Supergirl Recap: Trust Issues Abound, Putting “Star-Crossed” Relationships to the Test
"Leave, before I throw you into holding for fun." -Maggie
This week’s episode of The CW’s Supergirl was all about secrets and lies in relationships. Kara and Mon-El’s relationship is put to the test when his parents come into town, and Kara learns the truth about his upbringing. Meanwhile, Winn and Lyra hit a rough patch when an evening of “divine museum sex” turns into a surreptitious art heist. Former Lois Lane, Teri Hatcher, and former Hercules, Kevin Sorbo guest star as Mr. and Mrs. Mon-El’s Parents in Season 2, Episode 16: “Star-Crossed.”
**THIS IS A RECAP – SPOILERS ARE PART OF THE TERRITORY.**
S2, EP. 16 – THE RECAP
- Kara and Mon-El are having a quiet night in waiting for winter to come on Game of Thrones. When making the decision about what to watch next, Mon-El suggests a musical, to which Kara responds by giddily recommending Funny Girl. Mon-El loves seeing her happy, and they share a kiss. Awww. The romance is cut short, however, when a strange transmission comes on the television, broadcast all over National City. A voice asking for Mon-El of Daxum, saying that if he is not released at once, he will be taken by force. Whaaa?
- At the DEO, Team Supergirl tries to figure out what to do about an alien ship that is hovering over Earth. J’onn asks Mon-El if he’s ever seen a ship like that before, but Mon-El says he hasn’t. Alex wonders aloud what they’d want with “a guard from Daxum.” *coughcoughNOTAGUARDcoughcough* J’onn calls out for Agent Schott, but …
- … Winn and Lyra are having a romantic evening of their own. Lyra has led Winn to the National City Art Gallery and encourages him to break in for some “divine museum sex.” Yeah, I probably would’ve said yes too, Winn. DAMN THE CONSEQUENCES!
- Back at the DEO, Supergirl decides to approach the alien ship. Mon-El wants to go with her, but she won’t let him, as she doesn’t want to risk his being taken. Supergirl approaches the ship, and … promptly gets shot at. Then bubbled and hurled to the ground. She breaks out of the bubble, but before the ship can attack her again, Mon-El relinquishes himself to those looking for him. Supergirl races back to the DEO and asks him if he’s sure. He is. But as they’re about to transport him up to the ship, Supergirl jumps into the beam and is transported along with him.
- Once on the alien ship, it’s clear that Mon-El didn’t want Supergirl following him. Because he’s got some secrets: basically that he’s the Prince of Daxum, and he grew up a douchebag dudebro. Supergirl meets his charming parents, Rhea (Teri Hatcher) and Lar Gand (Kevin Sorbo). When I say charming, I mean classist, racist oppressors who have the insufferable demeanor of a wealthy elderly couple at a whites-only country club. Mon-El is clearly not thrilled to see his parents again, despite the fact that he thought they were dead, and Supergirl is not happy that he’s kept all this from her.
- Maggie calls a cheerful-after-museum-sex Winn to come into the station for some questions. Did he really not think that he’d get caught for breaking into the museum. However, what he thought was a harmless break-in for nookie turned out to be an art theft! It appears that Lyra has stolen Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” from the gallery. I say appears, but she really didn’t appear anywhere. The security footage Maggie got from the museum shows Winn there alone. (Yeesh … I’d hate to have been the cop that stumbled upon the sex part.) Things do not look good for Winn.
- Supergirl and Mon-El join his parents in the world’s most awkward family dinner. Rhea and Lar Gand talk about how they left Daxum just before it became unlivable along with many others that are now scattered all over the galaxy. They now want to reunite their people and “Make Daxum Great Again.” Mon-El tells the story of how he truly left Daxum: that he was in bed with some random girl when a destroyed Krypton started raining down on the planet. He left the girl alone and defenseless so that his guard could get him out. Rather than own up to his princely duty to help the subjects dying around him, he followed his guard to safety like a coward … even when that guard killed a Kryptonian emissary who was trying to get home in order to take his ship and put Mon-El in it. When Mon-El gets to the end of his story, Supergirl is pissed. She excuses herself and says she has to get back to Earth. Mon-El follows.
- At the DEO, Supergirl is furious. Mon-El insists that he’s still the same person she’s always known, and that he only kept this from her, because he wanted the chance to be seen as a regular person. Supergirl resents having been lied to, and can’t even look at him now, knowing that he not only came from a cruel planet, but ruled it and benefited from that institutional cruelty.
- As Maggie continues to question Winn, Alex and James show up. Alex asks Maggie to release Winn to them and give them time to figure out how Lyra framed him. Maggie can agree to 24 hours, but then promises that she’ll come after him herself if he doesn’t find the proof they need.
- At the DEO, Winn learns that Valerians (Lyra’s species) don’t appear in photographs, which is why she didn’t show up on the gallery’s security footage. As Winn wrestles with the fact that Lyra played him to steal a painting for some reason, Kara relates to the secret-keeping by a significant other. However, whereas Kara seems to be fuming over Mon-El, Winn seems to be doing everything he can to believe that Lyra must have had good intentions (it seems that, for at least part of the episode, the role of Supergirl is being played by Winn Schott!).
- Kara is overly enthusiastic about the “Superfriends” getting back together, but Alex sees through her. She understands why Kara is upset, but she also suggests that relationships take effort, and while he did something wrong by keeping the truth from her, that “maybe he’s looking for a fresh start.” Alex recommends that she talk to him. Suddenly, Rhea beams down to DEO headquarters. She wants to talk to Kara.
- Later, at the alien dive bar, Alex is being the muscle in their search for Lyra. An alien gives up Lyra’s location at a trailer park … in exchange for orchestra seats to Hamilton. Apparently, Alex has the hook-up. She knows the guy who plays King George, and he owes her a favor.
- Kara and Rhea have a tense conversation out on the balcony. Rhea resents Kara’s Kryptonian superiority, and “knows” that it will never work between Kara and her son, so Kara should do Mon-El a favor and convince him to talk to his parents. Daxum became a wasteland on their watch, and they hope that Mon-El as its new leader will be the face of the future, and give their people the hope they need to rebuild. It’s either that, or Kara will force him to realize “by degrees that he’s not good enough for you.”
- Winn goes to see Lyra at her trailer, and he’s hurt. He asks her why she set him up, and she tells him that their whole thing was a long con. Winn doesn’t believe it. He demands that she look him in the eye to tell him that, and if she says he was just a mark, he will leave. She says he was just a mark, and he goes. Once outside though, Lyra sees he’s not alone. Guardian and Alex are with him to bring her in. Then again, Lyra has backup, too. Team Winn fights the guys off, but that forces the guys to leave without the painting. And to hear Lyra tell it, that’s not a good thing. Not at all.
- Winn angrily questions Lyra in a cell at the DEO, and she tells him that her brother works for the guys they fought, but that he apparently hasn’t been carrying his weight with their boss, who’s an art thief. Stealing “Starry Night” was supposed to clear her brother’s debt, but if they don’t get the painting, her brother will be killed.
- Team DEO discover who the gang’s boss is, an alien named Mandrax. Whereas Winn wants to rush in to save Lyra’s brother, J’onn is skeptical that she’s even telling the truth about having a brother. He wants to investigate and take things slow. So, Winn does the only sensible thing. He breaks Lyra out of the DEO.
- Kara approaches Mon-El and tells him to talk to his parents. When he says no, she says “Well, I tried,” and she starts to walk away. Mon-El begs her to reconsider how she feels about him, but she’s still upset. She also makes a really interesting point. Whereas she lost her planet and family, he’s gotten a second chance. Not only are his parents alive, but there are Daxumites scattered all over the universe. He shouldn’t waste that chance.
- Lyra and Winn go to bring the painting to Mandrax and get her brother back, but the deal goes wrong when Mandrax discovers that the painting is a fake! Suddenly, the DEO and Guardian show up and start busting heads. Turns out, this was all a plan, and Winn coordinated with the DEO after all! Lyra is reunited with her little bro.
- Winn delivers the real “Starry Night” safely to Maggie, quite proud of himself for having gotten her the proof she needs, but Maggie messes with him by putting the fear of God (or herself) into him, saying “Leave, before I throw you into holding for fun.” This amuses Alex.
- Winn talks to Lyra, who says that she and her brother are going to look for a new place to live, since there’s nothing keeping them there. Winn corrects her, letting her know he wants her to stay. Lyra is amazed, and asks “Don’t you hate me?” To which Winn replies, “Not even close.” As she goes to check on her brother, Kara asks Winn how he can forgive her. Winn says that he can forgive her, because she was only doing what she did to protect someone she cares about, and that that’s the kind of woman you make the effort to forgive.
- Later that night, Kara arrives at home to find that Mon-El has let himself in. He wants to try one last time to beg her forgiveness, but Kara isn’t having it. She tells him that relationships are “hard and messy,” and that Mon-El just “wants things to be easy.” Sooo … she proceeds to do the easy thing and break up with him, rather than forgive him. #Hypocrisy.
- Despite not being able to patch things up with Kara, Mon-El goes to his parents one last time to say goodbye, relinquish the throne, and ask them to never return to Earth again. He says goodbye to his past for good.
- Back at the DEO, Winn gives Supergirl an item upon which he’s just run a diagnostic. One that was apparently created by a certain Cisco Ramon. Before they can talk more about it, J’onn asks for everyone’s attention and announces that they have a new prisoner coming into the DEO, and he’s not their usual. It’s Darren Criss! Well, the actor playing him is Darren Criss, but the prisoner is the Music Meister, although they don’t call him that in this episode. He says he’s there for Supergirl, and he puts some kinda whammy on her with his eyes that hypnotizes her. He then breaks out of his shackles, takes down the DEO agents holding him, and swipes the device Supergirl was holding, which he uses to create a portal to another dimension. Apparently, he wants to go take down The Flash. Thankfully, he flings the device toward Winn as he jumps into the portal (otherwise a crossover episode would be very difficult). Not so great, Supergirl passes out …
- … and wakes up in the 1930s in a theater? She’s done up all glam and wondering how she got there when a stage manager comes in and tells her that she’s been bumped up to the opening act. He shoves her onstage, and as the pianist starts playing, Kara looks out at the expectant audience wondering what the hell is going on.
S2, Ep. 16 – THE REVIEW
There was an interesting juxtaposition between Kara’s story and Winn’s story in “Star-Crossed” to explore themes of forgiveness, secrecy, and the importance of family, though their situations weren’t a perfect comparison. Whereas Lyra was lying to save her brother, Mon-El was withholding the truth to protect himself. What bothered me most in the episode was that, whereas Winn was able to forgive Lyra despite her setting him up for a crime, Kara was unable to forgive Mon-El, even though his own story is his to tell and define.
Was it wonderful that he kept a secret like that from Kara? Of course not. But had his parents not come looking for him, his withholding that information from her would not have affected her in the slightest. Everyone is entitled to a certain level of privacy, so long as keeping certain things secret doesn’t hurt someone else. He wasn’t lying about who he was, he was lying about his circumstances. His feelings, his personality, none of that changed. In fact, his experience of leaving Daxum and meeting Supergirl turned him into the person that fell for Kara.
And when his secret was going to allow for Kara to be hurt, he spoke up. And yes, he was likely going to go up to his parents’ ship alone, tell them to go away, then make up some story about who they were and what they wanted. Somehow, that seems less harmful than Lyra nearly landing her boyfriend in jail by sucking him into crime.
I love the set up of those two scenarios. What bothered me was Kara’s response.
Kara’s entire character on this show has been built around seeing the point of view of villains. Season One saw her getting into the heads of all manner of criminal to talk them down from whatever they were doing. Season Two Kara, apparently holds grudges, can’t get past her hatred of Daxum no matter what she does, and doesn’t have the compassion or the willingness to even try and see anything from Mon-El’s perspective, someone she purports to care about.
Even worse, when she breaks up with him for withholding his own past from her, she tells him that all he wants is for things to be easy and lectures him on relationships being hard work. Then, rather than try to forgive him, she breaks up with him, taking the easy way out. Because forgiveness is hard.
Those who live in glass houses should not throw sunstones, Kara.
As much as we’re supposed to be on Kara’s side, it’s difficult not to think that Rhea and Mon-El have a bit of a point about Kryptonian self-righteousness. Kara expected Snapper to accept her stories, but she didn’t expect to actually have to be a journalist with ethics n’ stuff. Kara expects to be the arbiter of who gets to be a hero in National City, but often refuses to take advice when her performance is less than stellar.
This stubbornness and self-centeredness definitely has roots in the comics. Teenage Supergirl has historically been more impetuous and determined to do things her way than her famous cousin, in large part because of her age. However, I’m not entirely sure how successfully it’s being explored on the show with an adult Kara. On the show, her constant flipping back and forth between compassion/empathy and being super-judgmental feels inconsistent, and seems to have gotten worse this season.
However, there was plenty to enjoy about “Star-Crossed” (and I’m sure there are plenty of you who disagree with me and think Kara did the right thing). One of the best things was Teri Hatcher’s performance as Rhea. Hatcher took someone that could have easily been a caricature of a villain and made her feel familiar and grounded. I’ve met people like Rhea, people who genuinely believe they have other people’s best interests at heart despite profiting from their suffering. She was frightening, because she felt so real.
Shout-out to Sorbo and his performance, too, although he had less to do, and kudos to the writers on creating a very specific and difficult dynamic between Mon-El and his parents. I kept waiting for the show to do that thing where the parents end up being really evil and kidnap him to “live his destiny.” Instead, they let him come and go and make his own decision, and when he leaves their ship, they let him go. I’m so glad they didn’t do the cliche thing, and instead just had Rhea and Lar Gand be two people who genuinely just want their son back and to rebuild their home. Granted, their home had problems, but their goals are extremely relateable.
I thought it was a wasted opportunity to not explore Mon-El’s “second chance” with more than a passing remark from Supergirl. What would’ve made sense to me is if the reason why Kara got angry at Mon-El was because he has his parents back and doesn’t want to be with them, while she will never have that opportunity with her own family. That, to me, should’ve been the episode.
Clearly, I had some opinions about “Star-Crossed,” as this is the longest review section on one of these I’ve ever done! That, to me, signals an episode worth watching. It had its flaws, but ultimately I believe this episode will likely spark conversations among those who watch it on interesting topics like truth, ethics, trust, and forgiveness. Interesting stuff, yo.
And as for that tacked on, “lead-in to the musical crossover episode” ending, I hope that Supergirl doesn’t constantly get shafted on story during crossovers just because it happens to air first during the week. Next time there’s a crossover of some kind, I would love to see the villain of the crossover episode be the villain on Supergirl all the way through. I’d love for the entire plot of that Supergirl episode to lead into the crossover. Or alternately, have the crossover episode happen on Supergirl! That worked well last time, and Supergirl was on a whole other network then!
Still, I’m excited to see what the Music Meister has in store for The Flash, as well as what sweet-sweet musical numbers we’re gonna hear! And yes, I will be doing a recap of tomorrow’s episode of The Flash. So make sure you do all the talking you want in the comments below about “Star-Crossed” today, because tomorrow there’ll be an all-new recap that will necessitate your comments.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8PM ET/PT on The CW.
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