REVIEW: Supergirl, S2E17 – Distant Sun

After Iris and Barry’s true love managed to repair Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Mon-El’s (Chris Wood) relationship on The Flash – just kidding, kind of – the lovebirds start off this week’s Supergirl happier than ever. That joy is almost instantly threatened, however, by Mon-El’s royal pain-in-the-butt parents. Meanwhile, Alex (Chyler Leigh) learns more of Maggie’s (Floriana Lima) past and has a rather surprising reaction.

Supergirl wasted no time in showing off how much Mon-El has changed in order to be worthy of the second chance Kara has given him, or so we’re repeatedly told. He makes her breakfast, he suggests going to help her save the day (though he doesn’t actually go), and he even gives up his life on Earth in exchange for his parents leaving Kara alone. While it is absolutely true that he didn’t immediately backtrack on his progress as he’s done in the past, it still feels like the show wants to make sure the audience knows Mon-El is a hero now rather than just letting him be one. If I had to pick one hero for the episode, it would be J’onn (David Harewood). But let’s get back to the plot to find out why.

The course of almost-true love never did run smooth.

Rhea and Lar Gand of Daxam (played with relish by Teri Hatcher and Kevin Sorbo) refuse to leave Earth’s orbit without their son, who chose to stay behind with Kara in the last episode of Supergirl. At the same time, a bounty has been placed on Kara’s head for a reward the size of a small planet. The two events must be connected, right? When Mon-El winds up being forced by a telepathic bounty hunter into attacking Kara, J’onn uses his own telepathic prowess to discover the true culprits. Of course the Daxamite royals are to blame, but J’onn receives orders from the President (welcome guest star Lynda Carter) not to engage their ship regardless of the circumstances. He is very willing to abide by this decree until Rhea reveals her treachery and tries to kill Kara, causing Mon-El to agree to return to Daxam and abandon all hope of a future with Kara. Unable to bear Kara’s suffering over the thought of losing her beloved, J’onn agrees to a rescue mission and goes in Kara’s place to keep her safe from the Kryptonite.

With Winn’s (Jeremy Jordan) technical expertise, the DEO team portals into the Daxam ship and gets Mon-El out of his cell. Of course, Kara can’t let her friends be hurt without trying to help, so risks Kryptonite to join the fray. It is this battle that resonates more with me than the star-crossed lovers, because it showcases Supergirl‘s greatest strength: found families. Kara, Mon-El, and J’onn all believed themselves to be the last of their kind at one point or another, and yet they found a home on Earth. Now they are a family, right alongside a human like Winn whose own father chose a life of crime over his son. And like the father figure he is, J’onn accepts any and all consequences forthcoming from the President at the end of the episode, shielding the rest of the team from her potential wrath. No one has to remind him what a hero he is precisely because it’s evident on our screens every week.

Regardless, Lar Gand has a change of heart upon seeing his son’s new family and lets them go without retribution. Too bad this only gets him stabbed by his own wife, who is far from done with Earth. It will be nothing short of delicious to see Teri Hatcher tearing up the screen again as Rhea in her full bloodthirsty glory. Lynda Carter’s President also seems poised for a return, since her secret alien identity keeps being teased without any payoff to speak of yet. Supergirl hasn’t had a particularly compelling Big Bad this season, so I look forward to seeing either of these wonderful ladies fill the spot.

Alex Danvers knows how to handle exes.

Speaking of wonderful ladies, Alex displayed a great deal of maturity this episode. Not only was she eager to help Maggie patch things up with an ex-girlfriend, but she took the news that Maggie had once cheated in a relationship with grace. She didn’t judge, but rather sat down and had an important conversation about honesty. If we can’t trust the people we love to see us at our worst, then who can we trust? Alex and Maggie’s grounded relationship keeps the show from flying off into outer space at times, as it manages to be both touching and plain entertaining.

Supergirl will be on hiatus after this week, but the next new episode brings Lena Luthor (guest star Katie McGrath) back into our orbit. There’s only a few episodes left of the season, so it’s time to see where the alien registration act is leading and ready Kara for a difficult battle. Not to mention that we need some movement in James Olsen’s (Mehcad Brooks) barely-there Guardian storyline. It’s a waste to have such a charismatic actor do nothing more than play board games and get beaten up by a brainwashed prince of Daxam.