Lonnie Chavis as Marcus and Mehcad Brooks as James Olsen in The CW’s Supergirl. (Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW)
Warning: This recap for the “City of Lost Children” episode of Supergirl contains spoilers.
The invasion has begun — or maybe it was never over? Rhea uses Lena to open a portal allowing thousands of Daxam ships to invade Earth. And, while it seems small compared to an alien invasion, it may turn out that James bonding with a little boy ends up having the biggest effect on Supergirl as a series overall.
A Phorian goes on a telekinetic rampage in National City. The DEO has no leads, but James stumbles on the alien’s address. He finds the Phorian’s young son, Marcus (Lonnie Chavis), who refuses to talk. They soon realize that Marcus has started to bond with James, so James brings him to CatCo in hopes of earning his trust. While there, Marcus goes into a trance and lashes out like his mother did, doing tremendous damage to the CatCo building. They figure out that Phorians are sensitive to an energy that Lena Luthor happens to be working with. When Kara calls Lena, Rhea picks up the phone; she has been working on something with Lena and promises that nations will fall because of Kara’s actions. Marcus leads James and Winn to his mother, who is hiding with a dozen other Phorians. Rhea activates her device, which sends all the Phorians into a trance; James uses his connection with Marcus to calm them all before they destroy the city with their unchecked telekinesis. The device is a giant portal which Rhea uses to bring hundreds, possibly thousands, of Daxamite ships to Earth. Mon-El tries to stop her by threatening her with a gun, but he can’t pull the trigger. “Welcome to New Daxam,” she tells everyone.
Guns are basically a joke on Supergirl. Kara’s bulletproof, so a mugger will fire a few shots at her, she’ll knock the gun out of his hand and fly him off to jail. But when the “something” Mon-El needs to grab before confronting his mother turns out to be a gun, it’s a disturbing moment. Lasers and quantum technobabble blasters are fully in the realm of fantasy, but here, a son held a gun point-blank to his mother’s chest and the tone became weirdly serious and real. Some credit/blame is due to Chris Wood, who so perfectly embodies the light, rom-com appeal of the show that, when it happens, it feels like if Billy Crystal pulled a gun on Meg Ryan in the middle of When Harry Met Sally…
The Guardian story line has been floundering for a while. The brutal, vigilante nature of James’s alter-ego doesn’t mesh well with the symbol of hope that Supergirl is, and he knows it. The episode begins with him foiling a mugging, but the victim is afraid of him and his terrifying helmet as she is of the muggers. When he meets Marcus though, he takes off that helmet and finds he does have the power to inspire. Mehcad Brooks shines in the scenes with his young charge and proves himself far more valuable with the mask off than with it on. While it’s unlikely that Guardian would reveal himself to be the same person who runs CatCo – could you imagine a Batman-type vigilante running around, then announcing that he’s actually Fox tycoon Rupert Murdoch? – maybe there’s a middle ground that lets him be a hero without all the thug beatdowns.
Mentor, the Dragon
We all knew this moment was coming. Rhea unveils her plan and Lena realizes she’s been used by her mentor who bolstered her through her lack of faith in herself, and gave her the key to emerging from her brother’s shadow. It’s a shame that had to happen to Lena in the story, but it’s also a shame that Teri Hatcher has to go back to the royal Rhea persona. Both she and Kevin Sorbo felt stiff and, honestly, uninteresting as the king and queen of Daxam, but as Lena’s guide and confidante, she was both warm and, as we well knew, coldly manipulative. That was a much more watchable version of Rhea and, if the show ahd found a way to keep her on Earth as a recurring villain, Hatcher would be a great addition to the show.
Inside Comics Moment
Will we see the Dominators — the aliens from this past season’s Invasion! Crossover — again? They appeared back in episode 9, “Supergirl Lives” on Slaver’s Moon, bowing in deference to what we would later learn was Mon-El’s royal presence. In the original comic book Invasion!, multiple alien species — Daxamites and Dominators among them — allied themselves for the attack on Earth. Are they involved or do the two races just share an affinity for ransacking our planet?
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on The CW.