Chaos descends on National City, as President Marsdin is exposed as an alien. Alex has her hands full running the DEO in the face of this crisis, as Supergirl focuses on capturing Mercy Graves - the woman responsible for it all. Meanwhile, Brainiac-5 runs into Kara's protege Nia, and the two wind up in a dangerous situation as James struggles to maintain control at CatCo and wonders if he should make an editorial statement on the current crisis.
The political situation in the United States following the 2016 Presidential election. The sequences of Kara trying to subtly use her powers to protect herself, Lena and Eve seem to borrow from the Superman films of Richard Lester.
Brainiac-5 orders a dozen pizzas yet leaves the pizzeria with only five pizza boxes.
Rhona Mitra's performance as Mercy Graves is so hammy that it violates both Kosher and Halal diets.
It's a subtle thing, but David Harewood is doing a fantastic job playing J'onn the investigator and I hope we'll eventually see him doing more detective work ala the classic Martian Manhunter comics.
As heavy-handed as the metaphor maybe, the image of Supergirl catching a collapsing flagpole before it crushes the crowd that knocked it over as a peaceful protest turns into a riot is a powerful one.
The episode features a new opening narration for the introduction.
Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution of the United States of America says that any candidate for the Presidency must be 35 years of age, a natural-born citizen and have been a resident of The United States for at least 14 years. This means that no alien (other-worldly, or otherwise) can legally become President.
Brainiac-5 says that Nia looks familiar to him. This may be a nod to the fact that Nia's descendant will turn out to be a member of the Legion of Super Heroes. (An article in USA Today regarding the character confirmed that Nia would be an ancestor of Nura Nul (a.k.a. Dream Girl.)
The photos in Fiona Byme's apartment show her with her fiancee - a dark-skinned man from England - and a wedding announcement on her fridge reveals that his first name is Manchester. The fiancee is played by actor David Ajala, whom it was previously announced would be playing the character of Manchester Black - a telepathic British villain with a long association with Superman.
One of the writers at CatCo is revealed to be from the planet Dryad. In the original DC Comics, Dryad was an alien world whose inhabitants were silicon based life forms. Dryads could go dormant for long periods and would appear to be large rocks. Members of the Dryad race in the comics include the Green Lantern Brik, the Legion of Super Heroes member Blok and the L.E.G.I.O.N. members Strata and Garv.
Mercy Graves uses an trojan horse to try and shut down the mainframe at L-Corps that powers the image inducers.
Brainy creates an algorithm to predict Mercy Graves' actions. It says there is a 99.9% chance of Mercy trying to hack L-Corp's mainframe directly once a firewall prevents her hacking in remotely.
Lena has designed earplugs that protect a person from sonic attacks.
Brainiac-5 claims to predict eventualities with a 98.525% accuracy rating. It used to be 99.12% before he realized the owner of his favorite pizza place was a bigot.
Supergirl: My name is Kara Zor-El. I'm from Krypton. I'm a refugee on this planet. I was sent to Earth to protect my cousin. But my pod got knocked off-course, and by the time I got here my cousin had already grown up and become Superman. I hid who I really was until one day, when an accident forced me to reveal myself to the world. To most people, I'm a reporter at CatCo Worldwide Media, but in secret, I work with my adopted sister at the DEO to protect this planet I call my home from anyone that means to cause it harm. I am Supergirl.
President Marsdin: Fear can create monsters where none existed before.
Brainiac-5: Ah! That was snark! You snark when your blood sugar is low. (snaps fingers) I know how to help you!
(Alex just shakes her head.)
Brainiac-5: Pizza. Humans seem to find calm in the consumption of food. My calculations lead me to the to the conclusion that pizza might be the right thing at this very moment for everyone.
Alex: (testily) Go.
Nia: You may not know this about me, but I am a transgender woman. I know what it's like to be attacked and denied because of who I am. When I saw that alien being attacked, I couldn't let it pass. I... I had to stand up... hold a mirror to that bully's face. And I made a difference. That was just one person. You are the Editor-in-Chief of CatCo Worldwide Media! You can hold a mirror up to the entire city. We have to show people that violence against aliens is not okay and that the only way we are going to survive is if we start truly seeing each other.
Nia: When innocent people are being attacked, it's not about balance. It's about justice.
Mercy: You don't deserve the Luthor name, Earth traitor!
(Supergirl breaks down the door and rushes in, grabbing Mercy and twisting her arm around behind her.)
Supergirl: You've got that backwards. The Luthor name doesn't deserve Lena.
Brainiac-5: I know that people fear what they do not know. But... but, Massimo knew me. Being from Colu does not change the fact that... I am also Barney of the olives and apples pizza.
Supergirl: Fellow citizens of America. These are complicated times. Some of you are confused. Many of you are scared. You just found out that the President of the United States is not from northern Iowa, like you thought. She's from a planet somewhere out in the vast universe. Many of you feel betrayed because you were lied to. President Marsdin took responsibility for that. She resigned from office. But the fear that's spreading in this country like wildfire isn't because The President lied. It's because she comes from someplace different. All of you know that I am also from a different place. Another planet. But I've lived here long enough to know that it doesn't matter where we were born because we are all the same. The character of a person or alien is not defined by where we are from, but by what we do. The people that exposed President Marsdin wanted to divide us. They want us to turn on one another. Live in fear. Grow in hate. But I know we are better than that. I know we can work together with love and respect, treat our neighbors with kindness. I'm an alien. And I love this planet that I am proud to call home. I want what we all want - to be a good American. I will stand by the new administration as this nation begins to heal. And I will continue to protect my friends and neighbors, just as I always have. I hope you all do the same.
(A man in the alien bar tells J'onn about how anti-alien bigots are saying they are infesting Earth.)
J'onn: Well, you know - they go low, we go high.
Nia: You, sir, are the traitor. Now, give him his pizzas!
Agent Liberty: Earth first!
President Marsdin resigns, given that her Presidency is illegal under the Constitution's requirements that any President of the United States be a natural born citizen.
The new President is a man named Baker.
President Marsdin refuses to accept a pardon for becoming President under false pretenses.
The anti-alien sentiment on the Dark Web has increased in the wake of President Marsdin being exposed as an alien.
Fiona Byme, who was seemingly killed by Agent Liberty in 401 hasn't come in for three shifts at Al's Bar.
Al's Bar is identified as the name of the alien-friendly bar where J'onn was co-hosting his support group in 401.
Fiona Byme has a fiance in England.
Otis Graves makes reference to the DEO filling the atmosphere with lead in 222 to fight the Daxamites.
Otis reveals that Mercy is working with one other person. (Presumably Agent Liberty.)
Mercy Graves gets a hold of some Kryptonite on the dark web.
Agent Liberty warns against turning Supergirl into a martyr.
Lena loves Big Belly Burger.
Lena says sales on the L-Corp's image inducers have skyrocketed overnight.
Lena describes Mercy Graves as a "frequent dinner guest" of her brother and his closest confidant after she started out as his head of security.
Lena says that Mercy Graves was basically an older sister to her, who took her under her wing when Lillian Luthor largely ignored her. Mercy taught Lena how to dress, how to act and how to pick out a good gun.
Mercy Graves apparently left Lex Luthor because she felt he was too focused on Superman and should be looking at the threat posed by all aliens. Mercy also felt that humans had to find a way to become more powerful than aliens rather than just proving their superiority through intelligence and technology, as Lex tried to do in his battles with Superman.
Lena tells Kara that she doesn't disagree with Mercy's main point - that humans COULD become as powerful as the other alien races.
Kevin Oh, the chief programmer on the image inducers, is killed by Mercy Graves. She steals his laptop and attempts to use it to hack the network powering the image inducers.
Brainiac's image inducer fails while he is getting pizza, revealing him as an alien.
Nia protects Brainiac-5 from the pizzeria staff.
Nia gives her name to Brainiac-5, but no other information, saying that if he wants to find her, he will.
J'onn breaks into Fiona's apartment and discovers photos of her fiancee and a wedding announcement. His name is Manchester.
J'onn finds a note next to Fiona's computer with several sequences of numbers and the message "Who are the players? Lots of groups involved?" He uses one of the numbers and determines it is NCPD badge number for a beat cop named Dean Peterocelli.
Nia reveals herself as a transgender woman to James.
Brainy's favorite pizza is apples and olives.
Eve is able to hack the metal security doors in the L-Corps building. She notes that this particular type of door was built with a quick-release feature. She once worked at a theme park with the same type of doors for one summer as a high-school student. She was a bunny.
Lena has a special secret lab for all her prototypes. It also contains Lillian Luthor's Lexo-Suit from 312.
Franklin, one of the writers at CatCo, is a Dryad.
It is a negative stereotype that Dryads eat wood and stone.
Somehow, Mercy knows who Agent Jensen is and how he is growing disenchanted with the DEO's mission to protect humans and aliens equally.
Brainy uses the name Barney as an alias for when he gets pizza and coffee.
By the time of the 30th century, racism towards alien races on Earth is virtually unknown.
Brainiac-5 knew of the existence of racism but never experienced it before.
James eventually decides to write the editorial but also has Supergirl make a statement on TV.
J'onn tracks Dean Peterocelli to an anti-alien rally organized by Agent Liberty.
Agent Jensen helps The Graves siblings escape the DEO and to steal the atmospheric dispersal device from 222.
The episode ends with Kara passing out in mid-flight after The Graves siblings put Kryptonite into the atmosphere.
The Bottom Line
Doubtlessly, there are many who will criticize this episode of Supergirl (and indeed, the season to date) for being so unsubtle in its politics. Yet it seems to be a reflection of its times, given that this episode aired on a day when The White House took steps to start removing any definition of transgender people from federal law. The political statements may be delivered like an anvil to the head, but some anvils need to be dropped.
Unfortunately, while the politics may be in keeping with the ideals of Truth, Justice and The American Way, that doesn't excuse the stilted performance and the ham-fisted dialogue. Thankfully, most of the actors are skilled enough to make this work more often than not. But the bits that don't work (i.e. most of Mercy's hate-speech) are truly, truly awful.