REVIEW: Supergirl, S4E6 – Call To Action

In “Call to Action,” Supergirl contemplates how to help ease racists out of their hateful ways and I wonder how many times Ben Lockwood (Sam Witwer) is going to use his own people slaughtering Native Americans to justify slaughtering aliens before they can do the same to him. The line between making villains cartoonishly evil and exonerating genocide is much thinner than one would think, and this season has had a hard time balancing it.

My good man, didn’t Fiona say no killing?

To the writers’ credit, they do try tackling the problem from various angles. For example: Manchester Black began the episode defending a couple from neighborhood watchdogs who were targeting aliens, but his rage over Fiona’s death led him to capture and torture one of the racists in order to extract the name of their leader. He had a pretty interesting debate with J’onn (David Harewood) about the pros and cons of fighting fire with fire over Thanksgiving dinner, but no conclusion was reached and it certainly didn’t affect his choices if the final scene was anything to go by. Not answering violence with more violence is an important lesson to learn, but no one in-universe seems to be able to agree on a feasible way to answer it.

James (Mehcad Brooks) suffered the most from this waffling on the issue in “Call to Action.” but Lena (Katie McGrath) wasn’t far behind. She made the wise decision to book him on a talk show in order to disavow the Children of Liberty as a hate group, but for some reason he felt it would be more productive to meet with them in secret in order to score an interview with their mysterious leader. This wouldn’t have been such a bad choice if his goal was to expose them as domestic terrorists, which their leaflet distribution that called for the marking and attacking of alien homes proved that they were – but instead it seemed he wanted to hear their side of the story. Lena was appalled by his thought process, but her own thought was humans should become as powerful as aliens in order to combat their feelings of inferiority and therefore their hate.

By the end of the episode, Lena and James felt like polar opposites to each other – and may even have broken up? – but they were both equally misguided. James got himself kidnapped by the Children of Liberty during one of his attempts to reach out to their lower-tier members, while Lena decided it was time to bring in a human test subject for the “Harun-El Protocol” that’s meant to give humans superpowers. Their paths are quickly veering into dark territory – especially when Lena is about to do the same thing Ben has already done – but considering that Supergirl has already shoved both of them into boxes that don’t fit their personalities for the sake of this storyline it makes as much sense as anything else.

The sanest people this show will ever meet.

Alex (Chyler Leigh) once again found herself taking the most reasonable approach, disregarding Colonel Haley’s insane order to ignore a hate manifesto that could cause a war or worse and recruiting Brainy’s (Jesse Rath) help to uncover the source of the fear-mongering. Of course his adorable synthetic mind did not compute the concept of secret-keeping at first, but he managed to add subtle subterfuge via sweet potato pie to his list of mastered skills and together they learned how the Children of Liberty are tracking aliens. This, of course, meant that Kara (Melissa Benoist) leapt into action as Supergirl to prevent any hate crimes – and she wasn’t alone. A pet lizard transformed into a dragon to protect his family and their home, which led to a cool fight sequence with Kara and a fun Harry Potter quip from Alex. It was also perhaps the most humanizing moment for aliens (who aren’t already protagonists of the series) in all of “Call to Action,” seeing as Kara’s series on them only merited a one-off line.

But Kara didn’t only come to the rescue as Supergirl. She also filled in for James at the round table discussion, where she held her own against Ben Lockwood until he pulled out that clunky Native American card. I’m still unclear on how much of a point the writers think he has with that one, since no character has yet to call him on it. Regardless, Nia (Nicole Maines) was the one to help her through the debate ordeal when she wasn’t falling asleep on the job. This minor subplot has been building for a few episodes now, but this time Nia ‘admitted’ that she had narcolepsy while successfully evading any and all suggestions that she see a doctor. Clearly, there’s a connection to her clairvoyant powers here, but it seems like Supergirl is saving that reveal for later. At least they’re still giving us cute and awkward Brainy and Nia moments in the meantime.

“Call To Action” ended with Ben Lockwood getting his own television show based off the strength of his hate speech, which is tragically the most realistic part of the episode. This combined with Manchester on verge of killing the racist he held hostage after learning the name of his supervisor proved that Lena was right. Supergirl is on the verge of an interspecies war, but it seems they are are as confused about which lines to draw where as the characters are.

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