I have not been enjoying Supergirl this season. Compared to last year, this season is messy and complicated. With this week’s episode, what initially felt like a reprieve from that ended up being a missed opportunity. Spoilers follow for Supergirl, Season 5, Episode 8, “The Wrath of Rama Khan.”
“The Wrath of Rama Khan”
When last we left off, Lena Luthor had trapped Supergirl in her own fortress. The Luthor sister hacked the Kryptonian defenses and left her former friend in a Kryptonite cage. It was a heart-breaking scene that reminded us why Melissa Benoist and Katie McGrath are the stars of this show.
Supergirl was never going to be locked up for long, though, and soon Brainy and Alex hop through a teleporter to deus ex machina her out of her prison. Kara tells Alex about Lena, and then goes to try to beg Lena to re-think the thing she’s spent literally months working on. That’s optimistic, Kara. After Lex’s ion cannons do little to deter Kara, the Kryptonite cannons go up, and it’s only at the very last second that Lena is able to disable them. Is there some doubt hiding in there, or is that simply part of Lena’s “do no harm” code?
But then, all at once, everything starts going sideways. While Lena is trying to win hearts & minds with her re-purposed Myriad device, Rama Khan is trying to melt hearts and minds with a supervolcano eruption.
When the dust clears, Rama Khan is defeated and deposed, but Leviathan is still standing. Hope gives herself up to authorities, leaving Lena free to go. Kara doesn’t seem to be naive enough to think that is at all indicative of Lena’s innocence, though, thankfully.
A missed opportunity
The way things broke was that the DEO was left trying to tackle two disastrous “fall finale” events at once, but it feels like a missed opportunity. Rama Khan’s supervolcano-related earthquake complicates Lena’s plan for world domination, but ultimately only slows her down. I think it would’ve been much more interesting for Lena to find out about the disaster and put her plan on hold. Maybe she could’ve focused her science laser at just Rama Khan instead of the whole world or something like that.
Instead of it being this chance for Lena to feel like a hero even though her plan was interrupted, it’s just two huge events resolved a little too quickly so that both enemies – Lena and Leviathan – can be put on hold for Crisis. While Arrow and Flash have dovetailed Crisis into their seasons nicely, Crisis feels like an interruption for Supergirl.
All of this does leave those villains off in interesting places. The second time Kara begged Lena to stop her plan, Alex piggybacked a virus into Lena’s network, further damaging Kara’s image in her eyes and cementing the notion in her mind that she’s the good guy in this scenario. And while Rama Khan is off the board, Leviathan is not, and it sounds like the organization will be using different tactics moving forward. The other Leviathan member we’ve seen so far is played by Cara Buono, who played Nancy Wheeler’s mom on Stranger Things, so she might end up being the villain for the second chunk of the season after the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover.
The episode does, also, lead directly into Crisis and shows us that Lex Luthor did indeed die, but that Monitor has brought him back to play a role in saving his world. Lex was so much fun last season that I’ll jump at any chance to see him come back.
I hope that the season break for Crisis brings Supergirl back in a better place than we’re leaving it off.