REVIEW: Supergirl, S3E10 – Legion of Super-Heroes

Supergirl left a lot of threads dangling over hiatus, and ‘Legion of Super-Heroes’ flew in this week to tie them up. Kara (Melissa Benoist) was last seen fighting for her life in a battle against Reign (Odette Annable)  and now needs Brainiac 5’s (Jesse Rath) help to wake from her coma. Lena (Katie McGrath) and James (Mehcad Brooks) had their first kiss last episode, and this week they have their first fight… sort of. And finally, Mon-El (Chris Wood) and Imra (Amy Jackson) must set aside their qualms about interfering in the past and step up to be the ‘Legion of Super-Heroes’ Supergirl has been waiting for.

Alex and Kara bond at their favorite place.

While the episode was a solid return as a whole, it was Kara’s mind prison that served as the emotional center and her coma which paved the way for the night’s best scenes. Not only is Rath’s performance as Brainiac much more adorable and understated than the makeup department led us to believe, but his interactions with Kara actually helped re-establish Alex (Chyler Leigh) as her most important dynamic on the show. How does that make sense? Well, while the 12th-level intellect from Colu was helping Kara search for the key out of her subconscious loft inside, he overheard Alex worrying for her sister outside and rehashing the dichotomy between Supergirl the alien and Kara the human.

Many fans have been wondering whether the comic canon romance between Brainiac and Kara will come to fruition on the show, and Rath did his part on that front by subtly playing up Brainiac’s hero worship of the legendary Kryptonian fighter. But rather than focusing on shipping fodder or lack thereof, ‘Legion of Super-Heroes’ allowed him to act as a bridge between the two sisters, reminding Supergirl that Kara Danvers is Alex’s favorite person so that the literal key to unlock the door could materialize. And a very sweet scene in which Kara remembers the cat named Streaky for whom she learned to be gentle certainly didn’t hurt.

As poignant as the mind prison scenes were, the added sense of urgency came from Reign and her… reign of terror throughout National City. ‘Legion of Super-Heroes’ does take a moment to establish that Samantha is fully herself until she is prompted by certain stimuli (such as a newspaper article about her alter ego) that causes Reign to take over. It’s a small moment, but it helps clear up any lingering questions and adds to the tragedy of her and her daughter Ruby’s situation. As Reign, however, she’s much more interested in punishing both criminals and those who turn a blind eye to their crimes – so pretty much the entire justice and legal system. On another show this might lead to a meditation on how ineffective those very systems are, but on Supergirl it just means someone has to protect the city while the heroine is still sleeping.

How do you protect the future if you don’t save the present?

Considering that the DEO has four entire superheroes sitting around, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. But unfortunately J’onn (David Harewood) is not allowed to appear too powerful and therefore can’t do it alone, while Mon-El is holding his team back as the leader of the ‘Legion of Super-Heroes.’ He reveals that he, Imra, and Brainiac are on a mission to protect the future of the galaxy… And the secret to its salvation is written in their DNA, so they can’t die lest all hope be lost. Thanks to a few Bon Jovi lyrics, which Mon-El apparently taught his future friends along with Aristotle and Shakespeare after Earth experienced an extinction level event that wiped out “anything interesting,” Imra manages to convince her husband to live for the fight when it’s all that he’s got.

And thus Supergirl gave us the very first Legion of Super-Heroes team up, which was a lot of fun even if it may not have been as dramatic or intense as last episode’s Reign and Kara battle. There was also a clever plan executed by Alex and J’onn: pretending to be bank robbers in order to get the drop on Reign, which would have worked like a charm if only someone could inject Kryptonite directly into her bloodstream. As for the final fight of the night, it got a lot more interesting once Supergirl woke up to do just that – although the fact that Reign could just fly off and regroup with her creepy holographic mentor was a little disappointing.

More disappointing was that Thomas Coville, who previously called himself Supergirl’s biggest supporter, decided it was time to serve the devil instead just because his hero momentarily lost her faith. So now he’s part of Reign’s entourage and will apparently help her form a legion of her own.

The last story of the night was also the most lighthearted, with Lena misreading James’ reluctance to talk about their kiss as reluctance to date a Luthor. While I think James has more than proved that he likes Lena for who she is regardless of who raised her, it’s understandable that she would be confused because she has no idea what secrets her best friend and almost-boyfriend are hiding. If there’s one thing DCTV should quit cold turkey, it’s making characters I love lie pointlessly to their would-be girlfriends about secret identities and superheroes. It’s not James’ secret to tell, but why does Kara have to lie to Lena in the first place? Given the sheer number of people who know the truth, keeping Lena outside the circle seems unnecessarily cruel at this point.

But I said the story was lighthearted, and it does lead to one of the funniest scenes of the episode. Upon hearing that her best friend is sick with the flu, Lena goes to visit Kara (a very annoyed J’onn in disguise, of course) to offer her soup and ask some advice. While there’s nothing J’onn wants to do less than talk about what an amazing kisser James is, he does tell Lena exactly what she needs to hear. Kara approves of her best friend’s romance despite her past with James, and there’s no way he cares about her last name when he’s looking at her lips. And with that, the lovebirds overcome their first obstacle and move on to their second kiss.

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