Supergirl‘s mid-season finale plays to many of the show’s strengths – even if it is light on the crossover element…
Let’s get it out the way first. Despite all the hype, this episode of Supergirl is not a proper part of this week’s four-way Arrowverse crossover. Barry and Cisco do show up on Earth-S – but only for a brief moment at the climax (plus a few interdimensional teases earlier on). Thankfully, ‘Medusa’ is so strong on its own two feet that it doesn’t really matter.
As it is Thanksgiving, the theme of the week is family and how we can choose a path different from our parents’. With Cadmus releasing a stolen Kryptonian virus to wipe out the aliens of National City, Kara has to come to terms with the fact that her parents – who created the virus – were not the good guys she thought they were (a nice continuation of a similar theme from season one). Meanwhile, Katie McGrath finally got some meat to chew on as Lena has to decide whether to side with her mother and accept her Luthor destiny or join Supergirl. For a minute there, I did think she had lived up to her alliterative name but Lena’s good soul does fit in with Supergirl‘s optimistic tone.
Yet there was also love in the air this week, as two pairs of characters locked lips. Considering I was not that interested in the reveal that Mon-El liked Kara last week, the pair’s scenes together here were quite touching. After kissing Kara while delirious from the Medusa virus, Mon-El seems not to remember the event later on. But his longing look when Kara walks away is a giveaway that he does. Elsewhere, Maggie has her own near-death experience after being shot by Cyborg Superman and realises her feelings for Alex (pity she couldn’t have realised them two weeks ago). Once again, the show excels in depicting Alex’s gradual acceptance of her sexuality. She also came out to her mother (guest star Helen Slater), who was hugely supportive.
The one thing that stuck out for me this episode was the very abrupt end to J’onn’s White Martian transformation storyline. Though he did have to accept his new form to save the day (by fighting an evil double of himself, no less!), the business of this episode meant that the latent dramatic potential of the moment was completely unmined. At least he still has to come to terms with M’Gann’s true identity. And evil Hank Henshaw is still out there.
On the whole, ‘Medusa’ more than makes up for last week’s cluttered episode. It wasn’t a hugely explosive mid-season finale, but it was a strong character-led installment that will mean we will really miss Supergirl for the next month.
Oh well, its crossover time!