Welcome to Earth
Warning! Full spoilers for the episode below.
With The Last Children of Krypton, Supergirl said goodbye to Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman. While his appearance short but sweet, it was nice to have Supergirl return to form in Welcome to Earth. This was an episode full of new introductions and new relationships, and a fistful of girl power.
Welcome to Earth picked up right where we left off last week, with Mon-El (The Vampire Diaries’ Chris Wood) finally waking up. Unfortunately, his awakening came with a fury, as he reached a manic state and soon escaped from the DEO. J’onn chiming in with a, “Sure picked the wrong time to get rid of all of my kryptonite!” was icing on the cake, despite the circumstances. But of course, the timing for this escape was just plain awful with President Olivia Marsdin (Wonder Woman’s Lynda Carter) making a trip to National City.
President Marsdin is headed to National City to sign a brand new executive order, the Alien Amnesty Act. This is for all alien citizens, promoting them to come out of the shadows and live as who they are, with full rights as American citizens. While Supergirl could have been a bit heavy handed in full-heartedly using the AAA in parallel to real-world events, they managed to do so while avoiding the obvious tropes and missteps. And again, J’onn timed in with the perfect line about his own feelings about the AAA, not only as an alien, but also as an African-American. Supergirl approaches these real-world issues of rights for all citizens in all the right ways, while still keeping it relevant to Supergirl. But that’s an entirely different article in and of itself, that of which many will permeate the internet in the next 48 hours, so we’ll get back to Welcome to Earth.
It was great to see Supergirl getting back to, well, Supergirl. Supergirl is a hero, a blossoming legend, a character in the hearts and minds of National City. Even so, she’s still nervous to meet President Marsdin. Just as I praised Supergirl for doing the same when Kara was forced to pick an outfit when meeting James, similar feelings shine through here. So often the heroes we see on other CW shows or DC or Marvel films are concrete and absolute figures. They wouldn’t ever do something as silly as becoming nervous to meet the President. But Supergirl continues to show that Kara is not only still green as a hero, but she’s just as quirky as any of us. It’s fantastic.
We also continued the “Trials and Tribulations of James Olsen” in Welcome to Earth. While his arc can head in numerous directions, especially with the news that he will become the vigilante Guardian at some point, it was nice to see some slow definition as he took over Cat’s role. Snapper Carr and James came to blows this week, with Snapper taking over in the first half of the episode. Of course, by the end, James established himself into his own role of leadership and earned a minuscule amount of respect from Snapper. Again, while it was just a baby step, it was nice to see some definition in his character before he jumps into the vigilante role of Guardian.
Kara continued her path as a reporter, and while she felt entitled to the “big scoop” of talking to President Marsdin, she was instead sent to talk to Lena Luthor. While this isn’t what Kara wanted, it provided some great moments both narratively and also for a budding relationship. Kara wants Lena’s take on the AAA, and is given even more information than she knows what to do with. Lena wants to sell a device that can tell who is human, and who is not. While this device is leagues uglier and less effective than The Flash’s meta-human detector watch, it still ignites a fire in Kara. Thankfully she uses her heat-vision to rewire (?) the device to make it register her as a human! Or something? That bit wasn’t nearly as clear, but it nice to see more interaction with Lena. We also get a later moment after Kara publishes her piece about Lena, in which the two almost seem to bond. This gave me nostalgic feelings of the relationship between Clark and Lex in Smallville, and it will be interesting to see how Supergirl continues to approach this relationship.
With the President in National City, and Mon-El on the loose, of course the President would be in need of saving. It wouldn’t be a weekly comic book show if someone didn’t need saving! Of course, Supergirl saves President Marsdin from what appears to be Kryptonian heat-vision, and the hunt for Mon-El continues. This scenario was less important with Supergirl saving the President, and more so for the introduction of Maggie Sawyer (Lethal Weapon’s (2016) Floriana Lima) to Supergirl. Detective Sawyer investigates all things that “go bump in the night” in relation to superpowers and aliens, and has a unique parallel to Tom Felton’s character on The Flash. Thankfully, Sawyer is much less prickly than Felton’s Julian, and is a vital team member this week in Welcome to Earth.
Back to Kara’s normal life, Snapper once again challenges Kara’s continued progress as a reporter, when her piece about Lena’s alien-detection device is packed full of bias. In a time where media-bias is ever present, especially during an election cycle, Supergirl once again managed to approach this topic without preaching or becoming too heavy-handed on the topic. And again, Season 2 looks to be moving forward with defining Kara as a reporter, while she has never been so fully defined by a job in the comics like Clark has. I just hope to see continued challenges and growth on this front as we continue into Season 2.
Detective Sawyer, as alluded to, played a big part in this episode. Not only was she on the trail of Mon-El before Alex even was, she and Alex both teamed up on their hunt. This led them to a wonderful alien bar, which bled shades of the Mos Eisley Cantina. Deeper so, we got some immediate and strong characterization for Sawyer as a, “non-white, non-straight girl from Nebraska” who, “might as well have been from Mars.” Even with just introducing Sawyer, her interactions across the episode were phenomenal.
Might as well have been from Mars.
We finally learn that Mon-El was attempting to contact Daxam, and that he is actually a Daxamite, not a Kryptonian. Daxam was a planet in close orbit to Krytpon, which is why Mon-El had similar powers. Again, Supergirl broaches on semi-topical issues, with her own bias towards Mon-El because of where he comes from. Of course, we soon learn that Mon-El wasn’t behind the attacks on the President, and Kara has to come to terms with that bias.
Before she can do that, President Marsdin is attacked at the AAA signing, and it’s revealed that it wasn’t Mon-El. While this wasn’t a surprise, this sequence did provide an immaculate reference to Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman spin, which made it entirely worth it. Unfortunately, Detective Sawyer is taken captive, and Supergirl and Alex must save her. The rest of the episode plays out as expected, with Supergirl saving the day. President Marsdin, who also alludes to an invisible jet, thanks Supergirl and reveals to viewers that she’s also an alien (?). Supergirl makes amends with Mon-El, setting aside her bias, while also having to tell him the fate of his planet. It will be interesting to see how long Mon-El sticks around, especially with his comic book-based Legion of Super-Heroes ties.
But of course, the biggest kick came at the end of Welcome to Earth with J’onn heading to the alien bar, in an attempt to be himself. But of course, nothing goes as planned, and he meets a bartender who has an immediate reaction to his Martian-ness. This ends with the reveal that J’onn is not the last survivor of Mars. Miss Martian, The Last Daughter of Mars, is revealed.
Supergirl may have lost the presence of Superman this week, but Supergirl is just fine without him. While Welcome to Earth was par for the course with Lynda Carter’s President Marsdin in town, Supergirl managed to balance real world issues without preaching to the choir and forcing them falsely into the world of Supergirl. Welcome to Earth introduced new characters, continued to define the characters we love, and shined through with fistfuls of girl power. Superman? Who needs him?