Supergirl Recap: Maggie and J’onn Discover That Apples Do Fall “Far From the Tree”
This week’s Supergirl laid off Kara a little bit, giving her room to breathe as the story shifted over to Maggie and J’onn, each of whom had to face blasts from their pasts. Alex and Maggie have a bridal shower, giving Maggie the perfect reason to try to get back in touch with her estranged father. Meanwhile, Supergirl accompanies J’onn to Mars to help the White Martian resistance, led by M’gann. Welcome to Season 3, Episode 3, “Far From the Tree.”
**THIS IS A RECAP – SPOILERS ARE PART OF THE TERRITORY.**
S3, EP. 3 – THE RECAP
- As Alex and Kara prepare Kara’s apartment for Alex and Maggie’s bridal shower (and Eliza’s insistence on cheesy games), J’onn arrives, alerting them that M’gann has summoned him to Mars, and he intends to go and help her, leaving the DEO in their hands. Kara, however, insists that she won’t let him go alone. They leave together.
- J’onn brings Supergirl to his ship, which looks like a swank 1950s car. They get in and fly off, the car resuming its ship-like appearance in the air. Apparently, his ship has been hidden in disguise in a garage, TARDIS-style. I’m not mad. That car looked awesome.
- Eliza, Alex, and Maggie have dinner, and Maggie tells the full story of why her family is no longer in her life. When her parents heard that she told a girl in school that she liked her, her mother wouldn’t speak to her, and her father packed a bag for her, put her in the car, and drove her to her aunt’s house, where she would end up living. Her parents didn’t even want to look at her anymore.
- When J’onn and Supergirl arrive on Mars and meet up with M’gann and the rest of her resistance, they learn that J’onn isn’t the only Green Martian left alive. HIS FATHER MYR’NN (Carl Lumbly) IS STILL ALIVE, having been kept captive and tortured by the White Martians for centuries rather than slaughtered, because he is a top religious leader, and even White Martians can’t bring themselves to kill priests?
- M’gann sent for J’onn, because the White Martians have discovered the location of an ancient and powerful weapon, the Staff of Kalar, which according to their religious texts, belonged to the Martian god, H’ronmeer. If they get their hands on it, the resistance is as good as over. However, the Whites left Myr’nn behind when they went off to find the staff, not knowing that Myr’nn knows where the staff is. Myr’nn, however, has been protecting his mind against the Whites for centuries, and he doesn’t trust the resistance, so M’gann and the resistance hope that J’onn can get in his head and discover the location of the staff so they can get to it first.
- Alex comforts Maggie after she shared greater detail about her dad. Maggie takes a moment to let Alex know that, despite what her father did, he was an amazing father to her before that and has been through so much. Alex suggests that Maggie reach out and invite him to their bridal shower, but Maggie is very resistant.
- When J’onn first goes in to talk to Myr’nn, Myr’nn doesn’t believe that J’onn is his son. After centuries of White Martian shape-shifty tricks, Myr’nn assumes it’s another one of those. What’s worse, when J’onn insists that he is who he says, and talks about how he survived and fled to Earth, his dad guilt-trips him hard saying “You give yourself away. My son would never have fled.” Ouch.
- In the middle of the night, Maggie calls her father inviting him to the shower. He seems to agree. Alex looks on, lovingly.
- The rest of the White Martian resistance is getting impatient and afraid, as the rest of the White Martians get ever closer to wherever the staff is. One young man, Till’all (Dewshane Williams), suggests that it might be time to evoke the right of Tiagar, or delving into a Martian’s mind against their will, which could kill them. Supergirl insists that there must be another way, but if time runs out, J’onn agrees to get the information however he can.
- Later, J’onn is saddened by what his father thinks of him. Kara comforts him, reminding him that he’s dedicated his life to making sure that Earth doesn’t ever suffer Mars’ fate.
- Maggie meets up with her dad, Oscar Rodas (Carlos Bernard), and is surprised to learn that he’s been following her career proudly. She tells him that he was the one who taught her that “the key to most mysteries is in the mundane.”
- J’onn attempts to connect with his father again, but his father is just as disbelieving as he was before. They talk about the story of Deimos and Phobos, the two sons of H’ronmeer. H’ronmeer asks them to choose to wield either a book of symbols, or the Staff of Kalar. Phobos chooses the staff, and H’ronmeer is furious that his son would choose destruction over knowledge. He banished Phobos underground, and Phobos became the first White Martian, eventually coming out of the ground as many to kill the Green Martians. Myr’nn refuses to allow the staff to be used to kill again.
- Hearing this, Till’all attempts a mutiny against M’gann for their own good, with the intent of forcing the location of the staff out of Myr’nn’s head. Supergirl slows him down, however, and gets J’onn and his father away from there.
- J’onn leads them to his childhood home, hoping to convince his father that he’s really his son. But Myr’nn still doesn’t believe, and is also offended that this White Martian is not only impersonating his dead son, but dragging him back to a place that reminds him of the family he lost.
- It’s the day of the bridal shower, and the Barenaked Ladies tunes are pumpin‘! Mr. Rodas arrives, and meets Alex. He provides a child photo of Maggie for Alex’s bride board. At first, he seems to be super-chill and really making an effort. However, the second he sees Maggie kiss Alex, he high-tails it out of there.
- Maggie follows him out, and he gives her a speech about his past as the only Mexican trying to make a living in an all-white town, eventually working his way up to sheriff while dealing with the hardships that come with racism and poverty. He says that the only thing they hate more than a Mexican is a homosexual. When Maggie insists that times are different now, her dad brings up the talk of a wall. Basically, he thinks she’s throwing her life away by actively being one too many things that people hate, and he doesn’t want to watch. He walks away.
- Back on Mars, Kara tries to talk to Myr’nn, connecting with him over the fact that she comes from a dead people, just like he does. She asks him to think about the fact that H’ronmeer tests us, and that this is another test, one that is asking him to put saving his planet for those who want to do better than those who came before ahead of the continued mourning of his own people.
- He allows J’onn into his mind, and J’onn shares with him his favorite memory in that house: a birthday memory in which his daughters tried to hide the surprise that Myr’nn took off work to surprise J’onn for his birthday. It was a sweet memory, and true. Myr’nn knows this is real and FINALLY BELIEVES. He hugs J’onn and agrees to help by taking them to where the staff is.
- The White Martians have already gotten to the staff, but before they can do anything with it, Supergirl pulls up in J’onn’s 1950s Swagmobile blasting Britney Spears’ “… One More Time.” It’s an awesome moment, watching her distract the White Martians by asking for directions back to Earth as the resistance arrives.
- MARTIAN FIGHT. Eventually, J’onn gets into his car, turns it back into a ship, and shoots down all the bad White Martians while Supergirl retrieves the staff, disintegrating some White Martians in the process. M’gann and the resistance celebrate a victory!
- Till’all recommends that J’onn and Supergirl take the staff back with them to Earth, as it’s so powerful that neither side should have it. He says, “If we’re going to win this fight, we have to be better than them.” J’onn is impressed. M’gann will continue to live on Mars, as the fight is far from over, but what about Myr’nn …?
- Maggie follows her dad to the bus station to return the childhood photo of her he left. She thanks him for giving her an important gift: “You showed me that I’m not that scared little girl anymore.” His arrival now proved to Maggie that she doesn’t need his approval anymore, because her life is full of enough support and love to render him unnecessary. Now, she walks away from him.
- Later, Maggie is telling Alex what happened, and she kisses her, telling her that she is all the family she needs. Alex brings up the fact that this new perspective might mean that Maggie might change her mind about other things, too. Maggie insists that she doesn’t see kids as part of their future and says that Alex needs to decide if she feels the same way or not. Alex says she does, of course she does … but does she, though?
- J’onn and Supergirl bring Myr’nn to Earth, providing a sweet family reunion and a future full of father-son bonding. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer Martian.
S3, EP. 3 – THE REVIEW
This week’s episode was a lot less intense than the first two this season, but it still plumbed some emotional depths, and I thought it a wise move to focus on characters other than Kara for an episode. I thought it an interesting choice to pair Maggie’s and J’onn’s storylines in this way, as they are both dealing with complicated relationships with their fathers, and having forcibly left home.
Of the two storylines, I thought the Mars story was more successful. Call me a sucker for revolution, but I loved seeing M’gann and her band of merry revolutionaries fighting in the face of oppression against their own kind. The conflict of J’onn’s father at first not believing him, then not wanting to believe him for fear of getting hurt all over again was beautifully executed. It also firmly remained about J’onn, while Supergirl did what she does best: she related to Myr’nn by talking to him, giving him the space and calm to trust his son.
She’s really good at that. Talking is actually Supergirl’s best superpower.
Meanwhile, Maggie’s story seemed a little more “after-school special.” We knew that Maggie was headed for some kinda self-acceptance moment, which is great. It’s an important message, don’t get me wrong, but there was nothing about it to really make it unique and special.
Actually there is one thing, but it wasn’t used as effectively as it could’ve been. As Mr. Rodas was giving his speech about being Mexican, and Maggie asks “What does that have to do with [me being a lesbian]?” I thought for a split second that Mr. Rodas was going to reveal that he wasn’t upset now because of his daughter’s sexuality. He was upset that she was marrying a white girl.
The way he was talking about those white boys that made his life miserable, I was sure that we were not only going to get a little bit of a surprise here in that motivation flip, but that we’d get an opportunity to examine Latinx issues in a more complicated way than mere “immigration.” Examining things like assimilation, colonization, and preserving one’s culture through Maggie’s relationship with her dad and her relationship with Alex would’ve been fascinating. It could’ve been made more fascinating considering her insistence on not having kids. Could that have something to do with her rebelling against the idea of starting a “big, Latinx family?” Or perhaps dealing with the fact that any family she’d have with Alex would be “half.”
The more I thought about it, the more I saw this as a missed opportunity on Supergirl‘s part. While the show has made an effort to have a diverse cast of characters (even if the actors they employ aren’t as diverse as they should be), they’re not using that inclusion as effectively as they could be in their storytelling.
“Far From the Tree” was a solid episode, but not quite as strong as the first two episodes of the season. Still, I love J’onn episodes, and I’m looking forward to seeing how his relationship with his father, who’s a total Earth newbie, will progress.
What did you think? Were you into “Far From the Tree?” Let’s chat about it in the comments below!
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8PM ET/PT on The CW.
(image: Dean Buscher/The CW)
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