Warning: This recap for “The Darkest Place” episode of Supergirl contains spoilers.
Guardian is accused of murder, Kara must voluntarily give up her powers to save Mon-el, and Hank Henshaw is alive?! This season is really chugging along now — it’s almost a shame that everything has to get put on hold next week for the big CW crossover. Almost a shame.
National City loves Guardian — until it looks like he’s begun murdering criminals, that is. There is a second vigilante taking bad guys down in a hail of bullets, and the police think Guardian is the culprit. Winn eventually realizes it’s Phillip Karnowsky (Victor Zinck Jr.), whose wife was murdered and the killer let off the hook. Guardian stops him, and Alex and Maggie bring him in. Meanwhile, Cadmus uses Mon-el as bait to lure Supergirl to their base where she confronts — and is defeated by — Hank Henshaw, who has become Cyborg Superman. She also learns that Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong) is the Cadmus leader. Supergirl is forced to solar-flare to save Mon-el’s life; Cadmus then takes blood from her depowered body. Mon-el and Kara escape with the help of Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain); when Alex returns with an assault team, however, the Cadmus base is gone.
The biggest lesson Supergirl appears to have taken away from Season 1 is to not force anything. Although the show has many of the trappings of a romantic comedy, the fizzling of Kara and James proves that fans won’t trust it if it’s too predictable. In fact, we’re one-third of the way through this year, and it’s only in this episode that Mon-el has begun to think of Kara as a possible love interest. It’s a nice, slow rollout of their relationship, and it’s all the more charming for it.
Though it appears set up for J’onn and M’gann — as the last two Martians — to pair up, there are obvious problems. Not the least of which is that J’onn imprisons M’gann (for … what crime?), and M’gann’s act of mercy is turning J’onn into the thing he hates most: a White Martian. The blood transfusion is also the cause of his shaking hands and hallucinations. Still, there’s hope, right? If Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston can make it work… Oh, wait.
Alex has been avoiding Maggie after being shot down. They finally got to say their piece to one another. Alex let Maggie know how hurt she was, and Maggie let her know how much Alex means to her — though it still feels like she’s holding her at arm’s length. Has Maggie been burned by someone like Alex before? Hopefully it’s not something worse. You don’t think she’s a White Martian too?
Lillian Luthor finally gets name-checked, and she gets her supervillain speech — the one where she explains why she’s doing what she’s doing. In all honesty, her logic is airtight: Superman turned on her son and gave him a life sentence in prison; she’s just trying to protect humanity from a similar fate. They use Kara’s blood — a lot of it, poured all over Hank’s hands — to trick the Fortress of Solitude into giving up its secrets about Project Medusa, which, like last season’s Project Myriad, won’t be any fun for Supergirl.
Inside comics moment
Even if you disagree with Phillip Karnowsky’s methods, you have to feel for the tragic loss that made him who he is. In the comics, however, he’s just another mercenary. Better known as Barrage, he loses his arm in a fight with Maggie Sawyer — a fate the show has spared him. For now.
*“My cousin worked with a vigilante once. Tons of gadgets. Lots of demons.” Is that a sly reference to Batman? Of course, after next week’s crossover, Supergirl will have her own story to tell about vigilantes using voice changers…
*Usually random explosions in a fight scene aren’t a big deal, but they were particularly egregious this week where, apparently, Guardian and Karnowsky fought in a warehouse that stored all of KISS’s old stage pyrotechnics.
*Mon-el’s got a secret about Daxam. How big is it? As big as turning a guy you like into the thing he hates most? As big as hiding from your sexuality your whole life? Teasing a secret in this season of Supergirl — where the revelations have already been legitimately earth-shaking — means the payoff had better be amazing.
*Comic fans have been well aware that the name Hank Henshaw carries weight in Superman circles. Supergirl has done a good job of convincing us that it was just the name they pulled from the source material — until almost 30 episodes in. It’s a brilliant reveal that is so obvious in retrospect. Bravo, writers; well played.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on The CW.