Supergirl: “Myriad” is a very dull setup for next week’s season finale

“Myriad” is almost entirely setup for next week’s season finale of Supergirl, but it’s sadly just not that compelling. The characters who aren’t mind-controlled mostly flail around ineffectually, and the moments of emotional resonance that usually make this show worth watching are few and far between this week. It’s capped off with what passes for a cliffhanger ending on this show, but the stakes still feel relatively low and the pattern of events for next week’s finale already feels predictable and, frankly, boring. To get there, though, we first have to make it through this episode, which is boring enough on its own for two episodes and turns into a downright slog in its second half.

The hour starts out well enough, picking up just after the end of “World’s Finest.” Nearly all of National City is under Non’s Myriad mind control, including everyone at the DEO, where all but one of the prisoners are to be released. Only one—Maxima, Queen of the planet Almerac—actually gets loose, however, before Supergirl arrives and stops the process. The short fight that ensues Supergirl and Maxima is the only real action in the episode, however, and Supergirl is primarily focused with disabling the DEO systems and taking out Lucy Lane and the other agents without seriously injuring them. This is all over with in the first four minutes of the episode, however, which leaves a lot of time to fill with stuff that’s not action.

After leaving the DEO, Supergirl flies straight to the Fortress of Solitude to find out more about Myriad in the hope of finding a way to stop it. Unfortunately, the little robot guy there is no help at all, and the hologram of Kara’s mother isn’t much more help, which sends a dejected Supergirl back to National City, where she spends some more time frantically wandering around and trying to come up with some kind of plan. Lucy Lane’s dad is surprisingly helpful, but the real surprise is when Supergirl is pacing around CatCo in distress and Cat Grant walks in like everything is totally normal. This is kind of hilarious until Maxwell Lord arrives hot on Cat’s heels with a smirk and several infuriatingly glib and too-convenient explanations.

While Max is teasing some kind of plan—it’s a bomb, obv—Non shows up. Probably the biggest problem this show has is that it fails, utterly, to deal in any sensible way with real moral ambiguity, and this is highlighted in this episode in a series of situations that all start with Non’s arrival at CatCo.

First, Non’s goal (and Astra’s before) is not an entirely bad one. He sees the self-destructive trajectory of the human race—much like the successfully suicidal policies of Krypton—and wants to fix it. Unfortunately, the show portrays Non as almost nonsensically villainous instead of recognizing or working with the greyness of his character. Some noise is made about Non’s desire to not have to kill his niece, but with the near-absence of any interactions between them previously, it’s hard to care very much about their relationship or believe that either of them has any sincere attachment to the other.

Before Non leaves CatCo, he has James, Winn, and another CatCo employee, Kelly, all walk outside and fall off the sides of the building, putting Kara in the impossible situation of not being able to save all of them. However, Kelly is a character who has never been named before, and is essentially a throwaway character who exists only to be sacrificed in this manner as a matter of narrative convenience. Any emotional resonance of this scene is further diminished by the fact that it all happens so quickly and things move along so soon after that there’s barely a moment to spare to reflect on the tragedy. Certainly Supergirl herself seems to get over Kelly’s death extremely quickly. It’s a moment seemingly meant to suggest a weakness in Supergirl, but it doesn’t quite connect.

Finally, the whole business with Maxwell Lord’s bomb is a little silly. I love a good Cat Grant speech as much as the next person, and on the surface this one is excellent. Taken out of context, I love this talk between Cat and Supergirl, but within the episode it’s almost silly, coming off as Pollyannaish and preachy. A very generous interpretation would be that this scene is an exploration of the moral dilemma Kara faces in choosing whether or not to go along with Max’s plan, but I would contend that it’s actually a rejection of the dilemma. Indeed, Cat’s central thesis reminded me a little too much of the Fear and Love scene from Donnie Darko. Only the sheer earnest goodness of this show saved it from being completely ridiculous.

Meanwhile, Alex and Hank are still on the run. I’m not sure how much time, chronologically, has passed since they actually left National City, but they appear to still be on a bus out of town when it’s stopped by some shady-looking law enforcement flashing their pictures around. This scene is nicely done, even if the red glow of Hank’s eyes is a bit much—yeah, we get it, the little boy is Hank in disguise—but things are almost all downhill for this pair after that. When they arrive at the Danvers home (because that place is definitely not going to be being watched for the fugitives or anything like that), Eliza tells them the news about National City, and they promptly decide to go back, even though Alex will obviously just get mind controlled along with the rest of the humans.

By the end of the episode, of course, Alex is mind controlled and Supergirl has to fight her, though Kara does say she won’t do it, and that’s where the episode ends. I’d like to say that I’m excited to find out what happens next, but my dominant feeling by the end of this episode was just “meh.” Hopefully next week’s finale can manage to make some sense out of all this.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

  • I did love Cat’s Harrison Ford joke.
  • Superman showing up and getting mind controlled and Max’s explanation for it is one of the dumbest things this show has ever subjected us to. And that’s saying a lot.
  • “We’re way past villains of the week and kittens stuck in trees” is a passably good line.
  • Also “So mind control is the answer to global warming. Why didn’t I think of that?”
  • I’m not really sure why Indigo is necessary. Sure, Non is dull on his own, but the addition of a Lady Macbeth doing a cheap Mystique cosplay doesn’t improve things.

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