Supergirl season 5, episode 2, "Stranger Beside Me," balanced several subplots centering around the theme of not knowing others as well as one should, bringing a number of questions with it. For most of the cast, this meant getting to know their romantic partners better, yet the episode's title took on a sinister second meaning.
Most of Supergirl's latest episode focused on J'onn J'onzz and his encounter with another Green Martian who claimed to be his brother. This confused J'onn as he did not recall having a brother, yet his attempt to fight the strange Martian triggered a state of Fa'ra'too'rik - a psychic curse passed through the Martian hive mind, that prevents brother from fighting brother. With the assistance of Kelly Olsen, J'onn began trying to work through his memories, discovering that his mind had been altered and that he did have a brother, who betrayed the Green Martians at the height of their civil war with the White Martians.
Kara faced a different sort of battle at CatCo, where she continued to be rankled by a new editor more focused on producing click-bait than real news. Unable to fight back, Kara vented her annoyance on William Day; a new writer who had begun stealing Kara's assignments and rewriting her submitted work. All this left some big questions demanding answers after Supergirl season 5, episode 2.
4. What is H'ronmeer's Curse?
As J'onn began to recover his memories of his brother, Malefic, he recalled that Malefic was a traitor to the Green Martians and that he poisoned them with something called H'ronmeer's Curse in the final days of the Martian Civil War. While the details of H'ronmeer's Curse are not explained, it affected the minds of the Green Martians and killed most of them. Before the Green Martian forces were finally defeated, Malefic was banished to the Phantom Zone for his betrayal.
H'ronmeer's Curse was taken directly from the Martian Manhunter comics, where it was a psychic plague developed by Malefic, which was named for the Martian god of death and darkness. Driven mad by isolation due to his being born without the telepathy possessed by every other Green Martian, Malefic sought to destroy his race by unleashing a disease that was spread telepathically. Ironically, later stories would reveal that Malefic had been telepathic at one time, but that he had his memories altered to believe that he wasn't after he became the first Martian in generations to forcibly enter another's mind with his powers. It seems that Supergirl will be mirroring this story closely, given Malefic's complaint later in the episode that he lost his "power to incept" while in the Phantom Zone.
3. Who Erased J'onn's Memories of His Brother?
It remains to be seen who was responsible for erasing J'onn J'onzz's memories of Malefic but the suspect pool is rather small. According to J'onn, only another Martian could telepathically alter his memories, but forcibly altering another's will is the greatest sin in Martian society. He suspects his parents, but for them to have done that and hidden Malefic away from the shared Martian hive-mind would take some doing. Such an undertaking would also only occur under the most dire of circumstances, such as a family member committing an act of genocide against his own people?
2. Has William Day Figured Out Kara Is Supergirl?
When Kara suddenly leaves CatCo in the middle of the day, William Day calls in a favor from a friend at the NSA to track her phone. This leads Day right into the middle of a DEO operation, where Supergirl is helping Alex Danvers and Brainiac-5 to subdue a White Martian. Day flees the scene at Supergirl's urging, but not before he has enough time to look around the Martians' hide-out in the sewers and see that Kara Danvers is nowhere to be seen. This could mean that Day has accidentally stumbled across Supergirl's secret identity.
1. Is William Day Honestly Trying To Help Kara?
When Kara returns to work, she finds that the article she was meant to have finished by lunchtime has already been completed by William Day. Deeply annoyed, Kara assumes the worst and confronts Day. Later, after Kara has finished doing all of her assigned work and then some, she walks past Day's office and is stunned to see that he isn't burning the midnight oil as well.
A quick cut reveals that Day is volunteering at a homeless shelter, fixing dinner for the needy. This suggests that there is a more noble side to William Day than Supergirl was willing to admit. More, it suggests that Day has figured out that Kara is Supergirl and finished her article in an honest bid to help her out by insuring that National City's hero didn't fall behind at her day job.