Still reeling from the revelation that Lena had kept Sam's "illness" a secret from her, Supergirl asks James for a favor that could jeopardize his romance with Lena. Meanwhile, with all three of the Worldkillers united in an effort to block out the sun, the DEO prepares for an epic battle.
The Michael Green/Mike Johnson run on Supergirl (character of Reign and the idea of Worldkillers), The Krypton Chronicles (information on Old Krypton and The Valley of Juru) and the writings of Douglas Adams (Brainiac-5's dialogue has a very Adamsian tone to it).
Katie McGrath's American accent falters a bit during her debriefing at the DEO.
The whole conceit of this episode - that Kara would suddenly stop trusting Lena after everything she's done to make up for the sins of her family - doesn't fly. Ignoring that Lena didn't really know anything about The DEO and their resources and what they'd do to Sam if she turned to them for help, you'd think Kara might prefer for a friend to be keeping a hold of the last bit of Kryptonite on Earth rather than chancing it winding up in some random government office's control. Especially since Lena had no way of knowing about the DEO destroying all their Kryptonite.
It's also incredibly hypocritical on Kara's part, given that she's refused to trust Lena with her secret identity. And Lena calls her on this later.
James has a point - why DID Kara waste energy flying to see him at CatCo during an eclipse when she could have just called him?
Kara asking James to try and find out if Lena has any more Kryptonite as Guardian seems doubly out of character - first for her encouraging James to play superhero when she was so dead set against it before then for her refusing to take Lena at her word and asking James to act in an untrustworthy manner regarding his girlfriend. What makes this even worse is that Alex, who understands the value of subterfuge better than anyone and is way better at it than Kara, confronts Lena directly about why she wasn't honest with everyone and is given an honest and frankly good answer.
The idea of exercise and physical exhaustion shouldn't be that alien to Kara, no pun intended. We've seen her undergo physical training with her powers negated in order to learn how to fight with Alex. And that's ignoring that Kara did age into her early teen years before she gained superpowers.
The pacing of the episode is all over the place, with a cut to the comedic banter of Winn and James breaking into Lena's lab just after Kara, Alex and Lena discover Sam and Julia in The Valley of Juru.
It's a bit convenient that when Sam wakes up in The Fortress of Sanctuary, she just happens to figure out how to use the technology that is just lying there to send out a signal of some kind.
Why doesn't Mon-El show any of the same signs of weakness that Kara does as the sun is blocked out?
There's some nice non verbal acting as Chris Wood and David Harewood regard each other while standing watch over a sleeping Kara, Lena and Alex.
The Valley of Juru set is suitably spooky.
The group responsible for creating the Worldkillers is officially identified in this episode as a group of Kryptonians who practiced dark magic. While Krypton is traditionally seen as a world ruled by science and logic in the DC Comics Universe, the world of Krypton did have its own magicians - The Wizards of Juru.
Kara also identifies the dark dimension from her nightmares this season, which the Worldkillers' human selves go to when the Worldkiller personality takes over, as The Valley of Juru.
In the original comics, The Valley of Juru was an unexplored region of Krypton on the continent of Lurvan. Some property of the valley and its mists and the craggy peaks that surrounded it made it impenetrable to Kryptonian technology but not magic. This made it a perfect home for the Luddite Wizards of Juru.
Living apart from most of Kryptonian society for generations, the Krypton Magi had dispersed into the great cities of Krypton and conducted their magical rituals in secret by the time of Jor-El.
In the Supergirl comics which introduced The Worldkillers, Supergirl found that the only thing that could harm a Worldkiller was another Worldkiller. This prompted her to use the poisonous tentacles of the Worldkiller Perrilus to injure the Worlkdkiller Deimax. Something similar happens here with Julia, taking control of Purity, using her powers to kill Pestilence, after Pestilence deals her a fatal blow.
Dark magicians on Krypton had rituals that enabled them to move the moon to create eclipses (i.e. a blessed darkness)
A lengthy solar eclipse will cause the planet Earth's temperature to drop 50 degrees, at least.
Martians shared memories, emotions and experiences with their telepathy. Sometimes they could pick up the thoughts of a particularly strong mind completely by accident, like a radio broadcast.
Brainiac-5 says it will take him fifty minutes to alter his mind-reading technology to act as a broadcast device that can send someone's mind into an alternate dimension.
Kryptonian demons are black-robed, pale faced ghostly figures that swoop down upon figures in The Valley of Juru.
The vault in Lena Luthor's lab is made of acetylene-resistant cast iron. It has no internal mechanisms, no keypads and no locks.
Winn builds a pin-drop pulse-bomb that can open even Lena Luthor's vault.
Winn builds a super-suit for Alex that has magnetic gauntlets capable of pulling the ring off a person's finger from across the room. They also enable Alex to retrieve her guns if they are knocked from her hand. While the defensive properties of the suit are not described in detail, Alex is able to take a punch from Reign and survive.
Winn also built Alex a special pair of guns with bullets that erupt into fireballs capable of knocking-back and hurting Reign. They are also able to negate one of Purity's sonic screams.
A Legion Flight ring costs more than The Legion's spaceship.
J'onn: So, for three weeks, you've been harboring and abetting a mass murder?
Lena: (testily) I helped a friend.
J'onn: And you didn't think to bring this to our attention?
Lena: The attention of a clandestine organization that's never formally acknowledged its existence to me? No.
(Lena tells James about her work to save Sam from Reign.)
James: And you're telling me this now why?
Lena: Because I gambled everything - my reputation, Supergirl's trust in me, my relationship with you - on fixing Sam and I failed. I really needed to hear your voice today and I didn't want you to look at me like I was a Luthor.
Supergirl: (in the distance) Lena?!
Lena: I've had enough of that today.
Brainiac-5: Let me get this straight. You want me to broadcast your consciousness into a magical dark valley dimension, using the 31st century technology which allowed me to access your mind when Reign punched you into a coma. Technology specifically designed to enter human consciousness - not alternate realms - and you want me to do this all before the solar eclipse achieves totality, which will happen in less than two hours.
Supergirl: ... yes.
Brainiac-5: Okay. No problem. Sounds fun. To The Legion Cruiser.
Lena: You want to know why I didn't come to you when I found out what Sam really was?
Alex: I'm the one who did the first tests on her. And I'm the one that told her to come to her friends about her illness. So why not just tell me the truth?
Lena: Same reason you didn't tell me you were really DEO.
Alex: You knew.
Lena: My mother's DEO Enemy Number One. Of course I knew. But it was your secret to keep. Just like Sam's true nature is hers. It wasn't my place to say anything.
Alex: Fair enough. Just tell me one thing. Is Ruby safe?
(Alex nods softly.)
Alex: Is it going to hurt?
Brainiac-5: The chances are better than 50%.
Alex: (sarcastically) Well, that's comforting.
Brainiac-5: Really? I didn't think so. Would you like for me to count to three?
Lena: Will it help?
Brainiac-5: No. Not at all.
Supergirl: I thought I knew everything I needed to know. But you have secrets. It changes things.
Lena: Oh, right. You don't like secrets.
Supergirl: Nope. I don't.
Lena: Good. What's your real name?
Supergirl: That's not a great question for a Luthor to ask someone in my family.
Lena: (nodding) You have secrets. I can get on board with that. I have secrets too.
Supergirl: (panting) Is this what it's like when humans exercise? This is terrible! Why would you ever exercise?
Alex: One foot in front of the other.
Supergirl: (grunting) This is worse than, like Kryptonite poisoning.
Lena's full name is Lena Keiran Luthor.
Lena studied Sam over the course of three weeks in secret.
Alex refers to her analysis of Sam in 312.
Lena used Kryptonite to keep Reign subdued while she was in her lab.
Pestilence completes her transformation, with what was left of Dr. Grace Parker within her giving up without a fight.
Sam and Julia meet in the dark dimension from 316, waking up near Dr. Grace Parker's body. Kara later identifies this place as The Valley of Juru.
Julia is haunted by a vision of a young boy - one of the people she killed as Purity.
Lena tells James about how she had been working with Sam to stop Reign in secret after discovering the two were connected.
Kara enters into The Valley of Juru after passing out when she first sees the eclipse.
There is no Apocalypse in the Book of Rao but there are parables about trios of witches joining hands to create a blessed darkness.
Brainy refers to the events of 310 and the technology he used to awaken Kara from a coma.
Julia and Sam both start to lose their memories in The Valley of Juru, with Julia forgetting the name of her favorite song and Sam forgetting the name of her daughter.
Kara asks James to find out if Lena is hiding any more Kryptonite, as The Guardian.
Lena knew that Alex was a DEO agent but kept her secret because it wasn't her place to say anything.
Kara asks Mon-El to pull Alex and Lena out of the Valley of Juru if things go badly but to leave her in, no matter what.
Kara determines she can be hurt physically in the Valley of Juru after she cuts her hand on the park of the makeshift spear Alex makes for her.
Mon-El confesses to J'onn that he still loves Kara but he refuses to do anything that will hurt Imra.
James refuses to break into Lena's vault after breaking into her lab but he lies to Winn about having done so and not seeing any Kryptonite.
Sam awakens in The Fortress of Sanctuary and somehow sends a signal revealing it to The Legion.
Purity and Pestilence kill each other, as Julia Freeman briefly retakes control of Purity's body.
The Fortress of Sanctuary is destroyed, as the power of Pestilence and Purity seems to go into Reign's body.
Supergirl and Lena make peace with one another.
James tells Lena that he is The Guardian and that he broke into her lab at Supergirl's request but did not look into her vault.
Lena confesses to James that the Kryptonite she used on Reign wasn't left over from Lex's supply - she learned how to synthesize it herself.
The Fortress of Sanctuary.
The Kryptonite Factor
There's a lot of forced drama based around neither Lena nor Kara being honest to one another. This is because if they could get past the whole Luthor/Super thing, the episode would end in about five minutes.
The Bottom Line
This would be a solid episode if Kara weren't so out of character or if Lena had done anything up until this point to suggest she was not 100% worthy of Supergirl's trust. Structurally, there's also some issues with the story, as the threat of The Worldkillers has been reduced to one super-powerful enemy after a single episode of dealing with the "Trinity". Then there's all the sudden tonal shifts as we go from the horror of the Valley of Juru to Winn and James snarking on each other...
Despite this, this episode still works better than this season's episodes of The Flash that have seen Barry Allen acting similarly suspicious and out of character. Chalk it up to the strength of the ensemble and everyone else being on-point, even as we want to shout at Kara to quit treating Lena like a bad guy, lest she push her into becoming one. This episode is far less than the sum of its parts, but some of those parts - Chris Wood's performance as Mon-El, all the Brainiac-5 humor, Alex reveling in her new toys from Winn - make it work far better than it should.