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All expenses paid trip to Maaldoria! Act now!
** An expense will be paid for you on your arrival by whomever we sell you to.

Congratulations for making it back from Maaldoria alive and unscathed! Very few carbon life forms can say they’ve been spared. You’ve arrived just in time to join Karen and I as we embark on a discussion of Supergirl Season 2 Episode 9 “Supergirl Lives”. After this episode, Maaldoria probably dropped right off your vacation destination list. Don’t let the pretty name deceive you. This story takes us to a foreign world, that of the Slave Moon, Maaldoria, wherein Roulette has relocated to run her carbon form slave trade with a bunch of Buffy-inspired demons. This episode originally aired on Monday January 23, 2017 and featured James Urbaniak as the Clinical Trials front man and Harley Quinn Smith as Izzy the Runaway.

With Kevin Smith at the helm, much of this episode was saved from the giant ball of cliche yarn it was woven from. Between the relationship drama, Winn’s sidekick melodrama, and the be-a-hero moments from Kara, I was less surprised and more disappointed about the lack of attention paid to the presence of the Dominators. This season has exposed some perhaps unintentional immaturity holding our main characters back from being true heroes, but at the very least we got to see Kara at Catco doing reportery things.

Carbon Life Forms For Sale

In typical vigilante/hero fashion, Kara, as Kara the Reporter, makes a promise to a mother whose daughter is missing. We will find your daughter. It’s cute, really, that the mother has this much faith in a magazine who traditionally published articles with headlines like “ROCK this summer’s hottest GIRL trends!” and “Stop Trying Playing Hard to Get”. But with the organization’s close ties to Supergirl, perhaps she thought she’d manage to tug at the right heart strings.

On her way out the door to follow up on a lead, Mon-El surprises Kara outside the elevator. mos-31-elevator Wanting to tag along, because he doesn’t want the whole working thing to get out of hand, Mon-El follows Kara to the research facility where the Maaldorian liaison awaits for strapping young carbon life forms to send through the Stargate and on to Slave Moon. Of course, Kara and Mon-El overcome the doctor and the guards, but elect to travel through the portal anyway because there are innocent Earthlings on the other side, unwittingly becoming the slaves of the highest bidder.

However, once through the portal… it closes. Trapping them on Maaldoria under a red sun. No powers. No way to get home. As much as I enjoy complaining about this season of the show, it truly is moments like these when Kara inspires me most. When her companion wants to save himself, when she realizes she has no powers on the planet, she doesn’t roll over and think of herself. Her focus is still on finding the humans that have been kidnapped. The dialogue between Kara and Mon-El wonderfully exposes the severe differences in their upbringing; Mon-El, perhaps attempting to emulate his own body guard when he was a prince, wants to keep Kara safe, but Kara, only ever wanting to be the protector she was sent to Earth to be, has no interest in saving herself.

As a result, Mon-El gets caught in a bear trap and we meet… JOE! Hands down the best part of this episode were moments with Joe. From mumbling about dissecting a biped to saving the humans and requesting safe passage to Earth, this alien was the comic relief we need. It’s so subtle, and so unnatural and unexpected, that it just worked for me. mos-31-joeWe hypothesize that Joe likely escaped from being sold as a slave, but found himself trapped on this mood. He traps anything that he comes across, which will, of course, vary depending on where the slave supply is coming from.

It’s hard to tell whether Mon-El is really inspired to become a hero to the Almost Slaves inside the holding cell. While Kara’s speeches do a lot to inspire the other people in the cell, it seems like Mon-El has his sights on saving Kara the whole time. For right now, I’m totally fine with this. Whatever his decision for becoming a hero is (if he really wants to help Kara keep the Earth spinner, like he says), sometimes we just have to start doing something before we realize it we actually want it for a different reason than we intended in the first place.

Slow Burn

I complained for a bit on the podcast about the lack of attention paid to the Dominators in this episode. Ultimately, I feel like the stories we’re being given do a disservice to the material readily available. Slave Moon, and the slave trade in general, was a great topic to focus on. It didn’t feel forced or contrived; bring Roulette back because her personality and character are ripe for the picking. It was just everything else that supplemented it which made Slave Moon less significant than it should have been

Still, I understand that we’re now on the CW. I get that with the mythos we’re going to get relationship melodrama. When I think about the evolution of Mon-El’s character, I can really appreciate the slow burn and the time it has taken for us to understand the context of the feud between Krypton and Daxam as well as the prejudices both characters have to overcome to even get to where they are at the end of this episode.

mos-31-joes-hutThe mythology of Supergirl has worlds to explore right at its fingertips. If this episode did anything, it was make me more hungry for the potential this universe has to take a step away from the immediacy of personal issues and show how these people can be heroes by thinking less of themselves (or each other, as the case may be) and more about others. Until Kara lands on Maaldoria with Mon-El, she was expressing this attitude of “being a hero isn’t fun” when all she has to do is stop jewel thieves. Even Guardian was fighting selfishly, by thinking he’s actual competition for Supergirl and attempting this “Team Guardian” v “Team Supergirl” rhetoric.

Whatever has been stewing for the first chunk of the season better come off the pot soon, because I don’t feel like the simmer has been combining the flavors. Instead of being enticed by the sweet aroma from the soup on the stove, I’m starving and annoyed that dinner is taking this long to be ready to eat.

And then there’s this guy…

Winn “Not a Red Shirt” Schott was brilliant in this episode. Save the very last scene with James when his I-Shall-Overcome attitude was a bit overkill, his arc was fantastic. Every scene he was in left me wanting a little bit more out of it and wanting him to stretch his acting chops to give Winn more depth. mos-31-i-wear-my-sunglasses-indoors It’s only fun until someone gets hurt, right? Well, with how James is being written this year, everything Winn did in this episode was spot on.

Winn is in the strangest situation this season, by the sheer fact that last year at this time he was 1) working at Catco for a boss who could never get his name right, 2) was in love with a girl who would never reciprocate and 3) had no great purpose in life. This is the only character, aside from maybe J’onn, who I haven’t had much issue with since the beginning of the season. Other than his primary job changing, Winn has stayed, more or less, the same. Where he has changed has been a direct result of the whiplash changes to Kara and James, which does make sense.

Cougar’s Comic Corner

Teen Titans Vol. 3 #34-37
“New Teen Titans” Storyline, featuring M’gann M’orzz
Here’s a partial summary for the beginning of the “One Year Later” issues, in which the New Teen Titans is contained:

Following the events of Infinite Crisis, a massive open call membership drive saw a large number of heroes come and join the roster, which was anchored by Beast Boy and Raven. New members includes Miss Martian, Kid Devil, Zachary Zatara, Ravager, Bombshell (who like Terra I, was a traitor working for Deathstroke), Young Frankenstein, and Osiris.

Robin and Wonder Girl eventually rejoined the Titans (now located in San Francisco, California) and helped foil Bombshell’s plan to frame Miss Martian as Deathstroke’s latest mole in the team and allowed Raven to cleanse Jericho of the Azarathian corruption that had turned him evil.

After the Batman R.I.P storyline, Robin leaves and Wonder Girl leads the team. Red Devil loses his powers after Brother Blood absorbs them. Miss Martian returns with several teen heroes liberated from the Dark Side Club. A new team is formed: Wonder Girl, Blue Beetle and the now-powerless Red Devil are joined by Kid Eternity and Static, with the new Aquagirl, Miss Martian and a reformed Bombshell signing up.

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