‘Supergirl’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 2 Episode 7: ‘The Darkest Place’
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 learns who’s pulling the strings at Cadmus, the Guardian is wanted for murder, and surprising returns abound. "The Darkest Place" was directed by Glenn Winter from a script by Robert Rovner and Paula Yoo.
Chris: I don’t think that this week’s episode was bad, or even not good, but I also don’t know quite how to put my finger on how it made me feel. Left me with an odd feeling. “Odd” may be the best word. Some things I liked and some things I didn’t, and there was certainly no shortage of things for us to talk about this week, but what did you think, Katie?
Katie: Sort of the same place. It felt largely like a transitional episode, with plotlines moving forward including lots of reveals to certain characters, but only a few actually big moments. I guess I can first say that I was totally wrong about the preview last week --- it was definitely not because of M’gann’s blood that we saw David Harewood attack Supergirl in the preview. Nope, real Hank is back!
Chris: Yeah, now the name game is going to get even more confusing with Hank/J’onn and Hank/Hank (aka Cyborg Superman) both around and attacking people.
Katie: I know Harewood is a phenomenal actor and did everything to sell that moment, but I still laughed my ass off when he actually called himself “Cyborg Superman.” It’s just … okay, Hank. You go with that name if you want. That’s certainly a choice. Maybe a little weird since you don’t actually look like Superman in this universe, but sure.
Chris: I was really just dumbstruck by it. That is… just not the kind of thing you’d call yourself. I mean, if you want to be a cool, evil guy, you can wait for someone else to call you that, and then do the bad guy thing where you say, “You know what? I think I like that.” and then do an evil grin with your glowing cyborg eye, but to just call yourself that with no explanation seems… very weird. And, you know, to us at home it at best makes you roll your eyes and at worst makes you feel like you’re going to barf.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m way into the idea of this twist on the character and David Harewood having even more to do since he’s great, but that line was just brutal to hear.
Katie: I’m reminded of Cisco in The Flash season one calling Leonard “Captain Cold,” all bitter-like, and Leonard throwing his head back and laughing. That could have worked. I mean I still don’t know how anyone would connect a cyborg eye to cyborg Superman but at this point, it happened, it’s a thing, I guess that’s what he’s called now.
That being said, I did like the semi-practical/semi-CGI looking effects on Hank’s face. It felt like a good callback to the comics while still fitting into the aesthetics of the show. And it didn’t look as crummy as Metallo’s half shirt.
Chris: That is faint praise, but it is 100% accurate. I’d be hard pressed to imagine something that might look worse than Metallo’s shirt. Though, now that I think about it, CGI White Martian M’gann flopping around on the ground during her fight with J’onn was borderline Sharknado-level bad. And as a guy who has watched Mortal Kombat: Annihilation over 200 nights in a row, I know bad CGI when I see it.
Katie: That was my thought, too... not about your Mortal Kombat project, but the fact that after some decent Cyborg Superman effects, the M’gann/J’onn fight was pretty bad. And that’s a damn shame when they had some of the most intense performances of the episode when they weren’t CGI punching machines. I really did like Sharon Leal in this episode as she had to deal with J’onn finally learning her secret.
Chris: Yeah, I guess it’s a little less uncomfortable to watch them fight if they’re both mostly CGI, but the scenes when they’re actual people are where all the drama is, so I guess it’s a tough decision to make if you’re running the show. I really did not expect all of that to end up where it did, though, with M’Gann sitting in another one of the CW-verse’s toilet-less incarceration cells.
Katie: Also I feel like the Supergirl universe made a point of saying the DEO would refuse to hold people against their will without a trial? I mean I seriously doubt she’s going to be locked in there for long, but still.
Just as surprising is the revelation that M’gann’s blood is going to quickly turn J’onn into a White Martian, which we’re already seeing happen at the end of the episode. I have to assume all of this is to set up J’onn learning an important lesson and his bond with M’gann growing stronger as he puts aside his own prejudice and learns to trust her.
Chris: One would like to hope. Also, man, what are the odds that just adding your blood to someone would completely transform your entire physiology to match theirs? An awful lot of weird questions this episode.
Katie: My question is if the White Martians mutated all of their own people so their blood was transformative, or if they just stuck a Green Martian with White Martian blood to see what would happen? Either way, that’s pretty dark. Of course, the idea that you only hate and want to destroy a people until you can make them look exactly like your own people is also dark as hell.
Chris: Yes. Very.
Katie: So another big question of the episode is why they want Kara’s blood so badly? And while that was sort of revealed at the end of the episode with Cyborg Hank gaining access to the Fortress of Solitude, it still raises even further questions.
Chris: I have to say, I don’t like the sound of another “project”. I’ve already forgotten what the name of the thing they ended up having to stop last season was, but I sincerely hope that “Medusa” is more interesting.
Katie: Frankly, I was kind of hoping that this meant they were going to do a Power Girl storyline, but I guess maybe that was too much like the Bizarro Supergirl episode last year? I still would like to see Benoist do her version of Power Girl at some point... although if that meant having to deal with gross men making jokes about Benoist’s cleavage online, then maybe not.
In any case, I’m with you as far as not being super pumped about Medusa just yet. While Cadmus is certainly sinister, it’s not pulling me in like other versions of it has, and seems way more one-note villainy so far. If Medusa ends up being more than that, I’m interested.
Oh, also Kara found out her new bestie’s mom is heading Cadmus, which is something I wasn’t expecting her to find out so soon.
Chris: Yeah, I was expecting that reveal to take a little longer too, but there it is. I have to say all of that business with Supergirl in a cage and then getting roughed up and creepily strapped to a table and being afraid was all a little more than I think I was ready to deal with this week.
Katie: Same. The surgery table, in particular, was very unnerving.
Chris: I assumed a Bizarro situation was coming as well before I remembered that they already did that, but it seems like all of that to-do just so Hank-borg could pour it out on a control panel seemed like a lot of work. Also, if you’ve got her completely depowered, why not just kill her and get her out of your hair for good?
Katie: Maybe killing her was their next step of the plan until Jeremiah helped them escape? That’s assuming that Jeremiah wasn’t working for them to get them out for some future nefarious purpose to be revealed later (thereby showing that Jeremiah is under their control, because Alex Danvers can’t have any happiness apparently). I guess we’ll see where that goes. Oh also, Dean Cain is back!
Chris: I really want to be excited about him being alive and okay, but it all seems too perfect that he’d help them escape at just the right time and he’s been alive for 15 years and hasn’t tried to let them know? Something just doesn’t add up. Maybe he’ll end up being Cyborg Superman also. Maybe all of Cadmus’ operatives call themselves Cyborg Superman.
Katie: Or he’s the third Metallo. Methinks Cadmus is just really bad about coming up with original ideas. So we haven’t talked about Mon-El and his continuing lack of personality and motivations yet. He certainly is still a character who exists this week, huh?
Chris: Yeah, as I was watching this episode I thought to myself, “Did we even remember to mention that Cadmus kidnapped him last week?”
Katie: Like, we finally got to him talking about his guilt for being the only survivor of his planet (especially because his prince and friend gave him his spot on the ship), but he’s been dicking around for how many episodes being just kind of a jerkface? And even last week’s moment of kindness felt a little too late. The most interesting thing about him was his chemistry with Winn, and while they could always go back to that later if they really wanted to, the show seems dead set on pushing him towards Kara. Which by the way, aaaaaargh no.
Chris: You know, after this episode, I’m actually fine with him having a crush on her, because who wouldn’t have a crush on her? But, and this is a very important “but”, I’m only okay with it as long as she never develops any feelings for him other than her already established feelings of wanting to see the best in him and teach and guide him in the way she never got to with Superman. If he starts liking her, it just further shows to illuminate how inspirational and wonderful our main character is, but if she starts liking him then it’s just gross. Like, I see a way that he can learn from her and have his heart and mind changed in ways that lead to him being a better person without them having to have a whole romantic subplot. Does that make sense?
Katie: I just don’t trust them to not have them have a thing. Although, who the heck knows? We did avoid her and Winn getting together last year, so maybe it’ll be one of those things where Mon-El will have to learn to back the heck off. If I may make a hypothesis, my guess is that the writers will have them get together, but Mon-El will die at or before the season finale in a feat of heroism, thereby making Kara single again. But I suppose time will tell.
But more positively, I’m actually more okay with James as the Guardian this episode. It was nice to see some of his heroics between last episode and this one. I dare say, he actually seems competent as a hero.
Chris: For sure. I have no problem buying Jimmy Olsen: Action Hero, but could he and Winn have been any less obvious about their involvement with “The Guardian”? That Alex and Kara don’t understand what’s going on immediately is really embarrassing.
And while we’re at it, I still don’t understand why Jimmy is so dead-set on Kara not knowing. She might be against the idea, but she’s not going to physically stop him. He’s a grown man who can make his own decisions. I mean, I’m sure that’s ultimately where all this is headed, but the needless subterfuge just really seems like they’re trying to pad the story out. Especially when Team Guardian is being so obvious about it. It’s like they’re dying to get caught because they’re so proud of themselves.
Katie: Yeah, it’s not quite as bad as Barry’s many, many times of keeping his identity from people who should damn well know, but it does seem a little silly at this point.
But this also led to Kara explaining why she couldn’t team up with a dark, broody vigilante who wears a mask... because her cousin’s teamed up with one of those vigilante types before, all full of demons and such and so forth, and it’s a bad idea. Between this and the reference to Gotham City earlier this season... look, I really want to see a Batgirl on TV, and we keep getting tiny little hints that Batman (and possibly the Batfam) is a thing in this universe, so I gasped and got super giddy at that little wink. The CW shows are pretty good about letting subtle nods turn into on-screen appearances, so I’m holding onto hope.
Chris: I think it’d take a miracle to make that happen, but I’m all for holding onto hope right now, so let’s keep our fingers crossed and/or get those online petitions started.
Speaking of crossed fingers, there was some great movement on the Alex and Maggie emotional rollercoaster. Even if it’s still not where I think we’re all hoping they’ll end up, Alex really got to stand up for herself and get her feelings off her chest, and it certainly seems like Maggie took what she had to say to heart.
Katie: Definitely. It’s interesting to see what other queer people watching the show think of this storyline. One person I know talked about how much he related to Alex in this episode because he had a guy “keep him around” even though said guy wouldn’t or couldn’t be in a relationship. I don’t think that was Maggie’s intention, but you can understand why Alex felt frustrated by it, and why Maggie’s genuine apology at the end was needed. We’ve said this the last few episodes, but the messiness of Alex’s feelings right now is appreciated because they feel authentic.
Chris: Absolutely. I don’t mind thanking the people behind this show every week as long as they keep putting this kind of care and effort into handling these characters so well.
Katie: Well, next week looks to put a hold on a lot of these storylines, but for good reason --- it’s the four-way crossover with The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow. I’m excited to see Kara Zor-El brighten up that other universe with that glowing smile of hers for a week.