BWW Recap: SUPERGIRL Meets a Villain She Can't Punch in 'American Alien'
After a torturous summer break, Fall is here and with it - a new episode of Supergirl.
We left National City last season with Winn leaving 2018 for the future he is hell-bent on saving with his ingenuity. In reality, actor Jeremy Jordan said farewell to his series regular role to come back home to Broadway and we're all awash with excitement for him and sadness that our favorite SuperNerd is lightyears away.
The episode opens as SUPERGIRL performs mundane acts of heroism as she rescues a little girl's balloon and returns a stolen painting (there's only so much a superhero can do without their nerdy sidekick). Things get a little more interesting as she flies across the border to Kasnia (unfortunately, planes won't fly to this fictional DC Comics country) and stops a train from flying off of broken tracks. Is crime that down in the United States?
While asking a question about the Amnesty Act Anniversary to President Marsdin, Kara makes the mistake of saying, "I feel like I finally have everything under control." Because that always ends well...
With Winn gone, there's even more time to shine on the female-heavy cast of the show. Director Danvers had a really nice ring to it during the season three finale, but it's not getting old no matter how many times it's said. This season is Alex's chance to shine as the capable leader she's proven herself to be and it's a fresh change to see a woman in charge of the DEO (she certainly has the support of the President).
Just when you think you've seen everything - people chopping off fingers and retinas to gain access to buildings, someone has to go and cut off an alien tusk to carry out a high-level robbery. But like most plots in Supergirl, there's more to the story and a whole lot of metaphor.
Supergirl shines the brightest when characters and plots are used as eye-openers for problems we face in our society. Kara - who wants to believe the best in people - is convinced that acceptance for aliens is on the rise. She chooses to hope. She needs to hope to keep fighting. But Kara is an alien that looks like a blond haired blue eyed human, as J'onn points out as he pleads with her to acknowledge the pattern of hate crimes. She doesn't have tusks or scales and if she did, National City might not be so quick to TRUST her. There were a few times - even with her human appearance - where she faced vitriolic hatred.
National City is facing an uprising of fear and panic against a massive number of its alien population because as has been recorded throughout history time and time again, people tend to respond to differences with violence. But unlike all of Supergirl's former tangible villains, this insidious wave of paranoia, aggression, and speciesism isn't something she can fight with a swift kick or heat vision.
Hate crimes aren't always carried out by a masked villain - they're the unassuming PTA moms, the sweet neighbor who bakes you cookies, and the coworker always quick to laugh at your jokes. SUPERGIRL comes to realize this as she unravels the various crimes she was desperate to reveal were unrelated. She just didn't connect the dots in time to prevent a massive secret from getting out - a secret that gives our new masked villain, Agent Liberty, the perfect platform to RISE up and incite mass hysteria.
But as President Marsdin said, "a leader who caves to fear is no leader at all."
Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW