Episode grade: 9
When we last saw Supergirl, she was under attack from her more-famous cousin aboard the Daxamite mothership. By way of explanation, Queen Rhea the Smug reminds Kara that Daxam is littered with the detritus of Krypton, which means they have an abundant source of Kryptonite. The variety she's using on Superman is silver, and it's affecting his mind, causing him to hallucinate a battle with Zod. (On Smallville, silver K caused Clark to experience vivid paranoid delusions, so I appreciate the consistency, even though I know the two series are not actually in a shared continuity.)
The fight is really good, too. Comic book fans are used to seeing some pretty thin explanations for why two heroes are suddenly punching each other, but this one is solid, so I'm feeling respected as a fan. Ultimately, Kara triumphs, then collapses in exhaustion.
When they both awaken, Superman makes it very clear that the silver K only affected his mind, not his body; Kara beat him for real, at his full strength.
Because Superman's in town, it would be wrong not to at least talk about Lex Luthor. Lillian visits Lena to deliver Lex's unfinished symphony of anti-Kryptonian tech. She suggests to Lena that while Lex never got it working, Lena might be able to complete his work, reconfiguring it to affect Daxamites instead of Kryptonians. "You could be the Luthor who saved the world," Lillian tempts her.
At DEO headquarters, Supergirl and Superman make a grand entrance. Winn and Superman have an endearing interaction, as Winn clearly hopes to be remembered from last time, and Superman comes through with a compliment and a charming "good to see you again," only to leave Winn blushing and stammering.
Kara introduces her cousin to her boyfriend, and it's a sweet moment, with Mon-El clarifying that he's a Daxamite, but "not like the killy ones."
Kara asks Winn to open a channel to the mothership, and she challenges Rhea to a traditional duel. Kara is the champion of Earth; Rhea represents Daxam. If Kara wins, Rhea and her forces have to leave the planet. Mon-El is really not happy with this plan, because he knows Kara isn't a murderer, and his mother definitely is.
Kara and Clark go off to visit Cat Grant, who, as you may recall, has a deep and unabashed affinity for Clark. They ask Cat to help with the DEO's efforts to clear the area so the duel won't cause civilian casualties, including overeager media. (Although...couldn't they just not hold the duel in the heart of downtown National City? I admit that feels a little strange to me.)
Cat hilariously asks their help intervening with James' alter-ego, because she's worried he'll get himself killed, playing superhero without any superpowers. She tries to use Star Wars references like, "punching out bad guys like he's Darth Vader," and "get killed by a lifesaver." When they correct her on these points, she breezily says she's never seen a Star Wars movie. It's a fun bit, especially because Calista Flockhart is married to Han Solo himself!
Meanwhile, Lena is a hero, so she reaches out to Supergirl about the device she's working on. Supergirl and Superman go to see her and Lillian to learn more. Lena explains it will make the planet uninhabitable to all Daxamites, then asks Supergirl if she knew that Kara Danvers was dating Mon-El. (Agh, Lena, how do you not know??? This is the one part I just don't buy.) Supergirl gives Lena the go-ahead to prep their Plan B, and Winn is dispatched to help Lena with the work.
Kara and Rhea meet for the duel, and Rhea demands that Supergirl swear again to honor the agreement about the duel, and Supergirl says, "On my honor." And now I'm a little confused about honor, because there have been all these wacky moments when Supergirl's sense of honor is so overblown that she rages at Mon-El's lie about his past or she risks her life to offer Rhea a chance to surrender...but now, she's flat-out lying while invoking honor. We know she's lying, because Lena's working on Plan B, with Supergirl's blessing. So...I don't know about this "on my honor" business. Is it meant to indicate that Supergirl has learned there's a time when lying is appropriate? I just don't know.
Not that it matters, of course, because Rhea has zero honor, and we all know it. She starts having her ships and soldiers attack the city, because it distracts and distresses Supergirl, and because if she can't have this place, then no one can.
Superman and J'onn exchange an oath, "Stronger together!" and head into the city to join the fight. (I really appreciate these moments of outspoken feminism and support. Every time they reference Hillary Clinton, my heart swells and aches a bit.) Mon-El goes to help protect the people. M'gann shows up with a bunch of White Martians who share her path of peace.
Lillian is eager to just turn on the device as soon as it's ready, but Lena reveals that she saw this coming and gave the activation control to Supergirl; only Supergirl will make this decision.
Rhea's long-term exposure to the Kryptonite on Daxam has caused her blood to become toxic to Kara; one good punch that breaks the skin, and Supergirl is in trouble! Still, Supergirl is strong and resolute; she's doing well in the fight, but it's clear that Rhea's instructions to her army were of the scorched-earth variety. The Daxamites are not going to leave peacefully, no matter what. Mon-El nods to Kara, knowing she has to activate the device.
Because Mon-El has been here so much longer, he's got a little time before the effects would be fatal. Rhea turns to dust within moments and good riddance to that bitch. Kara calls Alex to pull the Kryptonite pod out of storage and get it ready, so they can get Mon-El off-world before it's too late.
Now, as a fan of DC Comics, I've always known that Mon-El was going to have to leave because of lead in our atmosphere. But knowing it all along doesn't make it any easier to watch, and that's because of Chris Wood. He's been such a wonderful part of this show all year. Charming, effortlessly likable, hilarious, and so good in these more intense moments, too. I hope he sticks around The CW, because I watch almost every show on this network, so I have a good chance of seeing him again soon.
I appreciate that the show made time to share my pain, as my eyes were filled with tears. Superman is the first to offer his condolences, admitting to Kara that he's not sure he could have made the selfless choice she just made; if he had to sacrifice Lois to save the world, he might fail that test. He tells her again that she's truly the stronger of them.
Alex talks to Kara next, and afterward, she immediately proposes to Maggie, because life's too short, and love is everything.
Kara visits Cat again, and Cat delivers another inspiring pep talk. After Kara leaves the room, Cat calls her Supergirl...so, she does know, I guess, which makes sense...but Lena doesn't? Anyway...
Lillian takes credit publicly for vanquishing the Daxamite invasion. Since the DEO is a secret organization, they probably can't offer any contradictory evidence. At least maybe Lena will continue to distrust her vicious mom, who took the role of "the Luthor who saved the world" for herself after all!
In the Kryptonian pod, Mon-El is zooming through space, then gets sucked through a wormhole! I 100% predict he's being sent to the future, where he will become a member of the Legion of Superheroes.
Finally, we go back in time to the destruction of Krypton again, and this time, there is a third pod revealed as having launched after Kal-El's and Kara's. The people surrounding the pod are all very creepy with black hooded robes, skull emblems on the walls, and a general ominous vibe. We can't see the baby-shaped thing they're loading into the pod, but we do see one of the caretakers feed it a drop of blood from her finger.
I'm predicting the Season 3 villain is Doomsday. Any other guesses? And will everyone miss Mon-El as much as I will?