REVIEW: Supergirl, S3E16 – Of Two Minds

Supergirl took another stab at the age-old No Kill debate employed by DC heroes everywhere – and sometimes Marvel ones too, but let’s leave the latest Avengers spoilers for another week. “Of Two Minds” pitted Kara (Melissa Benoist) and her idealistic philosophy against Imra’s more practical method of dealing with Pestilence (guest star Angela Zhou as the less-than-pure Dr. Grace Parker), while Lena (Katie McGrath) puts Sam (Odette Annable) face to face with her two minds this week. They take a few steps towards stopping the Worldkillers and preventing the destruction of worlds, but their progress soon falls apart. Much like the episode itself, unfortunately.

As the dead birds soon turn into nose bleeds and widespread illness at City Hall, the Legion warns Kara and the DEO that Pestilence is hard at work and needs to be stopped. Kara has learned her lesson after treating Julia so roughly that she became Purity, something I’m very glad she pointed out, but Imra is prepared to kill Angela herself so that Pestilence doesn’t have the opportunity to turn into blight. And thus begins the primary conflict in “Of Two Minds,” wherein the two ladies must prove whether it is nobler to kill one to save millions or to save one even if it mens millions die. Or maybe instead they’ll just yell about how they’re each right until Imra comes around to Kara’s thinking simply because she’s Supergirl and can do no wrong.

Not a dry eye in the house.

This may sound like I disagree with Kara’s ideals, but I don’t. Instead I disagree with the (lack of) arguments the writers use to back Kara’s ideals up, which was an issue on The Flash a few episodes back as well. Even when Mon-El (Chris Wood) tries to talk his wife out of the murder method, his only salient point is that their ideals are based on Supergirl’s and therefore they should follow her directive. It’s refreshing to have two heroes like Saturn Girl and Brainiac lay out the argument for conscientious killing, but it’s equally as frustrating not to have any of our heroes be able to do the same for the argument against it. Imra does attempt to kill Pestilence in the end, but her change of heart after the former is rescued and strengthened by Purity doesn’t feel earned.

Nevertheless, “Of Two Minds” does raise the stakes when Winn (Jeremy Jordan) and Alex (Chyler Leigh) fall ill. Not only do the Legion members learn their cure won’t work without a sample of Pestilence’s current DNA, but the DEO tracks down the wrong suspect and wind up with a dead body thanks to the latest Worldkiller instead. Jordan once again steals the show with his heartbreaking performance, confessing to James (Mehcad Brooks) how much reuniting with his mother has changed his perspective and made him ready to be the next Elon Musk – if it’s not too late. Meanwhile, Alex also shares a powerful moment with J’onn (David Harewood), who reminds his surrogate daughter how much he needs her. The identity fake-out with Pestilence was also effective in increasing the tension, but discovering the actual Angela Zhou led to many questions. The sickness just started, so did an already evil human recently discover her powers or was this the result of a long and slow joining of her two sides?

Shocking you to save you.

Perhaps the answer lies in the other half of the episode, because “Of Two Minds” also directly refers to Lena’s continued experimentation with Sam’s brain in order to isolate the enzyme that creates Reign. Through electroshock therapy, Sam comes face to face with her other half in what Lena calls a “parallel dimension.” Reign tries to convince Sam to join her and become one evil entity together, which is presumably what Pestilence offered Julia, but it’s another instance of someone using all the wrong talking points. Referring to Ruby as a burden and suggesting a way for Sam to be “free” of her daughter seems like a terrible way to go, especially when protecting Ruby is exactly what’s given Sam the strength to fight back in the past. But while I can appreciate the irony of no one recognizing that yet, I can’t appreciate the irony of Lena refusing to call Supergirl for help.

Lena thinks that Supergirl would just lock Reign up and let the government perform experiments on her, so she rejects Sam’s pleas to contact her. On the hand, I get that Kara letting her in on the secret might have changed her perspective, but on the other anyone who knows anything about Supergirl knows she would never do that. And Lena has interacted enough with her friendly neighborhood superheroine to be well aware of that, not to mention that it’s Sam’s choice who should help her. Lena wanting to save her friend alone may be the first sign that something’s not quite right if they ever choose to take her down a darker path. Not that it matters for now, because Pestilence and Purity locate Reign just as Kara and co. descend on LCorp to protect their friend. And somehow Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, Saturn Girl and Mon-El (Valor?) are no match for the power of the three sisters combined. They fly off together, and the team is left wondering how they can stop them now.

Sidenote: Brainiac comes out looking a whole lot more like Jesse Rath this episode, supposedly because the folks at Piggly Wiggly still weren’t used to non-humanoid aliens. Do we think that his blue paint got too expensive, or are they grooming him to be a love interest for Kara next season? Let us know in the comments below!

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