REVIEW: Supergirl, S4E21 – Red Dawn

Supergirl hurtles towards its season finale like a piece of Kryptonite racing towards the Earth in “Red Dawn,” which has every one of our heroes tackling the Lex problem from different angles. Between Kara (Melissa Benoist) having to escape presidential custody, Brainy (Jesse Rath) and Nia (Nicole Maines) rushing right into custody of a different sort, and Lena (Katie McGrath) going above and beyond to alter the effects of Harun-El, there’s a heck of a lot to unpack this week.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Lena’s story was the most straightforward – and straightforwardly badass. In true Mother’s Day style, she bought out Lillian’s prison and temporarily released her for the sole purpose of getting her to concoct a serum to counteract Harun-El. How could she convince her mother do such a thing with nothing in return? Well, by poisoning her and only offering the antidote once the serum was complete, of course. She also clapped a Truth Seeker on Lillian, which helped a few secrets come to light but more importantly made me shed a few tears when the elder Luthor actually told her daughter “I love you.”

While Lillian was hard at work, Lena went to find Lockwood (Sam Witwer) and unveiled the truth about Lex’s plan to him. His disgust was comical, since he seemed to believe his goal of species cleansing was somehow superior to Lex’s of world domination, but his anger got rid of at least one Dragon. He went after Otis Graves in a rampage, with Lena and James (Mehcad Brooks) following closely behind, and tore out the man’s metallo heart despite their best efforts to stop him. Upon seeing James’ Harun-el wreaking havoc on him, Lena wanted her mother to inject him with the new serum – but the man wasn’t done being a hero. Instead he got a second dose of Harun-El to stabilize him and Lillian got her antidote as a reward. The best part? She went through with her end of the bargain despite not believing Lena had really poisoned her.

J’onn (David Harewood) joined Brainy and Nia on their quest to save some captured aliens, which led them to an Amertek hideout thanks to Nia’s visions of a young girl with a unicorn keychain. Poor Brainy wanted to get his love confession to Nia out of the way before it was showtime, but she was too distracted by the mission at hand – which is bad news bears later down the line when they’re captured despite Brainy’s best efforts at a Lockwood impersonation. The plan may have failed, but Witwer playing Brainy playing Ben was some golden television. It was soon followed by amazing television of a different kind, when Rath had to go through the full spectrum of human emotions while the agents electrocuted the humanity right out of him.

That’s right. An anguished Brainy, who had moments before been begging the agents in true romantic hero style to spare Dreamer, soon got “rebooted” into an emotionless version of himself that was much like his collector ancestors. While that meant he could easily take down the guards and escape, it also meant he had no qualms about trapping Nia back inside her cell and sending her through the portal with her fellow aliens – and just when she was expecting his confession too. Of course, the plan was for her to astral project once she sees the camp in order to free the aliens, but it’s also too calculating for even J’onn to handle. Good thing the new Brainy (Brainiac the Fifth?) has no issue sending J’onn with her.

You tried, Brainy.

But as juicy as the other plots of “Red Dawn” were, the true heart of the episode was Kara and Alex (Chyler Leigh). Perhaps that’s why this episode felt like it nearly reached the heights of earlier, more sisterly seasons, because the Danvers sisters bond was on full display once more. First there was another showdown between Kara and her other half, as Red Daughter weakened her with Kryptonite as soon as Kara freed herself from the guards. This gave Benoist room to play around, but it also allowed for a triumphant moment of Kara being less susceptible to Kryptonite than someone else. It also turned that little lightbulb on, so that Kara could finally realize that other people knowing she’s Supergirl means her loved ones are in danger.

Her first priority was Alex, but J’onn informed her that it would be too much for Alex’s recently changed brain if her sister straight up revealed herself as Supergirl. What neither of them knew, though, was that Alex was already experiencing some of her memories as dreams that had left her rather shaken. So the two sisters work together, with Haley’s (April Parker Jones) blessing now that the President was revealed to have done to the dark side, and the coincides started piling up for Alex. For example, Red Daughter’s apartment looks just like Kara’s and is across the street to boot, and then of course Red Daughter pretends to be Kara to take Eliza.

Both Supergirls got into the fight of a lifetime at that point, with Red Daughter somehow possessing the power to turn the sun off? Or, at least, it got very dark as they battled and Kara slowly lost more and more ground as Alex watched in horror. That horror triggered her memories, and she was once more gifted with the knowledge of who her sister really was. Red Daughter, who was not gifted with the knowledge of how to make sure an enemy is actually dead, flew off once Kara passed out. But thankfully, the power of Alex’s love and the sunlight in the grass (thanks, photosynthesis!) restored Kara back to life and the Danvers Sisters were whole once more. Just in time for the final face-off against Lex next week, which will be more necessary than ever now that he’s “single-handedly” defeated “Supergirl” and “prevented” a Kaznian invasion.

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