Supergirl: 214 “Homecoming” Review
Reviewed by Ben McClure.
I’d really like to be able to say I loved Homecoming. After all, it had all the makings of one of the “big ones” in the latest season of Supergirl, as it focused on the significant plotline of the plight of Jeremiah Danvers. This situation with the Danvers sisters’ missing father should really have been dominating both of their lives all year long—we can only assume that most of their conversations about him have been happening between episodes. Homecoming also advances the Cadmus storyline, even though it didn’t really provide any answers. But since we assume that Cadmus is the season’s overall major threat, we know they’ll be back before too long.
But in spite of all this in its favor, the episode is let down by a predictable plot and a higher-than-normal degree of unprofessional idiocy on the part of most of the series’ characters. When I say predictable, it’s not that every detail was obvious from the beginning—it’s just that the most important element was: Jeremiah’s betrayal. I mean, was there even a single person in the viewing audience who didn’t expect that to happen from the moment we read the episode summary? Of course we weren’t sure if he’d turned evil, or was replaced by an alien, or was suffering some sort of mind control, but clearly he was going to do something bad. Whenever there is a story in which one character is suspicious about someone, but nobody believes him, it’s a pretty safe bet that the naysayer will turn out to be correct.
So it’s too bad then, that nobody listened to Mon-El. Or that the DEO has even the most rudimentary security protocols in place. I’m pretty sure that there isn’t a single government office on the entire planet would allow someone who has been in the enemy’s hands for over a decade to have access to classified material without some sort of proper debriefing at least. But not the DEO! No, at the DEO all it takes to come back to work after all that time…is just to ask. Who knows, maybe they’re really short-handed? Too bad they don’t have access to, I don’t know, a mind-reading alien or something. (I know, they acknowledge that Jeremiah’s mind can’t be read at the end but that doesn’t deal with the fact that J’onn never even tried to scan the guy earlier).
Not that any of that matters, because Jeremiah’s plan is completely disproportionate to his goals. He returns to the DEO with the story of a fake attack from Cadmus, in order to get two (but not all three) of the super-powered DEO agents out on a mission. He doesn’t, on the other hand, just wait for one of the regular incidents that the DEO responds to every single week. Instead, he actually waits for his duplicity to be discovered before actually getting on with his true agenda. What’s the point of all that? If he’d already snuck around the DEO’s computers (as revealed earlier in the story), why not just get what he was after then? No reason at all, except that it was too early in the episode for him to tip his hand. We needed a few more earnest scenes between him and his family and friends, convincing everyone of his good intentions. We needed a few more scenes of Mon-El trying and failing to get anyone to listen to him. And we needed a few more scenes of Alex Danvers, frankly, acting like an idiot.
I know the show is really trying hard to do some exciting and humanizing things with Alex this season, but the result of all of it is to make her into a more immature character. I mean, of course she’s happy about her father being back, but for her to be so scornful and bitter toward her sister for bringing up what should be terribly obvious for someone in her line of work just makes her look ridiculous. And why couldn’t she just try shooting Jeremiah in the leg at the end? Is she really only carrying that over-powered alien blaster as a weapon? What sort of outfit is this DEO anyway?
What makes all this so frustrating is how easily it could have been adjusted. If Jeremiah had been wholeheartedly accepted by his family while still being handled with care by the DEO, it would have made a lot more sense and still set up the pain of the revelation of his true goals. J’onn could have at least done a surface level scan to confirm that he was who he said he was, and to infer something like that his only thought was the safety of his daughters. It could have been stated that Jeremiah was going to undergo a more rigourous debrief in a day or two, but for now was being given time to reunite with his wife and daughters. Then he could have taken advantage of that consideration to break in to the DEO’s computer systems. The episode would have accomplished basically the same thing but not been nearly so frustrating.
Mitigating the problems of the story are a lot of good points. In spite of the difficulties with Alex, there are a lot of good moments with the characters, and the general emotional tone is heartfelt. Dean Cain has also matured greatly as an actor since his days as the lead in Lois and Clark, and he’s a pleasure to watch in the story. The action sequence at the start where Kara and J’onn rescue Jeremiah is brilliant and really display the best aspects of the show since the move to the CW this year. And the relationship between Supergirl and Mon-El takes a nice turn toward maturity at the end.
Speaking of the ending, the last moments between our super-powered couple is a really good one. Kara genuinely establishes herself as a hero by the way she pulls herself out of her discouraged funk in order to respond to a newly identified threat. It’s such a simple moment, but almost a defining one for the character. If the rest of the episode could have displayed the same sort of finesse in its writing, this could have been something special.