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When Nxyly takes William Dey hostage, Kara realizes she must become more proactive in her hunt for the Totems. Meanwhile, Alex faces the biggest challenge of her life, in what becomes a test of the whole team's ability to inspire hope in one young girl.
Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, Arthurian Legend (the Hope Totem is stuck in a stone), 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, Nxyly now has a gauntlet to hold the totems) and Dragonball (the idea of magic artifacts that can alter reality that exist on each planet sounds a lot like the Dragonballs)
Given that has been shown of Corto Maltese and Kaznia in previous Arrowverse series, it seems unlikely either one would have nuclear weapons or be close enough to each other to get into a war over resources.
How did Alex have access to a Truth Seeker after the destruction of the DEO? (Perhaps it was in the desert facility?)
The scene between Chyler Leigh and Azie Tesfa as they discuss how to handle Esme is perhaps the best scene so far between the two actresses and the first time they felt like a real couple in a long time.
The special effects work is quite good.
The basic plot of this episode (and several story elements) were taken from the movie Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. These include the threat of a nuclear war, the hero needing to appeal to a worried child and nuclear missiles being thrown into the sun.
Mitch makes mention of an alien race called the Almeraci. This may be a reference to the world of Almerac, which is a technologically advanced society with a proud warrior tradition. The heroine Maxima was the Queen of Almerac.
Esme is identified as a Dyralian. This is a unique alien species created for the Arrowverse, not to be confused with the Dyrilans, who are a orange-skinned race.
Mitch modifies a gauntlet he says Naxim took from an Almeraci that was designed to absorb and repel energy to hold the Courage Totem. Affixed to the magic-draining cuff, it allows Nyxyly to use her magic somewhat and channel the power of Courage.
The security system in the Watchtower scans every available public camera worldwide.
While Brainiac-5's computer is capable of processing billions of bits per data every second, he is still beholden to 21st century upload/download speeds.
Esme's alien race is identified as Dyralian. Brainiac-5 confirms they have the ability to mimic the special abilities of other alien races. This includes alien animals, like a Truth Seeker.
Brainiac-5 makes reference to the Winathians, saying they have the ability to nullify gravity. In the comics, this was only true of the Legionnaire Ayla Ranzz (aka Lightning Lass), whose powers were altered by an experiment conducted by Dream Girl. Most Winathians had the power to generate electricity.
Lena tries to modify a charm so that it will protect the Humanity Totem from outside magical influences.
Dyralians can recognize other aliens if they have encountered someone with the same powers before. This leads Esme to recognize Kara in her Supergirl costume, because Kara had the same powers as Supergirl.
(Brainiac-5 has been tasked with helping Esme learn to control her powers.)
Brainiac-5: (To Esme) Lucky for you, I used to be old friends with a Dyralian. This one time, the Dyralian and I were socializing with a Winathian friend of ours, and the Dyralian unknowingly taps into the Winathian's ability to de-power the gravity in the room. It took us three hours to get down from the ceiling.
Esme: (chuckling) He's funny.
Brainiac-5: (walking away with Esme) Tell me, how familiar are you with Coluan quantum mechanics? Hmm? Have you been trained in hand-to-hand combat?
J'onn: With all due respect, Secretary, you're dealing with a magical energy source. My psychic abilities can keep things calm. Besides, if she comes back, I'm the best defense you'll have.
Secretary of State: Fine. Just don't get in my way. And change into something, so you don't upstage me.
Kara: I don't know what I'm gonna do. When I accessed the Totem's gauntlet at The Hague, it said I needed to inspire a hope that burns longer and brighter than the sun. But it didn't give me a starting point like last time, and I can't afford to try and fail. I mean, you saw how bad things got when I didn't pass the Courage gauntlet. I try to provide people with hope all the time. What can I do differently now?
Lena: On the bright side, if it's a race between you and Nyxly to provide hope for a Hope Totem, I know where my money is going.
Kara: It was awful. The look on Esme's face, the fear in her eyes only hearing this... frightening, horrible stuff. (sighs) If I can't help inspire hope in one little girl, how am I supposed to do it for the whole world and pass the Hope gauntlet? And this world? How is any of this hopeful?
Lena: Things escalating at The Hague, maybe you should just wipe those countries of their nuclear weapons. That'll bring out lasting peace and hope.
Kara: I wish I could, but unfortunately, I am forbidden from interfering in human history.
Lena: Weren't you the person that convinced me to use magic to make people just a little bit violent in order to draw out Nyxly and the Humanity Totem?
Kara: Yeah, but that was different. That was in pursuit of stopping a villain. And it was temporary. Unilaterally changing the world stage, getting involved at that level, that is not for me to do. People, nations should be self-determining, that's freedom. That's what we're fighting for.
Alex: I really screwed up, Kelly. When Kara's powers overwhelmed Esme, I should have realized that she needed a break, but I just kept pushing her to keep going. It was like these instincts took over, and all of a sudden I'm acting more like a DEO drill sergeant than I am a mother. And it was exactly the wrong thing to do. Growing up, my mom with Kara, she was so kind and understanding, and it was exactly the mom that Kara needed. And that's everything that I want to be.
Kelly: You're being really hard on yourself. Your mom and Kara fought all the time. You even told me that once Kara got so angry with Eliza that she almost burned the house down with her heat vision.
Alex: Kara was a teenager, okay, not some innocent little ball of cuteness.
Kelly: My point is, they worked it out and Kara thrived. And even your mother needed that grace period. So cut yourself some slack. And this morning, when Esme was scared, I wanted it to be about her powers because that would have been an easier fix. But it's not about that. It's us.
Alex: Okay, so I was right.
Kelly: No. (sighs) She just told me that she thinks it's best if we take her back. And it wasn't because you pushed her. I think she is terrified of getting close to us because she thinks we're gonna abandon her like everyone else did. And I'm a therapist. I should have realized that this morning.
Alex: Mmm-mmm. I just... I want to do better for Esme.
Kelly: I know you do.
Alex: I just wish we could make her see that.
Kelly: We can figure this out. We just got to figure out a way to get her to see the truth.
Alex: (thoughtfully) The truth...
This episode takes place three days after the events of 614. (This is revealed when Brainiac-5 detects Nxyly's first trip to The Hague.)
As the episode opens, Kara, Kelly, Alex and J'onn are setting up a room in Kelly and Alex's home for Esme, whom Kelly and Alex are fostering for six months before their petition to adopt her is approved.
Alex paints a guardian spirit, resembling a Martian, on the wall of Esme's bedroom, as part of a mural representing hopes and dreams. J'onn says his father painted something similar in his daughter's room.
Kara retrieved all the stuffed animals and blankets she was given by Eliza Danvers when she first came to Earth.
Esme has a stuffed zebra named Lovey.
Kara tells Esme that she's adopted too.
Esme accidentally phases through the wall after accidentally mimicking J'onn's powers.
Esme is immediately scared she'll be sent back to the group home for using her powers.
Nyxyly reads William Dey's story about her.
Mitch creates a gauntlet which can hold the Courage Totem, allowing Nyxyly to tap its energy and regain some of her power.
William prepares chocolate roulade, Jaffa cakes and hobnobs as gifts for Esme. He says the hobnobs are his Aunt Millicent's specialty.
Brainiac-5 intends to get Esme a building blocks set, but is uncertain whether or not to get the castle, theme park or train set. He is told to get the train set.
Brainiac-5 still hasn't found Nxyly using his scanners and reports that Nia hasn't had any luck finding the Dream Totem using her powers or doing research in the town of Parthas.
Brainiac-5 detects footage of Nxyly trying to enter The Hague in 614 and says it came from three days earlier. Coincidentally, the cameras catch her trying to enter the museum at the same time.
Kara and J'onn are able to chase Nxyly away, but not before she drains the courage from the lead diplomats for the delegations from Kaznia and Corto Maltese that are meeting at The Hague for a peace conference.
Esme is brought to the Watchtower and introduced to William, Lena and Brainiac-5.
Brainiac-5 says that one of his friends is a Dyralian and that he once accidentally got stuck on a ceiling for three hours after his friend accidentally replicated the gravity-nullifying powers of a Winathian.
Kara tries to activate the Hope Totem, which is a sculpture called The Hand of the Flower which was carved out of a throne said to belong to Elpis, the Green goddess of Hope.
The gauntlet of Hope is to "inspire a hope that burns longer and brighter than the sun."
Kara is unable to pull the statue out of the rock holding it.
Corto Maltese built an artificial island in the Kaznian Sea without permission to drill for oil. This has led to a conflict which the United States is attempting to resolve.
Thanks to the Totem of Courage draining their courage, the diplomats are distrustful and paranoid, which is hurting the peace talks.
J'onn agrees to stay at The Hague and use his psychic powers to pacify the diplomats and guard the Hope Totem until Kara can pass the gauntlet.
Esme becomes overwhelmed trying to emulate Brainiac-5's intelligence and solve the Coluan equivalent of Einstein's theory of relativity.
Alex introduces Kara as Supergirl to Esme, but Esme recognizes her as Kara because she has the same powers Kara did earlier.
Esme once again becomes afraid she did something wrong after Alex tells her how important it is to keep Kara's secret identity.
Esme tries to copy Kara's super-hearing, but becomes scared by the loud noises. She says Alex is horrible for making her try to listen to the bad things she heard. (i.e. sirens, gun fire, people screaming.)
Nyxly decides to wait for Supergirl to pass the gauntlet for the Hope Totem and steal it from her once it is activated.
Nxyly decides to kidnap William and trade him for the Hope Totem.
The US Secretary of State, a woman with the last name Brown, asks J'onn to use his telepathy to make the diplomats sign a peace agreement. He refuses to do so.
Lena asks why Kara just can't get rid of all the nuclear weapons in the world. Kara says she's forbidden from interfering in human history and that kind of abuse of power is exactly what she tries to fight against.
Kara senses that Nxyly is happy.
Kara has the idea that maybe she should try and pass the gauntlet as Kara rather than as Supergirl and use her reporting to inspire people.
Alex is afraid she's driven Esme away trying to help her work through her powers.
Kelly says Alex needs to cut herself some slack and that they will work through this together.
Kara writes an upbeat story on everything Martian Manhunter is doing to help with the peace talks. Andrea rejects it because she only wants William writing about the Super Friends (for some reason) and she doesn't believe the world is good.
Nxyly shows up at CatCo and kidnaps William, telling them to report that she will kill William if Supergirl doesn't bring her the Hope and Humanity Totems before sunset.
Kara tries to save cats from trees and people from crime and flies all over Corto Maltese and Kaznia telling people she will protect them, but this still does not enable her to claim the Hope Totem.
Lena gets her protective charm to work, but it's very short-term.
Alex and Kelly show Esme a Truth Seeker and, once she copies its power, they promise to never abandon her. They also reveal that they are Sentinel and Guardian.
Kara plans to remove all the nuclear missiles from Kaznia and Corto Maltese, after deciding that since the nuclear war was caused by Nxyly's manipulation of the Courage Totem, she's justified in acting this time.
With Brainiac-5 and Martian Manhunter helping, Kara stops all the missiles and throws them into the sun.
Kara retrieves the Hope Totem and goes to meet with Nxyly.
During the meeting, William trips Nxyly and steals the Courage Totem.
The psychic connection between Kara and Nxyly is erased.
The Super Friends discuss destroying the Totems so Nxyly can't use them. However, it is pointed out there's no way of knowing what effects that could have given all the damage done by the Courage Totem being broken. In the end, Kara decides to throw the Hope Totem into the sun.
Esme feels much better and tells Alex and Kelly she loves her new room.
Nxyly figures out what Kara has done with the Hope Totem through her crystal ball and despairs, Suddenly, a portal opens and a package containing a watch drops through the hole. The watch has a note telling Nxyly not to lose hope, which came from "A secret admirer."
When Nxyly puts the watch on, a Lexo-Suit forms around her. This suggests her secret admirer is Lex Luthor.
Alex and Kelly were given provisional custody of Esme following an emergency hearing between episodes.
Nia visits the town of Parthas as part of her search for the Dream Totem.
The Bottom Line
A surprisingly good story which improves on the plot of Superman IV on every level and gets political without being preachy.