By Sara Netzley
December 02, 2019 at 12:06 AM EST
S5 E8
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Intersecting threats in the Supergirl midseason finale challenge the Super-friends to put their trust in change and second chances, and because it’s Supergirl, things mostly work out — even for some who only think they’re the good guys.

We pick up where last week left off, with Alex and Brainy arriving to free Kara from the Fortress of Solitude, where she fills them in on Lena’s betrayal-driven betrayal. The mystery of what she wants with Myriad is solved when J’onn escorts Malefic into the DEO to explain about her mastery of mind-control.

Supergirl zooms to Mount Norquay, an old Lex hideout where Lena and Hope are preparing to integrate Myriad and the Q-wave generator. Lena gives the order to deploy Lex’s ion cannon countermeasures, which Supergirl shrugs off. But when they re-arm with Kryptonite, Lena’s desperate to shut them down before they kill Kara, while outside, Kara breathes, “Lena, don’t do this.”

Lena and Hope/Eve deactivate the weapons at the last moment because, as Lena says, the mission isn’t to kill humans, not even the ones who hurt them. But Kara sees it as proof that she needs to try talking to Lena one more time. “I’m not going to give up on you,” she vows.

Supergirl -- "The Wrath of Rama Khan" -- Image Number: SPG508b_0168r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor and Andrea Brooks as Eve Tessmacher/Hope -- Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
Sergei Bachlakov/The CW

The DEO solution is to project a Supergirl hologram into Mount Norquay so Kara can reason with Lena one more time, but it doesn’t work. Kara’s and Lena’s eyes are both glassy with tears as Kara apologizes for being too weak to tell Lena her secret. But Lena has no time for Kara’s warning that she let her brother manipulate her into becoming something she’s not. “I am good. And I always was,” Lena insists, turning her back on Supergirl to prepare the Myriad launch to save humanity from its own ugliness.

This failure doesn’t come as a surprise to Alex, who used the hologram as a Trojan horse to introduce a mainframe virus to take down Mount Norquay’s defenses. Claymore 3 is standing by to destroy the hideout. Kara’s horrified, but Alex points out that Kara was damned in Lena’s eyes no matter what she did. It’s a rift born of love and compassion, not malice, which is precisely what makes this such a compelling conflict.

Ah, but Alex isn’t done. She’s more attuned to Lena’s double-Luthor-life: hiding Reign, protecting Lex, secretly manufacturing Kryptonite. As much as it pains her, she urges Kara to think with her head and not her heart: Friend or not, Lena’s past the point of no return.

The second potential catastrophe of the night is brewing in the American Godslite Leviathan secret lair, where Gamemnae manipulates Rama Khan into activating a supervolcano while the planets are conveniently in alignment for the first time in 2,000 years. For perspective, the last time this happened, ol’ RK brought about the destruction of Pompeii.

But he needs Acrata’s power from the medallion to fuel the Staff of the Shadow World because … reasons. At first, Andrea assumes he’s another mere agent, but he roughs her up and promises that she and her father will be safe after this last job. Well, dead along with all of humanity is a type of safety, right?

The pair head to the tar pits to kick off an extinction-level event, but Andrea manages to grab Rama Khan’s staff and shadow to the DEO to warn them before Rama Khan drags her underground and pins her with the staff to siphon her powers for the volcano awakening.

The DEO immediately figures out that Rama Khan can and will set off this volcano that’s 10,000 times more powerful than the one at Pompeii. (J’onn’s “That’s concerning” is the most hilarious understatement of the night.) So Supergirl and J’onn head to the tar pits to stop Pompeii 2.0 while Alex and the DEO try to stop Lena. Kara begs her sister to consider an alternative to using Claymore to kill Lena: Malefic can reverse engineer his Q-waves to stop the reprogrammed Myriad because… reasons.

But Alex is reluctant to trust the Martian who invaded her mind and caused so much destruction, just like she’s reluctant to try saving Lena’s life at the risk of so many others. She asks J’onn for advice, and he tells her to give people a chance to come back to the light. Otherwise, what’s the point of trying to save anyone?

Brainy tells Alex that with Claymore, they have a 98 percent chance of success but a dead Lena, while Malefic gives them an 86 percent chance of success but a live Lena. Torn, Alex orders them to get Malefic ready but have Claymore standing by.

Oh, but there’s also trouble in Mount Norquay, where first the mainframe virus and then the volcanic earthquakes have damaged the satellites Myriad will need. Hope/Eve offers to manually reposition them, but Lena won’t sacrifice her only friend to Lex’s likely countermeasures. But Hope/Eve points out that she’s not a friend; Lena created her to serve a purpose. Lena Luthor is the loneliest lady on the planet, y’all. Give Lena her friends back in 2020!

In the end, Lena sends Hope/Eve outside, and they work together to decipher Lex’s pretentious John Milton code on the satellites. Evil geniuses are exhausting. Hope/Eve succeeds (and survives), and Lena launches Myriad.

At the DEO, Malefic unleashes his own Q-wave powers to block the signal, but he needs the crucial 6 percent of his powers being held back by the DEO psychic inhibitors to overpower it because… reasons. Brainy pleads with Alex to order everyone to shut off their tech. She’s reluctant, but at the last second she gives the order, and Malefic gets a boost to neutralize Myriad.

“I lost,” says a defeated Lena. “Sometimes the good guys don’t win.” Aww, puddin’. It’s sweet that you think that, but in the end, you had your brainwashed AI/human hybrid pretend she was the mastermind who’d been holding you hostage so you wouldn’t be arrested. As backup plans go, it’s solid, but it doesn’t really point to a good-guy situation.

Meanwhile, at the tar pits, Kara is trapped under concrete for (say it with me!) reasons, and worse, she has to listen to Rama Khan deliver his big villain speech. He picks up on the theme of the night and sneers that people never change. (Mitch Pileggi is a champion sneerer.) But Supergirl retorts that people’s capacity to change is what makes the world beautiful.

She bursts free and traps him into a tar pit that she freezes over, but he escapes just as J’onn frees Acrata from the staff and they arrive on the scene. Acrata acts quickly, dissolving into shadows and transporting both her and Rama Khan to the secret lair, where he lands with the Staff of the Shadow World plunged into the center of his abdomen.

Yep, he failed, and guess who was behind it all: Gamemnae! Their unseen boss put her in charge, and let me tell you, our Lady G. knows how to dress for leadership.

Andrea arrives back at her office having (presumably) removed the Leviathan debt from her tally. She puts on her Obsidian lenses to review her time with Russell, tearfully apologizing for doing the right thing after it was too late. Aww. I don’t know how “Crisis” is going to play out, but if it somehow reunites Andrea and Russell (and keeps her the heck away from managing any newsrooms), I’m all about it.

At the DEO, Kara and Alex have one last chat about second chances and human nature. Alex is concerned that Lena’s on the loose and will hatch another plan soon, but Kara points out that if they can save Malefic’s soul, maybe they can save Lena’s, too. Then Kara and Lena sit in their separate homes and sadly look at their copies of a picture of the two of them arm in arm. WORK IT OUT, LADIES, EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE IS BEGGING YOU.

Speaking of Malefic, J’onn gets him ready for his next stage of atonement: collaborating with his old friend M’Gann to end the conflict with the White Martians. And he sends him on his way in everyone’s favorite classic-car spaceship. So glad these brothers made peace!

After J’onn bids farewell to Malefic, the Monitor appears to congratulate J’onn for passing his test: he was able to put his past to rest and learn that his vulnerabilities are his strengths. And now he’s ready.  For what, you ask? “A crisis.”

But that’s not the only piece the Monitor’s putting on the board. Chilling his heels in a space prison that makes Magento’s all-plastic cell look baaaaasic is Lex Luthor, brought back from the dead to fulfill his destiny as a hero. “I’ve always been the hero,” Lex insists, unaware that his sister recently said something similar. And speaking of Lena, he’d like to have a word with the Monitor about her.

Finally, on Earth-1 Central City, a dashing explorer type whom The Flash viewers know is Nash Well presses a series of symbols on a panel and screams in terrified ecstasy as he’s engulfed in light and sucked in.

Crisis is coming, y’all! GET READYYYYYYY!

Snaps of the cape

  • All this talk of second chances and the human potential for change and growth makes me even more excited for Lena Luthor’s return to the light. But in the meantime, I’ll take as many scenes of McGrath and Benoist crying at each other that Supergirl wants to give me.
  • Speaking of, much love to Melissa Benoist, who’s a super girl both onscreen and off.
  • I’m delighted about how much use the show’s gotten out of that dinosaur tar pit set. Also, a million points to Ravenclaw for naming the tar pit coffee shop Java-tar. (Because come on, we all know it was a ‘Claw who came up with that.)
  • Crisis! Crisis! Crisis! See you next week for episode 1!

Episode Recaps

Kara (Melissa Benoist) steps out from her super-cousin’s shadow to become Supergirl and defend National City in the third Arrowverse show.
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  • 10/26/15
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