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As Lex Luthor goes on trial for Crimes Against Humanity, Lena must make a difficult choice about how far she will go to see her brother face justice. Meanwhile, as the Super Friends seek out help to rescue Supergirl, Kara finds an unexpected ally and familiar face in the Phantom Zone.
Supergirl: The Movie (plot of Kara and her father needing to escape the Phantom Zone), Harry Potter (the phantoms of the Phantom Zone resemble the Dementors), Star Trek (Dreamer mentions the Holodeck when she sees Brainy's training simulation), the Babylon 5 episode Whatever Happened To Mister Garibaldi? (Kara's meeting with her father resembles Sheridan's first encounter with Lorien) and Stargate (the appearance of the Phantom Zone portal, theme of legends being aliens)
Granting that the legal system in the Arrowverse is probably more efficient than in our world, it's still shocking that Lex Luthor could go on trial, even with an open-and-shut case, and have the trial end as quickly as it did. Particularly given the problem with jury selection given how well known Lex is and the nature of his crimes.
It's a little unbelievable that the episode would waste time showing us William watching Lex's trial, in effect having us watching William watching Supergirl.
Why is Lena watching the trial by herself instead of trying to help rescue Kara?
For that mater, why don't any of the superheroes who arrested Lex testify against him?
Why, after such a big deal was made about it last week, do we not get a quick scene of Alex telling Kelly that Kara is Supergirl?
Silas should not have any conflicting memories of how the Phantom Zone looked before Crisis. (Perhaps J'onn restored his pre-Crisis memories off-camera, though there's no clear reason why he'd do so.)
The episode title is a play on the film A Few Good Men and the scene in which Lena tricks Lex into confessing his evil intentions is based on a similar scene from that movie.
Silas is said to be a native of the planet Transilvane, whose inhabitants inspired the legends of vampires on Earth. In the DC Comics universe, Transilvane was an artificial world created by Cadmus scientist Dabney Donovan and populated with genetically engineered replicas of classic horror movie monsters.
It is revealed in this episode that the Phantom Zone is named after the ghostly figures who populate it, who feed on the fear and torment they cause by making people relive their worst nightmares. This is a new conceit from the modern DC Comucs universe. Originally the Phantom Zone transformed those who were sent to it into phantoms, who could observe the physical world but were powerless to affect it.
By contrast, the Phanton Zone of the Arrowverse does not allow those who are trapped there to see the material world, as Zor-El had no idea that Kara was still alive or that Argo City survived thanks to his efforts.
Natives of Transilvane have enhanced strength, speed and stamina compared to regular humans. They also have the ability to transform themselves into clouds of smoke and bats. They feed on he blood of other beings but are not required to take it by violence.
Silas is able to assemble his Phantom Zone Portal on a day's notice, but insists it requires six months of testing before he can be sure it will be safe.
Brainiac-5 creates a holographic simulation of the Phantom Zone. It is backed by dream energy sensors that will detect any fluctuations, distractions, emotional incongruences Dreamer might experience, as the simulation will also psychically attack her in the same way that phantoms do.
The Phantom Zone is revealed to have been altered by the Crisis on Infinite Earths. When all of the timelines of the old multiverse converged into the Earth-Prime reality, the Phantom Zone fractured. It is now one ever-sifting pocket dimension - what Brainiac-5 describes as a interdimensional archipelago.
Every dimension within the Phantom Zone has its own vibrational frequency. Dreamer would need to travel to each one individually and synch up with it before her powers would work. Between this and the randomized pattern of the Phantom Zone shifting, Dreamer cannot use her powers to track Kara directly in the Phantom Zone.
(Lex is sitting at his table in his cell, eying the food before him suspiciously. Suddenly, the cell door opens. Otis Graves and Lillian Luthor walk in.)
Lex: I thought visitors were forbidden in this wing.
Lillian: The Luthor name still commands respect... and the occasional favor.
(Lillian takes the seat opposite Lex.)
Lex: Ah. Favors. Is that how you secured me that plea deal? Admit to conspiracy and manslaughter, and go away for...
(Otis is about to take a seat at the table, but Lex holds up a hand and shoos him away.)
Lex: Ah, ah!
(Otis stands back up and Lex continues.)
Lex: Go away for 25 years?
Lillian: I'm sure your lawyer advised you to accept it.
Lex: He did. Which is why I fired him.
(Lillian has urged Lex to accept the plea deal.)
Lex: Do you really have so little faith in me that you think I should agree to rot in prison? I will remind you, I have been in prison before. I have been shot and killed and risen from the dead before, and I will not be subjugated again. You should know, I always have a plan.
Otis: Yeah, boss. Kablooey!
Lex: A legal plan, you imbecile.
(Silas begins to power up the Phantom Zone portal.)
J'onn: You sure this thing won't blow up?
Silas: It won't blow up, but I can't guarantee it won't implode.
(Lex has just been found not guilty of all charges. He is, for once, stunned speechless.)
Otis: (whispering as the judge is thanking the jury for their work) Uh... Wait, you actually won? (quickly apologetic) Not that I'm surprised, boss!
Lex: Well, I am! Clearly I underestimated the value of just... being myself.
Otis (sighs wistfully) No kablooey.
Lex: Of course not, you idiot.
Lex's sudden speech about jealous women trying to tear him down seems horribly out of character. Granting that Lex has an ego and a deep hatred of aliens, it's hard to see him ranting like a Men's Rights Activist.
In the opening scene, the Super Friends attack a man who burgles a Luthor Foundation blood bank.
The vampire, Silas, is a native of the planet Transilvane, which is the source of the vampire legends on Earth.
Silas is gay and was married to a man named Owen.
Owen was falsely accused of theft and sentenced to six months at Fort Rozz in the Phantom Zone. He apparently went mad due to the torments of the Phantom Zone.
Silas is the only person known to have ever attempted to break into the Phantom Zone. He is quick to note that he was not successful.
Silas says that building the technology to enter the Phantom Zone is easy; the hard part is dealing with the phantoms from which the Phantom Zone takes its name, as they can drive a person made by feeding on their fears until they lose all touch with reality or die of fright.
Dreamer goes back to CatCo to continue to cover for Kara's absence, but is reminded that they need her powers to find Kara once they get into the Phantom Zone.
Andrea Rojas wants CatCo to focus as much coverage as possible on Lex Luthor's trial and turn the public against him. She assigns Nia and William Dey to cover the trail directly and try to interview the court officials involved.
Lex meets with his mother and informs her that he fired his lawyer and refuses to take a plea deal. He intends to represent himself at his trial.
Lillian freely admits that she cares more about saving the Luthor family name than freeing Lex.
In the Phantom Zone, Kara is rescued from the Phantoms by a man who she realizes is her father, Zor-El.
Kara tells her father that his efforts to save Argo City were successful.
Kara remembers the Phantom Zone differently than how it was when she was trapped there. This was partly due to her rocket protecting her from the Phantoms, somehow.
The worst nightmare that Kara experienced at the hands of the phantoms was her battle with Reign in 323, where all of her friends and family died and there was nothing she could do to save them all this time.
Zor-El says the only way to stay sane in the Phantom Zone is to accept that you are trapped. This keeps the phantoms at bay. Attempting to move upon the anchor where Fort Ross as rooted in the Phantom Zone only provokes them.
Andrea and Lena meet for drinks. Andrea tries to fish for details on what happened between Lena and Lex, but Lena refuses to speak about it, on or off the record, and angrily kicks Andrea out of her office.
Silas is uncertain he can get the portal to work safely. J'onn becomes angry with him and almost becomes physically violent.
Alex tries to comfort Silas and reassure him that he will help save Supergirl.
Lex Luthor is formally charged with crimes against humanity, murder and conspiracy.
M'Gann has a talk with J'onn about his becoming overly emotional regarding Kara being in danger.
When Lex cross-examines Eve Tessmacher, he gets her to admit that she loved him and that he rejected her advances in 517. He then tries to spin it that she was a jilted lover framing him for her own crimes as a complicated revenge scheme.
As a result of Lex casting Eve Tessmacher's testimony into doubt, the murder charges against Lex are dropped.
Lillian meets with Lena and offers to sell her Lillian's share of LuthorCorp so Lena will be able to keep Lex from using any of the company resources for his schemes.
Lena refuses the offer, seeing it as a bribe, and tells Lillian that she'd decided to testify against Lex to ensure he goes to prison for the rest of his life, even if it means admitting to her own crimes.
Brainiac-5 makes a holographic Phantom Zone simulation to test Dreamer's ability to use her powers in that environemtn.
Dreamer has a vision of Alex and Kara when they were in high school.
Dreamer is not sure she can use her powers to accurately track Kara through a dream, but Brainy says he has confidence in her.
Kara decides to try and fight through the Phantom Zone on her own. She is overwhelmed almost immediately and saved by Zor-El again. Kara's refusal to give up inspires Zor-El, who agrees that they will go down fighting together if they cannot win.
Lena tells the court about her Non Nocere project and how Lex corrupted her technology.
When Lex cross-examines Lena, Lena tricks Lex into bragging that Lena's designs would never have worked without his contribution and that he did everything Lena accused him of. Lex proceeds to blame women who were jealous of his success and power trying to tear him down for all of his problems.
Silas is able to get the portal to the Phantom Zone open, but the Super Friends are attacked by phantoms.
J'onn is able to use his telepathy to augment Dreamer's energy blasts, allowing them to force the Phantoms back through the portal.
All but one of the phantoms are forced back into the portal, though the Super Friends do not realize that one phantom is in hiding.
Otis disguises himself as a guard at Luthor's hearing and has a plan prepared to cover his escape.
The jury find Lex not guilty of all charges, much to his surprise.
Silas says he'll continue to help the Superfriends to save Kara.
Lex singles out CatCo and their coverage of his trial when talking about how the the media is out to destroy successful men like him.
William is feeling disillusioned by Lex Luthor's acquittal.
Brainiac-5 starts mapping the Phantom Zone.
J'onn thinks on M'Gann's advice and decides he needs to start approaching Kara's rescue as a soldier rather than as a father.
Alex has a breakdown in private with Kelly over how they couldn't save Kara.
Andrea goes to meet Lena and complements her courage in testifying against Lex.
Lena apologizes to Andrea for jumping down her throat. Andrea apologizes for trying to push Lena into giving her a story.
Amdrea says she still intends to use CatCo to bring down Lex.
Lex says that he now intends to tell the truth as he sees it and trust that things will work out, as people seem to like his "telling it like it is."
Silas is attacked by the phantom and calls J'onn.
In the Phantom Zone, Kara and Zor-El see a group of three phantoms open a portal. This inspires them to try and capture a phantom.
The Phantom Zone
Zor-El is revealed to have sent himself to the Phantom Zone after rescuing Argo City from the destruction of Krypton.
The Bottom Line
Another lackluster episode which is oddly focused upon the least interesting aspects of the current storyline, with the title character being about #3 or #4 on the writers' list of priorities. Does anyone really care about William Day? Was anyone really wanting to see Lena and Andrea make-up? Or any more of Andrea at all, really? Silas isn't a bad character, but he's just one more member of an increasingly bloated ensemble who really doesn't add anything to the show. Unfortunately, it seems like we'll be working through this Phantom Zone storyline for a while to come.