Supergirl 6x07 Fear Knot
For the longest time, the award for the most self sabotaging show went to the X-Files. Refuse to act on stellar chemisty? Make the characters fit the plot? Hide the main plot and then disregard it? Give no time to the trauma characters endure? Make everything about a white guy that really should stay dead? It's all here. The showrunners may try and make the actresses look bad by praising scenes in upcoming episodes only to cut them out, but the blame lies firmly in the drifting filler decisions of whoever thought this was okay to write and film, not just this episode but the whole of 6A. Where's the consistency, the emotional through line, the plot that's about Kara? Where's the excitement, the emotional payoff for six years of build up... to what?
The plus points of this episode are David Harewood's third time directing, where atmospheric and off kilter framing portray the sense of the Phantom Zone. Another plus point is everyone's stellar acting with whatever material they are given. They have the range but it's seldom stretched by the script (take the grass, anyone?). Dansen rocked this episode, though I am concerned that it's only been a week in show time that Alex asked Kelly to move in with her, as we've had three days waiting for Nia and Brainy to come back from 2009 Midvale.
That's about it for the good points. The episode resetting itself every few minutes felt like a microcosm of the show, and as such there's no emotional consistency for me to follow. All these fear scenarios happened in isolation, and it's unlikely the characters will ever talk to the other characters about what scared them the most. Lena and Nia had the most consistent fear. Nia fears her slow interpretation of dreams will get Brainy killed. Lena is still dealing with family baggage of survivor's guilt with her mother drowning. This was previously only known by a volunteer for a science project that promptly died (season 4), but it adds to the audience's feelings that Lena would rather drown by being dropped into a reservoir than harm children (season 3), and the self torture of Titanic being her favourite film.
The men were unaffected by the fear, for the sexism. J'onn saves the ship. Brainy has a new analogy of compartmentalised feelings, replacing little boxes with balloons waiting to pop. It does make sense as he temprarily made himself forget Kara's identity when interrogated by the truth seeker. Personally I would have thought J'onn's biggest fear would be abandoning his found family, the way he escaped White Martian occupation. I would have thought Brainy's biggest fear is turning into his ancestors and bottling planets. But hey, we're only going to torture women. Kelly shows the greatest emotional strength, recognising it's a dream thanks to her mental health specialist training and picking up a 'guardian' shield to protect the women she loves. It's a pity Alex won't know about the depths Kelly loves her. Lena is the second most adept at overcoming fear, by showing her kelpie folklore nightmare compassion. Nia doesn't recognise all of the dream as such, and it's just her and Brainy in the end. Alex is so far gone that she self-sacrifices to save those she loves, so her biggest fear is being a compromising element to the superfriends, specifically being unable to save Kara and protect Kelly.
The episode is a similar set up to the 100th, where we have four scenarios with high emotions ultimately for naught, as in the final moments Kara does something unrelated to what the audience has seen for 40 minutes. If the 100th was a treat about the world being fundamentally altered depending on how Supercorp get on, being sabotaged by Kara given an emotionally damaged woman an ultimatum of "forgive me for treating you badly or I'll leave you to your family abusers". This episode was an exploration of the supporting ladies having none of their deepest fears involve Kara, because she's not shown, not even in GCI watery outline. This is in contrast to the previous episodes where people have gone to emotional extremes to get Kara back from the Phantom Zone, with Brainy breaking down and comfort eating, to Nia getting despondent about her dream interpretation, to Lena ready to sacrifice the world to repopulating phantoms to get Kara back, to Alex and J'onn having to rely on their military training to keep it together. Six episodes of build up, to have four 10 minute segments unrelated to Kara, with the exception of J'onn and Alex arguing about who is her touchstone early on.
Yet, even this is disregarded as Zor-El becomes her hope speech. The guy has barely had screen time, and previously his stone function was being a dead weight I couldn't wait for Kara to cast off. This guy made the Medusa virus, was married to someone who sent innocent people to an indefinite torture, only thought of saving his hometown rather than challenge bureaucracy to stop environmental degredation, thought his daughter would be fine as a teenage parent on an alien planet. He gets a longer hug than any reunion with the superfriends, and it's only Alex that gets a half second hug that was apparently cut and originally included J'onn. The reason given was the sense of urgency of the Phantom Zone island being ripped apart by the anchor, but I remember Mon-El having a prolonged goodbye scene when he should have died from coughing lead. Given any opportunity, the show will make things about men, especially white men. The trailer to tide us through the hiatus was framed around Zor-El acclimatising to Earth, with a blurry background prescense of William Dey, the show killer. It's season 2 all over again, the comedic relief eroding Kara's progress. He should be sent to Argo immediately, so the show can be about Kara, and unpacking her trauma.
There's been filming spotted this week of Katie McGrath with Staz Nair. She's holding a battered book that an audience looking for consistency has dubbed the folklore book Lena's mother read to her as a pre-four year old. Worst case scenrario, William's presence with Lena may be them romantically dating, as it's not the first time Lena's had Kara's romantic cast offs.
Want a Supercorp parallel? While Kara's been in the Phantom Zone (around the Nyxly hijinx) she's told us her biggest fear is people she loves dying because of her. Lena and the audience actually see all of the superfriends die. Want another parallel? Both Kara and Lena are saved by their parents. Another? Nia's supersuit was made by her romantic partner Brainy, and Lena makes Kara's suped up suits. Nia and Lena really big on bonding over their dead mothers and how lucky they are to have their found family, for the audience at least as I think it falls into the individual dreams. Indirectly, Kara's called Lena family as that's what she says upon seeing the sun bomb and Lena created it.
The show is really not being subtle about sci-fi and fantasy references this season, with Harry Potter and Alien nods abound. It's like they decided they wouldn't follow through on anything they created regarding Kara and women, and hoped we'd appreciate being reminded that other shows do far better.
Apparently Kara really doesn't have to worry about leaving Earth unprotected as M'Gann is doing it by herself. And if J'onn was immune to the Phantom Zone, then he could have gone on his own without subjecting everyone else to their isolated fears.
Kinda concerned that the canon romances got killed in the fear dreams - both Brainy and Alex get blown out an airlock while their queer partner watches helplessly. Glad M'Gann wasn't here for that.
I want to know what it's like to live next to the Tower. Do you think they take bets as to what's happening next? People fly out of it, spaceships pull up to the balcony, and now the whole top section flies off and disappears into a dimensional portal. Said portal is opened by Lena as a sign of trust to use the projector. This bonding by Lena with the superfriends is appreciated. Though the DEO blew up so I don't know how she got the plans or equipment for the sun grenades (season 2) to make the sun bomb. Everyone's got magic money stashes, and Nia's had a three day absence from CatCo without reprimand.
Gonna be a long wait until August.
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