As Lena continues to work with Sam to discover what is causing her to lose track of her life, Kara begins learning the fighting techniques developed to fight Worldkillers in the future. The training will be put on hold, however, when Kara must help J'onn contain the chaos caused by M'yrnn's increasingly erratic mental state.
Superman: The Movie (The theme of parents raising children and the children coming to care for the parents.)
Katie McGrath's Irish accent slips into Lena's angry speech to Sam at a few points.
The CGI of J'onn fighting the White Martian is a big too fluid.
As always, the chemistry between Chris Wood and Melissa Benoist is a highlight of the episode, despite their subplot being the weakest and not having any great dialogue.
That might be the best part of the episode, were it not for the pathos inspired by Carl Lumbly's performance as M'yrnn.
There's a lot of arty slow-motion shots as Kara and Mon-El train and during the battles in the DEO that work surprisingly well.
M'yrnn makes reference to J'onn having an imaginary friend named Zook. In the Silver Age Martian Manhunter comics, Zook was the name of an alien being who acted as a pet/sidekick to J'onn J'onzz. Zook was a creature that resembled a cartoonish dog, who had the powers of temperature manipulation (he could freeze or super-heat objects he touched), limited shape-shifting abilities and he could track anyone whom he had met before, no matter how they had disguised themselves.
In the 1998 Martian Manhunter comic series, Zook was the name of a Martian plant that could be fashioned into clothing that could shapeshift in tandem with a Martian.
M'yrnn says that J'onn's imaginary friend Zook was a 5th dimensional being, who caused mischief like moving around the pieces on the O'kk Rotokk board. In the classic DC Comics, there are several 5th dimensional imps who do cause trouble for various heroes. These include Mr. Mxyzptlk, Bat-Mite and Qwsp.
The alien who Kara fights at the alien bar in the pre-credits sequence is described as a Kalanorian. In the original DC Comics, Kalanor is the home-world of the Justice League villain Despero.
Mon-El's caped costume is based upon his classic costume from the original comics.
The cloak which M'yrnn wears has two rounded metal clasps with a chain that resemble the clasps on the classic Martian Manhunter costume from the comics.
Kara quotes something that her uncle Jor-El used to say when agreeing with Alex that it is time for J'onn to become a parent and guardian to M'yrnn - "The son becomes the father and the father the son." This is, of course, a line Jor-El famously said in Superman: The Movie.
Lena's preliminary studies of Sam find a karyokinetic anomaly, confirming that she has been transforming - mutating into something else.
Kalanorians are psychically sensitive empaths, prone to outbursts during astronomical events. Their physiology can be manipulated by complex luminal and gravatic shifts.
Most of Sam's blood tests seem normal, so Lena studied her salt replication process. Lena determined that Sam's cells have undergone a mitotital mutation that Lena had only ever seen occur in insects. This indicates that when Sam blacks out, her body undergoes a literal metamorphosis and changes on a cellular level, transforming her into Reign.
Brainiac 5 was able to use 31st century technology to scan every security camera, satellite image and cellphone video he could find to construct a realistic three-dimensional hologram of Kara's fights with Reign.
The Ta'ar Ka'riq is a Martian meditation technique that can slow the deterioration of a Martian's mind by moving their memories from the decaying parts of the brain into fresh cells. Unfortunately, it can cause discomfort in nearby psychic races like Kalanorians. At close range, it can even effect non-psychics like Earthlings and Kryptonians.
The cape of Mon-El's costume is modeled on Kara's. It is made of a Krytponian meta-material - Smartcloth.
The Legion Flight Rings also act as a psychic shield. This is why Mon-El was not effected by M'yrnn's psychic attack.
(Alex has just gotten a trouble alert on her phone.)
Kara: Well, time to get back to the salt mine.
(Everyone looks up as Kara... slowly unbuttons her shirt rather than just ripping it open to reveal her costume.)
Kara: What?! I like this shirt!
(Winn steps into the room and stands proudly.)
Winn: I have done something amazing!
Kara: You found Pestilence.
Winn: (pauses) I have done something okay.
M'yrnn: Play a match with me. I never tire of beating you.
J'onn: I've got to get back to work. Why don't you bring the game to the DEO and we can play later?
M'yrnn: (nodding) As soon as I finish my game against... Zook.
(M'yrnn glances around.)
M'yrnn: (concerned) He was right here...
(J'onn looks at his father and freezes up.)
M'yrnn: (worried) Where is he?
J'onn: (worried) Dad?
(M'yrnn looks up at J'onn... and winks before grinning widely.)
M'yrnn: A joke.
J'onn: (exasperated) Not funny, Dad.
M'yrnn: Only because you did not see your face.
James: No matter how bad you want to help somebody, all you can really do is hold up a mirror.
M'yrnn: I am sorry. For the pain I caused. I hurt you. All of you. I was so fearful of losing control of what's left of my life, I refused to accept what was happening. And it nearly cost me everything I hold dear!
J'onn: I'd hoped I would've been able to protect you all better.
Alex: You protect us all the time, J'onn.
Kara: Tonight was our turn.
Kara: I thought I had dealt with my feelings about us. But M'yrnn's... episode made me realize that... our relationship was not perfect. You know, maybe I knew that, deep down... But especially when you were gone, I was so busy missing you and romanticizing us... (sighs) I do feel... a big weight off my shoulders. So, in a way, I'm grateful that it happened. And I'm really sorry that it took a Martian attack (chuckles) to make it come out. And I'm sorry it was so brutal.
Mon-El: Yeah, well, the truth can be brutal. (pauses) It's not news to me that I used to be a jerk. And I'm sorry... I'm sorry. For all of it. I didn't really grasp your perspective back then.
Kara: Yeah, but still, I ... I shouldn't have hit you and I'm sorry for that. And I'm sorry for... (sighs) I'm just sorry.
Mon-El: Can we make an agreement?
Mon-El: (offers her a hand) No more apologies.
(Kara takes the hand and shakes it. She smiles.)
Kara: Do you want to go be heroes?
(We cut to the skies over National City, as the two of them fly next to each other in full costume.)
As the episode opens, Lena has been working with Sam for three days.
J'onn had an imaginary friend as a child - a 5th dimensional imp named Zook.
The DEO Profile of the alien Kara fought at the alien bar gives her name as Finhead.
Finhead was a Kalanorian with no criminal record.
The Kalanorians are said to be psychically sensitive empaths, prone to outbursts during astronomical events.
The sensors on the Legion ship are unable to detect Purity or Reign.
Mon-El says that of all the Worldkillers, Pestilence should be the easiest to see coming as her presence causes plagues and diseases of all kinds.
Lena is able to pair up Sam's blackouts to Reign's appearances. The timeline matches perfectly.
Watching the hologram of Kara and Reign's first fight, Kara and Mon-El determine that Reign was toying with Kara. Her fighting style is all power and aggression, She is stronger than Kara, but she doesn't bother with footwork and places all her strength on one foot when she attacks.
Winn fixes Mon-El's costume.
We finally get to see an O'kk Rotokk board. M'yrnn first mentioned the Martian strategy game in 307. It resembles Chinese checkers, but the pieces are rolled telekinetically.
James had a roommate in college who had a drug abuse problem. James tried to help him but ultimately all he could do was clean up the messes he made.
When M'yrnn prays, he causes Winn, Agent Demos, Alex and Kara to become more aggressive.
J'onn has Winn recalibrate the mental inhibitors used against Psi in 302.
Mandrax - the alien art-smuggler from 216 - is seen in the DEO cell-block as Kara and Alex check on Finhead.
Lena attempts to provoke a reaction in Sam to awaken Reign. She is successful.
Sam learns the truth of her secret identity after Lena shows her video of her transformation.
J'onn tells Kara and Alex the truth about M'yrnn being responsible for the psychic attack on the DEO.
J'onn can use the DEO power inhibiting technology to stop M'yrnn from being a threat, but he is reluctant to do so given what the loss of telepathy means to a Martian.
Alex recalls how her grandmother began to lose her ability to drive herself and how one of the most difficult things her mother had to do was take away her car keys.
Kara refers to how Mon-El skipped out in training at the DEO (206) and how she tried to get him a job at CatCo (207).
There is a woman named Pam in the DEO's HR department. For some reason, she seeks out Winn to fight him as everyone in the DEO goes crazy during M'yrnn's second psychic attack on the building.
J'onn eventually locks a power-inhibiting bracelet on M'yrnn.
Lena promises to keep Ruby away from Sam until they find a way to stop Reign.
James brings Lena dinner, saying he has a lot of friends who forget to eat when they're busy saving the world.
Lena tells James that she will not be able to tell them everything going on in her work in their relationship. James accepts this.
The episode ends with dead birds falling out of the sky - a sign of the coming of Pestilence.
The Bottom Line
Not strongly written, but strongly plotted and very strongly acted. There's not a false note in the whole hour. Even James' cameo in Lena's office proves necessary to the overall theme and every character gets one moment to shine, which is something of a miracle given the size of the ensemble at this point.