This post contains spoilers for Supergirl.
Check out our review for last week's episode here.
The superhero genre holds few surprises after being a cornerstone of pop culture for so long. Supergirl isn’t an exception to that rule, but the thing about good hero fare is that it doesn’t always have to break the mold or throw surprise after surprise at you for it to matter. “Not Kansas” serves as Kara and Mon-El’s goodbye to their Earth friends so that Kara may return home. Her real home. Not a single viewer expected this change to last long, but knowing it wouldn’t last didn’t take emotion out of her goodbye to her family.
Things are likely to get a lot worse for Kara before they get better, but at least we’re finally making some headway with Serena now that Reign is down for the time being. In her search to find the person behind the “accident” on Argo, Kara has to wrestle with the fact that perhaps it’s time to let go of the warrior and take care of herself. Thankfully for her, she won’t have to wrestle with that idea very long. It turns out that Serena isn’t the only Witch of Juru to remain, and Supergirl and team did exactly what the witches wanted them to.
While Kara and Mon-El deal with the adjustment on another planet (and a couple of attacks while they’re mostly powerless), their counterparts back on Earth are dealing with DEO weapons being available to the general public thanks to the legality of such rifles so long as you slap a “hunting” label on it. This is a complicated conversation to have in a fragment of a forty minute episode, but Supergirl does what it can with the tools it’s given. Lena and James disagree on the gun debate, but agree to have a rational discussion because things get done when we listen to each other. J’onn doesn’t shoot on sight; he takes a page from Supergirl’s book (and follows James’ advice) and talks the shooter down so that they can try to get him help. Finally, J’onn makes the decision to remove lethal force from the DEO, and offers the agents who are uncomfortable with that call help in finding new positions elsewhere.
In shows like Supergirl, tackling the little issues can be just as important as the big ones. Conversations on gun control, losing a family member to dementia, children, and the other large issues will always be in the spotlight (as they should), but we would all be remiss to ignore moments like what happened with Ms. Tessmacher in “Not Kansas”. Those who follow Kara’s cousin will recognize the name as Lex Luthor’s abused assistant and likely smiled when James bellowed “Ms. Tessmacher!” in that old Lex Luthor way. Instead of to chastise, it was to offer her some pizza. And, while she is still a meek assistant, she’s also a brilliant mind who helped Lena in her breakthrough with the rock. It doesn’t take much to give tertiary characters agency, and yet so often lazy writing results in a flatness for anyone who isn’t a title character.
“Not Kansas” succeeds in all the ways that last week’s episode struggled. Not only did it do some serious story progression, it did so in an emotionally poignant way across the board. J’onn and M’yrnn’s story remains heartbreaking while Kara continues to struggle with who she is. Side stories get the required attention while the primary plot still drives forward. Hopefully the remaining three episodes will continue this trend as we hit finale territory.
Next week we’ll see Kara and Mon-El try to sort out how to get off Argo to stop the Witches of Juru. They’ll probably talk some more about their feelings too, but we’ll allow it since the writers seem to be doing their relationship right this go around. Oh, and Reign? Totally not dead. Have fun sitting on all that while you wait. You know what to do if you had thoughts on this week’s episode!