Supergirl, Season 2, Episode 11, “The Martian Chronicles”
This week, Supergirl tried its hardest to disguise the fact it was putting on a filler episode. It nearly pulled it off, except for the ending that was a little too reminiscent of a classic episode of The Simpsons.
Kara took a back seat in her own show (because she’s nice like that), for some development about M’gann, who after last week is a marked Martian and is being hunted down by her own people, the genocidal White Martians.
Thankfully the show doesn’t waste a lot of time getting to the action. After a little bit of Kara’s Creek setup featuring awkward banter between Kara and Mon-El, it’s straight to a three-way Martian back-alley brawl between J’onn, M’gann and M’gann’s dirtbag ex-husband. Kara joins in the fun to crack wise and shoot laser beams from her eyes.
The awkward encounter with Mon-El has left Kara less than her chipper self. It doesn’t help her mood that the people she’s closest to don’t seem to have time for her any more. Alex is busy being in love with Maggie and going to Barenaked Ladies concerts instead of celebrating Kara’s 13th “Earth Birthday.” Winn is too busy being Team Guardian, which frustrates and worries Kara all at the same time.
Back in the primary plot, M’gann wants to go on the run again to protect the people she likes and the Earth in general from rampaging White Martians. J’onn and the DEO offer sanctuary, M’Gann accepts and the search for the ex-husband begins when another M’gann comes down the stairs of DEO HQ.
J’onn seals the building which gives us a good ol’ fashioned Mexican standoff in a sealed room with telepathic shape-changing aliens, just like grandma used to make. (Note to Winn, you are confounded why you are the mayor of the Friend Zone, yet your first “how intimately do you know me” question for the woman you have feelings for is about your scented candle preferences. That stuff gets you locked in the Friend Zone 4-EVA.)
The standoff doesn’t last very long, since the Green Martians had a flame test to ferret out the White Martians who infiltrated their ranks back in the day. The two redshirts who were busy pointing guns at each other pass easily, but – surprise!! – it’s Winn who fails the test. So Not-Winn tears the place up a little, then runs off to put the building’s nuclear reactor on a 15-minute self-destruct timer.
It takes a strong psychic link for such a canny impersonation, which means the real Winn, who is the only one who can stop the explosion, is somewhere in the building. The team splits up to search. Despite the fact they are literally in a race against time the paring of Kara and Alex, as well as the duo of J’onn and M’gann, take five minutes to talk about their feelings. Luckily, Winn drools in his sleep or the Martians would have never have discovered he was duct taped to the ceiling, because they were too busy navel gazing.
They also uncover an unconscious Alex, which means the person Kara has been baring her soul to is another White Martian infiltrator. More tough talk and fistfights ensue before the day is eventually saved.
Up until this point, it’s been a perfectly acceptable episode: decent action and all-right character development, especially M’gann, who they went to great lengths to flesh out.
It’s in these last few minutes that this episode screwed the pooch. Well, more like Poochie from The Simpsons to be exact. Remember when Poochie was written out of Itchy and Scratchy, saying he had to return to his home planet and was removed from frame? Just add in an awkward declaration of love from J’onn first, and you’ve got the exact same scene on Supergirl.
The show spends an entire episode making M’gann more interesting, only to have her leave Earth for an uncertain fate back on Mars. That, my friends, is how you undermine an otherwise serviceable episode of TV.
The show wraps with Alex and Kara bonding over food for the first time in a while, before Kara decides to explore the romantic possibilities Mon-El has to offer. Of course, men are dogs in any galaxy, because now that Mon-El thinks that romance with Kara isn’t an option, he’s now on a mission to shag Miss Tessmacher.
In every series, an episode must land with a thud. It’s frustrating when a show spends time developing an underused character, only to kill or write them off at the end of the same episode. Let’s hope Supergirl stays away from any more items in the well-worn bag of TV tricks.