To address the first point, the fact a second season was announced makes way for all kinds of speculation for characters (I wrote a piece myself and it can be found here on ENR) but it also means that now the last two episodes of the season matter even more because of the way creatives tend to box themselves in when they don’t know there is more coming. As to the episode itself strap in. I did the whole breakdown.
When we last left National City Non had activated the Myriad weapon created by Astra, the very weapon that got her sent to prison on Krypton itself. We learned Jimmy Olsen was in its thrall as well as an entire city marching under command, time is of the essence.
So let’s get this monkey smoking…
*******SPOILERS AHEAD LIKE TOAD IN AN OPERATING ROOM***********
SYNOPSIS from TVGuide.com
April 11, 2016
Kara must devise a way to free her friends when Non and Indigo employ mind control to turn all of National City's citizens into their own army.
What They Didn’t Tell You
In the opening sequence we see Lucy Lane under the control of Non and the Myriad. She is instructed to release the prisoners at the DEO except the White Martian whom even Non is afraid of. We see Lucy free Maxima, who mentions her attempted betrothal to Superman before being stopped by Supergirl. She also manages to keep the other captives in custody.
Kara flies to the fortress of solitude and after some cajoling learns that Myriad is a mind control weapon and she tried to use it on Krypton. When Astra reveals that it cannot be undone and the robot says Superman is off world Kara returns to the CatCo Building (as Supergirl of course) and informs General Lane to keep outside the city limits.
Then to her surprise finds two others unaffected by the mind control Cat Grant and the electronically protected Max Lord (who sent Cat protective diamond earrings). After comparing notes and seeing the late to arrive Superman is affected by the weapon -The Man of Steel lands and walks to the beat of the droning Myriad – Max, Cat and Supergirl realize Non hijacked Max’s satellite and Max has a way to stop them but Kara and Cat are against it.
Then Non arrives and mind controls James, Winn and another office employee to commit suicide and Kara can only save two. It breaks her heart; it makes her listen to Max’s plan. A Kryptonite bomb to kill all the Kryptonians and only about 300, 000 people. But Kara knows that there is always another way besides killing and she resists. But each moment she fears that only Max’s solution can work.
But Cat Grant puts the whole world in perspective, and she inspires Supergirl to be better than her enemies and her allies. She discovers a way to defeat Non with hope not fear. She decides that the people of National City are greater than the weapon used against them. They convince Max Lord to go along with it. They are going to pirate the signals going to the city’s populace. They go to an older station that Cat owns.
But Non has restored Brainiac 6 and Indigo wants more than one world. She wants the universe. She has decided Kara Zor-El.
Alex and J’onn arrive after a lot of heat at the Danvers household much to her mom’s dismay. She explains J’onn, the death of her dad and their situation as her mom enlightens them as to the fate of National City. So they decide to return together under the protection of J’onn’s telepathy. But Indigo ambushes them, injures J’onn (maybe killed him) and captures a now enthralled Alex.
As Kara leaves the studio to investigate a hunch, she sees Alex, dressed head to toe in Kryptonite armor and wielding the same sword that killed her Aunt. Non, speaking through the mind controlled Alex, says either fight and kill your sister or die by her hand.
It is the conversation that has enflamed the internet for years now. The necessary use of deadly force by someone who is wearing the S shield of the Superman Family and whether or not it should be employed has dominated and divided the culture since Man of Steel. In this episode of Supergirl, the creatives state their position clearly and fearlessly by using both sides of the argument as articulately and as detailed as it may have ever been discussed before.
Saving it for a two-part season finale is genius and it only makes sense to have this conversation after Kara has found her voice at the end of the season where voice and identity were the constants in the narrative. We see in Myriad the very best arguments for collateral damage and how when exercised by a hero whose greatest weapon is inspiration and hope that the second the hero sullies herself her greatest weapon is gone. In the Superman family (and on Supergirl for sure) there is always another way. The way that doesn’t take life but preserves it.
The staple of this show is the very bread and butter of the Superman mythos, and that is victory comes in method as well as the results and for the heroes who wear the crest it is not the hero who is interesting it is the cast who is inspired to be better than they are because of her. So when the hero is the most vulnerable it is the people she inspires that inspire her. That gives her the strength to do what needs to be done, the optimal, the plan where no one dies. While the final episode of the season airs next it is clear that this show has had a tone of hope and light and Kara will find a way without killing her sister, thousands of humans or even her Kryptonian enemies. There is room in a DEO cell for them.
Watch the Cat Grant speech. Watch it again. That is why we don’t kill.
Supergirl is one small installment away from having the best first season of any superhero television show not on Netflix. It is perfectly written, characterized and acted. It isn’t afraid of virtue and is proud to be a Superman title. Any fan of classic Superman will like this but what is more is that fans of Superman not usually inclined to Supergirl can both enjoy the legacy of classic Superman and have brand new adventures with a character they may have overlooked.