REVIEW: Supergirl, S3E22 – Make it Reign

Supergirl limps towards its finale in “Make it Reign,” which takes 42 minutes to reach the conclusion foreshadowed in the last scene of the previous episode. While Selena and her cohorts use Coville to begin terraforming the Earth, Lena (Katie McGrath) and Alex (Chyler Leigh) do their best to free Sam (Odette Annable) from Reign completely before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Winn (Jeremy Jordan) races against the clock to bring Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Mon-El (Chris Wood) back to Earth so they can stop the oncoming threat. And in the middle of all this is the only storyline that truly resonates, which is J’onn’s (David Harewood) farewell to his father as the ritual of the Reach begins.

Cool suit, huh?

So let’s begin with the best part of “Make it Reign” and mourn the coming loss of M’yrnn. While J’onn is nowhere near ready to say goodbye, M’yrnn reminds him and Alex both in the most touching scene of the night that “All of life is change.” Plus, he’s confident that completing the Reach will give J’onn the sense of closure than M’yrnn himself never got. While the actual ritual lacks the oomph of the moments between father and son that surround it, the balance between good and bad memories serves as a beautiful life lesson.

But the Reach isn’t finished, because the rebirth of Reign requires all hands on deck. M’yrnn ends the episode declaring his intention to shapeshift into the Earth in order to prevent further destruction, which means J’onn might end up losing his father violently instead of peacefully. Will he be able to cope with that, and has he absorbed enough of the necessary memories and experiences to pass them on later? It’s an interesting question that Supergirl doesn’t really explore in “Make it Reign,” but which will hopefully come into play during the finale.

While M’yrnn is letting go of life, Sam is fighting to hang onto it. This time around, she keeps Ruby in the loop as her scientist friends work tirelessly to keep her from weakening. It turns out that she and Reign are in a parasitic relationship where one grows stronger as the other grows weaker, and Sam is losing the fight because her biology is morphing back to its Kryptonian state. However, the entire explanation is a little confusing since now Reign is essentially in a different body that’s being resurrected by Coville and the Dark Kryptonians. Nonetheless, there is some sense of urgency when sun lamps fail to do the trick, so the girls are forced to try more drastic methods like rejuvenating her cells with Harunel. The ending leaves Sam in a more precarious position than ever, with Reign poised to take over completely, but with Ruby by her side there’s no doubt the power of love will save the day next week.

The DEO’s MVP.

The rest of “Make it Reign” is a disjointed mess, with far too much plot crammed in yet nothing really moving the story emotionally or thematically. Selena explains that they planned to separate Sam and Reign from the start, and now all they need to terraform the Earth is the blood of her sisters, which is conveniently kept in the DEO. The Dark Kryptonians break in, and thus the first exciting moments of the hour commence. Except once again, the team is left to battle it out with no Kara. They hold their own, especially Alex with all her new tech, which ironically makes Kara feel a little extraneous to the plot. In fact, it’s actually hologram of Alura that baits Selena into a trap, while the stakes lie in whether Sam will get sucked back into the world of Reign or not. Even Winn’s frenemy Demos makes a heroic sacrifice, delaying the Dark Kryptonians at the cost of his own life, which gives Winn a new perspective on life in the only scene that truly landed outside of M’yrnn’s story. It was also James’ (Mehcad Brooks) only scene, for the record.

Not everything needs to be about Kara all the time, of course, it’s strange for a show called Supergirl to have her missing from some of the season’s most important moments. Even after she and Mon-El make it back with Alura in tow, others are still doing the heavy-lifting to stop Reign and Kara has no emotional connection to the proceedings aside from being a hero who would prefer it if the world didn’t end. Even her romantic plot with Mon-El feels lukewarm. While he readily confesses to Winn that he’s not ready to lose Kara again, she can’t even give her mother a straight answer about her feelings. I can’t tell if “Make it Reign” wants us to root for a reunion or not, but so far the show is not selling me on Kara’s side of the equation. She’s mourned and moved on, and it seems she’d be just as happy if Mon-El went back to his wife as she would if he stayed.

If there’s a bright spot in the hour, it’s Coville getting his comeuppance when he is dumped and destroyed by the very people for whom he betrayed his world. But that’s not much consolation when there’s only one episode left in the season, and the most successful plots have been tertiary tales about J’onn and Sam’s family bonds. Considering how beautifully Supergirl has highlighted their importance in the past, it’s a shame that the last few episodes have squandered Erica Durance’s presence by not exploring how the Zor-El family reunion has changed both Alura and Kara’s lives. And once again, how does Clark not even warrant a mention in all this?

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