Supergirl: Season 2 Episode 17 review – Distant Sun
This review contains spoilers.
Kevin Smith episodes of DC/The CW shows are growing more and more frequent (with this being his second Supergirl outing) and it’s a great thing. Although Smith often talks about how he feels he does very little on these shows and that he essentially gets paid to watch these shows getting made, if you ask the cast then they will sing a very different story.
The last time Smith was on Supergirl the cast came away singing his praises and explaining how he brought a powerful enthusiasm and energy to the show, allowing the whole cast to find a burst of new vigour for their work. He brings other things too, but this is one of his prime contributions and it’s no small thing.
What’s nice to see is that this episode was pretty much just as strong as Smith’s previous Supergirl outing. “This episode has more action than in all of my films combined” he stated on a podcast and he wasn’t wrong. Although that’s an easy bar to hit, because most of his films aren’t exactly action-orientated, he was right that there was an abundance of action within this episode.
I mentioned previously that I was surprised when the ship chasing Mon El turned out to be friendly. It seemed like a stalking threat but it turned out to simply be concerned parents. This week swung that around, revealing Rhea as a villain who is willing to set bounties and even commit murder in order to get her way.
One terribly wrong footfall (no fault of Smith’s, as he didn’t write the episode) was Rhea murdering her husband Lar Gand. Although her intent with this was clearly to make it so that Mon El assumes the Daxom throne and becomes King, it seems absolutely ridiculous that she would choose to kill her love and her partner, simply to try another avenue of getting her son to return home.
It’s true that we can’t hold the Daxoms by the same moral standards as humans, because we simply don’t know them well enough yet and because there must be a reason why other races speak so negatively of them. However, Lar Gand seemed genuinely decent and we know that Mon El is decent, so that means Rhea’s malice is probably not a-typical of a typical Daxomite.
I find it hard to see it as anything other than a huge mistake. We don’t know how the writers intend to go on with this from hereon in, but I almost feel like no next step would justify the act. Unless, perhaps, someone wicked is taking the guise of Rhea, but the writers already used that in this episode with the reveal that President Olivia Marsdin is an alien herself, which is yet another potential mis-step.
The first question to ask is: which kind of alien is she? Fan theories are circulating, with speculations ranging from her being a Durlan to being a White Martian (which I don’t think is true, because she looked very different to a White Martian, to my eyes). I feel it’s a flaw – not only to use the “this person is really an alien” reveal yet again (with the person always changing into their true form, while alone, purely for the viewer’s benefit), but also to change what was a very powerful female president to being just another conning alien.
That’s not say that female aliens can’t be powerful – this show is full of brilliant female aliens – but I do feel that it undermines Lynda Carter’s role a little. It’s something I’ll try to reserve judgement on for now, to see what they do with it, but at the moment it smarts as a flaw.
Lovely little quotes this week included Mon El quoting Star Wars (which is very apt, given Smith’s love of the franchise), Mon El pronouncing Romeo as “Romayo” and stating “I cook now,” and Winn’s little victorious jibe about not being able to tell the difference between a gun and a stapler. Kara also delivered the wonderful line: “I don’t bend, I don’t break, I don’t stand down for anyone,” which would proudly sit among the best of Supergirl’s comic book quotes.
This was as strong as Smith’s previous episode, except for Rhea’s murderous actions, which seem ludicrously out of character. Although this wasn’t Smith’s fault, this drops the overall star rating for the episode by half a star.
Image credits: The CW