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With “Of Two Minds,” Supergirl Teaches Us That Yoda Was Wrong

Supergirl -- "Of Two Minds" -- Pictured: Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

In an increasingly polarized world, we’re taught that we have to choose sides. Us vs. them. This vs. that. Or, as Supergirl reminds us in “Of Two Minds,” the old Yoda quote “Do or do not. There is no try.” Moderation and flexibility are seen as weaknesses. Yet, in this week’s episode, we learn that there’s inherent value in the attempt, regardless of the result, and that sometimes the stronger and smarter move is to not be so insistent about “sticking to your guns.” **SPOILERS, YO.**

For those of you who need a refresher, here’s the official plot synopsis for “Of Two Minds” from The CW:

SUPERGIRL AND IMRA MUST WORK TOGETHER TO STOP THE THIRD WORLDKILLER — Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and Imra (guest star Amy Jackson) have different ideas on how to stop the third Worldkiller, Pestilence. However, when both Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Winn (Jeremy Jordan) are seriously injured by Pestilence, Supergirl and Imra team up to stop the destruction.

The main point of conflict during this episode is the one described above between Supergirl and Imra. Supergirl’s plan for when she finds Pestilence is to handle her the way she handled Julia/Purity: connect with the human side of the equation and save her. Imra’s approach is vastly different.

She wants to kill Pestilence, human component or no.

It’s interesting to see Imra, who up until now has basically been this serene ray of sunlight be pushed right up against her ethical line. We learn in this episode that her sister is killed by the Blight in the future, and so she has a desperate, personal need to do whatever it takes to stop Pestilence and prevent her sister’s death, and the deaths of millions more.

But Supergirl doesn’t kill. Neither does Imra, really, except just in this one case, but Supergirl reminds her that when you have a moral and ethical code that you live by, you don’t get to pick and choose when you live by it. You either do or you don’t.

Do, or do not. There is no try.

Imra is absolutely determined to kill Pestilence, saying that she’s from the future and knows what Supergirl’s approach accomplishes: nothing. Left to her own devices, Supergirl loses, and Pestilence escape, eventually becoming the Blight. Imra will not let that happen, and she’s willing to go behind Supergirl’s and everyone else’s back if she has to in order to get the job done.

Supergirl -- "Of Two Minds" -- Image Number: SPG316b_0419.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Chyler Leigh as Alex, Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl, Chris Wood as Mon-El and Amy Jackson as Imra Ardeen/Saturn Girl -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

There were some things about each of them in this episode that bugged me. For example, as long as Supergirl is quoting bastions of sci-fi wisdom, what about Spock in Star Trek: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Imra has a point in that one life might be worth sacrificing to save millions.

But Imra annoyed me, too, mostly because whenever there’s time travel, the “rules” are ever in flux. Imra says that she’s here in this time, because she knows that whatever Supergirl does on her own doesn’t work. But how does she know that it isn’t her going to the past and interfering with Supergirl that causes the failure?

As it is, that’s kind of what happens. Supergirl tries talking Grace out of Pestilence…and it doesn’t work. Imra tries killing Pestilence…and that doesn’t work either. Oh, and by the way, Supergirl’s “fix” with Julia wasn’t long-term. Pestilence escapes, because neither Supergirl nor Imra counted on the Worldkillers making their way to each other to make each other stronger.

Funny how we learn the best lesson from the villains of this story: it’s not about staying true to your approach no matter what. It’s about staying flexible, relying on others, and doing what’s needed in the moment, rather than adhering to hypotheticals. In the end, Supergirl and Imra agree to work together to stop the Worldkillers, because the future is uncharted territory, time travel or no, and they’ll need each other’s expertise to deal with problems as they arise.

Supergirl -- "Of Two Minds" -- Pictured (L-R): Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor and Odette Annable as Samantha Arias/Reign -© 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

While Supergirl and Imra fight each other, there are a couple of battles going on at L Corp. The main one, of course, is Sam doing her best to fend off Reign’s complete control of her mind as Lena studies Reign to discover how she is triggered. In the alternate dimension where they can both exist and talk to each other, Reign offers Sam freedom and power, two things of which Sam has very little. Yet, Sam doesn’t want it. She doesn’t want to abandon Ruby, or give into Reign’s “temptation.”

However, this isn’t the only battle Sam is fighting. As the episode progresses, she also ends up fighting Lena. Obviously, Lena has the best intentions and cares very deeply about Sam. However, Lena also refuses to accept help. There comes a point where Sam, having had Reign threaten Ruby’s life, begs Lena to get help in her work, because it doesn’t look as though she’ll be able to  do it alone.

Lena disagrees, saying that in order to protect Sam from being villainized along with Reign, and risking the U.S. Government apprehending her to poke and prod and dissect her for research, she can’t share Sam’s whereabouts or situation until she can absolutely prove that she can shut Reign down.

What she’s not considering is that not only is it possible that Lena might not be able to figure this out on her own, but that the longer she keeps Sam and the work they’re doing a secret, the more time she’s giving Reign to get stronger…or get rescued, which is what happens.

At the end of the episode, the other Worldkillers are able to spring Reign from L Corp, but not before the DEO is alerted to their approach and Supergirl, J’onn, Mon-El, and Imra arrive to try and stop them (and get their asses handed to them), finally learning that Sam is Reign.

Supergirl -- "Of Two Minds" -- Pictured (L-R): Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor and Odette Annable as Samantha Arias/Reign -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

I’m convinced that Sam allowed Reign to take over in order to force Lena’s hand in accepting help, and ultimately, to protect Ruby.

Throughout the episode, we hear about how strong Sam is in resisting. Even Reign is impressed. We see her in action, telling Reign she has no interest in the power she’s being offered. When Reign threatens Ruby’s life, Sam comes out of it and begs Lena to accept help. Lena insists that she can’t. Sam is in full, terrified, Mama Bear mode.

Then, the next time we see Sam, she’s back to being Reign, and she’s attracting the Worldkillers to her location. Unbeknownst to her and Lena, Supergirl, J’onn, and the Legionnaires were able to track the other Worldkillers to L Corp. However, I think that Sam must have known, having Reign inside her, that she would be able to reach out to the other Worldkillers if she let Reign have control. Calling the other Worldkillers would certainly draw Alex’s and Supergirl’s attention, which is what Sam wanted.

I believe that Sam was being heroic here, and embodying the thing that everyone else had a problem doing throughout the episode. She was willing to try Lena’s solution, but also willing to change course as the situation changed, even if it meant sacrificing control.

“Sticking to your guns” only works until it doesn’t. Then, you have to figure something else out. Hopefully, Sam’s gamble will pay off now that Supergirl, the DEO, and the Legion are all involved.

Random Thoughts: 

  • When did Winn and James’ friendship become the star of the show?? Jeremy Jordan and Mehcad Brooks’ scene together as Winn worried that he might not live to accomplish all the things he wanted to do was heartbreaking and beautiful. I love how their friendship has evolved.
  • Katie McGrath and Odette Annable’s performances were also top-notch in this episode. Friendship is where it’s at, you guys.
  • The humor in this episode fell flat. Millennial and Freddy Kreuger jokes are not where it’s at.

What did you think of this week’s Supergirl? And do you agree that Sam let Reign take over on purpose? Let’s talk about it below!

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8:00PM ET on The CW.

(image: Dean Buscher/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.