A long frozen parasite is uncovered in the arctic by some client change scientists.
The episode starts out with Kara, Mon-El, Hank and Alex at the alien bar. After Mon-El gives Kara something that actually gets her drunk, they have to head back to the DEO. There’s a distress call coming from an arctic climate change facility. The scientists found a long frozen wolf-body that was miraculously intact. When they investigated the body the lead scientist, Dr. Rudy Jones (William Mapother), was infected by a symbiotic parasite inhabiting the wolf. After getting more information about it, Winn is able to determine that it’s some kind of alien parasite. Supergirl also finds out first hand that the parasite has given Rudy the ability to drain power from anyone that he touches. The Parasite drains her strength, sidelining her for a little while.
Kara being down giver she and Alex enough time to talk about Alex’s change. Earlier in the episode, at Maggie’s suggestion, Alex came out to Kara. She cut the conversation short when things got uncomfortable for her. While Kara is recuperating at home, they have a chance to finish the conversation. Kara apologizes to Alex for making her feel like her issues might have been secondary to Kara’s secret growing up and assures her sister that she supports her. Their conversation gets cut short when Kara gets a notification about an alien attack and expects it to be the Parasite.
When Supergirl arrives at the scene, she finds Mon-El beating on an alien who owes someone money. She’s upset that he’s using his powers for selfish reasons, but Mon-El insists that Kara’s use of her powers isn’t completely selfless. He tells Kara that the reason she’s a hero is because she loves the attention and love of the people. Supergirl flies away in a huff, and is glad to get back to the DEO where there’s a lead about the Parasite. Supergirl and the Martian Manhunter try to set a trap for the Parasite, but they are both drained of their energy. The drain also causes the Parasite to transform into a more monstrous creature.
With J’onn and Kara out of commission, other characters have to take action. Mon-El is broken up about seeing Kara in that condition after their previous fight. He retreats to the bar, where Alex finds him. She tells him that Kara believes in him and that he needs to start standing up. It’s convenient because Alex wasn’t even at the bar for him, she was there to get M’gann to give J’onn a blood transplant. The talk gets through to Mon-El, who leaves the bar to take on the growing Parasite. He’s helped by Jimmy Olsen, now calling himself “Guardian”, who’s wearing a suit of armor created by Winn. The suit works pretty well, but they still need Supergirl’s help to take the Parasite down. She wakes up and gets the idea to trick the Parasite into absorbing Plutonium 239, which overloads him and causes him to explode. After the fight, she thanks Mon-El and Guardian, but is surprised that she can’t see through his armor. Jimmy rides off into the night without revealing to Kara that he’s the man in the lead-lined mask.
With everything wrapped up, Alex heads back to the bar to find Maggie. She tells Maggie that she came out to Kara and excitedly kisses her. Maggie’s a little surprised, but tells Alex that she wants to be there for her “as a friend”. Humiliated by being friend-zoned after her first attempt at a same-sex relationship, Alex retreats to her home. Eventually, Kara comes to find her and comforts her sister. While Kara’s busy with Alex, Mon-El is walking the streets. He finds a man that he thinks needs help, but it turns out to be a Cadmus trap and Mon-El is taken by Lilian Luthor (Brenda Strong).
- When Kara’s trying to find “Mike” she listens in and ends up hearing he and Mrs. Tessmacher going at it in the copy room.
- Kara takes the drink at the beginning of the episode in exchange for Mon-El agreeing to be trained by her. Turns out that training is code for Supergirl smacking him around the DEO base.
- Kara to Alex: “I’ll go get the alien, you get the girl”.
- Alex: “Thirsty?”
Mon-El: “Not particularly. I’ve just found that drinking is the fastest way to get drunk.”
- Mon-El: “Stop”
Mon-El: “I regret this already”
- I don’t think Chernobyl was caused by a superhero flying into a nuclear reactor…but that’s how Alex says it happened.
- During the fight with Parasite, Mon-El saves a little girl who’s in the past of a flying car.
- Jimmy chose the name “Guardian” because he wants to help people. Interestingly, in the comics the Guardian was the superhero identity of Jim Harper. In season 1, we met a man named Jim Harper during the episode “Manhunter”.
- M’gann reluctantly agrees to give J’onn blood, but seems worried about what it might do to him. Actually, she seems to know that whatever it does to him won’t be good.
- I’m not sure if Brenda Strong’s character has actually been introduced as Lillian Luthor but, after last week’s revelation that she’s Lena’s mother, I figured that who she’s supposed to be.
The title of this episode was really on the nose. The theme of “change” carried through several characters. Mon-El, Alex, and Jimmy all went through some significant changes in the episode. Or, at least, they started to change. Unfortunately (but interestingly) two of those three characters suffered setbacks at the end of the episode. The only one who came out ahead was Jimmy. He and Winn seem like they’re all-in on the Guardian gig. It seems that this version of Guardian will be dependent on having real-time support for Winn. While that does make him a bit more believable, it’s also likely going to make it hard for them to keep their secret, especially when Winn has to help Supergirl and Guardian at the same time.
I’m also interested to see what happens with Poor Mon-El. I liked the idea of a character that wants to use his powers selfishly. I really like it because it’s not just because he’s a selfish person, it’s because he’s a normal person who’s still adjusting to the idea of having powers. Both Superman and Supergirl were raised on Earth being different and knowing that they were these elevated beings. They also, apparently, come from a culture where heroism is something to aspire to. Mon-El is a fully grown man who is used to having to look out for himself (and being a bit irresponsible). To someone like that, it would make no sense to immediately throw yourself into danger just because you got super powers. His selfishness is pragmatic, which is why I find it interesting. He’s gone through a huge change and is just now starting to try to figure out what his place is in a completely new world. Unfortunately, after trying to be a “hero” for a few hours, it’s already led to him getting kidnapped.
Making some of these decisions more realistic is a great way to go, but it does mean that characters are going to feel more negative repercussions. Alex really took the brunt of that in this episode. Despite being in a supportive environment where she could come out, she still managed to get embarrassed by going after the wrong woman off the bat. While I’m sure it’s sad for some viewers that Maggie and Alex didn’t just start up a magical romance, I think it adds validity to Alex’s coming out. There was a lot of hinting at the idea of Alex maybe just being “gay for Maggie” during the episode, but showing how much Alex was hurt by Maggie’s rejection shows that she has real feelings for her. And, earlier in the episode, Alex had realized that it’s her relationships with women that have brought out this kind of hurt in her. She just didn’t realize that it was because she was developing romantic feelings. I also thought that Maggie’s reasons for not wanting to be with Alex were very organic and believable, if a little overly aware. It makes sense for Maggie, who gets around a lot, to not want to be the first person that Alex jumps into a relationship with.
To me, this is a great example of why I think this show is doing much better during it’s 2nd season. I don’t know if the ratings are actually better, but I would hope they have been. The show has ditched the cliche “will they won’t they triangle” between Jimmy-Kara-Winn and replaced it with budding/unconfirmed relationships that feel much more believable. Even though I miss the witty writing for Cat Grant, her exit from the show has also pushed the show’s focus more into the DEO/Superhero realm. There’s no questions about secret identities (although Jimmy kind of restarted that in this episode) or double lives. Aliens are out in the open and Supergirl is a known quantity. All these changes have made it easier for the show to really focus on the part of the characters that makes them interesting, the part that makes them heroes.