Recap: Supergirl S3E13 Both Sides Now
Supergirl “Both Sides Now” starts off with the full scale assault, complete with lackluster door kicking in by Supergirl on the apartment of a suspected Worldkiller, who is so engrossed in her Lisa Loeb singalong that she doesn’t even notice the armed cavalry that has come into her apartment. The fear of the guns drawn squad unleashes her inner Worldkiller and she sends out some seriously destructive screams that shatter windows, peel paint, and the glasslike walls. Samantha is feeling slighted by Lena taking over more day to day operations to give her friend a break until they can figure out what’s going on with her medically. Mon-El and Winn set out to do some spaceship repairs before the Legion can’t go home again which feels like the start of some good old fashioned boy bonding and hijinks.
Supergirl and Alex have some very different feelings about how to deal with the first Worldkiller they’ve managed to capture. In typical Supergirl fashion, she wants to save her and find her humanity while Alex is hellbent on killing it, with fire or Napalm or whatever is clever and available. Since Julia is no longer in control and Purity seems to be in charge of this party, Alex and her go toe to toe verbally getting us ready for one of the sisters to be proven wrong. While the Danvers sisters are trying to figure out how to solve the Purity problem, Samantha is trying to enjoy a hopefully Reign free ditch day with Ruby.
It doesn’t take very long before Alex is done playing nice and calls Supergirl out on her brand of illogical, saccharine filled hope which adds a nice level of realism to the mix. She makes very valid and human points with her argument that cynicism is what keeps us humans alive and she makes it known that she is about to do things her way if that’s what it is going to take to save our world and keep them both alive. Alex and Purity continue their verbal sparring and Purity doesn’t pull any punches and goes for all the soft spots in her attempts at destroying Alex’s very soul since she can’t destroy her physically yet.
The crystal they recovered and took straight to heart of the DOE headquarters is activated while Supergirl is talking to Purity and Reign gets activated while Purity uses her sonic boom level vocals to tear the DEO headquarters apart in her escape. Which is kind of heartbreaking because Reign was out with Ruby at the time, luckily Lena was only a phone call away and she gets a bit more insight into what’s going on with her friend. But, with Reign out in the wild with the mission of finding and guiding a “newborn” Worldkiller, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach because, I’ve grown fond of Sam and Ruby and as a comic book reader, I have a sense of where this is all headed.
Purity and the DOE All Star team go toe to toe in a subway station, with Supergirl getting most of the WWE action, while Alex tries to save the commuters, Mon-El and J’onn J’onzz try to save the structure. In a change of pace, Alex is the one who coaxes Julia out of Purity just in time to save Supergirl from a crushing throat blow. The calm is short lived though because Reign shows up and is ready to kill them all, Julia agrees to go willingly with Reign to avert the oncoming slaughter and they speed away in search of their third sister, Pestilence. I can’t be the only one who thinks it’s kind of cool that you need four HorseMEN to run an apocalypse but only 3 women to kill a world. Lucky for us that isn’t the end of Reign tonight because we get to see Samantha and Lena get into a bit of a spat over Ruby and how much she should know about her moms mysterious condition and Lena gets a sneak peek into the fact that she might be Reign which, might be a good thing because Lena truly wants to help her friend.
What was supposed to be some quirky, fun, hijinks filled boy bonding over old cars and space ships takes a turn for the serious & the writers added a bit of relationship tension into the mix with Imra and Mon-El who seem to be in the middle of a marital spat. There was a lot unsaid when Imra walks in and makes some suggestions about how they guys can fix the cars and just as suddenly she storms out with a vague quip. Her actions seemed very boilerplate and gave off some serious , “women be crazy” stereotypical vibes that I wasn’t too fond of. The story of their marriage gets told to J’onn J’onzz and it isn’t a romantic one which opens the gate to will they or won’t they on the Supergirl/Mon-El tip. While the writers are clear on the reasons Mon-El has been having weekly chats with Kara, it also leaves a bad taste in my mouth because, I’m worried that the writers are veering towards an eventually reconnect which isn’t a bad idea because of the infidelity, relationships are complicated, it’s a bad idea because Kara is still finding herself and learning to live on her on. , sans male attachments and through heartache. I am happy that the writers keep things honest when it comes to emotions and the complexity of relationships but, the way things are headed, I worry about Kara retaining any sense of agency. Especially since the story hasn’t been too focused on her this season outside of to show her heartbroken or proving how girl power filled she is by focusing on every woman on screen who isn’t her.
Overall this episode was a whole lot of conversation and a little less action, Elvis would not have approved and for the most part neither do I. The problem of late with Supergirl is that it stays very formulaic and enjoys going as close to the girl power line and straddling it with pop feminism. Despite the show being called Supergirl, the other women in the show seem to be better written and take center stage. Most of Kara’s emotional complexity comes from a place of discovering herself through her romantic relationships and less about her own emotional growth and discovery. It’s been wearing on me in a way I can’t put my fingers on but, the show seems to becoming stagnant and I feel like the staff should get back to basics and make a Supergirl show about Supergirl. It’s not to say that they can’t have fun with the other characters but, they shouldn’t be the central focus of the show and they shouldn’t have solid storylines, emotional arcs and depth while the main character gets campy one note lines that seem to be the equivalence of an emotional Groundhog Day that’s been running on a loop for most of the season. I hope that things turn themselves around for the rest of the season because, while last nights episode was solidly written and not horrible, it wasn’t a standout and while I don’t expect every episode to be a home run, it should at least make me want to come back for more immediately without using the last scene cliffhangers in every episode just to give us a bait and switch.
Overall Rating: 7.1