'Supergirl' 4×13 Review: 'What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?'

While Supergirl hasn’t particularly floored me this season, one of the things that I continue to be intrigued with is the parallel between Supergirl’s reality and our reality. This division between two political sides hits so close to home, but also appears as hopeless as our own reality can seem at times.
But there have been a few good things that I’ve been enjoying in Supergirl, perhaps none more so than Nia and Brainy. There’s something so pure and genuine and innocent and wholesome about their dynamic. How they’re two people so in denial about how they feel about each other but also can’t help but care immensely for one another. Add to that the training dynamic to their relationship and I’m officially all-in on my Dreamy ship!
Let’s break down the good, the bad, and the so-so of Sunday’s Supergirl:

The Good

Supergirl — “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and The American Way?” — Image Number: SPG413a_0564b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Jesse Rath as Brainiac-5, Nicole Maines as Nia Nal/Dreamer and Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl — Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The Trio of Kara, Nia, and Brainy

While I certainly would’ve loved more of it in this episode, I absolutely loved the scenes that we were treated with Kara, Nia, and Brainy. They’re all so similar yet so unique in personality and experience. But they have such a wonderful chemistry that just makes you envision adorable puppies dressed in supersuits. Whether it was the trio adorably lying their way, discreetly of course, to the Fortress of Solitude to the immediate switch into superhero mode, there’s such a nice dynamic to this trio. It’s something that I crave more of, especially in a time when I ache for the Kara/Alex dynamic that this show stole from us for some added drama. Give me more of Kara, Nia, and Brainy. It’s the least you can do.

Brainy Training Nia

Don’t even get me started on my love for Nia and Brainy’s relationship. The two adorable puppies are so smitten with each other that they’re both in denial. More than that, there’s a genuine care and a genuine desire for the success of the other. They’re so supportive and I really just cannot get enough of these two. With that said, I loved getting to see a new aspect to their relationship, which came in the form of Brainy training Nia. Kind of reminds me of another hero training a hero-in-training that had my heart a flutter (oh, how I miss Karamel.)
While Nia was obsessed with wanting to know the future that awaited — including how Brainy knew one of her descendants and wanting to know what she was truly capable of — Brainy preached not messing the timeline up. You know, like another hero on another Earth. Oh, Barry, you’re infamous! But curiosity killed the cat. Or the future, in this case. Nia pried the truth from Kara’s robot that inhabits the Fortress of Solitude and learned something along the lines of “oh, I can astral project!” Nia tried it and nearly succeeded before being blasted backward. While it first appeared that Brainy would come in criticizing Nia’s bold move and decision to ignore his advice, he ended up praising Nia for being the kind of hero that takes risks and wanting to be the best hero she can be. And as if that wasn’t beautiful enough, after Brainy’s Legion ring was stolen, Nia was there for support. “Setbacks will make you stronger,” she tells him, as she vows to help him get it back. I need more of this relationship, please and thank you!

Supergirl Torn

Ah, the infamous moral dilemma. Which side do I belong on? Which side do I choose? Which side is the best option even though both totally suck? Welcome to Supergirl’s world, as she struggled to deal with two opposing sides that yearned for war between their races. While the Elite, led by Manchester Black, wanted to turn the government satellite against the humans, the Children of Liberty, led by Ben Lockwood, wanted to use it as a way to shoot down incoming alien spacecrafts. Both sides were terrible, naturally, and Kara felt torn between which side would be the least demoralizing. Does she stop the satellite and be aligned with the Elite? Or does she let the satellite go into orbit and be used against aliens? What would that say to the Children of Liberty? Eventually, Kara chooses the only side she knows is right for her: The middle. Kara is the bridge between these two warring races, well, the people that believe that these races are at war with each other. And when you’re in the middle, you manage to find some middle ground. Where both sides are coming from. How to satisfy each side — or defeat it altogether, which is what it ultimately might take.

The Bad

Supergirl — “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and The American Way?” — Image Number: SPG413b_0006b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Jessica Meraz as Pamela Ferrar/Menagerie, David Ajala as Manchester Black and Louis Ozawa Changchien as Hat — Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The Elite vs. The Children of Liberty

Oh, look, one bad organization waging war against another bad organization. No matter who you fill in the blank with — The Elite or the Children of Liberty — it’s just a bad look all around. But I do understand that Supergirl is trying to create this kind of chaos that can only be cured through understanding. And who is the hero that provides that middle ground? Supergirl. But having to watch both misguided sides wage war and attempt to annihilate another race was just downright unpleasant.
I feel like a big part of the disconnect for me on The Elite side comes from Manchester Black. I’m just not feeling the character. Part of me wants to see a redemption arc. But another part of me doesn’t see how it can happen and I’m not a fan of him as a villain I can’t connect with. Sure, he lost his true love. But there’s nothing left of the person that she loved in him, which is something you usually can find if you look deep enough. There’s a disconnect. Plus, Supergirl is trying to unite the races while the Children of Liberty and the Elite are trying to pit war against races. Not exactly a flattering look for the latter.

President Partners with Children of Liberty

I don’t want to say, I called it. But I called it. There’s so much fear and weakness in this replacement president that just screamed eventually submission to the Children of Liberty. Not to mention that he threw a temper tantrum after Supergirl saved the White House from being bombed. Oh, but the best part came after Supergirl made him feel inferior. Because only an inferior man is made to feel inferior by others. After he originally pardoned Ben Lockwood for his role as Agent Liberty and what that organization did and stood for, the President reached out because he wanted more control. He wanted control of the aliens, including Supergirl. The president gave Ben Lockwood the kind of control that will make him even more dangerous: He made him Director of Alien Affairs. Goodbye peace, hello war. My God, the parallels between this show and reality are astounding.

The So-So

Supergirl — “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and The American Way?” — Image Number: SPG413a_0266b.jpg — Pictured: Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers — Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Supergirl & Alex Dynamic

Now, there’s no way that I could put this on the “Good” list because I’m still bitter over what this show did to Kara and Alex’s relationship. But I have to say it was refreshing to see Supergirl and Alex working together without this sense of animosity from Alex’s end. If you squinted, it was almost like old times. The banter, the trust. But it’s not what it once was. And I honestly can’t wait until this show somehow fixes this. The only bad thing here is knowing that they might not ever get back to where they used to be. Alex might learn that Kara is Supergirl, but those years of growing up and supporting her sister for who she was and who she became would be lost. Unless J’Onn can magically give Alex her memories back. Which I doubt.

Lena Working with the Government

Look, I’m all for Lena Luthor exploring a way to help the world in a way she believes is positive, but this whole storyline took a turn when she decided to work with the government to bring her vision to life. At first glance, it looked bad. Like Lena was selling out. But as the hour unwinded, I didn’t come to accepting Lena’s choice but I understand it a bit more. Lena is using the government’s resources to do her research — and managing to find a way to keep the real research from them. Now, I don’t foresee this going smoothly. There’s something that’s going to happen where they get their hands on something. It’s just the rules of television. But I can respect the fact that Lena and Alex are smart enough to know that they can’t trust the government. And they purposely are using them for funding and such to get what they want. The only thing I can’t get away from is the knowledge that this is going to go inevitably wrong. It always does.

J’Onn’s Internal Struggle

Look, I respect J’Onn’s internal struggle when it comes to figuring out if he can be the man he promised his father he could be, but it just feels strung out at this point. This is a storyline that went into effect last season, and it feels like it’s been a season-long arc. There’s a repetitive sense of “Who is this person I am and who is the person I’ll choose to be?” He continues to seek clarity and struggles with what his dad wanted him to be: one with peace and who he is: a manhunter. And I admire J’Onn’s desire to want to do right by his father while also acknowledging that he has to be true to himself, but I, myself, would like some clarity on this storyline sooner rather than later.

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

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