Supergirl: “Survivors” Review
By Mitchell Sigal
Supergirl has nicely emerged on the CW as perhaps the best comic book show. So far the writing has been on point and able to juggle multiple plot developments. Last week’s installment finally introduced Mon-El to the fold. The cliffhanger was also interesting: the arrival of M’gann Morzz, known to comic fans as Miss Martian. Today’s episode, “Survivors,” puts both these plot points at the center for a nicely paced story. Season Two continues strongly.
“Survivors” begins with a flashback to the destruction of Daxam. Here we see the details surrounding Mon-El’s rocket coming to Earth. The effects do an excellent job showing the planet blowing up. There wasn’t much emotion sadly from Mon-El or his father. It seemed like the two were just reading lines off a script. Even if Mon-El isn’t the emotional type, considering the circumstances one would think he would show something. Despite that, the opening is effective in giving the viewer a look into the past. In modern day there are three primary plot points, two of which intersect nicely.
The scene with Alex, Maggie, and Supergirl observing a dead alien was engaging mainly because it gave a fun, detective feel to the story. Later Alex and Maggie go undercover and discover an underground alien fight club. This was an interesting plot point. Last week we learned that some aliens seclude themselves in an underground bar. Now we see that there are other things going on as well. This fight club is run by Veronica Sinclair, aka Roulette, the type of person a viewer wants to see thrown in jail. She’s pretty much what viewers would expect if they saw the episode’s preview. Dichen Lachman does give the character a sense of sinister charisma. The best scene with her was her verbal battle against Supergirl. Melissa Benoist was also particularly great in this scene. The viewer could see the rage on Kara’s face as Roulette kept mocking her and going on about the flight club. It’s easy to see that Supergirl wanted to punch Roulette to oblivion. Kara however doesn’t let the fists fly because that’s not what a hero does. The Girl of Steel continues to be a great protagonist.
The biggest aspect of the fight club plot point is that it intersects with another of the episode’s points: J’onn reaching out to M’gann. We learn around the middle act that M’gann is a participant in the fights. Prior to this scene J’onn reached out to her twice. These are emotionally charged as we see J’onn’s happiness that he’s found another like him and then his sadness when she seems standoffish. David Harewood delivers all of J’onn’s lines with genuine emotion and excellence, especially in the second scene when he talks to M’gann about she being part of the fight club. Later we see him being captured and forced to fight M’gann in the club. Of course he refuses, which leads to some more great dialogue as we learn the reason why M’gann participates in the fights.
The other main plot point is Mon-El. The viewer sees exactly the kind of powers he has and his personality. He borders the line between annoying hotshot and compelling character. He was for the most part fun to have around, but one sequence was grating to watch. Winn hasn’t done that much this season besides sit in a chair, but he’s never looked bad. This changes here, as he lets Mon-El (and himself) go to a bar after J’onn said for Mon-El to stay inside the DEO base. That was annoying, but the worst part is the actual bar scene. Winn was also let off the hook way too easily. This entire sequence wasn’t needed and slowed the story down. This is in contrast to the nice scene in the final act when Kara has heart-to-heart dialogue with Mon-El. As long as the show avoids scenes like the bar one, Mon-El will be good to have around and a fun partner for Supergirl to fight alongside with.
On a few last notes, first there’s Snapper Carr. I was surprised to see him actually fair and likable in the previous episode. There he gave quality advice to Kara without going overboard on the meanness. Sadly, the writing has him be a jerk to Kara most of the time here. It’s tough to watch. (It’s also odd how Kara would say she’s close friends with Supergirl, and Snapper not saying anything about it.) The brief scene with Lena Luthor was interesting. Once again, the writing portrays her in an ambiguous role. She might know who Kara is; it’s not completely obvious whether she does or doesn’t. It’ll be interesting to see what the writing does with Lena’s character. The cliffhanger might be the most unexpected yet. (If you’ve never read the comics or watched Young Justice.) M’gann is revealed to be…a white martian. What this means for earlier scenes with her and J’onn remains to be seen.
Overall, “Survivors” is another quality installment in Season Two. All of the main plot points aside from Cadmus return here and are developed greatly. J’onn’s interactions with M’gann were heartfelt. Mon-El was annoying sometimes but for the most part his character arc is shaping up nicely. Kara continues to showcase heroism in every scene she’s in. Her speech in the final act was genuinely inspiring. Unfortunately her adventures in CatCo is starting to become the worst ongoing plot point. The cliffhanger leaves the viewer with anticipation for what’s to come.