‘Supergirl’ Post-Show Analysis, Season 2 Episode 14: ‘Homecoming’
Welcome to Supergirl Talk, our regular feature breaking down the highs and lows of The CW’s Supergirl TV show starring Melissa Benoist in the super smiling title role. Your travelling companions on this journey are Superman super-fan Chris Haley, and intrepid reporter Katie Schenkel.
This week, Supergirl and Mon-El are officially an item, and Jeremiah Danvers is rescued from the clutches of Cadmus… but is everything what it seems? “Homecoming” was directed by Larry Teng from a script by Caitlin Parrish and Derek Simon.
Chris: Another week in National City, and once again we can at least say a number of things definitely happened. What did you think of this week’s episode, Katie?
Katie: Yeah. This episode.
So since we started recapping this season back in the fall, I think you and I have been overall very positive from week to week. Even with iffier episode recently, we’ve been pretty optimistic. That said, I think this might be the first bad episode of the season for me, and for what feels like unnecessary reasons.
Chris: What were those reasons for you? Besides not wanting to see Kara and Mon-El get together, I mean.
Katie: Okay so here is the thing --- I went into that first scene specifically thinking, “Well, let’s give this pairing a fair shake.”
Chris: Which is very magnanimous of you.
Katie: Thank you, I try to be a gosh darn adult when it comes to my superhero media viewing. But for real, I waded into the episode at least appreciating a couple of things from that first scene --- I appreciated Kara not being framed by the narrative as getting punished for having sex. That part where Kara wakes up early, does heroic things, and returns to present her slumbering love interest with flowers and breakfast was charming. So I really did say to myself that I was going to give the relationship a shot to win me over. And then.
Chris: And then they blew it.
Katie: The very first thing Kara asks Mon-El to do is to not tell anyone that they’re dating. He’s confused why, and she explains her reasoning and he agrees. And then immediately goes against her wishes at the very first moment he can. And the moment is played for laughs before never being mentioned again. I just... why? Why was this the thing the writers chose to do?
Chris: Exactly! Why do they keep having him learn the same lessons over and over and act as though it’s new information each time? It seems like every episode that he’s been in has been that same trope of, “he doesn’t listen/now he gets it.”
I guess they could be trying to make some kind of point about him being really slow to get really simple concepts about personal interactions and relationships on Earth, but it’s not like he’s from an alien culture that didn’t have civilization and culture. He wasn’t raised by wolves. Sorry, space wolves.
Plus, every episode, they have him learn a lesson and then seem to understand what the deal is. It’s as though the writers missed writing those “trying to figure things out” episodes that Kara went through in the first season, and said, "Let’s have someone we can do those with again."
Katie: You know how easy it would have been to fix this? Have the first scene play out exactly as is, but have Kara be the one to happily blurt out that they’re dating. Then Mon-El asks “What about your plan?” and her to be the one to say she was just so excited. There, done. And it would at least imply that Mon-El would have learned a damn lesson from last week and would have respected her request while still letting the secret get out. This, like many other things this episode, was so avoidable.
Chris: Yeah, that would have been perfect. I stand by my statement that this show would do well to hire you to help it make more sense. Also, please take me with you to Hollywood if they read this and take my advice.
It’d be one thing if they didn’t also spend so much time trying to make us like Mon-El, but then they also want to keep making him screw up. I often wonder if the writers/showrunners just don’t think people that watch these shows pay attention or do they just not care or do they think we just don’t care?
Katie: It’s weird, but it’s really like they want to make him less likeable to the audience while writing Kara to like him more and more? Is it because the actor is so charismatic that they want to offset that? I am just throwing out ideas now, because I can’t fathom why they keep backtracking on the character’s occasional few steps towards growth... to the point where later in the episode when he “learns a lesson about Earth relationships” I sat there thinking how I’m not convinced that lesson will stick even to next week’s episode.
Chris: I have no faith that anything he’s learned this episode will carry over into the next episode. Also, since when does he work for the DEO? I thought he had quit and was trying to get a normal job, but wanted to help Kara by being a hero, but I didn’t think that meant he actually worked for the DEO. I guess I should just assume everyone works for the DEO whether it seems like it or not.
Now that we’ve spent all this time discussing the opening five minutes of the show, what did you think about the rest of the episode? I don’t mind telling you that it drove me absolutely crazy that we were having yet another episode about whether or not Supergirl should trust someone, and all the immediately hyper-charged arguments that follow that no one ever apologizes for.
Katie: See, my first thought was why in the hell no one beyond Mon-El, at the very least J’onn, was suggesting more precautions when it came to Jeremiah. Because oh my gosh yes, finding him absolutely did read 100% as a set-up. They have no policies on handling agents who have undergone torture and POW status? I’m not saying they needed to treat him as a prisoner, but they let him go to Kara’s apartment for dinner before he passed a psych evaluation? And J’onn didn’t request reading his mind? And just gave him his old job?
Mon-El is the one to point out how shady it was, but it read more as the writers dumbing down everyone else on the show rather than giving Mon-El a storyline where he himself was actually useful. So yeah, none of that made any sense.
Chris: More importantly, there’s no way any medical evaluation wouldn’t uncover the fact that he now has a robo-arm! The first thing Kara would have done when she found him would almost certainly have been to give his bones and organs a quick x-ray scan to see if anything was immediately in need of medical attention. That’s just Superhero 101!
But then, all of our regulars (except maybe Winn) were not only blind to the glaringly obvious red flags, but they were all then immediately furious that anyone would dare to question what was going on. Do they really expect us to believe J’onn wouldn't’ have used his telepathy on Jeremiah as soon as they found him? Or at the very least, as soon as others started raising questions?
Katie: I get that suspension of disbelief is a thing superhero fans have to do to some extent when it comes to logic in these stories, but at some point when you can point out three or four clear cut ways the main characters should have figured out something was wrong and the show ignores all of them, it’s a problem.
Chris: Especially when they’ve had these same kinds of problems/issues with people before!
Katie: It really makes watching the episode an exercise in shouting, “Get on with it!” at the TV screen, because you know that, unless they were by some miracle really playing up some giant red herrings, the betrayal was coming. And it came and it was mostly confusing. I was half expecting Dean Cain to shout, “No, I am the real Cyborg Superman!” But instead he’s just some guy with a robot arm, I guess.
Chris: That was exactly what I thought they were going to do with him too as soon as we found out about that robot arm. Which would have at least been neat, since he used to be Superman! And I know they’re going to do more with him and he’s not just totally a bad guy, but “get on with it” is right.
Oh! Speaking of them wanting to do more with him later, can we talk about how utterly ridiculous and insulting it is that when he escapes with the DEO’s alien list, which is an issue all by itself, that 1) none of the hundreds of other DEO agents we see wandering around don’t shoot him or at least, you know, lock some of the doors and 2) that when Winn tells them all he put a tracking device on Jeremiah that for some reason only Supergirl and Alex go to try to stop him! No J’onn? No Mon-El? No entire rest of the DEO?
Katie: Also, what was up with the “If you want to take me in, you’ll have to kill me” moment? I was shouting “Shoot him in the leg!” over and over during that scene. Did everyone just forget that non-lethal takedowns are a thing for secret agents? Even now I’m just baffled by it.
Chris: I said the exact same thing! Shoot them all in the legs! Or, you know, let the person with super-speed knock them all out really quickly and tie them up then go save the train. This episode was infuriating! Also, how did Henshaw know to rig that train track to blow up? How in the world would he have known Winn would put a tracking device on Jeremiah? I mean, I guess you could say they might assume Supergirl would show up, but what would they have done if anyone besides just the two Danvers girls showed up?
Katie: Another complaint from my couch this week --- my boyfriend pointed out that Jeremiah shooting the DEO computers was ridiculous because they were the computer screens. So ya know, not the place where the data would be stored, and pretty easy to swap out. Compared to the other writing problems this episode that’s a smaller problem but still just a weird choice.
Chris: That kind of thing has bothered me since I was a little kid. I remember, as a kid, trying to explain this idea to a grown up relative after we’d watched some action movie, and them just looking at me as though I was speaking a different language.
But enough about my childhood; was there anything else this episode you wanted to talk about?
Katie: The other thing that stood out to me in this episode was Winn, and I’m torn about his current storyline. On one hand, I can’t really find anything wrong with his newish relationship in itself. It’s honestly pretty cute, and the part where she taught him how to throw darts was especially sweet. It was nice to see a guy learn something kind of bro-y from his girlfriend but have zero ego about it. I read Winn as queer, and would like to see the writers give him a male love interest already, but in terms of dynamics with a female love interest, I’m not really mad at this relationship.
But in the context of the Mon-El/Kara relationship starting up, Winn’s talk with Mon-El reads like the straightest thing this show has done in a long time. It was like they were both holding signs saying, “Look at us, dating women. We sure do have women in our lives! We sure are both having sex with women. Yeppers.” After those early Mon-El episodes where I thought there was a (slim but real) possibility of Winn and Mon-El getting together, the scene really laying out what we’ve gotten instead just bums me out.
Chris: Well, I never thought they were going to get together at all, they were just cute together, but that’s kind of what happens when you have a TV show of nothing but attractive young people.
Katie: Oh, and you better believe I noticed that it took Winn saying it for Mon-El to finally get it through his thick head that Kara doesn’t want him to save her, despite her stressing that many times this season. And as I said earlier, I don’t trust his recent characterization enough to believe that lesson will stick going forward.
Chris: Yeah, I don’t trust the writers to have more than one trick with this guy at this point. Be better, Supergirl. Please. We want the best for you.
Katie: I think this is the week I’ve missed Cat Grant the most. She was there to call out so much BS and the show needs that desperately right now.
Chris: Oh man, you’re so right. She’s the voice this show is missing to straighten some of these things out, or to give Kara that no-nonsense sounding board.
Katie: So next week is basically a second part to this one, with Jeremiah doing some kind of work with Cadmus, and the Danvers sisters rightfully pissed off at their dad. I’m just hoping Cadmus leads to something more satisfying than what we’ve got, because outside of Lena’s episodes, the overarching Cadmus storyline hasn’t done much for me.
Chris: Same here. Let’s hope for better things for next week, Super-Friends, and let us know what you thought of this week’s episode down in the comments!