Supergirl, Episode 51 “Far From the Tree”
Written by Jessica Quellar & Derek Simon
Directed by Dermott Downs
Previously on Supergirl: Maggie and Alex’s relationship hits a speed bump over the possibility of children in their future. M’gann M’orzz appears before J’onn asking that he “come to Mars. Now.”
Now: Kara is looking forward to the bridal shower she’s helping to throw for her sister and Maggie. Mom is due to arrive any time and an early knock at the door has them thinking it’s her. Unexpectedly it’s J’onn who says they’ll need to hold down the DEO while he’s on Mars for a few days. With the White Martians in control of the world, and also the species that killed all the Green Martians — his people, the sisters agree that Kara should go with him. As he mulls over the possibility of Supergirl accompanying him, the series’ title card appears.
This is a step in the right direction for this season. There are plenty of super heroics, but also time with family in the form of two new characters. On Mars, and what an interesting way the protagonists get there, J’onn and Kara encounter M’gann and the underground, with Till’all and N’keyy introduced. Till’all is tired of waiting so long for J’onn to arrive because the underground needs an artifact that only he can help them locate. He knows someone that won’t talk to White Martians. This person was a fantastic addition to the cast and I admit to getting weepy when he and J’onn saw something. I love Carl Lumbly and he was great in this role. I was very happy to see where this character ended by the episode’s conclusion. With J’onn on Mars there has to be a fight scene with the White Martians and it was pretty good; the camera wasn’t fixed and moved around quite a bit to show the battle. I was surprised with what happened to the antagonists because I didn’t think that the protagonist would do that to a villain. In addition to Lumbly, it was good to see Sharon Leal back, because she’s a good actress and M’gann always makes J’onn think with his heart and not his head. David Harewood had some moments to stretch as J’onn had to wrestle with a decision early in the episode. Also good was Dewshane Williams as Till’all. I initially thought that he was going to be a one-note character, the hothead willing to do anything to succeed, but I was impressed with how his character turned out by the episode’s end. Melissa Benoist doesn’t really get to do much in this episode, but fight, though she does get the rah-rah speech, that had echoes of Superman’s speeches, that motivated a character to change.
On Earth, Helen Slater got to reappear for the shower as mama Danvers and she had a nice moment with the brides-to-be and also sparked a conversation that revealed some backstory about Maggie. The story she tells is very sad and justified much of this character’s personality. Maggie does something expected, causing a new character to appear played by Carlos Bernard. The scenes with Bernard with were really strong, with Floriana Lima getting several moments to shine, and she did. I was glad that Quellar and Simon didn’t take the easy route with this character, with the conclusion being very real. I thought this part of the story would be cliché, but it’s not.
The good: Two family stories served well, Carl Lumbly, Helen Slater, David Harewood, Sharon Leal, Carlos Bernard, Floriana Lima all getting some good scenes. A really neat flashback sequence. Melissa Benoist having a funny entrance. The special effects. The last three words of the episode were perfect.
Fun lines: “J’onn, if Krypton still existed and I had to go back to where my parents were buried under ruble, I know you wouldn’t let me do it alone,” “No. There’s another one,” “I’m an old man, but I know how to Google,” “Home!’ and “Let’s go!”
The bad: The vehicle, but at least it improved after its change; way too similar to a classic form of S.H.I.E.L.D transportation. That song. J’onn has that on his radio? In space? On tape? On CD? On his iphone? A gag that made me gag. Still no Legion of Super-Heroes — GRRRRRRRR!
The final line: A well balanced story brings back the drama and adventure of good Supergirl episodes. The supporting cast was great, with two excellent additions to the cast. This is why I’m watching the show. Overall grade: A-