REVIEW: Supergirl, S3E15 – In Search of Lost Time

Supergirl offered up one of its most emotionally mature episodes this week, with characters facing their deeper truths throughout “In Search of Lost Time.” Lena’s (Katie McGrath) dedicated efforts help Sam (Odette Annable) realize her Reign identity, while M’yrnn’s attempts to stave off his own memory loss bring out the darkness in various DEO members and force J’onn (David Harewood) to make a particularly difficult choice.

The most satisfying meta-moment of the year.

But before getting to the heavier elements of the episode, which were all treated with the gravity and pathos they deserved, let’s take a moment to absorb Kara’s (Melissa Benoist) own glorious moment of self-awareness. This season has often pushed her outside of the main storyline for one reason or another, but “In Search of Lost Time” cleverly uses the rage derived from M’yrnn’s psychic powers going haywire to pinpoint exactly what went wrong with Kara and Mon-El’s (Chris Wood) romance last year. The truth was brutal but cathartic for Kara, who was finally able to let go of the idealized memories she was holding onto and instead recognize the unhealthy aspects of their relationship. And to his credit, Mon-El accepted her words and apologized accordingly, signaling how much he’s grown more than anything else has so far. It also made me wonder why he was the only character not affected by M’yrnn’s psychic attacks, but I will allow the discrepancy for the sake of the character beat. Whether this serves as closure for Karamel or a fresh start as soon as Imra mysteriously disappears, it’s a huge step forward in Kara’s personal journey this season.

But “In Search of Lost Time” did a lot more than get Kara one step closer to self-actualization. Sam also has to take a long hard look at herself thanks to Lena’s unrelenting assistance, whichat times borders on verbal abuse. Of course, Lena had to use Ruby against her in order to bring Reign out and thus provide Sam with proof of what was happening to her, but it was incredibly hard to watch. Though it’s clear her heart is in the right place, the seeds are also being planted for her to get too lost in the work or to take the means to far when achieving a certain end. Not to mention that Lena’s fervent belief that knowledge is power is a direct contrast to how she’s been treated by her friends – who have not noticed her absence these last two episodes, save for James (Mehcad Brooks).

These two break our hearts.

Speaking of James, it was a nice surprise to see him express genuine concern for his kind-of girlfriend, actually intercepting her in person when she didn’t take his calls and eventually bringing over food and a supportive shoulder to lean on. They even broached the subject of keeping secrets from each other when necessary, which is a stretch for me to believe as a viewer but worked for the characters in the scene. Despite some questions about the logic behind the plot – like at what point Reign started taking over that Sam can’t even remember her adopted mother tell her she found her in a pod – “In Search of Lost Time” was one of the strongest Worldkiller entries to date. It’s only a shame Kara had nothing to do with it.

Finally, the heart of “In Search of Lost Time” was once again found in J’onn and M’yrnn’s family bond. Both men are struggling with M’yrnn’s deteriorating memory, but the steps Martian DadHunter (thanks, Winn!) took to safeguard himself wound up endangering everyone else. And while the Kara fallout will have the most effect on Supergirl going forward, it was the moments of J’onn talking his father down and M’yrnn taking responsibility for his actions and his illness that most resonated throughout the episode. Alex (Chyler Leigh) once again played a pivotal role in terms of emotional support, still likening the situation to her grandmother in order to inspire J’onn to set boundaries with M’yrnn for his own safety as well as everyone else’s.

Happy endings are few and far between in this week’s Supergirl, but even brutal truths make for a better tomorrow. And because of that, “In Search of Lost Time” leaves viewers with a hopeful feeling no matter what blights Pestilence may have in store next week.

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