This week, Alex is continues to be hung up on her father’s betrayal, and takes matters into her own hands. The episode’s parallels with our current political situation are obvious, but the show is confused in its own sense of right and wrong.
A seemingly average family is traveling through the rural countryside, with the parents embarrassingly singing along to Bruno Mars, when they are pulled over by a police officer. He doesn’t ask to see the driver’s license or registration, which should be their first clue that something is off. Instead, he tells them they have a broken taillight, which he’ll help them fix with special reflective tape. The dad gets out of the car and a scary black van suddenly pulls up. The whole family is cuffed and dragged into the van. They’ve all revealed themselves as aliens while they were being captured. Beware police officers who don’t follow procedure.
At the DEO, Supergirl tells us that the missing family makes the 20th abduction since Cadmus stole the registry. Jeremiah is declared an enemy combatant, since he stole the list. They discuss ways to let the alien population know that they are in danger.
Kara decides to get CatCo to publish a front page story about the abductions. Snapper Carr informs her that she needs to act like a journalist for once, with sources for her story. Kara doesn’t see why this is important, since she knows she’s right, and is one of the good guys. Snapper is unmoved. Kara suggests that Snapper interview Supergirl himself.
Maggie and Alex are at the alien dive bar, which appears to be named the alien dive bar. Maggie is crushing Alex at pool, winning dinner, a bottle of scotch, and a flash grenade. Alex wants to go double or nothing, so that she can renege on the flash grenade. Not cool, Alex, not cool. I’m sure Maggie can be trusted to use the grenade for a very responsible prank. And probably not on you.
Alex is distracted by worries about her father. What if he’s captured by the DEO and they hurt him? Jeremiah is a good man, and Cadmus must be mind-controlling him, blackmailing him, torturing him, or something. It’s not Jeremiah’s fault, in Alex’s mind, at any rate.
Winn and Lyra are out with James, who’s been released from wherever he was being held for the last two weeks. Lyra enjoys the same classic scifi as Winn, we learn as they critique Dune together. Suddenly, there’s an explosion, and Cadmus is there kidnapping more aliens, including Lyra.
Alex and Maggie try to stop the kidnappings, but don’t fire their guns for some reason, so they are almost injured. James saves them as Guardian. They capture one of Cadmus’ men, while the rest get away with Lyra and the other aliens.
The team gathers at the DEO, including James. Why don’t they just hire him as Guardian and get it over with? Winn is panicking, and angry at Jeremiah. Alex goes to question the Cadmus prisoner, but instead begins beating him, and telling him to tell her where Cadmus is. J’onn stops her, and orders her from the room. Alex claims she would have stops before she killed the prisoner, that she just wanted to see if he would tell her anything. It’s still police brutality, verging on torture. Unconstitutional, no matter how you look at it. She also claims that she wants to find Lyra and all of the aliens, that it’s not just about her father. Maybe not, but it’s clear that he’s her first priority, and people are getting hurt because she let him go last week. She doesn’t mention that to anyone this entire episode. It’s in the previously, but Alex keeps her betrayal a secret from the rest of the cast. The show never addresses this, or shows her having any guilt over it.
Snapper Carr has his interview with Supergirl. She says the interview is on the record, but, just like Kara, she doesn’t really understand what that means. She feels that she is a truthful person, so he should believe whatever she says and print it without any other verification. Of course, the irony there is that she’s lying to him about her identity, just for starters. She lies to him constantly, about her whereabouts, her sources, and her activities. Supergirl is not remotely truthful. She also never faces up to this reality.
But Supergirl/Kara also doesn’t understand how journalism works, with multiple verifiable sources and fact checking. If the news outfit is legitimate, they may grant the source anonymity, but they know who the source is, and have vetted them. Reporters go to jail for not revealing their sources to the government if secrecy is necessary, but the reporters themselves know and have verified the sources, or the news report is worthless. I’m not sure how Kara has worked at CatCo for this long without figuring that out.
Alex is home alone in her kitchen when Jeremiah appears. He tries to convince her to steal something from the DEO for him that he can use to save the alien hostages. He says that he’s been faking being on Lillian’s side all along. Alex has to make her decision right now. Alex says she’ll help. Jeremiah shifts into J’onn. He was testing Alex. Her judgement is compromised. J’onn suspends her from the DEO.
Alex feels betrayed by J’onn’s test and suspension. She asks Kara to talk to J’onn and get her back on the case. Kara says she doesn’t agree with J’onn’s methods, but she does agree that Alex shouldn’t be on the case. Alex is too focused on Jeremiah. Kara reminds Alex that she beat up a suspect, which Alex says doesn’t matter. What matters to her is protecting their father because there is still good in him.
Which is exactly why she shouldn’t be there in an official capacity. Our entire justice system, from beat cops to the Supreme Court, is set up to take these matters out of the hands of the interested parties so that justice can be handled impartially. Jeremiah is one person, compared to the hundreds of aliens that she is also sworn to protect as a DEO officer. If she’s putting her father first, who directly put the hostages in danger, she’s not doing her job. Alex is a wonderful, loyal, caring daughter. But that’s not what she is supposed to be when she’s in uniform. J’onn was trying to do her a favor by removing the conflict of interest when he suspended her, even though it makes her feel helpless.
Kara runs into Lena and enlists her help in tracking down where Cadmus is keeping the alien hostages. Lena also promises to help find a second source for Kara’s story about the stolen alien registry. She suggests Kara find a way to publish her story independently if Snapper won’t publish it.
Maggie is a supportive girlfriend and will help Alex find her father while she’s suspended. They find an alien who’s about to be abducted, and stop the kidnapping. Alex downloads the information from the van’s GPS to find the Cadmus facility’s location.
Lena sorts through old files to find a closed facility that fits Cadmus’ needs. Her assistant warns Lillian that Lena has found the site. Lillian orders her to stop Lena. Lena calls Kara to give her the location just as she’s attacked, so Supergirl comes to Lena’s rescue. Some definite fan service going on when Kara catches Lena bridal-style.
Alex goes to the Cadmus facility alone, instead of calling in the DEO. Her father captures her almost immediately. Her tells her the plan is to send the aliens back to their home planets, despite the fact that some of those planets are now uninhabitable. Sort of like deporting refugees. Alex is appalled. She thought her father was being forced. He says he had to work for Lillian, or she would have killed his family. She says, “Do you think we would want you to hurt people to protect us?” But that’s exactly what she’s been willing to do for the last two episodes to protect Jeremiah, and the show is going to reward her loyalty for it by the end of the episode.
Mon El encourages Kara to “blob” her story, so she pushes the button.
When Lillian finds out that Kara has gone public, she rushes the launch of the ship with the aliens on board. Alex is forced to detonate the bombs that she set all over the Cadmus facility, then board the ship herself to try to stop it, since there’s no override code. Jeremiah tries to help Alex from the ground. He’s stopped by Cyborg Superman. Alex kills the crew, but has no idea how to pilot the ship. There’s no way to control it manually, so Kara has to push the ship back down to land. We are not questioning this sequence at all. Kara works hard and Alex gives her lots of encouragement.
Lyra and Winn are reunited in the alien dive bar. James watches them, because he lives there now.
Snapper fires Kara, because she
almost put a fascist in the White House with her fake news committed a breach of contract, went against his orders, and is generally a lousy employee who doesn’t listen.
There is a senseless apology scene between Alex and J’onn. Because if the star feels hurt by your actions, you must be wrong. Maggie congratulates Alex on getting her job back.
Kara tries to figure out what to do next, now that she doesn’t work at CatCo. Being Supergirl isn’t enough. It’s just what she can do. But maybe being Supergirl and having Mon El can be enough. Except, oops, there are mysterious royal strangers from space arriving as we speak, who will change everything.
This episode showed us something about the limits of each sister. Kara can’t do things by herself in the journalistic world the way she can as a superhero. Even as a superhero, she has a team backing her up. She needs to learn to be a team player as a journalist as well. Or become a blogger who works without the resources and reach of a respected news organization like CatCo. Either way, she needs to accept that she doesn’t make the rules in that world.
Alex was a complete badass in taking the Cadmus facility on her own, but if Alex hadn’t blown it up, Supergirl could have called in strike teams to capture Lillian, Jeremiah, and the rest of the Cadmus operatives once she’d gotten the location from Lena. Alex made it onto the ship, but she actually didn’t do much once she was there. Kara did everything to bring it down. What did Alex think she was going to do? Why didn’t she ask if any of the aliens was a pilot? If she hadn’t been so focused on her father, she wouldn’t have ruined the opportunity for the DEO to stop Cadmus once and for all. J’onn was right to sideline her, and his apology to her was ridiculous.
Alex was unable to look at the situation as anything other than a threat to her father. The show seemed to praise her for this in the end, which is confusing. Her emotionalism led her to let her father go at the end of Homecoming, which has put hundreds of alien lives in danger. It led her to engage in police brutality. It led her to bungle the assault on the Cadmus facility, so that her father is still with Cadmus. Is that really where the show stands? It’s okay to put my needs above everyone else’s, no matter how much damage that does in the long run? It’s okay to let other people die, as long as I get mine? It was ironic for the writers to go this way in an episode where they were so obviously criticizing the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Alex’s morality is selfish in the end, just like the morality of the people who voted for Trump. Both Alex and Trump voters only care about their little piece of the world, and don’t care who suffers outside of it, as long as they’re happy. They may give some lip service to not wanting to hurt other people, but people end up hurt anyway. I didn’t think that this was the way they were going with this character. Alex deserves better writing. She was able to see the bigger picture in season one, and put aside her own needs for the greater good. As Mr. Spock said, sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.