Supergirl 2×11 Review: ‘The Martian Chronicles’

Immediately following Supergirl’s latest hour I said to myself: “Damn, that was a good episode.” Because it really was. At this point it’s not even surprising how Supergirl manages to so flawlessly weave together beautiful emotion stories within the high stakes action happening all around. I just count myself blessed to get to witness this kind of beautiful storytelling week after week in a way that both inspires me and tends to kill me emotionally at times.

The beating heart within Supergirl continues to be the complex and compelling relationships the writers orchestrate this series around. That’s what makes the action feel real. That’s what makes us feel a special kind of pain reserved for only the best of television shows.

Supergirl may have a reputation for being the lightest of The CW’s DC television shows (with The Flash coming in second). But that doesn’t mean that it can’t embrace the darkness that it does possess in a way that enthralls you and entertains you.

Supergirl might be the walking definition of optimism, but things aren’t perfect even for the Girl of Steel. “The Martian Chronicles,” while focusing on J’Onn J’Onzz, M’Gann, and the White Martian takeover, also managed to find time for our titular hero to struggle with her emotions. Whether it was being hurt by her sister for missing her “Earth” birthday or finally getting the courage to come clean about her feelings to Mon-El and getting shot in the proverbial heart, it was an important week of learning for Kara.

But the heart of this week’s episode rested with J’Onn and M’Gann, who had to confront their personal demons, as well as their feelings, as we learned that sometimes the hardest thing you can do it tell someone you love goodbye.

Let’s break this down:

White Martian Takeover

The thing that Supergirl can do so well is tackle a somewhat serious storyline and add a little humor to it, which is what we found with the White Martian takeover that sent the few inside the DEO through one hell of a night.

Last week, M’Gann warned J’Onn and us that the White Martians were on their way for her But it was the one White Martian that led the charge that made this something much more personal, as it was M’Gann’s “mate” or “match” back on Mars. Clearly there weren’t any significant feelings there.

Anyway, given the Martians ability to shape shift, the White Martian managed to get inside of the DEO, which sent the group into a frenzy. The DEO was placed on lockdown and all pandemonium broke loose. But it was in that pandemonium that we got that made what would’ve been an overly dark storyline into somewhat of a humorous tone to the darkness.

There was also something very intriguing about this “Who Done It?” aspect to it as everyone began to wonder who this White Martian was posing as. He could’ve been any of them, which was completely terrifying and thrilling at the same time.

Eventually, Kara and J’Onn & M’Gann eventually took out the two White Martians and Winn saved the DEO from imploding. So basically we avoided a massive mess. Phew.

Kara and Alex

With every superhero show, our titular hero has their one true love. With Arrow, it’s Oliver’s love for Felicity. With The Flash, it’s Barry’s love for Iris. So while you’d be quick to assume that Kara’s true love is someone of romantic significance would be expected. But not all love stories have romantic implications. Love is love. And sometimes familial love is more powerful than anything.

Kara’s love story on Supergirl is her love for her sister Alex. Since the beginning, these two badass ladies have brought to life an incredible and unique sisterhood that has made our hearts sing and weep. There is no relationship on Supergirl more important than Kara and Alex’s.

So the moments that we get to delve into a part of their relationship is truly something special, as was the case with “The Martian Chronicles.” The present day was Kara’s 13th “Earth Birthday,” which marks the anniversary of Kara’s ship crash-landing to Earth. It’s an occasion that they celebrate together every year. But things have changed. Alex is beginning to focus on herself and the things in her life, which includes her new relationship with Maggie. And unfortunately for Kara, that’s something that gets in the way of her Earth birthday celebration.

Obviously Kara is hurt. She’s incredibly in touch with her feelings, and the feeling of dejection (which is how she felt) is one that is incredibly sobering. She tries to downplay it because she doesn’t want to interfere with her sister’s happiness, but eventually the truth comes out. Kara hasn’t lived on this Earth without Alex. She’s sort of been an emotional crutch for her over the years. So it’s incredibly hard for Kara to not feel like Alex is slipping away when Alex is only living her life.

The two sisters have a beautiful heart-to-heart where they address the situation. Honesty has always been such an important part of their relationship, and it’s what made this conversation one of many successes. Kara confesses that she’s feeling dejected; like she’s losing Alex. But Alex is quick to reassure her that that’s not the case. Just because she’s with Maggie doesn’t mean she’ll ever leave Kara. She promises Kara that she’ll never leave her, which makes me warm inside but also terrified because I can’t help but look for signs of foreshadowing heartbreak.

But something that both Kara and Alex are learning this season is that while their journeys are ultimately intertwined, they do exist outside of each other. They each have their own separate path. It doesn’t make it easy to acknowledge, but it’s something that they can’t escape. But just because they’ll find their paths veering away from each other sometimes doesn’t negate the love and trust their relationship has always possessed.

The Angst Has Just Begun

While I certainly don’t need a ship to enjoy a television show, I do have to admit that Kara and Mon-El have surprised me to the point where I find myself obsessing over their will-they-won’t-they romance. Guys, I have mad feels to the point where I was shouting at my television for someone to speak the hell up at the end of this episode.

Last week, Mon-El took a leap of faith and told Kara how he felt about her only to have her shoot him down as she claimed to not share those feelings. Only we all know that was a load of crap. It was written all over her face then. And if Mon-El hadn’t been so damn heartbroken over feeling like she rejected him, he would’ve seen it too. This week picked up immediately with the awkward tension that comes when one delivers a heartfelt love confession only to be shot down. Once again we had Kara so vehemently denying that she has feelings for Mon-El in that way. Basically she was looking for any excuse not to put herself out there.

And while it took until the end of the episode for some closure (well, more like closure/continuation), it was incredibly worth it as it set up an angsty ride for Kara and Mon-El throughout the rest of this season. Like anyone with two eyes, Alex saw from the beginning how Mon-El felt about Kara. But because Alex knows Kara better than anyone in this world, she also recognized that Kara was lying to herself about how she feels about Mon-El. She might be putting up this front against Mon-El, but deep down that’s not how she feels in the slightest.

In that sisterly heart-to-heart we learned that a) Kara does have feelings for Mon-El (well, we knew. But she admitted it), and b) That Kara has refused to take that leap due to fear that she’ll be heartbroken once again. Which makes complete sense. It’s incredibly hard to put yourself out there with the fear of rejection or heartbreak. Kara is someone who is very emotional in the best way. She wears her heart on her sleeve, which isn’t a bad thing but it’s also a brave thing. We’ve seen Kara try and fail in the romance department before. And it’s not something that’s been easy for her. This idea of once again putting herself out there only to eventually be rejected was something that clearly has been present in her mind since Mon-El showed up.

But Alex encouraged Kara to take that leap of faith. Sure, it’s absolutely terrifying to do. But nothing worthwhile in this life hasn’t come without some kind of risk. Otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it. So Kara decides to go to Mon-El and come clean about her feelings. Only as she’s walking inside CatCo I already know what’s about to happen. It’s the thing I called last week in my review. It’s a cliché storyline that I don’t seem to mind happening on my shows.(Who said clichés were always bad?)

Just as Kara is about to confess her feelings to Mon-El, she comes across Mon-El headed out on a date with a CatCo employee. You can pinpoint the exact moment her heart drops, as well as the moment when I first began yelling at my television. This was what Kara feared most. And the worst part is that she did this to herself in a way. If she’d accepted Mon-El’s feelings that would’ve been her headed to lunch. But life isn’t easy or fair and most of the time it’s painful as hell, which is an important lesson Kara is learning this season. She’s learning that the world doesn’t stop and wait for her – even if she is Supergirl.

So while things might seem grim and hopeless at the moment, this is the moment where the love story officially begins. Angst is the name of the game. It’s what makes these ships worth shipping. It’s what eventually makes the moment they get together so much sweeter.

Saying Goodbye

Perhaps the most difficult thing someone can do is say goodbye to someone they love far too soon. It certainly isn’t fair when that person has already experienced countless lifetimes worth of pain and heartbreak that has made him the being he is today.

This was an especially difficult episode for J’Onn J’Onzz, who has had to confront these feelings he’s been having about M’Gann. Couple that with the White Martians attacking and the trauma they brought with them and J’Onn needed a freaking drink. Or 10.

But it turns out battling the White Martians wasn’t the biggest hardship J’Onn would face in this episode. No, that would came after the time when he got up the strength to open up to M’Gann about his true feelings for her. About how this is the first time since his wife was murdered that the hole in his heart hasn’t felt like it’s there.

But if we’ve learned one thing about J’Onn J’Onzz it’s that his story is not a happy one. History has proven that. So after things look to be headed on the up, M’Gann tells J’Onn that she’s returning home to Mars in order to find other White Martians that are open to that hope, compassion, and fight against the White Martians that give them a bad name. It might not seem fair, but that’s how the story goes.

Luckily J’Onn was able to connect with M’Gann in the short time he was allowed. And her in return. It showed him that he is capable of finding that connection again. And that’s what’s most important.

Five Things…

  1. I just knew that when Kara acknowledged her feelings about Mon-El that he would be trying to “move on.” Girl can’t catch a break. After Alex encouraged Kara to admit those feelings she was having, Kara got up the courage to take a leap of faith. Only it was too late. Or so it seems. This is going to be a beautiful, angsty romance this season. Bring it!
  2. There was a certain Murder Mystery vibe with the whole White Martian loose in the DEO. It was incredibly compelling, terrifying, and entertaining as the White Martian(s) took the form of some of their own in Winn and Alex. But trying to figure out who the White Martians could be – as they could’ve been anyone – was a fun game in itself.
  3. Kara and Alex continue to be the best relationship on this show. A superhero’s true love doesn’t have to be with romantic implications. Supergirl proves that Kara’s true love is her sister Alex, and God, I live for it.
  4. Good to see that there’s still some tension there with Kara and Winn & James. I mean, not that James was present in this episode. But I’m glad there’s still that animosity there over Winn and James’ decision to protect the city without Kara’s blessing. This isn’t something that should be resolved off-screen. I’m looking forward to the resolution.
  5. My heart actually breaks for J’Onn J’Onzz. He’s the strongest being on this Earth. Emotionally speaking, I’m impressed that J’Onn hasn’t had a complete breakdown following all of the hardships he undergoes. The latest on the list? His new love M’Gann, after confessing that she also feels strongly about him, is headed on a suicide mission back to Mars to fight for her cause of kindness and hope.

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.

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