“The Fanatical” brings us character development and relationship development while also catching us up on the trials and tribulations of the Thomas Coville Cult of Rao. It’s a radicalist, it’s a bomb, it’s a fourth WorldKiller!! Wait…what?!
It’s Your Favorite [Black] Neighborhood [Black] Vigilante!
We met Tanya last week running from her fellow cultists along with their prized journal. We open this week with her bringing the journal to James Olsen and Kara Danvers at CATCO. She is worried that they are working on making a bomb. Kara takes the journal “to Supergirl” and James has Tanya stay with him for security. We then catch back up with Olivia from the cult who shows up at CATCO terrified for her friend until it turns out she’s actually kidnapping Tanya along with the brute squad she brought with her. (I am the Brute Squad!) James goes full-on Guardian and goes after Tanya. We get the best on-screen Guardian action…ever…and he ends up getting his helmet blown off of his head at point blank range. As his true identity is revealed the police target him instead of Olivia and her gang. Nothing else happens because when we come back from commercial James is talking with Tanya about it doesn’t really matter that he is a superhero because he’s still a black man doing it. Later on a text threat is sent that the cult will expose James as Guardian if Tanya and the journal are not produced. To preempt their play James plans on holding a press conference revealing he is Guardian. Lena tries to stand with him and is also concerned for him. He explains to her that he was first wrongly treated by the authorities at the age of seven and he explains that “racism is the oldest form of bullying.” The story brings him to tears. Tanya comes at that moment to say he doesn’t have to give himself up, that she will face her fellow cultists head on. Mike “Mon-El” protects her and they get back to the cultists’ hideout where he brings Supergirl and Guardian to take care of things. Guardian saves Tanya and they undo the cult for now. Finally, James explains to Supergirl that he respects and admires her secret identity because she is protecting those close to her but he also knows that his intention to expose his Guardian side was going to be liberating and that one day he will do just that because Tanya and others need to see a black superhero in action.
The Faith and Foosball’s of Our Fathers
Aunt Alex is the worst. She’s asking anything and everything trying to get Ruby off of the couch and Ruby ain’t having it. Alex has been reading up on grief therapy and not much is working. She and J’onn compare stories with Ruby and M’yrnn’s struggles, and J’onn suggests that a trip to the arcade might be good for his father’s mind and Ruby’s disposition. The arcade doesn’t go well at first. M’yrnn thinks they’re genuinely under attack and Ruby is not happy. Then Ruby and M’yrnn are left alone. A foosball ball rolls up and they converse about cork and Mars and M’yrnn losing his family. Ruby asks what got him through it and he says his faith was the only thing and it worked because it brought him back to his son. They go play foosball and make some breakthroughs. Ruby later reveals to Alex that she’s afraid of what might happen to her since mom is a programmed alien murdering machine (paraphrased, of course). Alex assures her that she has people that are surrounding her with love and that they would die to protect her, no matter what comes.
Honesty is Always the Selfish Policy
Kara goes to James and lays into him because he didn’t have her back when he told Lena that Supergirl had him break into the L-Corp vault. He explains to Kara that Lena is his top priority and that his being honest with her has opened her up to him. Later, Mon-El suggests to Supergirl that she go to Lena and explain her reasoning and she does just that. She sincerely apologizes and hopes that this indiscretion will not hurt her’s and Lena’s friendship. Lena assures her it won’t because they’re not friends. Oooooooof. Lena also doesn’t understand why it’s so important to Supergirl that they be friends. Later Supergirl is struggling with Mon-El that if she is supposed to stand for Truth how she accomplishes that while living as a lie. He tells her that in this case she can protect others with her secret identity and that it’s the nobler choice. In other honesty issues, Mon-El is going with Kara to the meteorite 5 light years away and really wants to tell her what’s on his heart. J’onn suggests that that’s probably more selfish than helpful. Mon-El agrees.
Oh yeah, About the Cult
They’re not making a bomb, they’re cooking up the formula to create a fourth WorldKiller that is going to embody Olivia. She is holding the stone of Ura….something, something, something. The point is that it’s Kryptonian and it can turn a human into a WorldKiller. Lena and Winn figure out that they can use the stone to reverse engineer Reign into Sam permanently. And they better hurry because Reign is tiring of being held in Lena’s lab and she’s promising to rip Lena’s spine out at the first open opportunity. And Coville shows up after everything is over.
Authorities going after anyone based on profiling is wrong. At times criminally wrong. That being said, this storyline just did not work in this episode. In Berlanti fashion, the social injustice issue of the week was hammered home with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. James crying over the fact that he was cuffed as a seven-year-old has no contextual genuineness since we’ve seen no evidence of him being discriminated against in any of this series. [Author’s note: I have no personal idea nor could I understand how it is to live as a black man in America and I acknowledge that.] What I would’ve like to seen is that this is an issue he has dealt with at other times in his life and not bring out this terrible backstory for context to suit the story of the week. Alex and Ruby finally get down to the issue of the issue and I appreciated that part of this episode very much. I loved the interactions between Ruby and M’yrnn and I also enjoyed Supergirl grappling with dealing with the complexity of standing for Truth and living with a constant lie. Overall, this episode fell a little flat because it didn’t advance the larger story. I’m all about character and relationship development; but, in this case one out of three story lines doesn’t create a win of an episode.
Cougar’s Comic Corner
Legends of the DC Universe 80-Page Giant #2 (comixology)
This giant-sized anthology features a Beast Boy tale by Geoff Johns (GREEN LANTERN), as well as other stories starring the Challengers of the Unknown, Deadman, Wonder Woman, Metal Men, Mr. Miracle, and the Legion of Super-Heroes!
Includes: “Bedtime Story” (Superman Cult)
A group of thirtieth century cultural historians attempt to corroborate the various myths surrounding a being known as Superman, and come to the conclusion that they know little of the truth about his existence, though he undoubtedly did exist.
“Dark Side of the Moon” Season 3 Episode 20
SUPERGIRL LEARNS A STUNNING SECRET ABOUT KRYPTON – Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) is stunned to discover that a part of Krypton survived. Meanwhile, Alex (Chyler Leigh) is attacked while out with Ruby (guest star Emma Tremblay), and Lena (Katie McGrath) considers how far she will go to keep Reign contained. Hanelle Culpepper directed the episode written by Derek Simon & Katie Rose Rogers
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