Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 21 - Not Kansas

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


With the threat of Reign seemingly resolved, Kara returns to Argo City with Mon-El as she considers where she truly belongs. Meanwhile, back on Earth, J'onn discovers that DEO weaponry is making its way into the streets of National City and seeks James Olsen's help in discovering how.


The Return To Krypton storyline from Superman (Clark restores the city of Kandor and its people to proper size, only to discover that he doesn't fit in there.) and the on-going real-world debate involving gun control in the United States.


Kara describes Argo City as the city where she grew up and says that while a lot of it was destroyed, most of it has been rebuilt. This doesn't jibe with what we saw in the previous episode, where Kara didn't even realize she was in a Kryptonian city (much less her home town) until she saw the writing on the memorial.

Why do they throw going-away parties for Kara in both of her identities when she hasn't decided if she's returning to Argo City permanently or not?

J'onn's decision to disarm the DEO doesn't make a lot of sense on multiple levels while simultaneously seeming like a step that should have been taken years ago. While The DEO might require standard weaponry when posing as FBI agents (which they do most of the time when they are in the field), most of their targets tend to require more specialized weaponry and equipment to deal with in any case.

It also bears mentioning that Winn is not a weapons designer by training or inclination, so throwing the job of designing non-lethal weapons at him seems a bit strange but well in keeping with the "a genius can do anything" ethos of the show.


As usual, the chemistry between Melissa Bennoist and Chris Wood is fantastic.


It's a subtle thing, but Winn playing with a NERF gun and nearly shooting himself by accident while talking to Guardian is a neat bit of foreshadowing for the theme of the episode.

The sequence of Kara and Mon-El in the garden perfectly mimics the scene that opened Season 3, right down to the music.

Super Trivia

The title is a reference to a line from the 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz - "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Kannar-Onn is a Kryptonian rite of passage that is meant to be conducted every decade of a person's life. Superman once made reference to this ritual and teaching it to his daughter Cir-El in the comics.

The DCTVU version of Krypton on Earth 38 has a ritual called Kannar-On as well. Kara finds a certificate indicating that she passed it while sorting through various mementos in her mother's house. This version of Kannar-Onn sounds something like the Bat Mitzvah of Jewish culture, requiring hours and hours of study of Kryptonian history and heritage.

This episode introduces a new character - a woman named Thara Ak-Varr. We are told that Thara was one of Kara's closest friends during her childhood in Argo City. She is now the Chief Peace Officer of Argo. All of her family died during the destruction of Krypton. She is married to a man named Lir-Al and has two children.

The name of Thara is one of some significance to the Kryptonian saga in DC Comics. The first woman to bear that name was Thara Gem-Zee. A native of the city of Kandor, she was the niece of Van-Zee and the wife of Ak-Varr. Van-Zee and Ak-Varr were the secret identities of the Kryptonian vigilantes Nightwing and Flamebird during the Pre-Crisis Era.

In the Post Crisis Era, Thara was the name of Kara Zor-El's best friend in childhood - Thara Ak-Varr. This Thara was the daughter of Ak-Varr and a woman named Tes. She was also a resident of Kandor and was reunited Zor-El and Alura when Brainiac captured and shrunk Argo City as he had Kandor and combined the two populations. Kara's parents raised their daughter's friend as if she were their own daughter, due to the deaths of her family. She would later take up the vigilante identity of Flamebird for herself.

The boy whom Mon-El cured of his lung disease is revealed to be named Val. Val is a common name on Krypton, shared by two previous characters. One of Superman's ancestors in the Pre-Crisis Superman comics was an explorer named Val-El. A scientist named Val-El, who is now a character on the Syfy series Krypton, is depicted as one of Superman's ancestors. Val-Zod is also the name of the second Superman of Earth 2 in The New 52 reality of DC Comics.


Argo City has artificial gravity powered by some kind of synthetic gravity manipulator. Since gravity can be used to bend space-time, Mon-El can use that to send a message to the future.

Winn conducts a ballistics test that confirms that the gun which dented Guardian's shield is the same type of assault rifle used exclusively by The DEO.

The Heel 14 is a civilian version of the assault rifle exclusively produced for the DEO. It can be modified with a bump-stock to create a gun identical to a DEO assault rifle.

According to Lena, Harun-El is more than just a a biolistic delivery system. It could be revolutionary for reasons she does not explain.

Dialogue Triumphs

Kara:  (To Alex) When I first got here, I was alone and scared, having just lost everything. And I would walk around and feel this dull.. empty pit. A hollowness. And yeah, we got off to a rocky start, but once we got close, that hollowness just disappeared. That was you. You filled my heart. And no matter where I go, you will always be in it.

Alex: You have given all of us so much as Supergirl. Reign is gone. You have dedicated your whole life to taking care of others. It's time for Kara Zor-El to take care of herself. And no one deserves that more than you. But. Selfishly? I don't know what I'm going to do without you.

Mr. Preston: I wouldn't dream of standing in the way of your investigation.
James: No, you just dream of a world where everybody is armed to the teeth, right?
Mr. Preston: And you dream of a world where person reads CatCo Magazine. We're both businessmen, Mr. Olsen.

Alura: Kara, you've had to live your life as a warrior. Surviving on a foreign planet. Defending others. You have to take in the fact that you don't have to live that way anymore. You've spent so much time taking care of others. Maybe it's finally time that you take care of yourself?
Kara: It's funny.. my sister, Alex.. she almost said the exact same thing.
Alura: Well, I know why you love her so much.

Arthur: They never respected me!
J'onn: You think that gun gives you respect? It has no power. It's just a tool for spreading fear and fear is not respect.

Mon-El: I know you've moved on. From us. But I didn't just come back here to help you fight Reign. When I left Imra, she asked me to... sort out how I felt. And not just about her. (pauses and takes a breath) About you. And I've been trying to convince myself that friendship between us was the right thing... but I think I've been lying to myself.
(Kara bites her lip and looks down.)
Mon-El: I'm sorry to spring this on you in the midst of you trying to acclimate here...
Kara: Don't be sorry.
Mon-El: I just don't want to hide things. Pretend like they don't exist.
(Kara nods and sighs.)
Kara: After you left... I had a dream where I was walking down this path. A lot like this one. It was peaceful and serene and... you were there waiting for me. And all I wanted was for you to be in that field with me.
(She takes a step closer to him.)
Now you are.
Mon-El: (nodding) Now I am.
(Kara reaches up and strokes Mon-El's beard.. as a beeping is heard in the distance.)
Mon-El: What's that?
(The two look away from each other to see a robot with red eyes flying toward them.)

Dialogue Disasters

James: I heard what you said about strength and peace, and I believe in that. That's why the only weapon anyone needs is a shield.
J'onn: That's something my father taught me a long time ago. Thank you for helping me remember that, James.


Lena is able to use the Harun-El sample to make a cure for Sam, seemingly destroying Reign.

Supergirl asks Lena if she can synthesize more of the Harun-El and tells her about Argo City. Lena says she will try.

It is revealed that the box Alura gave Kara when she returned to Earth in 320 contained a Dar Essa flower.

Kara decides to return to Argo City. She invites Mon-El to come with her.

Officially, Kara Danvers goes on some kind of special assignment to explain Kara's absence from her job at CatCo.

Kara discovers her best friend from childhood - Thara Ak-Varr - is still alive. Thara is now married with two children and is the Chief Peace Officer for Argo City.

Kara hates Opera. Alex loves it, especially Puccini.

M'yrnn has built up a taste for opera. J'onn thinks the complex rhythms and orchestrations of the musicare helping him with his memory problems.

M'yrnn claims that a surge of clarity comes before a Martian with his dementia issues dies.

M'yrnn asks J'onn to perform a Martian ritual called "The Reach" with him. This ritual allows a Martian to telepathically pass all of his knowledge and memories on to his children.

J'onn is in denial about his father being close to death.

J'onn refers to the events of 205 and a gang that utilized alien weapons.

James identifies the weapon that the bank robber used as an assault rifle exclusively used by The DEO, which possessed enough power to dent his Guardian shield.

J'onn says that he had all of the DEO's weapons microchiped following the events of 314 and Winn's mother stealing a gun from the DEO Armory.

Val, the boy whom Mon-El helped in 320, is revealed to be entirely healed of his lung disease.

Kara learns about what Mon-El did to help heal Val.

An out-of-control girder nearly crushes Kara in the Argo City marketplace.Kara saw someone in hooded dark clothing running away from the scene after it happened.

Mon-El gives Kara his Legion Flight Ring to wear in case she needs it.

The manufacturer of the DEO assault rifle makes a civilian version, The Heel 14, which is legally classified as a hunting rifle, that can be modified with a bump-stock to be identical to an assault rifle.

Clark Kent was somehow able to track the private sale of an assault weapon despite the lack of a central gun registry. This confirms that Earth 38 USA has similar gun laws to the real world.

Lena is firmly pro-gun ownership, owning a personal gun that she claims to have used in self-defense before.

James is firmly pro-gun control, not seeing how a government gun registry can hurt non-criminals.

Eve Teschmacher - James Olsen's personal assistant - is revealed to have studied nuclear physics at Yale.

Ol-Irus is an electronics merchant in Argo City who is a bit of an oddball. He was apparently once a science teacher, who taught both Kara and Thara as children. He once assigned them to take insect samples home to study and they wound up reproducing in the hundreds.

Laura is the name of the landscape architect working on Thara's lawn. Thara complains that she built a stone gazebo so that it was facing  south so they could enjoy the view of the lake off their orchard. Instead, it is facing north towards the woods.

Kara spots another hooded figure watching her at dinner. This woman is later revealed to be Felra. Her husband owns a grocery store.

There is no digital trail or paper trail for the purchases of Heel 14 rifles. This leaves the DEO having to call every individual gun store in National City and hoping the owners kept accurate records of who purchased that gun recently. Even with all the DEO's resources, the are only able to identify 10% of the people who purchased the weapon.

Winn is, however, able to pull photographic records of every person who bought more than one weapon at once including a Heel 14.

The girder that almost hit Kara is blamed on a faulty part.

Felra was at work at the time of the construction accident.

James identifies the shooter as Arthur Willis. He passed his background check with no problems and had no history of mental illness. He bought four guns at the time he purchased his Heel 14. He is revealed to be a lawyer with Vang and Morales whose wife left him due to his workaholic habits trying to earn a partnership at his firm, only to be fired once they thought he was no longer useful.

Vang and Morales claim they offered Arthur Willis mental health counseling after several outbursts at work but he refused it.

Mon-El tells Kara that he still loves her.

Kara refers to her dream from 301 and how she saw herself in a meadow with Mon-El.

Mon-El and Kara are attacked by a robot in the garden. They escape thanks to the Legion Flight Ring and spy Felra watching them.

Felra says that she is a Daughter of the Night and a Child of Juru and that Selena is the high priestess of their order.

When Kara says that Selena helped her to defeat Reign, Felra says nothing is as it seems.

J'onn declares that The DEO will begin phasing out all lethal-force weapons and destroying all of their guns. This results in several DEO agents quitting, despite J'onn offering to let them transfero into another unit of federal law enforcement.

J'onn places Winn in charge of developing a line of non-lethal weapons for all DEO agents to use in place of standard handguns.

Lena brings Eve Teschmacher into her private lab to help her with studying The Harun-El.

Lena thinks she can use the Harun-El toward revolutionary ends.

J'onn begins preparing to undergo The Reach with M'yrnn.

Alex makes the decision to adopt a child and begins looking at agencies on her computer.

We see Sam and Ruby watching Singing In The Rain together, when Sam suddenly freezes up and drops a glass.

J'onn's spaceship is stolen from Argo City by the Children of Juru, including Selena. The burning symbol of Reign is left behind where it was parked.

Selena and the Children of Juru (two other women) use a crystal, provided by a waiting Thomas Coville, to create a new Fortress of Sanctuary.


Argo City

The forest where the new Forest Of Sanctuary is erected.

Untelevised Adventures

Where Thomas Coville has been since 312 and where he acquired the crystal used to make a new Fortress of Sanctuary.

The Bottom Line

There's a lot about this episode that doesn't add up, but the performances - as with most of Season 3 so far - does a lot to sell it.

The chief oddity is that the fact that Supergirl's mother is alive isn't played up nearly as much as it should be and Alura has an amazingly small role in the events of this episode. The fact that Kara asks Mon-El to return to her with Argo City in a social capacity and not Alex is also odd, as you'd think Kara would want the two halves of her family to meet!

The gun control subplot doesn't quite work either. While I have no objection to a television superhero series like Supergirl trying to tackle social issues (my favorite comic is Green Arrow, for crying out loud), the lines drawn between the characters don't quite work. Naturally, Lena - as a strict individualist who has had her life threatened continually - is firmly behind people's right to arm themselves for self-defense... yet Lena is more than capable of creating defensive technologies to render guns obsolete!

Likewise James, as a black man who is used to being viewed with suspicion even when unarmed despite his relatively high-society position, has some fairly strong views about less guns being a good thing... but his position about the only weapon a person really needing being a shield doesn't quite work since not everyone has access to the technology and training he does.

What's really weird is that Alex isn't given a chance to weigh in on this question, when you think that she - as someone who depends upon using guns in her day job who is thinking of becoming a parent - would be the perfect point-of-view character for a story line involving guns and the pros and cons of owning one and how society responds to gun violence. It makes way more sense for Alex to be the one coping with this issue than J'onn, whose edict at the end seems remarkably short-sighted ignoring that Winn isn't a weapons specialist and ignores that The DEO is already using a variety of non-violent weaponry as regular bullets don't work on a lot of aliens.

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