Supergirl Recap: Rhea Connects With Lena to Bring Forth a “City of Lost Children”
"Welcome to New Daxum." - Rhea
Is it wrong that one of the best episodes of Supergirl this season had the least Supergirl in it? This week was all about Lena’s deepening mother/daughter relationship with Rhea as they work together on a portal, James figuring out his true calling as he bonds with a young alien boy who reminds him of himself, and Mon-El wrestling with still loving his mother even though she’s absolutely horrible. Oh yeah, and something-something Kara eats several meals something-something. Welcome to Season 2, Episode 20, “City of Lost Children.”
**THIS IS A RECAP – SPOILERS ARE PART OF THE TERRITORY.**
S2, EP. 20 – THE RECAP
- Guardian stops a woman from being attacked in a park, but when he goes to make sure she’s okay, she’s as scared (if not more) of Guardian as she was of her attackers. As she begs Guardian not to hurt her, Guardian is shaken. He tells Winn he wants to call it a night.
- Over lunch the next day, Kara and Lena talk about whether they’d rather have an N’Sync reunion or Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears back together. (Kara thinks this a cruel question.) Lena is visibly giddy about her new partnership at work, which she can’t talk about, and it totally piques Kara’s interest. Kara promises to tell her about her new partner as soon as she can, but she describes it as an amazing mentor relationship.
- James and Winn walk through the park and talk about what happened the night before. James is rattled by the fact that people seem afraid of him. Guardian isn’t the beacon of hope that Superman or Supergirl are, and this hurts him. (Maybe if he didn’t look like Robocop?) Suddenly, a woman with glowing purple eyes starts throwing things around with telekinesis. James and Winn try to evacuate the park. James saves a couple from flying debris, but he can’t stop the purple-eyed woman from tossing a car into a building. Thankfully, Supergirl swoops into action and catches it.
- At the DEO, Team Supergirl watches the news, which describes what happened as an “alien terrorist attack.” Winn has done research and learned that the woman is a type of alien called a Phorian, a usually peaceful race that has telekinetic powers. As J’onn sends Kara and Mon-El out to try and find the Phorian, James says he’d like to help. J’onn sends him home, saying he doesn’t need Guardian’s skills right now. Womp-womp.
- Lena and Rhea are out at a restaurant, and Lena is worried that she’s not going to be able to make their portal work. Rhea says that she believes in her, and encourages her the way Lena wishes her mother would.
- Outside, Mon-El is walking by eating ice cream (one of the many passions he shared with Kara, it seems) when for a second, he thinks he sees Rhea. As he is about to investigate, a passerby knocks the ice cream out of his hand, distracting him. When he looks back up, Rhea is gone, and Mon-El’s not sure if he’s actually seen her or not.
- Elsewhere, Guardian stops a drug deal, and the alien he ends up grabbing begs Guardian to let him go, and that he knows where the Phorian from the news lives.
- Guardian ends up going there (breaking and entering?!) and snooping around, happening upon the woman’s young son (Lonnie Chavis). At first, the boy is scared of Guardian, but then he kneels down and removes his mask, allowing the boy to see his face. The boy touches his cheek, and is reassured, though he doesn’t say a word.
- At the DEO, Alex is trying to get the boy, Marcus, to tell her where his mother is and encourages him to eat. He does neither. However, when she goes to J’onn and James to ask what she should do, James says that they probably shouldn’t be questioning him in a scary interrogation room. Alex notices that this telekinetic boy senses James wherever he is and follows him with his eyes. He seems to have bonded with James, and so J’onn says that James should talk to him, giving James permission to take Marcus somewhere less threatening to make him comfortable.
- Mon-El arrives and approaches Winn, asking if the DEO “scans things.” They do indeed, so Mon-El asks Winn to scan for his parents’ ship. He does, and nothing comes up.
- As Lena tries to tackle the problem of the portal, Rhea continues to encourage her. When Lena reveals that this project is a way for her to convince others and herself that she’s as smart as her brother, Rhea encourages her to think outside the box. Whereas Lex is obsessed with power, and by extension all things powerful, Lena hopes to achieve a more balanced solution.
- James arrives at CatCo with Marcus, introducing him to Eve as his nephew. As he gives Marcus a tour of the office, shows him his camera collection, and talks about his own past, James lands on the thing they each have in common: both their fathers are soldiers who’ve died.
- Mon-El surprises Kara with food at CatCo, and tells her that he thinks he saw Rhea, but confirmed that Rhea’s ship isn’t near Earth anymore. He hates that he’s so conflicted about his mother, but Kara reminds him that she’s the only mother he has, so it’s natural for him to still love her in spite of everything.
- Lena and Rhea test the portal—it works!
- James continues to draw words out of Marcus, and they finally get on the topic of Marcus’ mother. Marcus insists that his mother would never hurt anyone on purpose. Then, as Lena and Rhea test the portal, Marcus’ eyes start glowing purple and things start flying around. Supergirl ends up arriving, grabbing Marcus and flying him outside until it passes. She realizes that he’s not in control of what he’s doing, and it’s likely his mother isn’t either.
- At the DEO, James is suddenly skittish about what to do with Marcus, having not been able to protect him or the people at CatCo. After a conversation with J’onn about what made him decide to go the law enforcement route (answer: his daughter), James is inspired to find out what kind of hero he is.
- Alex begins monitoring for spikes in anions, which will hopefully allow them to pinpoint a location for whatever’s affecting the Phorians. When she mentions “anions,” Kara remembers that Lena mentioned that she was working with them on her super-secret project, so she calls her to see if Lena knows anything. However, Rhea answers her phone in the lab and tells Kara that this is all her doing, and that anything that happens to the Earth from this moment forward is all her fault. When Mon-El gets on the phone and asks her what she’s doing, she says “I’m here to wake you up, Mon-El.”
- James goes back to Marcus and asks him again about his mother. Marcus explains that “every planet we go to, they make us go away.” James encourages Marcus to open up to him as a friend, explaining that he too had walls up when he was a kid, but that he met people that taught him how to trust again. He asks for Marcus’ trust, and eventually, Marcus gives it. He says that, while he doesn’t know where his mother is enough to tell him, he can feel her and take James to her.
- James and Marcus arrive at a warehouse along with Winn, who has developed a portable device that can protect Marcus and his mother by dampening their telekinetic powers so that they can’t be affected by the anion spikes. They find Marcus’ mother, and quickly learn that she’s not alone. Apparently a bunch of Phorians are hiding there with her.
- Lena, prepared to be more successful with this test of the portal, realizes that she’s sad, because if the portal works, that means Rhea is leaving. Rhea: “You are a marvel, Lena.”
- Alex is able to track Rhea’s location and Team Supergirl goes after her. Rhea, meanwhile, as she tells Lena that despite everything, their relationship is real, she turns the portal all the way up and programs it so it can’t be shut down, much to Lena’s surprise.
- Meanwhile, Winn’s device can only contain two Phorians, not the several that are gathered. All their eyes start glowing purple. Uh-oh. Since the Phorians link telepathically like Martians do, James believes that if he can break through to Marcus as a friend, then he can help reach the others.
- Supergirl, Mon-El, and J’onn arrive at the lab to discover that Rhea had turned up the portal. She beats up Supergirl, and controls J’onn with a piece of White Martian technology designed to keep Green Martians subservient by locking them inside their own minds. Mon-El then decides to try and step up by whipping out a gun and asking her how much she’s learned about Earth, and if she knew that Daxumites aren’t bulletproof on this planet. However, he can’t bring himself to do it.
- James breaks through to Marcus, who then de-escalates the rest of the Phorians. Winn commends James, “That is a hero without a suit!”
- The DEO starts picking up several spaceships. Hundreds. Maybe even thousands. They’re all coming through the portal. They’re all Daxumite ships, and their passengers need a new home. Rhea watches with pride and says “Welcome to New Daxum.”
S2, EP. 20 – THE REVIEW
Finally, FINALLY, they figured out something to do with James, and this is the kind of story I’ve been wanting for him since Season One of this show! As you all know, I have not been thrilled with the whole Guardian thing, but the show has managed to redirect James back to a place where he’s considering the wider implications of what it means to be a hero, ie: it’s not just about beating people up. While I’m not sure how I feel about his need to be a “beacon of hope” (is this about actually helping people, or about being recognized as a hero?), I love the way he bonds with Marcus in this episode. Their relationship both speaks to the healing power of friendship as well as to the implications of a little black boy feeling the most comfortable when talking to someone who looks like him. I love this side of James, and I hope to see it more.
It looks like we might see it more, as Marcus and his mother (as well as the rest of the Phorians) may figure into this New Daxum storyline as they are members of an alien race that responds so dramatically to the portal whenever it is used. I’m thrilled that, for the first time in a long time, an episode of Supergirl has ended without tying the Problem-of-the-Week up with a neat little bow. Rhea continues to be fascinating, and I love that her solution for Mon-El is that, if her son won’t come to the people, she’ll bring the people to her son.
Lastly, Lena continues to get better, and I am heartbroken for her now, because here she had a woman she thought could be her mentor, someone who would encourage and respect her as a scientist, but now that woman is also a ruthless alien queen. As always, Katie McGrath’s performance was fantastic.
The title of this episode is “City of Lost Children,” and so we got to see many of our heroes dealing with being lost: Marcus without his mother, James without a purpose, Mon-El wrestling with his feelings about his mother, and all the surviving Daxumites . The one thing that I thought was missing was connecting that theme to Kara, someone who obviously understands what it means to be a child without parents, or without a home. They kind of just let that go in this episode, and it was a missed opportunity.
Still, “City of Lost Children” is one of the best episodes of this sesason! What did you think? Let’s chat about it in the comments below!
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8PM ET/PT on The CW.
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