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Requiring a sample of Kara's DNA to track her in the Phantom Zone, Brainiac-5 and Dreamer travel back in time to the night of Kara's senior prom; one of the few occasions Alex can recall Kara being injured enough to bleed. Unfortunately, when they arrive a day early and their ship breaks down, they start accidentally altering the past, as a young Cat Grant comes to Midvale chasing a story and two alien poachers start hunting for one of the last Kryptonians.
Back To The Future (the time-travel theme and the school dance in a small town setting, specifically evoked by Brainiac-5 as the best example of why you should not visit your own past) Beverly Hills 90210 (Nia and Brainy-5 use the aliases Brenda and Brandon while in the past), the whole "young kid in adult body" film genre, ala 13 Going On 30, Big, etc. (Brainy's going native after a day attending high-school), the show Riverdale (Kara and Kenny solving mysteries in a small town setting), the Guardians of the Galaxy movies (Naxim Tork appears to be somewhat modeled on Michael Rooker's Yondu) and the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Main Man." (Storyline involves an alien zookeeper hunting for a Kryptonian.)
Kara's prom was said to be on May 26, 2009. This was a Tuesday night. Typically proms in the United States are held on Friday or Saturday evening and Kenny specifically says that the night of the dance is a Friday. (The calendar may be different in the Arrowverse.)
The posters promoting Naxim Tork's Menagerie hung up in his ship are printed in English.
No matter how talented he was, it's highly unlikely Brainiac-5 would be recruited into multiple clubs at the end of the semester.
When Brainy and Nia are looking at the DEO database after Naxim Tork's status changes from Captured to Wanted, the names of their species, "Naltorian" and "Coluan" are misspelled as "Noltorian" and "Caluan".
If the timeline is changed so that Nia, Brainy and Kara are abducted by Naim Tork, how would the DEO know Nia and Brainy's species? (Perhaps they were able to get DNA traces from the scene?)
Izabela Vidovic and Olivia Nikkanen, once again, are picture perfect as the young Kara and Alex.
The scene in which teen Kara and Dreamer bond using their powers together is beautiful, from the performances to the effects work to the writing.
This is the first episode of Supergirl not to feature Melissa Benoist.
As part of the running gag that Brainiac-5 continually gets his research into the past wrong, he says that "wassup" is a common greeting among teenagers in 2009. This is a reference to a Budweiser commercial from 1999, which ran until 2003.
Brainiac-5 and Nia wear glasses as part of their disguises, in a nod to how Supergirl and Superman hide their secret identities with nothing but a pair of glasses.
Brainiac-5 notes that the ship piloted by Mitch and Tork had a Bismolian energy signature. In the comics, the planet Bismol is the home of a species of metahumans who all developed the ability to eat anything, organic or inorganic, after a microbe rendered most of their organic food supplies toxic. One of the native Bismolians of the 31st Century, Tenzil Kem, went on to join the Legion of Super-Heroes as Matter-Eater Lad.
Brainiac also mentions a planet called Lasma. In the comics, the Lasma were an alien species, also known as the Ayrie, who were plant-based and peaceful. They appeared in The Flash #238 (December 1975). The Arrowverse version of the Lasma are said to be pacifists and vegetarians.
Brainy determines where they can get a sample of Kara's DNA without coming into contact with her, based on a survey of satellite imagery on the night of her senior prom. Based on the trajectory of the meteor, he predicts Kara's point of contact. After running those figures through 3D modeling, he produces a rendering of the debris field, and by overlaying that with geologic radiation emissions of that same night, plus, Kara's own biologic markers, he was able to pinpoint the exact location of Kara's DNA among the debris- center field of Midvale High School's baseball field.
Brainiac-5's primer on 2009 teen slang is somewhat out of date, as he believes the words"chillax," "flossy," "totes" and "wassup!" are in wide use.
To fix his ship, Brainiac-5 needs to fix one component and replace the missing dysprosium.
Described as a rare-earth mineral, dysprosium does not occur naturally on its own on Earth. It is atomic number 66 on the Periodic table and is a soft, silver-whiteish metal with a reflective sheen. It is primarily used in the manufacture of lasers, commercial lighting and nuclear reactor control rods.
"Groundhog Day" is a maneuver Kenny and Kara came up with to hide objects by burying them. They use this to hide Brainy's ship, with Kara cutting into the earth with her heat vision, Dreamer pulling it aside with her powers and Brainac-5 moving the ship using his Legion Flight Ring to levitate it.
Kenny Li says they can build a makeshift 3D-printer using an inkjer engine and ABS plastic - both of which are available in the STEM lab at Midvale High.
Naxim Tork's ship has scanners that can distinguish alien species from a distance. He is able to identify Kara, Nia and Brainy as a Kryptonian, a Naltorian and a Coluan respectively.
(Brainiac-5 and Dreamer have excused themselves to have a word in private.)
Brainy: So, these are the exact people we are not supposed to be dealing with.
Nia: Yeah, um, but now, we are dealing with them, so, we have to figure out how to manage the situation.
Brainy: Okay. So, the only management we need is to get them out of here!
(Meanwhile, Alex and Kara have their own argument over what to do.)
Alex: We need to get out of here.
Kara: What?! What are you talking about? We have to help them!
Alex: You just promised you'd stop drawing attention to yourself!
Kara: If their ship is broken, the least we can do is help fix it.
Alex: Even if it means endangering everyone around you?
Kenny: To be fair, they don't seem hostile. I mean, look at how they're dressed.
Young Kara: Alex can be a control freak, but you get used to it.
Brainy: There's nothing women like more than physics well applied. That and a modicum of emotional vulnerability.
(Kenny finds Brainiac-5 on the baseball field, in uniform, about to go to bat.)
Kenny: Where have you been? I have been searching for you. I thought we were keeping a low profile.
Brainy: Key events sidelined that goal. I left our STEM lab in search of sustenance and immediately got conscripted by a Glee Club Spartan chief. Needing to preserve my student cover, I agreed. But that led me to getting recruited by your math league, drama guild and Coach Kripkey, who's desperately in need of someone who can switch hit.
Kenny: Wow, that is a lot of exposure.
Brainy: Yes and, given my status, a risky venture, but necessary in order to avoid unwanted attention, or worse, a.m. detention with Mrs. Gormley. But still, I have to say, it has been a revelation. Are you familiar with the emotion of stress?
Kenny: I'm... I'm kind of feeling it right now.
Brainy: Well, I have been struggling with the emotion, and yet, I have been under the impression that my only options were to stress eat or not to stress eat. But now, thanks to your school, I see a cornucopia of approaches. Math leaguers factor, drama clubbers soliloquize, and baseballers hit.
Kenny: Dude, that is fantastic. But now that you've seen all that, do you, uh... do you maybe want to get out of here? Because if Alex finds out, she's going to flip.
Brainy: True. Okay. But how do I exfiltrate? I am a vassal of Coach Kripkey.
Kenny: You just say you're not feeling well and you got to go to the nurse.
Brainy: Oh. Okay, yes. Another method of coping chicanery. Yes, I love it!
Kara: Alex, wait, please. You can't tell Eliza. I can fix this. I swear!
Alex: Fix this? In less than 24 hours, we have had two alien encounters, one of which was the impetus for a break-in at our mother's place of work, which, if we get found out, will likely be her ex-place of work! Oh, oh, and let's not forget about the reporter who is determined to expose the luckiest town in America as home of the newest alien superhero! So, tell me, Kara, how will you fix this?
Kara: (weakly) Well... who reads the newspaper anymore?
Alex: This is too much for us to handle on our own. We need help and weapons. Lots of them.
Kara: (To Alex) I have seen more solar systems that you have dates, so don't even.
(Cat is in a bar, annoyed because her pictures of Nia did not turn out. A bartender freshens her drink without speaking to her. She sips it and is stunned. She also notices the bartender is cute.)
Cat: Mm. This is palatable.
Bartender: I feel like that might be a compliment, coming from you.
(Cat hmms, not displeased by the attention.)
Bartender: You're a photographer?
Cat: (purring a bit) No. But I do love a dark room.
(They both laugh.)
Cat: I'm a journalist, actually. Here on a big story. You may know my work from the Daily Planet? I am...
Cat: (icily) Thirsty.
Nia: Alex was right. It's freezing.
Brainy: That means that climate change wasn't real then.
The night of Kara's senior prom coincided with the Aquanid meteor shower.
Alex recalled that she was back from Stanford on summer break from college.
Alex also recalls it was oddly cold that night and that she dropped Kara off at the dance, which was being held in the Midvale High School Assembly Hall.
A meteor containing a Kryptonite pocket threatened the school, so Kara flew up and punched it. She destroyed the meteor but fell to earth through the roof of the school's new gym, which was still under construction.
Alex recalls that Kara's hand was all cut up and that it was the first time she saw Kara bleed or that Kara had encountered Kryptonite.
Midvale was declared "the luckiest town in America" when Kara was a senior, owing to her and her boyfriend Kenny Li acting to avert a number of disasters using Kara's powers.
J'onn recalls the events of 306 and how Kenny Li died because of a corrupt sheriff running a drug ring in Midvale.
Alex says that changed after the Crisis on Infinite Earths. While Kenny Li died in the history of Earth-38, he lived in Earth-Prime and became Kara's high-school sweetheart.
Brainiac-5 says that only he and Nia can safely travel to the Midvale of the past, given the problems caused by meeting yourself in another time period. These problems were fully explained in Legends of Tomorrow in L217.
Nia's mother made her and her sister write an essay about the etymology of the phrase "wassup" to show how ridiculous it was.
Brainy is still stress eating, perhaps remembering how badly he maculated the last time he time-traveled and wound up hibernating for thousands of years.
Alex is putting off taking a trip to Europe, which she had planned to do while in college. She has not told Kara why.
Kara has been accepted to National City University, but hasn't told Kenny, who thinks they are going to Midvale College together in the fall of 2009. She's still uncertain if she'll go to her dream college or stay with Kenny in Midvale.
Cat Grant came to Midvale in 2009 to investigate just why it was so lucky, theorizing it had a secret superhero.
Metropolis is a three hour drive away from Midvale.
Brainy and Nia crash in Midvale High School's baseball field on the evening of May 25, 2009. Kara hears their ship coming and goes to investigate with Alex and Kenny.
Brainy and Nia claim to be psychic aliens from the planet Psycon to explain their knowing English and knowing Kara's name. They also explain away their being dressed for prom by saying it is their custom to dress formally when visiting another planet.
Kara and Kenny offer to help Brain and Nia fix their ship, despite Alex's reservations.
Nia lies and says that she and Brainy are fleeing a dying planet, like Kara fled Krypton.
Kara also reveals her Kryptonian heritage to Nia and Brainy.
Alex says they may be able to get a dysprosium geode from the Rare Earth exhibit at the museum attached to her mother's lab at Midvale College.
Nia agrees to sleep over with Kara for the night while Brainac-5 stays with Kenny.
Professor Naxim Tork manages a zoo, Naxim Tork's Menagerie, which collects rare species. He and his assistant Mitch have traveled to Earth seeking a Kryptonian for his collection.
Kenny Li sometimes helps his mother by doing the books for her shop.
To rebuild the broken part for his ship, Brainiac-5 needs a 3-D printer. However, it completely escapes his mind that 3-D printers were not widely available in 2009.
When Kara asks Nia about her family, she tells the truth: her mother is passed away, her father is still alive and she has a sister whom she doesn't really talk to at all anymore.
Kara shows Nia the necklace that belonged to her mom.
Nia tells Kara that her powers (apart from being psychic and moving the earth with her mind) including making bubbles that are as strong as anything.
Alex agrees to help Nia and Kara sneak into Midvale college using her mother's ID to get to the Rare Earth minerals exhibit.
Nia has a dream vision of a pink panther in a cage.
Brainiac-5 briefly mentions a planet called Neuron, which orbits a black hole and is shrouded in near total darkness. He once had to assemble a broken part under those conditions, so having to work in a school lab with the lights out doesn't concern him.
Kenny has plans to continue having adventures with Kara and dreams of going to space someday.
Kenny reveals to Brainac-5 that he made a secret base for himself and Kara to work out of, having heard rumors of Superman's Fortress of Solitude.
Kenny and Brain are able to get the printer set up to work, but it will take several hours to make the replacement part.
Cat Grant writes professional under the name C.J. Grant. She writes a gossip column for The Daily Planet, but wants to get into writing hard news exposés like Lois Lane.
Cat lies to Perry White on the phone about having an interview lined up.
Alex dismisses the story of the miracle as just a story, displeasing Cat.
Brainiac-5 leaves the STEM lab to get a snack and winds up shouting at a vending machine that eats his dollar. His projection gets the attention of a choir teacher, who recruits him as a tenor for the Glee Club.
Kara and Nia are able to retrieve the dysprosium geode with no problems.
Kenny finds Brainy on the baseball field, having been recruited to the team, which needed a switch-hitter.
Brainy was also, having been forced to pose as a student, recruited into the Math League and the Drama Guild. He went along with it because the activity was a great way of relieving his stress beyond stress-eating.
Alex, Kara and Nia are almost hit by an out of control gas tanker.
Nia has a vision which reveals that the tanker doesn't have a driver.
Mitch and Naxim Tork apparently set up the tanker hoping to get the attention of their Kryptonian, based on the logic that these disasters always get a Kryptonian to show up.
Cat Grant sees the out-of-control tanker and tries to take a picture of it, spitting Nia entering the truck and catching a glimpse of her blue energy whip.
Kara is able to stop the tanker, using her ice breath on the wheels of the tanker.
Naxim Tork is unable to capture Kara, due to Brainiac-5 arriving with a scanner that his ship detects. He and Mitch flee rather than risk being identified.
Nia once again has the vision of a pink panther or cougar in a cage.
Nia tries calling her mother and gets her answering machine.
Alex and Kara get into a fight about what to do next. Alex wants to call her mother and get someone from the DEO to deal with Nia and Brainy. Kara wants to try and fix it herself
Alex reveals that the reason she didn't take her trip to Europe was because Eliza was worried about Kara.
Brainy figures out that whoever was watching them had an encounter with the DEO, so he hacks the DEO Database to try and figure out who they are dealing with.
According to the DEO records, there are two aliens known to be using Bismolian ships. One is an herbalist named Saphrex Col from Lasma. They are 200 years old and wanted for theft of the Bismolian ship, gathering plants considered to be contraband and the illegal manufacture of drugs made from said plants.
The other alien the DEO knows to be using a Bismolian ship is Naxim Tork, home world unknown, who runs a cosmic menagerie. Tork is 400 years old and is wanted in connection with a number of trafficking schemes. He has previously been convicted of killing various endangered species and wearing tacky sequined shirts. (It is not noted where this is a crime.)
Tork's aliases include Mr. T, the Alien King and The Ringmaster.
Nia concludes her dreams were trying to warn her about Tork.
The original DEO record indicated that Tork was captured in Uruguay on May 29, 2009. However, the record changes, indicating a change to the timeline,
In the new record, Tork is not captured and is now wanted in connection with the kidnapping of a Kryptonian, a Coluan and a Naltorian.
Nia's dream energy is revealed not to show up on film, making Cat's pictures worthless.
Kenny shows Kara the lair he made for them in Old Man Watson's old barn.
Nia tells Brainy that she called her mom, hoping hearing her voice might inspire her.
Nia was not part of a clique when she was in high school. She mostly tried to keep to herself.
Nia copes with stress by singing her favorite song, "Nine to Five" by Dolly Parton.
The lair Kenny made contains the log where he and Kara shared their first kiss and carved their initials into the bark.
Nia and Brainy are ambushed after tracking Naxim Tork's ship.
Midvale - May 26, 2009.
Kara and Kenny Li became a couple in the Post-Crisis timeline and had many adventures helping people in Midvale using Kara's powers discretely.
Professor Naxim Tork and Mitch attempted to capture Superman at one point and it did not go well for them, though they did manage to escape.
The Bottom Line
An entertaining episode and easily the best of the season so far, largely because of the streamlined cast. It does still feel somewhat overstuffed, with both Cat Grant and Naxim Tork set up as villains but neither one really given a chance to do much. It's worth it to see the young Alex and Kara again, however, and more of Nia and Brainy is always welcome.