Supergirl S2E3 – Welcome To Earth

Supergirl deals with issues of immigration this episode and introduces several new characters who challenge not only Kara’s view of the universe, but Alex’s and J’onn’s too. Kara is forced to face her own internalized prejudice when she assumes Mon-El (Chris Wood) is the alien attacking the president based solely on his home planet, while also learning to keep her bias out of her reporting. Alex butts heads with Detective Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima), but soon realizes she wants to get to know her a lot better. J’onn disagrees with the President (Lynda Carter) on her new Alien Amnesty policy, but meeting fellow green martian M’gann M’orzz (Sharon Leal) just might change his mind.

Maggie is immediately intrigued by Alex.

Alex and Maggie were a delight to watch together, from their meet cute at the crime scene to their not-date at the alien dive bar. Maggie Sawyer is one of the first times a sci-fi show like Supergirl has explored the alien metaphor from its human side. Despite life on the CW being so progressive that America is now welcoming literal aliens instead of trying to shun immigrants and refugees, Maggie still reminds Alex that being a queer woman of color can make others treat her like she’s an extraterrestrial. Maggie opened Alex’s mind a little this episode, and Alex returned the favor by saving her from the villain of the week. The progression from their hostile first encounter to their reluctant partnership felt very natural, and Alex’s jealous expression once she learned that Maggie had a “hot date” suggests that something more than friendship is imminent.

President Lynda Carter inspires both dreamers and realists alike.

Lynda Carter also turned in a charming performance as the alien-friendly president, but the politics of her story line were not as well-defined. Her character enters the scene with such optimism in the face of a mystery alien nearly killing her that she seems almost too good to be true. It’s also a little disconcerting to see J’onn J’onzz be so against amnesty for aliens considering that he knows firsthand the effects of prejudice, both as an alien and living as a black man on Earth. While it’s understandable that he’s wary given how his home world was destroyed, neither he nor the president seem to acknowledge that super-powered aliens could take the planet by force if they wanted.

Of course, the president’s unwavering willingness to sign the amnesty act becomes much clearer once her final scene reveals her to be an alien as well. Whether she’s a sympathetic one or not remains to be seen, but she wasn’t not the only alien-in-disguise on Supergirl this week. J’onn also ran into a beautiful bartender who looked human but felt familiar. She quickly made her escape after seeing him in his green martian form, but when J’onn catches up to her it turns out she’s a martian as well. Instead of keeping it hidden, though, she lets J’onn see her. There wasn’t enough time to explore her role in the story, but I look forward to learning her background and hopefully seeing her ally herself with the DEO.

Mon-El is accused of an assassination attempt, but he really just wants to go home.

Mon-El is accused of an assassination attempt, but he really just wants to go home.

Kara, as usual, had the meatiest portion of the episode. Not only did she get to save and subsequently flail over the president as Supergirl, she also got the opportunity to interview Lena Luthor as rookie journalist Kara Danvers. Her first big assignment as a reporter leads to an important lesson from Snapper Carr: personal bias has no place in facts. Kara is against all prejudice and Lena’s new alien detection device would only breed more of it, but that doesn’t mean it’s her place to decide for the public what’s wrong or right. It’s a good thing she rewrote her article to become more objective, because Kara quickly starts coming around to Lena’s point of view when she learns that Mon-El is a Daxamite. Kryptonians and Daxamites were at war for hundreds of years, which instilled in Kara a hatred of them that supersedes her own logic. Supergirl ends the episode with a handshake between Kara and Mon-El once she corrects her mistake and takes down the real culprit, signifying hope that the welcoming approach is the right one.

Incidentally, Kara’s not the only character this week who has to work to correct her misconceptions. Even though Snapper Carr has been tough with her, it has so far been as her supervisor and in the interest of honing her skills to best serve the newspaper. The way he dealt with James Olsen, however, was disrespectful and showed a lack of confidence in James’ abilities. Thankfully, a pep talk from Kara gives James the confidence he needs to lay down the law and remind his subordinates who’s in charge. It was a minor subplot, but one that helped shape both James and Snapper’s characters a little more.

Supergirl tends to be on-the-nose with its metaphors and messages, but the addition of Maggie Sawyer is already proving that the show knows how to apply its alien empathy to human beings. In fact, as fun as the CGI and fight sequences are, each episode is at its best when it centers on very different people coming together for a common cause.