REVIEW: Supergirl, S3E3 – Far From The Tree

This week’s Supergirl was all about family and how we are bonded to ours no matter how “Far From The Tree” we may fall, as the title implies. The main familial relationships in question were J’onn (David Harewood) and his father M’yrnn (guest star Carl Lumbly), as well as Maggie (Floriana Lima) and her father (guest star Carlos Bernard) – and they were both very contentious dynamics. The episode didn’t leave much room to explore other storylines, but thankfully Kara (Melissa Benoist) still got a few moments to shine.

Good father.

To start off on a happier note, the Martian plot was full of emotions and unexpected turns. While it’s hard to imagine that the Resistance could make so much forward movement in a single day, Supergirl obviously can’t spend much time on another planet. So we must make do with the goodies we received this week. J’onn and M’gann (guest star Sharon Leal) had a touching reunion, but the crux of “Far From The Tree” really rested with M’yrnn. He was the key to the Resistance’s efforts, because he knew the location of a mystical staff that served as a powerful psychic weapon. Unfortunately he was resistant to J’onn’s attempts at communication at first. This was perfectly understandable, seeing as the man has been held prisoner for hundreds of years and believed his son to be dead, but it was still undeniably heartbreaking. It hurt even more to hear M’yrnn spew insults at the supposed-false J’onn (such as suggesting his real son would never be cowardly enough to flee Mars). Which is why it was so important for Kara to be there as J’onn’s emotional support.

Kara did more than give good pep talks, she also led the charge against the White Martians once father and son recognized each other fully – and she did so using Britney Spears! The action sequence that ensued was well-directed and a lot of fun, but the best scene of the night belonged to the telepathic mind meld that allowed M’yrnn to trust in J’onn. I dare you not to shed a tear while the visions of J’onn’s daughters and sounds of their laughter fill the room. Aside from the touching family reunion, Mars was filled with tension in the ranks of Resistance members and incredibly high stakes. By the end, though, it really felt like progress had been made, and like Kara and J’onn had helped change the planet for the next generation. If I have one complaint, it’s that M’gann did not get a proper goodbye… Hopefully that’s because she’ll be back soon. For now, J’onn bringing his father back to Earth should make for some comedic fish-out-of-water moments in the future.

Bad father.

Now for the more problematic aspect of Supergirl this week: Maggie Sawyer and the show’s need to make her Latina when the actress is not. Lima did an excellent job in her heartfelt and emotional scenes, though she fared much worse any time she had to speak Spanish. But watching two non-Latino actors debate the treatment of Mexican immigrants in the US, and how racism might be compounded by homophobia, was very off-putting. I can’t help but feel the strain between the two would have packed just as much punch without this haphazard attempt at relating to the present political climate. That’s not even counting how unbelievable it was that Latino parents would abandon their 14-year-old daughter because she might be gay, due to her already having it so hard as a woman of color.

That being said, the storyline allowed Eliza (guest star Helen Slater) to show off some of her parenting skills in a rare appearance. Not only that, but Alex (Chyler Leigh) managed to be incredibly supportive of her fiancee while still teetering on the verge of the inevitable Sanvers breakup. Alex wants so badly to be with Maggie that she’s willing to say yes to anything, including never having kids, but as each episode passes it becomes clearer that she’s going to have a limit.

James (Mehcad Brooks) and Winn (Jeremy Jordan) barely had cameos in “Far From The Tree,” but that made sense because it was packed full with two very emotional stories. Overall, Supergirl knocked it out of the park with Mars this week, while the Sawyer-Rodas drama was more of a swing and a miss due to external factors. Nevertheless, it balanced the darker tone of the season with more heartwarming elements and the promise of payoff later for both storylines.

Supergirl airs Monday at 8/7c on the CW.