[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers]
Director: Chad Lowe
Writers: Dana Horgan & Katie Rose Rogers
Starring: Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, Katie McGrath, Chyler Leigh, Sam Witwer
James falls in deeper with the Children of Liberty in his efforts to meet Agent Liberty. Meanwhile, Supergirl and Manchester Black follow a lead on Agent Liberty’s location, but things take a dark turn. Lena kicks off her first set of trials.
The main thing I like about this episode is how quickly specific plots have moved forward. I figured the idea of James trying to reach and infiltrate the Children of Liberty would last a lot longer but it’s seemingly over. I really like that. This season so far has been focusing on somewhat standalone adventures with overlapping thematic and character elements. Previous seasons had this to a degree but this is the most effective. Nothing is being dragged out; I love the pacing.
Beyond the pacing, I do love James’ story here. The Children of Liberty force him to make compromises that nearly get someone killed. But he’s doing it to save someone’s life. He doesn’t care about the personal sacrifices; what matters is the person he’s saving. That element also parallels Lena’s subplot which is cool.
Manchester Black’s story is the other one that is moving way faster than I thought it would. I figured he would be a friend of the team for a little while but he’s very much in an antagonistic role now. The main appeal of Manchester’s fall is how badly it affects Kara and especially J’onn. They believe in him and see his value; Manchester throws it in their faces. Manchester is tearing down everything J’onn believes in; there’s a tragedy to that.
I always like stories in which Kara either doesn’t have her powers or they’re weakened. It allows the show to depict how clever and resourceful she can be even when she’s not at full strength.
Lena has started her experiments to give humans super powers. Her first test subject, Adam, is very obnoxious. They try giving him some pathos later on but most of his scenes are pretty tedious. Katie McGrath does give a wonderful monologue but I’m not super invested in this plot. Lena can’t really succeed because it would be awkward if a show depicts a fix all cure for cancer. So I imagine it’s going to go incredibly poorly and she’s going to give someone powers that she shouldn’t. My bet is on Manchester.
Supergirl and Manchester are working on finding the Children of Liberty together. During the investigation, Manchester loses it on some random dude which makes Kara question whether she should be working with this person. Just taking the scene on its own, it doesn’t make sense. Manchester being incredibly violent to members of the Children of Liberty is logical to a point. They killed his wife and he wants revenge. But he assaults a random dude for no reason; it’s ridiculous. And in context of the entire episode, it’s even worse. Manchester nearly derails his entire plan because of this decision.
This is another solid episode. Moving Manchester to an antagonist gives our characters a new set of challenges they weren’t prepared. Agent Liberty and his followers have a hateful rhetoric that is opposed to everything our heroes believe but can be fought against. They operate out of hate and fear. Manchester operates out of pain. He mostly aligns with the team. He wants to take down the bad guys too but he can’t deal with their limitations. I’m excited to see where the season takes this conflict.