In Review: Supergirl, Episode 61 “Both Sides Now”

Strong character moments and a terrific new villain make this a solid Supergirl episode.

Supergirl, Episode 6 “Both Sides Now” Broadcast on February 5, 2018

Written by Jessica Queller & Paula Yoo

Directed by Jesse Warn 

Previously on Supergirl: Purity, another World Killer, comes into consciousness. In the DEO, Julia Freeman is identified as a Kryptonian killer, prompting Kara to say, “Let’s go get her.”

Now: In the suburbs, Supergirl lands in the street, followed by Mon-El, who is followed by DEO agents that have arrived by car. Back at headquarters, Winn tells them that there’s one heat signature in the home they’re all heading toward. Supergirl kicks open the door and the protagonists swarm into the house. They find Julia sitting on the floor with her eyes shut, singing along to Lisa Loeb’s greatest hit. She screams when Supergirl touches her, surprised at all the people in her house with weapons. She backs up against a wall in fear. “Supergirl, please…Don’t…Don’t let them hurt me.” She reaches for Supergirl, causing Alex to raise her pistol. This causes Julia to emit a scream of a sound wave that pushes back the heroes and triggers her into becoming Purity. She continues to scream Black Canary-like wails that knock about a good number of agents. Supergirl freezes one of her pulses, separating the good guys from the villain. Using his ability to become intangible, J’onn runs through the icy barrier and cuffs her. “It could’ve been worse,” Supergirl says. The opening title card appears.

This was a good character episode, and praise must be given to Queller and Yoo for their script. When Purity is imprisoned there’s some really good back and forth as she’s interrogated by the Danver sisters, with one naturally playing good cop and the other bad cop. This is expected, but the sister who’s playing the bad cop is more harsh then usual, unintentionally putting the sisters at odds before their prisoner. As this interrogation is occurring, Winn, Mon-El, and J’onn are on a side mission that’s extremely enjoyable initially. Some conflict soon arises that’s so painful it’s really uncomfortable to watch. There’s a great scene later involving spicy Martian moonshine that reveals much about the married couple on the show. The episode ends with some nice teases of larger stories involving the Legion of Super-Heroes and Samantha.

Big thumbs up to Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh for having terrific scenes together, where their characters are working against each other and ultimately with one another. Both actresses work exceeding well together, making their characters, as well as the other, look fantastic. Their final scene together shows that Leigh has got some real acting chops. Also doing well is Chris Wood who gets to have Mon-El bare a good part of himself to two characters, with the last one being painful to witness. David Harewood gets some solid scenes as well, with him instigating a fantastic conversation. Having Amy Jackson appear for two scenes was a good reminder that Imra is still around, and her final scene is a jaw dropper. Katie McGrath and Odette Annable have a great final scene together, where something is revealed without a character’s knowledge. It’s the character scenes of this episode that really stand out.

That said, Krys Marshall as Julia Freeman/Purity is flat out awesomeness. The way she moves when she’s Purity is like a woman possessed. Even when she moves her hands it’s like watching something utterly alien on the screen. The battle between both her personalities is pulled off extremely well, but as Purity you can’t take her eyes off her: she dominates her scenes. When she flies it’s akin to watching Zod, Ursa, and Non rise up in Superman II for pure personification of evil. I want Marshall to be in as many episodes as possible. Big thumbs up to Jesse Warn for making Marshall shine.

The good: Krys Marshall, all the character scenes, Chyler Leigh, the Martian moonshine scene, the Kara-Alex-Purity scenes, Mon-El and Imra, a screamable Legion cliffhanger, and Lana’s final line.

Fun lines: “…And when your way fails, we try mine,” “That’s not my name,” “I met her first,” “You’re not a god. You’re just meat and bones,” “I’m handling it,” “We save them,” and “Silence!”

The bad: Does any DEO agent know there’s a trigger on their rifle, or is it just cheaper to have their hurl backwards from a villain’s attack? Why carry those big rifles at all? Reign is still not working. Samantha is great, but Reign is still lacking. And that costume and mask are really not helping. And where’s Brainiac-5?

Extra bad news: Supergirl goes on hiatus until April 16! Legends of Tomorrow takes over its time slot on February 12. So no new episodes for two months. Booooooooooooo!

The final line: Strong character moments and a terrific new villain make this a solid Supergirl episode. It could be nitpicked to death, as could all things, but it was enjoyable and the two cliffhangers have me anxious for more! But two months? Overall grade: A-

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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