Reviews

Supergirl Review: ‘Star-Crossed’ Breaks Trust, Creates Angst for our Heroes

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW - © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Finally, Mon-El’s deep, dark secret past was revealed in tonight’s episode of Supergirl! “Star-Crossed” gives stars Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood an opportunity to flex their acting chops in ways they haven’t before, and it’s going to drive the #Karamel fans insane. Let’s dive into the episode, shall we?

“Star-Crossed” sets into motion a series of reveals that not only shines a light on Mon-El’s past, but exposes the fragility of his and Kara’s relationship, and reinforces the importance of trust and honesty as the foundation for a healthy relationship – a theme that will play out in the sub-storyline as well.

First, A Note: This is my first week after taking February off due to life. All I can say is life comes at you fast, and I’m glad to be back covering one of my favorite shows.

Supergirl Recap: Episode 16 – Star-Crossed
Airdate: March 20, 2017

Karamel Interrupted

The episode begins with the newly “funemployed” Kara enjoying a romantic night in with boyfriend Mon-El. It’s peak cute Karamel, in their comfy pajamas and eating ice cream, watching what is their Earth’s version of Game of Thrones.  They’re happy and together and enjoying talk about watching musicals, or as Mon-El calls them, “One of those movies where everybody just…breaks into song out of nowhere”. Cute. Speaking of cute, after seeing Chris Wood eat ice cream just know that no one else will ever compare.

Of course, nothing can go perfect for Karamel, as their night of hanging is soon interrupted by an ominous transmission broadcasting, “To his captors…we demand you turn over Mon-El of Daxam” and issues some threats. Uh-oh. The super friends (sans Winn) gather at the DEO to strategize what to do with the newest visitors to National City. Mon-El claims to not recognize the ship but it’s obvious he knows more than he’s letting on. Supergirl is attacked trying to survey the ship, and ends up captured in some sort of gravity bubble. Before Kara and the evil ship can face off for round 2, Mon-El agrees to turn himself in, much to the confusion of everyone. His heroism is part genuine but the other part is probably about preserving his secret. Kara jumps into his teleportation beam before it fully activates, landing them on the ship together. There, Mon-El and Kara come face to face with a bowing court, and the arrival of Queen Rhea (guest star Teri Hatcher) and King Lar Gand (guest star Kevin Sorbo) – or as Monie refers to them as, “Mother and Father.”

As Kara slowly puts the pieces together, Benoist subtly conveys Kara’s bewilderment, and simmering anger perfectly as Mon-El introduces the newly arrived as his parents. It’s at that moment she realizes the man she fell for isn’t who he claimed to be.

#MakeDaxamGreatAgain

Supergirl — “Star-Crossed” Pictured (L-R): Teri Hatcher as Rhea, Chris Wood as Mon-El, Kevin Sorbo as Lar Gand, and Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl — Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW – © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Daxam monarchs Queen Rhea and King Lar Gand searched the galaxy far and wide in the hopes of finding their precious son, Prince Mon-El, who “bravely” escaped their planets near devastation. The story of Mon-El’s escape plays true to an extent, except it was his guard who ushered him to safety. In the flashbacks, you can see Mon-El appearing to want to help some of the people they pass by, but the guard laser focused on getting the prince to safety – even murdering a Kryptonian emissary to make it happen.

It wasn’t a happy reunion, at least on Mon-El’s end. Rhea’s attitude for Kryptonians is evident given the condescension and disdain laced within her tone of speaking when speaking to and of Kara.  It turns out Daxam is ripe for rebuilding now that the atmosphere is safe and hope Mon-El will return to “Make Daxam great again.” Lol.

Later, Rhea makes an appeal to Kara’s sensibilities in the hopes she’ll convince Mon-El to return home. The Queen understands the optics of she and her husband restoring Daxam, given the collapse of the planet (thanks to Krypton) happened on their watch, which is why it’s important for Mon-El to return. He is the future of their planet, of their rule, and under his leadership she believes Daxam can thrive again.  There’s no guise of civility, she doesn’t want Mon-El to be put through the painstaking trials of learning he’s “not good enough” for Kara. “I know what your integrity means. He’s Daxamite Royalty and you’re starting to despite him for it,” she taunts, saying Kara believes she’s better than him and all Daxamites, and wants to save her son from the Kryptonians unforgiving nature.

Kara does as expected, though she’s visibility frustrated with Mon-El. Even though she’s upset with him, she believes he has a sense of duty to his people, and suggests he think about that. Rhea’s power play doesn’t sit too well with Mon-El, who confronts his parents and refuses to return him. For him, home is on Earth. The King let him go (much to the annoyance of Rhea), but I don’t think his parents will give him their trump card so easily.

Winn Pulls a Wynona (Or So You Think)

Supergirl — “Star-Crossed” – Pictured: Jeremy Jordan as Winn Schott — Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW – © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

The sub-plot took most the airtime in the middle of the episode, I assume due to the crossover with The Flash, and this gave an opportunity to pad out tonight’s show with some much-needed attention to the underutilized characters. An outing between Winn and his girlfriend leads to him getting in trouble with the law.

Lyra’s abilities prevent her from being photographed or seen on film. Harry deduces Lyra wanted to use Winn’s tech connections to help her steal a Van Gough in question. It’s echoes the feeling of betrayal felt by Kara. Winn fell hard and fast for Lyra, who lied about her past and used him for selfish gain…or so he thought. We soon learn Lyra’s string of burglaries across the country wasn’t to enrich herself, but rather to save her brother from a gang with whom he was entangled.

Most of the action took place within these scenes and it was nice to see the Lexie, Jimmy and Winn team up to take town a syndicate without Kara’s involvement for a change. I didn’t feel the urge to fast forward through the subplots tonight, in part because it was connected to the theme of the overall episode. The writers should work to draw those parallels more often, as many times the subplots can be disjointed and out of place.

Kara assumes Winn won’t take Lyra back after her betrayal but that isn’t the case. Winn’s able to understand Lyra’s POV and even manages to offer an objective semi-defense of Mon-El without fully knowing the details of their troubles.

Angst for the U.S.S. Karamel

Mon-El believes his past as the Prince shouldn’t change anything, and he can’t grasp why his lie of omission is such a big deal for Kara. Daxam was a cruel planet, led by a cruel Monarchy. Kara was brought up to hate what Daxam represented. The situation with Mon-El was different when she believed he was simply a product of his surroundings, but to be directly involved in the oppression is another story. Kara’s always seen things as black and white, rarely ever the shade of gray life truly is. This situation resets any progress she might have made.

The real issue at hand is the removal of Kara’s free will. How can you love someone who you don’t know? Kara spent a lot of the episode questioning Mon-El’s role in her life.

Supergirl — “Star-Crossed” – Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers — Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW – © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

One of the standout scenes came in with her sister Lexie, as she vented some of her frustrations. “I don’t even know who he is anymore,” said Kara. “Do you know why Daxam was such a party planet? Because the royal family kept their subjects drunk and distracted, so they didn’t recognize how oppressed they were. Mon-El was a part of that.”

Lexie offered a measured, fair statement that urged Kara to not cut herself off. “Maybe Mon-El is an evil prince. But maybe he’s just a guy who’s ashamed of his past and he’s looking for a fresh start. Talk to him, okay? Give him a chance to explain.”

At the end of the episode, Kara returns home to find Monie waiting in her apartment. Mon-El’s always hid behind a self-deprecating humor to not reveal his true self, but in this moment, he’s lets that all go to show the man he’s been hiding all along. No, not the playboy Prince he was, but the man he is now, in part because of Kara.

“I just wanted to, um, say a few things before I lose you forever. Because I owe you a lot. But most of all, I owe you the truth,” he starts, slowly tearing down the figurative walls that’s protected him until now. The scene is a callback to Episode 10, “We Can Be Heroes.” If you remember, Kara asked Mon-El why he wanted to work with her and why he wanted to be a hero. Tonight, he answered that question by baring his soul.

Supergirl — “Star-Crossed” – Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and Chris Wood as Mike/Mon-El — Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW – © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

“My name is Mon-El. I’m the former Prince of Daxam. And I was a spoiled, useless person that I didn’t know. Until I met you. And I love being a hero because it means I get to spend every single day by your side. And I love he way that you’re honest to a fault. And the way that you fight for those you care for. And I love you. With everything that I have, I love you. You are so special.”

It was a great moment, made greater by Kara’s rejection of his apology. She knows he loves her, but she also believes she deserves better than being lied to. Monie may want Kara to still see the good in him, but she can’t see that when she sees a liar. I understand Mon-El’s motivation. Kara was hostile the moment she learned he was a Daxamite – she prejudged him, and though she later apologized for it, it was something he decided to bury deep – in part because he didn’t want to be judged anymore, but also because he likely felt ashamed by the life he and his family lived. Earth was a chance for him to reinvent himself, to start over and be someone worthy of the life that was saved. All of that is fine, but in the process, he took away Kara’s free will. His secrets meant he was keeping a part of himself away from the woman he professed to love, and couldn’t answer whether he would have told her the truth.

That’s the real betrayal – he betrayed her trust. He let her fall in love with a lie, and that wasn’t fair. Imagine if Kara saw him evolve from that party boy into a hero. Would they have become friends as quickly as they did? Probably not, but that choice would’ve been her own.

“You just want things to be easy Mon-El. But being a hero and falling in love, those are not easy things. They’re hard and they’re messy and they hurt sometimes,” Kara says before breaking things off with him.

I’m not going to lie; I was feeling a lot during these scenes. The soap fan in me knows part of the formula that builds a super couple is angst, but the other is was sad because I’m emotionally invested in the happiness of these fictional characters. Lol. It’s not going to be an easy road back for Karamel, but the power to rebuild the image she has of him, and forge the trust that should have existed is within Mon-El.

In the meantime, he must deal with the ramifications of his choices, and that means not being with the woman he loves. A visit to Earth-1 could be just the thing Kara needs to take her mind off her relationship woes, but the arrival of The Music Meister (guest star Darren Criss) puts a wrinkle in that. The newly transferred DEO prisoner attacks Supergirl and escapes via a dimensional portal opened by Kara’s device. Mon-El rushes to her side but she’s unresponsive.

The episode ends with Kara trapped inside the Meister’s alternate reality which leads to the crossover event on The Flash.

About the author

Ryan White-Nobles

Ryan White-Nobles is Editor-in-Chief of TVSource Magazine. He's a natural #Heel who loves a spirited debate and probably watches too much TV. Follow him on Twitter at @SourceRyan to discuss all things TV, soaps, sports, wrestling and pop culture.