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Here’s Hoping Supergirl Leaves Behind Being This Boring “For Good”

image: Diyah Pera/The CW Supergirl -- "For Good" Pictured (L-R): Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor and Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

image: Diyah Pera/The CW

Last night, The CW’s Supergirl left a little something to be desired. Like, you know, things like being interesting? Or having conflict in a plot rather than just having everything be way too solvable? Ah, well. The season’s been mostly stellar, so we were bound to get to a dud eventually. Welcome to Season Three, Episode 12, “For Good.”

Here’s the official synopsis from The CW:

MORGAN EDGE THREATENS LENA — Someone tries to kill Morgan Edge (guest star Adrian Pasdar) and he barely survives. He accuses Lena (Katie McGrath) of being behind the attempt and vows to destroy her. When Lena fears her hatred for Morgan will take her to the Luthor dark side, Kara (Melissa Benoist) steps in to help her friend. Meanwhile, after Sam (Odette Annable) realizes she’s losing time, she confides in Alex (Chyler Leigh) who decides to run some medical tests to see if she can find out what’s going on with her new friend.

Dude villains are just never as good on this show. Corporate dude villains? They’re the worst. Maxwell Lord being the “Big Bad” of Season One? Yawn. It’s funny then that Lord got name-checked in this episode, since Morgan Edge is totally his heir-apparent in boredom.

image: Diyah Pera/The CW Supergirl -- "For Good" Pictured (L-R): Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor, Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and Adrian Pasdar as Morgan Edge -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Luthor Darkness

So, Edge tried to kill Lena, and Lena tried to kill him. Why? Because rich people reasons, that’s why. But all should’ve been done and over with, and they could’ve seethed in private hatred of each other for all eternity…until Lena’s mother, Lillian, decided to take matters into her own hands to “protect” her baby girl by making attempts on Edge’s life, “forcing” Lena to stop her.

Now, I actually really like Lena’s relationship with her mother and seeing that explored. It’s complicated and interesting. My problem with how it played out here is that Lena already knew that she didn’t want to be responsible for Edge’s death. She told her mother as much. And yet, when Lillian begged for the chance, Lena nodded, giving her permission … only to go to Kara to tell her how she needs to stop her mother.

And for what? To give Lena the opportunity to realize that she’s not as “dark” as the rest of the Luthor family? She already knew that. Lena permitting her mother to go after Edge struck me less like the decision of a flawed, unsure character, and more like a writer’s room needing something to happen in order to preserve a character revelation for later.

I’ve never been a fan of this continual insecurity, on Lena’s part, about “becoming” a Luthor. To me, she’s always seemed clear about where the line is, and on those occasions when she has made questionable decisions, it’s always been in the interest of helping people, and the conflict came from figuring out the best way to do that, not from a desire to cause anyone harm.

There’s plenty of natural conflict that can arise, either from Lena’s interests conflicting with the interests of others with different opinions on how to better the city (as it originally did with Edge, before things got violent), or from people assuming things about Lena because of her last name. There’s no reason to have Lena go looking for “darkness” within herself just to take the long way around to the place she she should have started in the first place: reliant on her wit and intelligence, the one Luthor family trait she did inherit.

I did love, however, when Lillian was captured, and this exchange happened:

LENA: One day, you’ll understand there’s a different way of doing things.

LILLIAN: Well, you can enlighten me when you visit me in prison…if I’m still there.

And then she winks, and Lena gives her this look like Oh, you! Lena is nothing like her mother, and yet I love there’s just enough love, or at least familial loyalty there that she can eyeroll her mother going to prison, because that’s just a thing that happens.

image: Diyah Pera/The CW Supergirl -- "For Good" Pictured: Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Supergirl Was Barely In It

One of the episode’s biggest disappointments was that Kara/Supergirl was barely in it. Yes, she helped save and protect Lena several times (including one time where she risked revealing her secret identity in order to do so), but she wasn’t really driving the action or the investigation. While I’m all about supporting characters taking the spotlight sometimes, the show is called Supergirl, and we expect her to play the largest role in solving the problem.

In one overwrought, political moment that attempted to (very) loosely connect the goings-on in the episode to America IRL, J’onn talks to Kara about how the world is all about escalating behavior these days, and that everything is “us vs. them.” He then tells Kara, “There is great power in being the calm at the center of the storm,” implying that she is the best equipped to be that calm for others.

Yet we don’t really get to see her do that in a way that makes a difference in this episode. It’s Lena who eventually calms herself when she decides to stop her mother. It’s Lena who comes up with the plan and, for the most part, executes it. Kara’s basically there this whole episode to go “Yeah!” and “You’re right!”

Oh, and to have a random, coincidentally helpful, shoehorned in vision of Worldkillers that helps out at the end of the episode.

image: Diyah Pera/The CW Supergirl -- "For Good" -- Pictured: Mehcad Brooks as Guardian/James Olsen -© 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Oh Wait, There Were Other People In This Episode, Too? 

  • I thought we were done with Guardian? Weren’t we done with Guardian? *sigh* If he’s sticking around, can he at least not be Avenging Boyfriend, please? This is the last show that would benefit from a dude going behind his girlfriend’s back to threaten other guys who threaten her.
  • So, Alex really only needed to be in this episode to be a doctor for Sam, going through a whole rigmarole of medical tests…that found nothing. We already know that Sam is a Worldkiller, so they really need to make her discovery of this fact more interesting than they’ve been doing so far.
  • It also makes no sense to me that Alex isn’t already suspecting something alien or metahuman-related. She lives in a world with aliens and metahumans in it, and she knows it. She works at the DEO, the Department of Extranormal Operations. You’d think she would’ve been simultaneously looking into extranormal causes even as she’s testing for things like cancer.

Well, as you can tell, I was less-than-thrilled with this week’s episode. But I’m curious to know what you all thought. Sound off in the comments below!

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8PM ET/PT until February 5th, when it will go on hiatus again until April 16th in the same time slot on The CW.

(image: Diyah Pera/The CW)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.