With Martian Manhunter, visits from Superman and the newly arrived Mon-El, you’d think National City wouldn’t need any more superheroes. Nonetheless, this week Jimmy Olsen makes his debut as Guardian, the latest crimefighter in a series that seems to be forgetting who its focus is supposed to be on.
The episode begins at an Arctic base in Norway, where Dr. Rudy Jones (played by ‘Lost’ alumnus and Tom Cruise’s cousin, William Mapother) takes a look at a wolf that has been frozen in the ice for 5,000 years. As soon as the doctor cuts open the animal, something attacks his hand.
Many of our favorite cast members start out this week’s episode at the alien bar we’ve seen several times this season. J’onn talks to bartender M’gann, Kara has a drink with Mon-El, and Alex shoots pool with Maggie. Maggie tells Alex that it’s time to come out to her family about her homosexuality, even though Alex hasn’t even kissed a girl yet. Kara has a single drink and gets super-drunk. As I recall, an episode last season established that alcohol has very little effect on Kryptonians. Since she draws her powers from the sun, I would think that her metabolism is such that it would take a huge amount of alcohol to make her loopy – unless that was some kind of special alcohol she was given. [Ed.: I believe the bartender mentioned that it was an alien liquor that’s deadly to humans. -JZ]
Anyway, J’onn and Alex drag drunk Kara back to the DEO, where Winn shows them an S.O.S. message from the Arctic base. Since Kara is too bombed to deal with that, Alex and J’onn take a jet to the base and find that Dr. Jones is the only survivor. They foolishly bring him back to the DEO for examination, where viewers (but no one else) see a parasite come out of his mouth and then slide into his ear. We’re barely ten minutes into this episode, and already the writers have borrowed from ‘The Thing’, ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’!
Alex finally takes Kara aside and has a heart-to-heart with her about her feelings for Maggie. The scenes between the two actresses are among this week’s best stuff, and I appreciate the fact that Kara isn’t immediately comfortable with her foster-sister’s sexuality. However, by the time the two meet again at Kara’s apartment, she’s come to terms with the revelation.
Dr. Jones realizes that the alien parasite living inside him is changing his red blood cells, and he and the creature are able to gain strength by draining the lifeforce from others. (Hey, that’s yet another movie the writers borrow from this week!) Martian Manhunter and Supergirl are able to track Dr. Jones down, but he drains power from our heroes. Only Alex and DEO forces showing up at the last minute prevent him from killing them both.
Taken back to the DEO, both Supergirl and J’onn are stuck in the infirmary. While Supergirl starts to recover, J’onn needs a blood transfusion from another Green Martian to survive. Alex goes to the bar to get M’gann. While there, she sees Mon-El drinking and gives him a piece of her mind – calling him a coward for not wanting to be a hero like Kara.
At first, M’gann resists giving J’onn a blood transfusion (Alex, of course, doesn’t know that she’s a White Martian), but then agrees to do it. Jimmy also arrives on the scene. He says that it’s time to spring into action and that he needs the new super-suit Winn has been building for him.
Having totally turned into a monster now and no longer resembling Dr. Jones, the alien creature runs into Mon-El, who has decided to take a shot at being a hero after all. He’s soon joined by a masked Jimmy, calling himself “Guardian.” (His high-tech suit and the computerized truck Winn assists him from look like they cost several million dollars. I wonder if the DEO will realize that Winn has commandeered many of their resources?) After some action, Supergirl finally saves the day, arriving on the scene with handfuls of Plutonium 239, which she uses to destroy the creature. (Is this the first time Supergirl has actually killed an alien? I think it might be.) After the smoke has cleared, she tries to use her x-ray vision to see who’s behind the Guardian mask, but his entire suit is lined with lead.
This week’s story wraps up with J’onn waking from his transfusion seemingly okay – although the final shot of him shows his left hand shaking a bit. Will his body reject the White Martian blood? Alex tells Maggie she came out to Kara and plants a kiss on her, only to discover that Maggie isn’t into her after all, which crushes Alex. Finally, Mon-El stops to help what he thinks is a homeless guy on the street, only to have the guy zap him with some kind of device and throw him into the back of a van. Inside is the woman who runs Project Cadmus (and, as we learned last week, is Lena Luthor’s mother).
These episodes of ‘Supergirl’ have been really busy this season, with lots of action and multiple storylines going on simultaneously. But the best stuff this week is definitely with Alex. I was genuinely surprised that Maggie rejected her and I applaud the series for taking that approach. Hopefully, it’s not a situation where Maggie will change her mind later on. For a storyline I wasn’t necessarily excited about, I’m enjoying how it’s being handled so maturely by the show-runners.