Supergirl 6×18 Review – Almost there

Supergirl -- “Truth or Consequences” -- Image Number: SPG618fg_0015r -- Pictured (L-R): Jesse Rath as Brainiac-5, Melissa Benoist as Supergirl, Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor, Nicole Maines as Dreamer, and David Harewood as J’onn J’onzz -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Supergirl is very nearly finished with its six-season run. As the series prepares for its two-hour finale, its characters are settling into place for their futures. Spoilers follow for Supergirl Season 6, Episode 18, “Truth or Consequences.”

“Truth or Consequences”

THREE EPISODES LEFT UNTIL THE SERIES FINALE — Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) is determined to keep everyone safe from Lex (guest star Jon Cryer) and Nyxly (Peta Sergeant) so she doubles down on patrol, especially as Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Kelly’s (Azie Tesfai) bachelorette party is coming up. Alex is torn between duty and finally allowing herself the time to enjoy her new family. Brainy (Jesse Rath) receives heartbreaking news, and William (Staz Nair) clashes with Andrea (Julie Gonzalo) over her recent coverage of Lex.

We’re back on the Totem Treadmill for one more–the Truth Totem. This episode is a little different though, because it’s the last episode before we head into the two-episode finale next week, and that means laying some big pieces ahead of time. By the end of the episode, William Dey is dead by Lex Luthor’s hand, with a video of the whole thing sitting in Andrea’s inbox. Alex and Kelly’s daughter Esme has been kidnapped by Nyxly and Lex, as she is now the totem of truth. Brainy found out that he’s needed in the 31st century, from whence he hails, to help the Coluan race. This all goes down, of course, during the one time the Superfriends let their hair down and have a party (to celebrate Alex and Kelly’s engagement).

At the end of the Dey

William dying is a pretty big deal. Actor Staz Nair joined Supergirl at the beginning of Season 5, with the writers clearly intending for him to be a love interest for Kara. As the troubled season chugged along, though, and then later as COVID-19 caused the season to stop short, it became more and more clear that was a pretty bad fit. Kara and William’s relationship evolved quickly by establishing that he was seeing someone early in the season, though they never actually introduced that character. This move allowed the writers to use William as a kind of self-insert into the Superfriends in the back half of the season, and let him and Kara become friendly allies instead of tenuous lovers.

His death actually hit me a lot harder than it would’ve because of this. He felt like a much more organic part of the show, and the writers were able to capitalize on his journalistic history rather than his extremely good jawline. By uncoupling him from a romance storyline, he got some agency in the story, even though he remained a side character.

Galaxy Brain Moment

The other moment that hit hard was Brainy’s arc through the episode. After being pushed to call his friends in the 31st Century, he discovers that the Coluan hive mind is dying and that he has been asked to join the hive mind to help it survive. This bit is, on the one hand, frustrating. First, the way time travel works is that you can go to any point in time. Why does Brainy have to go back right now? He could head to 1-1-3021 today or live for 50 years on Earth and then head to the exact same date and time. Second, why is Brainy the only person that can fix this situation? The show never justifies it–it just is.

On the other hand, this works because Jesse Rath has turned Brainy into such a strong character, both in and out of makeup. He shifted gradually from an emotionless computer to a man deeply in touch with his feelings, and so when he cries in this episode, it lands. Further, his relationship with Nia is strong, too, and the actors have great chemistry with each other. I wish the writers had taken even a minute to think about this storyline so that viewers wouldn’t have to think “this makes absolutely no sense” even as the emotional beats of the story landed well.

Mid-Season, not Series End

Aside from these moments, though, this episode didn’t really feel like a penultimate episode for the series or even the season. The team decides to take the time to celebrate Alex and Kelly’s engagement on the logic that we never know how much time we have and that there will always be another threat to use to excuse Alex from self-care. So of course that’s when Lex Luthor launches his attack. Normally, this would be like a four-episode thing where they have to try to find Esme, Alex freaks out, they get Esme back, Alex beats herself up for a few episodes, and then begins to recover as the party comes together. Instead, this is happening right before the whole series finale.

It feels weird that this kid who was only just introduced is now the centerpiece of the entire series finale. The actress who plays Esme, Mila Jones, has all the charisma of the platonic ideal of a TV kid, so it works better than it should, but it’s still weird to have this brand new character be so central to what will be the final episodes of this show and the final appearances of many of these characters.

Indeed, it feels like an episode that could’ve happened partway through Season 3 or to kick off Season 7. The season is a few episodes shorter than previous non-COVID seasons, and with that in mind, this all feels a little rushed. I hope the finale can make good on these moments and make them feel right. We’ll know next week.