We start out in a remote scientific lab in Alaska, where Rudy Jones (a name instantly recognizable to comic book fans as the villain, Parasite) is about to examine a perfectly preserved specimen they’ve just pulled from the ice. Hey, they’re doing The Thing! Every sci-fi show eventually does The Thing, and we’re always happy with it.
Of course, the examination doesn’t take long before it turns into a horror show, with Rudy’s hand getting sucked into the specimen as he screams and tries to pull free. Don’t worry about him, though; in addition to being a major villain’s human alter ego, he’s played by William Mapother, so he’ll survive this scene. The much less recognizable guest stars around him are toast, though.
Back in National City, the usual gang is at the alien bar. Mon-El and Kara are drinking, though there’s not much that affects them. Until some blue alien girl sends over something to flirt with Mon-El, and it leaves both supers well in their cups. Mon-El grudgingly agrees to let Kara train him, though he continues to resist the idea of putting on a cape.
Maggie is playing pool as usual (does she have any other interests? So far, she solves crime and plays pool). Alex shows up to moon around a little, and Maggie challenges her to come out to her family. Alex, not unreasonably, hears this as the thing standing in the way of going on a first date.
Rudy Jones is “rescued” by the DEO, and they bring him home to National City, where he promptly has a Stranger Things/Wrath of Khan mashup scene which is pretty icky to behold (but well done! So so so so happy with the special effects this year, after the mediocre effects in the first season. Yay for The CW!).
As soon as the DEO reviews the security footage from the lab, they realize they should not have released Rudy. Kara and Alex go to confront him, and of course, he’s now turning into Parasite. He makes contact with Supergirl, and his power drain ability gives him Kryptonian strength and vigor. Fortunately for Alex, he then ignores her and leaves–seriously, he could have killed her any number of ways if he cared to.
James is fired up about the injury Kara has suffered, so he insists he needs that suit Winn’s been working on right freaking now. They have a pretty great confrontation over it, and Winn gets James to understand that the suit can’t be rushed if James wants to survive his first day of heroing.
Upon hearing a report of an alien menacing a guy downtown, Kara flies to the scene, expecting to find Parasite…but no, it’s Mon-El, doing muscle-for-hire stuff for a bookie. It’s pretty pathetic, and Kara lets him know it. But whoops, there goes her moral high ground–she went racist on him again for being a Daxamite.
There’s a real Parasite sighting, so Kara and J’onn go in to take him down…but I gotta be honest, I find their lack of a strategy disturbing. They know his power drain deal, but they go right in, and there’s no sign they planned out any way to try to stay out of reach or protect themselves…they both get sucked dry and are in terrible shape.
J’onn needs a blood transfusion, they decide, so Alex goes to M’gann for help. Of course, we know that M’gann is not actually the same species as J’onn, but no one else does, and she doesn’t want to share that detail. She tries to get out of giving blood with a vaguely worded demurral that J’onn “wouldn’t want this,” which Alex adorably takes as a cultural or religious concern. Alex pressures M’gann, who gives in but whispers, “I’m sorry,” to J’onn.
When J’onn awakens, his hand trembles. I’m thinking back to Young Justice (which just got renewed for a third season at long last! Some good things are happening in this world, anyway), when Miss Martian used her shape-shifting abilities at a cellular level to give a blood tranfusion despite not being a match…there were consequences.
The DEO determines that Rudy Jones, as a passionate environmental scientist, is using his new Parasite powers to seek revenge on those who harm Mother Earth. There happens to be a climate change-deniers conference in town, which they describe as “lots of evil-doers in expensive suits” (never a truer word!).
James needs Winn to deliver the suit, so he gives a completely awesome inspirational speech. I’m loving this new direction for James; thanks for giving up the love story no one cared about in favor of letting him be a total badass hero! Winn agrees with me on all this, and he helps James suit up as The Guardian.
Mon-El is on a guilt binge after Kara’s disappointment in his choice of employment. He goes to fight Parasite, and he…well, he tries. But he’s awesomely helped out by The Guardian! They work together to hold off disaster until Kara arrives–with a plan, this time–and puts Parasite down hard by letting him feed off something that will poison instead of strengthen him. The Guardian declines to identify himself, saying only that he is “a friend.”
And the Alex coming out story… It’s mostly well done, except the incredibly clunky scene when she tells Kara. It’s so textbook and feels like every awkward coming out scene you’ve ever watched, and it just doesn’t work, mostly because it’s Kara! They should have sprung for Helen Slater in this episode, not because I think their mother would definitely be weird or anything, but just because we don’t know her that well, so it’s at least plausible. Having Kara act all whoa, what are you saying, I’m totally thrown by this and not sure how to deal with it? It doesn’t feel right. We know Kara; she’s big-hearted and open-minded, and she’s not straight off the spaceship or anything–she’s lived on Earth a while, in a big city, in a younger generation. I get that they wanted to tell a classic coming out story, but they chose the wrong family member to make that scene work.
Alex returns to the bar to tell Maggie she’s completed the challenge. Alex is high on life in this intense moment, and she grabs Maggie for a really sweet kiss. Unfortunately, Maggie is kind of a jerk. She basically calls Alex a puppy, promising to be her friend but making it clear that she’s not up for being anyone’s first girlfriend. Alex leaves in tears. It’s really harsh.
James and Winn have a final scene, with another inspirational speech from James, who is totally rocking this week. I am way into this bromance, and glad they ditched the love triangle so this friendship could flourish.
Mon-El sees a homeless guy and decides to reach out in the spirit of doing the right thing…it’s an improbably well-laid trap, though. Cadmus takes him down and stuffs him in a van.