Now, in each and every one of you, there is a light - a spirit - that can't be snuffed out. That won't give up!
(Cut to Lucy Lane at the DEO HQ, just starting to wake up.)
Supergirl: I need your help again. I need you... to hope. Hope. That you can remember that you can all be heroes. Hope. That when faced with an enemy determined to destroy your spirit, you will fight back and thrive! Hope. That those who once may have shunned you will, in a moment of crisis, come to your aid. Hope. That you will see again the faces of those you love. And perhaps even those you have lost.
(Supergirl thinks of her mother and the necklace she was given the last time she saw her.)

Max Lord: Finding them will be the easy part. Defeating them with only you? That's our problem.
Supergirl: And to think I'd thought you'd learned by now - I can handle anything!
Max Lord: I'm not trying to be an ass. I know you can handle anything. But I'm actually worried. And if the others were thinking straight, they'd be worried too. You have no back-up. Your sidekick, J'onn J'onzz, is injured. The DEO's resources have been depleted from the prison break.And even if they weren't, no human can go out there! Their heads would explode if they got too close to the source. If you go out there and fight, you might win. But chances are this is a suicide mission.
Supergirl: You know I'll never stop trying.
Max Lord: Believe me - no one's rooting for you more than I am. I just want you to know what you're facing. So that you're prepared.
Supergirl: I WILL stop Non and Indigo.
Max Lord: Good.

J'onn: If there's one thing I've learned in my lifetimes, it's that leaders are stronger working together. From now on we're all on the same team. No more secrets.
(Cut to General Lane giving a briefcase to Maxwell Lord. Lord opens it to find The Omegahedron.)
J'onn: Secrets protect no one. They only undermine what we're striving to accomplish. Peace. And even though we have defeated Non and Myriad, evil still persists.And there are ever more dangers that we face. Our enemies remain at home, abroad and in the skies beyond our world.


The montage of Winn helping Kara shows numerous scenes from The Pilot.

James refers to his and Kara kissing back in 118.

Fort Rozz crashed some 500 miles northeast of National City in the Nevada desert. This would place National City somewhere in southern California, approximately where Los Angeles is in our world. The US Army concealed it from the world using the space-station's own stealth technology.

J'onn rips Indigo in half. This seems to kill her, but not before she locks Fort Rozz's computers so it cannot be made to fly nor can The Myriad Wave be shut off.

Kara seems to blind Non with her heat-vision.

Kara tells Alex to tell Jeremiah that she never stopped wearing the glasses, in reference to 117.

Kara is able to lift Fort Rozz away from Earth. Alex is able to save her using her pod.

J'onn is given a full pardon by The President and made head of the DEO.  He decides to share the duties of running the DEO with Lucy Lane.

General Lane is seen giving the burned-out Omegahedron to Max Lord.

Cat Grant promotes Kara to a position to be named later, with a private office.

Kara and James kiss again, romance apparently on the table between them again.

Kara and J'onn find a crashing space-vehicle exactly like Kara's pod. The episode ends as Kara opens the pod and looks inside, astonished at what she sees.


Fort Rozz - Somewhere in the Nevada desert.

The Kryptonite Factor

Granting that the show has played fast and loose with J'onn J'onzz's power levels on this show relative to what he's capable of in the comics (despite Superman apparently saying that J'onn is the most powerful being on the planet!), J'onn seems severely nerfed in this episode... even granting that he's walking-wounded and not at his best helping Kara fight Non and Indigo.

Again, Kara being unable to survive outside of Earth's atmosphere seems a rather drastic cut in her power levels, given what Kryptonians are normally capable of surviving in 95% of their portrayals across most media.

The Bottom Line

A pretty sad conclusion to the season, all things considered. You can tell the special effects budget ran out during the final fight. The script is full of logic holes and redundancies (Max Lord has to explain how their heads are going to blow up twice!) and most of the supporting cast has nothing to d for most of the episode. The only reason any of it works at all is because of the charisma of Melissa Benoist, who - like Supergirl carrying Fort Rozz - carries the episode single-handed.  Here's hoping we see a second season and that things get better from here.

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