Supergirl S01E11 “Strange Visitor From Another Planet” REVIEW

Supergirl S01E11 “Strange Visitor From Another Planet” REVIEW

Supergirl 11 - 18

stars 4

Airing in the UK on Sky 1, new episodes every Friday
Writers: Michael Grassi and Caitlin Parrish
Director: Glen Winter

 

Essential Plot Points:

  • Anti-alien politician Miranda Crane decides to hold a rally in National City, and the DEO decide to stand by in case something goes wrong.
  • At the event a White Martian reveals itself and attacks Senator Crane.
  • After Supergirl intervenes Crane is taken into custody by the DEO.
  • Hank/J’onn reveals his traumatic past with the White Martians and how they slaughtered his race, including his wife and two daughters. Vowing revenge against them, J’onn decides it is up to him to kill the alien.
  • While this is all happening Cat decides to try and reconnect with her estranged son Adam, who she abandoned as a baby and has regretted not being there for him.
  • It is then revealed that Crane is actually the White Martian in disguise, and after locating the real Senator Crane J’onn and the White Martian agree to meet in the desert to end things.

Supergirl 11 - 15

Review:

So last week we had the chance to see Winn’s backstory, and now we get to see Hank/J’onn’s past on Mars. It seems like Supergirl’s support characters are getting all the attention lately, but, really, that’s a good thing.

The focus of this week’s episode is family and loss, not only from Kara’s point-of-view but also from J’onn and Cat’s perspective. The latter two are the centre of “Stranger From Another Planet” as J’onn is faced with a member of the White Martians who slaughtered all his people on Mars, while Cat is struggling to reconcile with her abandoned son Adam.

The episode comes to a head at a rally for Senator Crane, an anti-alien politician whose policies of building a dome to keep aliens out seems rather familiar right now. The DEO is stationed at the event in case anything goes wrong and, as one would expect, it does. Attacked by a White Martian, Senator Crane is then taken into the care of the DEO to only then be revealed as the alien in disguise, while the real Senator Crane remains unaccounted for. Faced with the traumatic memories of his past, and having to deal with the reality that it was him using his powers in the last episode that drew the alien here, J’onn has decided that enough is enough.

Quite clearly it is J’onn’s struggle that is the most emotional, as we are told about the genocide of his people at the hands of the White Martians in great detail (the parallels between it and the Holocaust also can’t be missed). It makes for a much darker tone than we have seen before in the series, but David Harewood’s compelling performance makes the horror of these events all the more heart-breaking. The fight between him, Supergirl and the alien is also rather well staged; it is quite exciting seeing all three of them go head-to-head. The most gripping moment of the episode comes when J’onn has a knife to the alien’s head and is about to get revenge for his fallen friends and family when Kara steps in and gives an incredible speech. The way in which Mellisa Benoist delivers it is very poignant, and it is hard not to tear up as J’onn struggles to fight his urge to kill the White Martian.

In contrast, Cat’s desire to salvage her relationship with Adam really seems out of place here. Not that it isn’t an interesting turn for her character, but it just doesn’t seem that important when compared to a horrific shape-shifting alien roaming freely on the streets. This is especially evident when, just after the White Martian (disguised as Senator Crane) has escaped, Kara is taken away from her Supergirl duties to act as a mediator between Cat and Adam who are incapable of having a civil conversation without Kara’s help.

Another point about the White Martian: its design is rather horrifying. It looks grotesque, and when we see a glimpse of half its face when it’s half-alien/half-Senator Crane it’s a nightmarish image, but extremely effective.

“Strange Visitor From Another Planet” has to be one of the best episodes of the series so far. It is gritty and moving so it will be interesting to see where Supergirl decides to go from here, especially with that cliffhanger.

Supergirl 11 - 17

 

The Good:

  • J’onn’s backstory is very moving, and takes the series down a darker and more interesting path. David Harewood’s performance is particularly brilliant.
  • Melissa Benoist’s dorky reaction to Adam asking her out is adorable; we’d definitely love to see more of this in the series.
  • The White Martian’s design is horrifying, which is great for what the writers wanted to achieve in this episode.
  • “Miranda Crane is in town. She is a lightning rod for bigots, hippies and aliens, and yes, that is the order in which I detest them.”
  • “You better get us a quote that will offend virtually everyone. That’s all.”
  • “It’s nothing like me. That creature and its kind slaughtered the Green Martians. The White Martians came from beneath the planet’s surface, bringing fire from the planet’s guts. And they burned us all.”
  • “You don’t know me. I am 317 years old. I can wear any face I choose. I speak languages your mouth can’t even form. You know nothing about me.”
  • “It’s Kiera to your mom. And Kara to literally everyone else on the planet. And beyond.”

Supergirl 11 - 13

The Bad:

  • Cat and Adam’s reconciliation may be sweet but it feels really out of place when compared to the horrors of J’onn’s past and the very real threat of the White Martian.
  • Why does no one mention Cat’s other son?

And the Random:

  • Melissa Benoist and Blake Jenner (who plays Adam) are real-life husband and wife, and previously co-starred in Glee.

Supergirl 11 - 14

Review by Roxy Simons


 

Read our other Supergirl reviews

 

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