Monday, May 22, 2017

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 22 - Nevertheless, She Persisted

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




Plot

The people of National City are fighting back against their Daxamite invaders and Kara has freed her friends from captivity. But Queen Rhea has one trick left up her sleeve - a mind-controlled Superman!


Influences

Superman: War Of The Supermen
. The Smallville episode Splinter (concept of Silver Kryptonite)


Goofs

As has been pointed out before, there's no explanation for how Queen Rhea learned of Kryptonite's effect on Kryptonians.

It also hasn't been explained why she felt the need to haul all of these - as far as she knew - completely useless rocks with her across the universe.

How in Rao's name did Rhea keep Superman subdued until Kara showed up? When exactly did she capture him, anyway? Was she sitting on him during the arranged marriage between Mon-El and Lena?

Why didn't Rhea use the Silver Kryptonite on Kara when she showed up?  Or any of the other Kryptonite she's apparently been sitting on all this time?

Why did Rhea use some untested form of Kryptonite on Superman? Why not just kill him? It was said last week that the Daxamite ships had Kryptonite cannons, so it's not like they're unwilling to use it in a lethal fashion.

Rhea's Kryptonite blood has similar issues. Ignoring that she'd have no way of knowing the effects her blood would have on Kryptonians (Clark and Kara are the only two left, as far as we know.) how would her body be able to contain it? She hasn't been exposed to a yellow sun nearly enough to have the natural immunities Daxamites are suppose to get under a yellow sun, so her skin shouldn't be acting like lead shielding.

There is no logical reason for why Rhea suddenly turns to stone and crumbles to dust. On top of everything else, the special effects suck.

Alex is able to get that one-man Kryptonian rocket delivered in record time consider the massive infrastructure damage that's taken place in National City.

So with all the technology that the DEO has to accommodate all manner of alien life form and disaster, they don't have an isolation cell capable of filtering out all outside air?


Performances

Tyler Hoechlin is still a damn fine Superman.

It's corny as all hell, yet even my stone heart was moved by Kara and Mon-El's tearful goodbye. A wonderful bit of acting from both Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood and the culmination of a great partnership that dazzled us all season.


Artistry


The effects work on the fight between Superman and Supergirl sets a new high-water mark for the series and superhero TV shows in general. The direction is top-notch too.

The running battle between the various forces in the fifth segment is also good, in terms of script-balance and direction.

The penultimate sequence, set to Idina Menzel's Small World, is perfect. Music. Acting. Direction. Everything.


Super Trivia


The episode title - Nevertheless, She Persisted - is a phrase that was adopted by feminist activitsts in the United States as a rallying cry in 2017. It originated from the comments of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as he attempted to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren while she was in the middle of reading a letter from Coretta Scott King. The altercation ended in Senator Warren being banned from further speaking during the proceedings. The letter was later read, without objection, by a male Senator.

Queen Rhea uses Silver Kryponite against Superman. The Silver Kryptonite of the DCTVU causes Kryptonians to suffer from intense paranoia and hallucinations. In this case, it causes Superman to see his most loyal ally (i.e. Supergirl) as his worst enemy (i.e. General Zod).

This seems similar to the Silver Kryptonite which first appeared in the Splinter episode of Smallville. There, Clark's blood became contaminated with a splinter of Silver Kryptonite, which caused him to become paranoid and turn on his friends and family. Unlike in this episode, it wasn't enough for Clark just to get close to it.

This form of Silver Kryptonite was introduced into the DC Comics Universe about three years later in Superman/Batman #49. Here, Silver Kryptonite was said to have mystic properties and was used in the creation of the two halves of the Ach-Om Rashay or Amulet of Mindfulness.

A different form of Silver Kryptonite appeared decades earlier in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #70. This form of Kryptonite had no special powers, being a prop made by Jimmy Olsen to keep Superman from snooping around his plans for a surprise party honoring the 25th anniversary of Superboy's first public appearance.

Mon-El calls Kara "The Woman of Tomorrow". In the comics, slightly less often than being referred to as The Man of Steel, Superman was called The Man of Tomorrow. Supergirl, in turn, was referred to as The Maiden of Steel and The Woman of Tomorrow, though The Maid of Might or Maiden of Might was more common.

Cat Grant notes that she has never seen Star Wars. This is something of a joke given that Cat Grant's actress - Calista Flockhart - is married to Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford.

The device Lex Luthor designed to irradiate Earth's atmosphere with Kryptonite in a bid to kill Superman or drive him off-planet is reminiscent of a similar safeguard Luthor developed during the War of The Supermen storyline in the comics. There, in order to repel an invasion of  hostile Kryptonians, Lex Luthor created a device which turned Earth's sun red instead of yellow. This killed nearly all of the invading Kryptonians as they were in deep space flying to Earth from New Krypton.

Superman teaches Supergirl a fighting move he says he learned on Warworld. In the DC Comics Universe, Warworld is an artificial planet most famously used by the intergalactic despot Mongul as a gladiatorial arena. It has alternatively been used as a base of operations by Brainiac and Sinestro.

Rhea says that after National City she will move on to destroy Star City and Metropolis. Star City, of course, is the home town of Green Arrow and Metropolis is the hometown of Superman in the DC Comics Universe.

In the final sequence, we see another baby sent away from Krypton on the day Kara and Kal-El were sent into space. Tended to by sinister women in black robes, they say that the child will "reign" on Earth. This may be a reference to Reign Of The Superman - the 1933 story by Jerry Siegel with illustrations by Joe Shuster - which served as a prototype for the concept that would eventually become the Superman we know and love today.

Reign Of The Supermen was also the name of the 1993 storyline following The Death of Superman where four characters - Cyborg Superman, The Man of Steel, Superboy and The Eradicator - appeared following Superman's death.

The building the baby is launched from has a Kryptonian house symbol upon its wall. The symbol appears to depict the profile of a skull. It does not correspond to any previous Kryptonian house symbol on record that this chronicler can find.

It may also be worth mentioning that Reign is the name of a super-villain from the 2011 New 52 Supergirl series. Reign was a genetically engineered creature crated on Krypton for some undefined purpose. Reign was one of five such "Worldkillers" who were created to be living biological weapons that would continually evolve, becoming more and more capable of causing untold death and destruction. It was never confirmed but strongly suggested that Doomsday - the monster that killed Superman - was the fifth missing Worldkiller.


Technobabble


The DEO satellites are programmed to search for trace amounts of Kryptonite anywhere on Earth. This enables them to sense the poisoned Superman when he and Kara are fighting in the middle of National City.

Lena says that she can re-purpose one of her brother's devices so that it releases lead into Earth;s atmosphere at a level non-lethal to humans but deadly to Daxamites. Reportedly Lex had intended to use Kryptonite rather than Lead, in a bid to either kill Superman or force him to leave Earth forever.

El Mayara is the Kryptonese phrase for "Stronger Together".

U-th-aur is the Martian word for Brother.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Kara wakes up in bed next to Mon-El. She cuddles up to him.)
Kara: Let's just stay here a little while longer, okay?
Mon-El: How long?
Kara: Until tomorrow.

Superman: And you're the guy who's dating my cousin?
Mon-El: Yes, sir. Mon-El of Daxam.  Though not, uh not like... the others Daxam. The killy ones?
(Superman just nods and offers his hand, which Mon-El shakes, looknig relieved.)
Superman:
You must be a good guy or she wouldn't be with you.

Supergirl: I just... I feel like I'm on the brink of having everything I ever wanted. Family. Friends. A job I love. A life as a hero I never could have imagined. And Mon-El. If I beat Rhea, I get to keep all of that. (pauses) I don't know! I don't know if it's possible! I don't know if it's possible to have everything you want!
Superman: Well, it is. But only because you worked for it. Whenever I fight, no matter who it's against or where it is, I'm always fighting for Lois. I fight with her right here. (taps his heart) The people we love, they're ah... they're another secret super power. Keep him with you.

(Lilian Luthor is pushing desperately at a button on the device to irradiate the atmosphere. Nothing is happening.)
Lillian: You said it worked!
Lena: Oh, it does. I just gave Supergirl the remote. Only she can turn it on.

Mon-El: There's something I need to say. Wherever I go, I'm going to be better because of you. You'll be in my heart. I promise I'm going to be the man... that you thought I could be. I promise.


Continuity

Superman fought General Zod at some point in the past.

Clark considers Zod his worst enemy and is the person he most fears.

Mention is made of the necklace that Kara's mother gave her right before she left Krypton - last mentioned in 120.

The chessboard in Lena's office is a Luthor family heirloom.

The device Lillian Luthor took from Lex's vault in 212 is revealed. It's a device which could irradiate the atmosphere with Kryptonite, either killing Superman or making him unable to stay on Earth. Lena says she can alter it to do the same thing with lead at a level non-lethal to humans but deadly to Daxamites.

Clark says that he has never encountered Silver Kryptonite before.

Clark says that he was at full-strength when Kara beat him.

Clark refers to 208 and how Kara destroyed Kelex - the robot butler tho tends to The Fortress of Solitude.

Dakkam Ur is an ancient and sacred rite dating back to the original wars between Daxam and Krypton. It likely dates back further as Mon-El says (though he is exaggerating slightly) that it has been around since "we crawled out of caves with rocks and sticks." In Earth terms, Dakkam Ur is a trial by combat.

Cat Grant has never seen Star Wars.

Clark has green eyes.

Superman fought on Warworld.

Superman addresses J'onn as Brother in Martian after J'onn says "Stronger Together" in Kryptonese.

M'Gann - last seen in 211 - arrives from Mars with friendly White Martians to aid in the battle.

Cat refers to the events of 119, saying that the Daxamite invasion is worse than Myriad.

Rhea dies after Kara activates Lena's device.

Mon-El leaves Earth in the rocket that originally saved him.  Kara gives him her mother's necklace.

Clark says once again that he thinks Kara is stronger than him. Not just physically, but emotionally. He freely admits that he isn't certain he could make a choice between Lois Lane and the world though he would like to believe that he would.

The mind bond between M'Gann and J'onn is strong enough that she heard him cry for help for Mars.

M'Gann discovered other White Martians who regret their past actions as she does.

Alex refers to how Kara told her how proud she was of her in 206. She returns the favor.

Alex proposes to Maggie. We don't hear an answer but her smile indicates a favorable response.

Cadmus and Lillian Luthor take credit for having saved the Earth.

Cat Grant has been married four times. It might have been five but she turned down Rob Lowe. Twice.

Cat refers to Kara's articles on Slaver's Moon (209), the Alien Registry (215) and Roulette's Alien Fight Club (204).

It is finally confirmed that Cat Grant does know that Kara Danvers is Supergirl and has merely been playing dumb this whole time.

Mon-El is seen entering a wormhole to parts unknown.

The final sequence - a flashback to Krypton  35 years ago - reveals that a third child, described as an "it" - was sent to Earth at the same time as Kara and Kal-El. When asked what it will do once it gets there, it is said that "It will reign."


Untelevised Adventures


General Zod apparently fought Superman at some point in the past.

Apparently, Clark also fought on Warworld in this reality.

M'Gann apparently made contact with other peace-minded White Martians on her return to Mars. They are now working to change how things are run and make amends for their past crimes.


The Fridge Factor


Surprisingly averted. Kara is said to be stronger than Superman twice. Lena proves to be smarter than her mother and probably could have finished her brothers' device faster without Winn's "help". On top of everything else, we finally get confirmation that Cat Grant knows about Kara's secret identity.


The Kryptonite Factor


Never has this section been quite so appropriately named. See Goofs, if you haven't already, for a full list of all the reasons why all the uses of Kryponite in this episode don't make sense. From Queen Rhea hauling it around with her in the first place to her poisonous Kryptonite blood, I defy you to make sense of any of this!


The Bottom Line


Cat Grant says it best "This is worse than Myraid. I never thought I'd say that." And yet, somehow, like Myraid, most of this episode works far better than it has any right to given the gaping plot-holes and the utter cheesiness of some scenes. Despite everything wrong, I still believe a girl can fly and can't wait for Season Three to start, if only to see if my guesses as to the identity of the "it" in the rocket is right.

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