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As Lena tries to master the newfound gift she inherited from her mother, Supergirl competes with Nyxly to gain control of the Totem of Courage.
Harry Potter (the magic connection between Kara and Nxyly resembles that between Harry and Voldemort), Marvel's Infinity War (the hunt for the Totems mirrors the search for the Infinity Stones) and Dragonball (the idea of magic artifacts that can alter reality that exist on each planet sounds a lot like the Dragonballs)
Lena is shown to still have her portal bracelet when she travels to the Fortress of Solitude with Kara. This raises the question of why she had to borrow Andrea's private jet for the past few episodes to travel to Newfoundland.
The Totem of Courage was contained within the slingshot used by David to kill Goliath. However, the slingshot depicted in the episode is a forked stick with a cord rather than the pouch fastened between two cords that would have been called a slingshot in Biblical times.
Brainiac-5 says that the super strikes generated by Project Bolt could over 1,000 megajoules, which is 50 times stronger than an average lighting strike. In truth, an average lighting bolt can contain up to 5,000 megajoules. (It's possible Brainiac-5 got his math wrong given the effects of the Courage Totem.)
Jesse Rath is quite amusing playing the witch Vita in Brainiac-5' body.
The special effects for the lightning storm are well executed.
The doctor whose experimental lightning harvester nearly destroys the city is named Beatrice Lahr. Despite the spelling of the last name being different, this could be a nod to the classic Supergirl villain Lesla-Lar, who was an evil Kryptonian scientist.
Vita says that there are a few rules that must be followed in questing for the Totems.
1. There is a prescribed order for claiming the totems and the Totem of Courage is first.
2. The totems have taken the form of various artifacts, hidden over time.
3. The totem must be activated with the magic word "Cgyrzyx" before it can be wielded.
4. To take control of the totem fully, one must pass a taxing test of character.
It is later revealed that each test must also be completed alone.
Brainiac-5's algorithm to locate Earth's Totem of Courage determines 64,427 possible artifacts might be considered a symbol of courage.
Even with Supergirl's top speed, it would take 32 days, two hours and 38 minutes to examine each potential artifact.
The facial recognition software in the Watchtower detects Nxyly at the Museum of Science and Technology.
The Totems radiate intense levels of 5th Dimensional energy (i.e. magic.)
Breaking a Totem releases a blast of raw, unfiltered emotion tied to that particular totem. In the case of the Totem of Courage, this could lead to erratic, even violent behavior.
Vita says the only way to cleanse those infected by a broken totem is for someone to gain control of it. This action heals the totem and will bring the pieces together if they were separated.
Project Bolt makes use of a plasma ionizer to harvest lightning.
Brainiac-5 detects 13 ground lightning strikes within the six minutes following Project Bolt's activation. This could lead to a single discharge of over 1,000 megajoules. This is said to be 50 times the strength of a standard lightning bolt.
Brainiac-5 is able to determine one of the two scientists he overheard was Dr. Lahr, thanks to his facial recognition program.
Dr. Lahr says a negative ionizer could stop the storm generated by Project Bolt from getting bigger.
The Hand of the Soldier is able to replicate the functions of a negative ionizer.
Brainiac-5 calculates there is an 87.6% chance Supergirl can create an inverse function to disperse the super-storm by circling the cloud cluster at Mach 4. The odds increase if he and Martian Manhunter join her in doing this.
(Alex, J'onn and Kara see a dragon in the museum.)
Alex: This one's mine.
Kara: Alex, wait!
J'onn: (shouting encouragingly) Go get him, Alex!
Kara: That dragon is gonna barbecue her unless we stop it. Can you calm it psychically?
J'onn: I admire your concern for your sister, Supergirl. And can I just say how proud I am to have watched you both grow into the strong women you are today?
(Kara tries to convince the rest of the team they're acting out of character because of the Courage Totem, starting with Alex's suicidal bravery.)
J'onn: I'm just so impressed by her initiative. I have to say, I'm impressed by all of you. You're inspirations, each and every one of you. How you handled yourselves, you make me feel...
(J'onn's voice trails off as he realizes he is far too open and cheerful and it is scaring everyone else.)
J'onn: Oh. I see.
Kara: Do you really not believe in magic?
Lena: I believe in you. And in all of us. We'll defeat this, no matter what it's called. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go interrogate a Kryptonian witch.
Brainiac-5: I've also dialed in on the epicenter of the storm. It's right above the Tower.
Lena: No, Brainy, it's not. It's not even close! That's your fourth miscalculation today.
J'onn: (cheerfully, slapping Brainiac-5 on the back) Brainy! You give us flawless calculations every day. You're allowed to make mistakes from time to time.
Kara: No, he's not. You've been affected by the Totem.
Brainiac-5: That's ridiculous.
Kara: What's the one thing a Coluan doesn't have the courage to do?
Brainiac-5: Be wrong in his calculations. (pauses in realization) Oh... Have I just spent all day guesstimating?!
Lena checks in at the Watchtower, but asks to get to work rather than talk about what she found about her mother.
Lena makes reference to the giant cat from 611.
Kara reveals that she kept a Kryptonian memory crystal with the imprint of Vita, one of the trio of Kryptonian witches who created Reign, in the Fortress of Solitude. (Vita was named in 322.)
Lena still has her teleport watch and uses it to take herself and Kara to the Fortress of Solitude.
Vita's cult apparently sought out the Totems of Krypton, but most of them went mad in the attempt and died.
On Krypton, the Totems had an effect on the cultures that grew up around them.
Dr. Beatrice Lahr is a scientist attached to the Museum of Science and Technology in National City, who is upset that her pet project, Project Bolt, has been shut down thanks to a colleague, Dr. Frank Gale, who told the grants committee that harvesting lightning with lasers was too dangerous.
Mitch sneaks into the museum by posing as a janitor.
Mitch confirms that the Totem of Courage is on display in the museum, as part of an exhibit of Ancient Technology.
Mitch comes up with a plan for Nyxly to steal the Totem within an eight minute gap when the security shifts change at 12:52 pm.
Kelly reports that she is sleeping better than she had recently in the wake of becoming Guardian.
Orlando Davis has apparently come up with a plan to help all the people in The Heights who lost their homes.
Kelly says Guardian will be busy helping Orlando with that, but tells Alex she can go ahead and go to the Watchtower to search for the Totem when she offers to help her as Sentinel.
Andrea once again lays into William for not generating enough content regarding the Super Friends.
Before coming to National City, William went undercover with drug lords in Colombia and embedded himself within a rebel group in Kaznia.
William is having PTSD flashbacks of Eve Tescmacher. shooting him in 519. This is why he has been reluctant to go out into the field doing undercover work.
The Super Friends guess that the Totem of Courage is the slingshot David used to kill Goliath, which is currently on display in the National City Museum of Science and Technology.
Nia calls William and tips him off to the Super Friends heading to the Museum of Science and Technology.
Kara attempts to stop Nxyly from activating the Totem of Courage with a blast of heat vision. This cuts the Totem into two pieces, but also releases a wave of energy that engulfs the Super Friends, the museum staff (including Dr. Lahr) and William.
When Nyxly activates the Totem of Courage, she has a vision of an attractive young man, who tells her the rest of their troops are in the armory. This is later revealed to be her younger brother.
Vita possesses Brainiac-5's body and tells Kara that she must pass the test of the Totem of Courage to heal it and claim its power.
Kara's test takes her back to the events of the Pilot episode and her first night using her powers to help people as Supergirl. She is told that she must face a moment she lacked true courage.
Kara saves the plane containing Alex and recalls how she heard a man screaming for help but ignored it so she could focus on hiding. This time, she saves the man from a mugger. However, she is still told that she failed the test.
Dr. Lahr attacks Dr. Gale in the museum coffee shop.
Nyxly's test takes her back to the day she and her brother were caught rebelling against their father and she was sentenced to be sent to the Phantom Zone while her brother was applauded for his courage. This time, Nxyly tries to stab her father to death. She fails the test.
One of the museum staff has a shape-shifting alien dragon pet, like Spike from 406, who goes on a rampage thanks to the courage energy making it temperamental.
Alex, thanks to the courage energy, becomes uncharacteristically reckless and charges in to fight the dragon without a plan.
The courage energy makes J'onn less reserved and more willing to discuss his emotions.
Nia has lapsed into a deeper dream state than she ever has before. Brainiac-5 believes this is because she now has the courage to try doing something so risky.
Mitch suggests maybe Nxyly should try killing her brother, on the grounds that maybe the test of Courage is to see if you can kill the thing you love most rather than stand against that which you hate or fear. This doesn't work either.
Kara and Lena talk about the test, but neither can begin to guess why Kara keeps failing. She keeps attempting to save different people during the test, but to no avail.
Dr. Lahr powers up her Project Bolt device without running any tests firsts. This creates a giant storm over National City.
Vita says that she can sense the magic within Lena, even as a memory. She also says that even when she was alive she couldn't command 5th Dimensional energy, but that a powerful witch could do so. She says Lena is such a witch.
Brainiac-5 determines the storm forming over National City might be tied to Project Bolt, which he overheard Dr. Gale and Dr. Lahr arguing over during the fight at the museum coffee shop.
Nxyly passes the test after she breaks down and tells her brother about how hurt she was by his betrayal.
The Test of Courage is revealed to be about proving the courage to be vulnerable.
The Super Friends try to use a box to contain their half of the Totem of Courage, as it tries to return to Nyxly.
Alex charges off to deal with Dr. Lahr on her own.
Kara breaks the Project Bolt device in a bid to stop the storm and get Dr. Lahr to listen to reason. it doesn't work/
Kara asks Lena to release their half of the totem, since getting the team back to normal is more important than her passing the Test of Courage.
Everyone is restored to normal once Nyxly has the complete Totem of Courage.
Guardian shows up to help deal with crowd control as the storm rages.
Kara passes out and has a vision of Nyxly after she disperses the storm. At the same time, Nxyly has a vision of Kara.
Kara is able to feel Nyxly's emotions through their connection from the Totem of Courage. She says she feels triumphant yet vengeful and she senses she was more determined than ever to get the next Totem.
J'onn says he can't find anything wrong with Kara psychically and Alex determines her vitals are normal, despite Kara passing out. She thinks Nxyly may also be able to feel her emotions.
Nia checks on William and he admits that he was traumatized after his confrontation with Eve Teschmacher, but he thinks he has the courage to go into the field again thanks to the close enconter with the Totem of Courage.
William tells Nia that he's going to ask the Super Friends if he can be embedded with them.
Kelly and Alex decide to be partners as crimefighters; not just romantic partners.
Lena tells Kara about her mother being a witch and how supposedly she has the same gift.
Lena offers to try and use her magic to break the connection between Kara and Nxyly, but Kara says she thinks they can use the connection to figure out what she is planning.
Kara senses that Nxyly is angry.
Nyxly is confirmed to be feeling Kara's emotions. Her anger is due to her sensing that Kara is hopeful and happy despite undergoing the same trials that brought Nxly nothing but pain.
Mitch suggests that Nxyly suffered more because she passed the test. Nxyly agrees that the pain was the price of the power she earned.
The Bottom Line
One of the best episodes of the season, primarily because it's focused on actual superheroics, even though there's surprisingly little action.