Martians, Martians, Martians! Last night’s Supergirl episode was heavy on both alien conflict and family resolutions, which, have been the two leading themes of the series thus far. The two storylines, connected by Kara, center on Cat Grant’s estranged adult son (played by Melissa Benoist‘s IRL husband Blake Jenner) and J’onn J’onzz’s tragic Martian history.
Kara sends a letter to Adam, the son Cat revealed she had left behind when she was younger, without actually consulting Cat about it. When he shows up in National City hoping for some resolution, Cat has to face her past choices and dig deep to tell her truth, despite how guarded she prefers to keep herself… especially when sober.
Meanwhile, anti-alien Senator Miranda Crane holds a rally to stir up support for her bigoted agenda, which, naturally, serves as cause for concern for (and action by) the D.E.O. A very public hate rally is bound to attract some of the D.E.O.’s most wanted, after all. But the enemy that shows up is one that had only been on J’onn’s radar, and not the D.E.O.’s. J’onn is a Green Martian, and as the flashbacks show, the apparent last Green Martian. His entire race, including a wife and two daughters, were wiped out in a genocide perpetrated by the xenophobic White Martians—a massacre that draws very stark allusions to the Holocaust here on Earth.
As I said, J’onn lost not just his race of people, but his family, and that painful memory stops him in his tracks when he locks eyes with the White Martian. After a brief scuffle with agents of the D.E.O., the White Martian kidnaps the Senator and flies off into an underground parking garage. In a classic bait-and-switch, the Martian takes the form of Senator Crane and heads back to D.E.O. headquarters with an unknowing J’onn, Alex, and Kara.
Throughout the episode, J’onn has to battle the overwhelming sense of failure he feels about his past, and is prodded by Alex to not let the tragedy turn him into a martyr of vengeance. Although he wants nothing more than to kill the White Martian in retribution for what has happened to his home and his people, doing so would result in total upheaval of the life he lives as Hank Henshaw. Exposing himself as the Martian Manhunter (or dying fighting his foe) would leave a vacuum of power at the D.E.O., which Major Sam Lane would inevitably fill… and that would be bad for just about everyone. In the end, it is Kara’s intervention that allows J’onn to recalibrate and adopt a more clearheaded strategy, which results in the capture and containment of the White Martian.
Back in Cat’s world, a reconciliatory moment over tea and coffee brings her past with Adam to a positive and new place. Both mother and son are able to say the things to each other they’d been needing to get off their respective chests. Cat even offers one of her rarest gifts to Adam: an unconditional apology. A “sorry” with no strings attached, no conditions. The only other person we’ve seen her show such kindness to so far has been Kara.
After the White Martian is contained back at the D.E.O., J’onn shares a very paternal moment with the Danvers sisters. Invoking the past he shared with Jeremiah Danvers, J’onn shares the names of his daughters with Alex and Kara and tells them that “any man would be proud to call you his daughters.” As we barrel closer to the end of the season, it’s clear that family—both blood-related and chosen—is shaping up to be Supergirl’s greatest strength.
What did you think of the episode? Sound off below!
“Maneater” (Hall & Oates cover) by Grace Mitchell
“There’s no shame in surviving.” – Alex Danvers
“Because, Kara, while bigots will always take the gold on the medal podium of my content, they make excellent clickbait.” – Cat Grant
“I’m 317 years old. I can wear any face I choose. I speak languages your mouth can’t even form. You know NOTHING about me.” – J’onn J’onzz
Next Week On Supergirl…
The Bizarro Supergirl made her National City debut in the final scene of this week’s episode, and next week is entirely dedicated to Maxwell Lord’s anti-Kara.