This post contains spoilers for Supergirl.
Check out our last review here.
This week’s episode of Supergirl was titled “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?” Let’s look past the insanely long length for a second, because the episode has a lot to say, and even more going on.
Since we’ve had so many gaps between episodes lately, let’s go over a quick timeline of events (including this week’s episode) before we dive into the existentialism of it all. When we last left Supergirl and her team, Menagerie was apprehended and Ben Lockwood was released on Presidential pardon. Menagerie’s prison sentence is cut short with the assistance of one Manchester Black, now leader of a group of extremist vigilantes calling themselves The Elite. Manchester, Menagerie, Hat and one of the remaining Morai make up the merry band, and it’s a little bit of a struggle to be too upset with their actions.
With Lockwood free, the Children of Liberty expected to see a lot more action from their martyred leader. Instead, he’s busy touring the White House. Ben hasn’t quite lost his edge though. In an attempt to make use of his visit with the President, he asks that The Children of Liberty all be deputized to help validate their America Firs—er, sorry—Earth First initiative. President Baker laughs it off, but the two of them will meet again before the episode’s end.
Once The Elite are all escaped and established, they feel comfortable revealing their game plan to the world and setting up a meet and greet with The Girl of Steel. Say what you will about Manchester Black, all of the best quotes of the episode belong to him. In their press release they let the public know that when the Earth First crowd goes low, they’ll put them six feet lower. As for their message to Supergirl, well, Manchester just wants to be helpful and let her know that the White House has created a satellite to blow alien ships out of the air if they come close to Earth’s orbit. All alien ships. This disgusting little project goes by “Project Claymore”.
“What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?” is all about the choice of whether we do what’s right or what’s easy. James struggles with whether or not to chase the story against Lena; Supergirl has to decide whether she will stop Project Claymore; Alex if she’ll help Supergirl; Nia if she’ll take the fast road to finding out about her powers; and J’onn has to decide if he’ll continue his father’s mission, or if he will become the Martian Manhunter again. Everyone makes the right choice but Nia. In addition to all of those decisions is the bitter laughter that comes with the title.
Supergirl loves her country. She also knows that said country is broken. There’s a much deeper conversation about the fact that it always has been, but let’s cut some slack to the forty-minute episode format on that one. What’s so funny about truth, justice, and the American way is that truth and justice aren’t the American way. They’re ideals that some help push for, and a hell of a lot more hide behind.
All the same, Kara’s still willing to fight for those ideals, even when it means possibly making herself an enemy of the state. She stops the satellite from blowing up the White House. She also elects to destroy the two-billion-dollar piece of tech in orbit. Costly, but ultimately a low price to pay to stop the slaughter of refugees.
The Elite pose an interesting threat. Three aliens led by a very pissed off human on a suicide mission can do a lot of damage. In the end, they want the same thing Supergirl does, or at least Manchester does. The difference is that he’s willing to get blood on his hands while doing it. Ben Lockwood, on the other hand, is one big problem. One big Director of Alien Affairs-sized problem. Don’t worry, though. Ben wants everyone to know that he hasn’t gone full bureaucrat. Even bashes some other bigot’s head in to prove it. Many will mourn the death of said bigot, I’m sure.
Next week the waters get even muddier. It appears that the super suit will take a break while Kara takes to the streets with the rest of the aliens and their supporters in a march for their rights. Both The Elite and The Children of Liberty pose potential threats to the demonstration. We’ll have to see if the different motives of the members of The Elite start tearing them apart sooner rather than later. There’s no telling what they can do now that they have their grubby hands on Brainy’s Legion ring.
‘Till then, nerds. You know what to do if you had thoughts on this week’s episode.