[This is a review of Supergirl season 2, episode 14. There will be SPOILERS.]
After a first season of successfully establishing its characters, though somewhat floundering in its development of its main villains, Supergirl returned for season 2 with a much clearer theme and antagonist in the anti-alien organization Cadmus. Run by Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong), Kara Danvers and her teammates at the DEO have worked to not only defeat Cadmus, but forge peace between humans and the aliens taking refuge on Earth - especially those living in National City. However, Cadmus was first introduced in season 1, as an organization that had captured and held Kara's adoptive father, Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain), for many years.
Kara reunited with her adoptive father earlier in season 2 when she and Mon-El (Chris Wood) were held captive by Lillian and Cadmus. But, although Kara seemingly defeated Lillian - and, thus, Cadmus - in the midseason finale, she hadn't found Jeremiah. Now, with Lillian on the loose thanks to Metallo's help in breaking her out of prison in 'Luthors', Jeremiah returns - but not everyone trusts it's as simple as that.
In 'Homecoming' - written by Caitlin Parrish and Derek Simon and directed by Larry Teng - Jeremiah is (finally) rescued from Cadmus. While Kara, her adoptive sister Alex, and adoptive mother Eliza (Helen Slater) are excited to have Jeremiah home, and plan a family dinner for the occasion, Mon-El is suspicious of the Danvers patriarch's sudden appearance.
The Danvers' Family Reunion
The overall plot of 'Homecoming' is rather simple: Cadmus plays on Kara, Alex, and J'onn J'onzz's sentimentality when it comes to Jeremiah in order to steal important information from the DEO mainframe. It's a relatively classic storyline in that a long lost trusted character uses the goodness and loyalty of the heroes to betray them. But, considering how well Supergirl has laid the groundwork for the Danvers family - especially the bond between Alex and Kara, though their relationship with Jeremiah as well - 'Homecoming' packs a massive emotional punch despite its plot contrivances.
Certainly, it's convenient that Supergirl and Martian Manhunter just so happen to rescue Jeremiah now, presumably weeks after Cadmus went dark in the wake of Lillian's escape - and even longer since she was first captured. As a result of the timing, and Mon-El's continued logical protestations about his sudden reappearance, the reveal that Jeremiah has been working for Cadmus doesn't necessarily work as a major twist. But then, it's played more as a slow-burn reveal throughout the episode, with the moment in which Jeremiah slinks away from the DEO command center and J'onn exclaims he can't read the man's mind as the closest viewers get to the typical, overdone shocker moment.
Instead, the emotional buildup and fallout from the reveal that Jeremiah is working for Cadmus is highlighted in 'Homecoming', with particular focus given to Alex and Kara's relationship and how their father's betrayal impacts them separately, as well as together. Both Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh are exceptional in 'Homecoming', the latter especially in her scenes accusing Kara of not being a true Danvers and confronting her father about his loyalties. Supergirl has long used Kara and Alex as the emotional core of the series and 'Homecoming' plays to its strengths by highlighting their emotional storyline through to the very final moments of the episode.
In fact, a number of Supergirl episodes have ended with the Danvers' sisters curled up on Kara's couch sharing pizza or ice cream giving the hour a sense of closure. 'Homecoming', however, sees Alex crying on her girlfriend's shoulder while Kara takes comfort in being with Mon-El. Even after fights that featured either Alex or Kara turning evil for one reason or another, the Danvers sisters have always ended on a positive note. The fact that they don't in 'Homecoming' signals how truly devastating Jeremiah's betrayal - and Alex's subsequent choice to let him escape - has been to Alex and Kara's relationship. Since they're the backbone of the series, it only helps to further heighten the emotional drama of episode, and the continued storyline concerning Jeremiah and Cadmus.
Cadmus' Bigger Plan Revealed
As an overarching villain for Supergirl season 2, Cadmus is more well executed or, at least, more seamlessly woven into the fabric of the show than Astra and Non's plan to save Earth by enslaving it. Certainly, Cadmus acts as the perfect antagonist for a season focused on further exploring the alien population on Earth, and especially how those aliens interact with humans. Though Supergirl had a personal stake in defeating Cadmus for the sake of humans and aliens, the emotional stakes of her and Alex's fight against Lillian Luthor's organization have gotten even more extreme with the revelation that Jeremiah is working for the other side.
Still, 'Homecoming' reveals Cadmus' new plan, since their Medusa virus failed to work as expected in the midseason finale. Lillian says she plans to set the Earth free, which isn't exactly a detailed explanation of what they have in store for the aliens of the planet. But, given the massive spaceship they've built and the revelation that Jeremiah stole the National Alien Registry from the DEO mainframe, the pieces indicate she plans to free Earth of aliens by force - if not necessarily deadly force.
In terms of evil plans, it remains to be seen how effective it will be. Presumably, the fact that Jeremiah is involved, and believes he's doing what's best for his family, will complicate matters on an emotional level for both Kara and Alex. Already, with Jeremiah's betrayal having caused a rift between the Danvers girls, Cadmus' ploy to use him is working well. So, given the setup in 'Homecoming', Cadmus' latest plan my prove to be Supergirl's biggest challenge yet.
Mon-El's Secret Identity
'Homecoming' features yet another small tease as to Mon-El's true identity, this time in the form of Jeremiah threateningly informing the Daxamite he knows exactly who his daughter is dating. Jeremiah even goes so far as to say Kara wouldn't be happy to learn who Mon-El truly is. All previous evidence has pointed to Mon-El being the prince of Daxam, rather than a royal guard saved by the noble prince - as the story he told Kara went. Certainly, the Dominator's reaction to him on Maadaloria in the midseason premiere and the fact that a mysterious ship has been looking for him support this fan theory.
Still, until the aliens searching for Mon-El arrive on Earth, or his secret is revealed another way, it remains to be seen what exactly the Daxamite is hiding from his Kryptonian coworker/girlfriend. With next week's episode, 'Exodus', set to continue the story threads established in 'Homecoming' in regards to Cadmus' plan and the Danvers' relationship with their father, it's unlikely Mon-El's secret will be uncovered just yet. But, given how much of Supergirl season 2 has focused on Mon-El, we'll undoubtedly learn soon enough.
Supergirl continues Monday, March 6 with ‘Exodus’ at 8pm on The CW.
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