Supergirl season 4, episode 12 review: Menagerie


After January’s groundbreaking episode, Supergirl is back with a Valentine’s Day special involving an alien jewel thief, the return of the Agent of Liberty and a brand new superhero.

Supergirl debuted a seminal episode about trans representation in January, before going on a two-week long hiatus. The show returns with a Valentine’s Day special that features less romance and more alien high-jinks. Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) and J’onn J’onzz (David Harewood) team up with Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) and Brainiac-5 (Jesse Rath) to bring in an unknown alien on a killing spree. Meanwhile, Ben Lockwood (Sam Witwer) rallies his troops from behind bars. His actions grab the attention of the President of the United States, but whose side is the President on?

As things come to a head at a posh Valentine’s Day ball, Supergirl’s relationship with her sister becomes more tenuous, while the DEO is shown up by the Children of Liberty. But it’s not all doom and gloom. A new hero has joined the family, and she comes ready with some quick reflexes and a kickass suit.

Looks like Romance is Dead on Supergirl

Valentine’s Day is all about love, and on Supergirl, that love is about family and friends. While Kara and Nia Nal/ Dreamer (Nicole Maines) become closer in episode 12, Nia’s attempts at sparking some romance with Brainy is dead on arrival. Brainy’s suffering from his own insecurities regarding dating Nia, but he isn’t big on picking up social cues either.

Elsewhere, Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) and James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) plan a spontaneous romantic getaway to the city of love, Paris, only for the two of them to argue on the way to the airport and promptly break up. Let’s just say, as romance goes, it’s pretty much non-existent for the characters on this show.

Lena Luthor Moves Closer to the Darkside

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Lena has been wrapped up in her own experiments this season of Supergirl. What started as an attempt to save lives now has the potential to be much more. It’s no wonder that the government sends Colonel Haley (April Parker Jones) to recruit Lena to help them combat the alien threat. What’s worrying is that Lena appears to have accepted this proposal.

What has brought about this change in her? Earlier in the episode, it’s evident that she has received some disturbing news that makes her want to flee the city. The only thing that can spur such a reaction in Lena is her family. Could the news have been about her brother, the supervillain Lex Luthor, who is slated to appear on the show next week? And, does this mean that Lena is well and truly lost to the darkness of her family name?

Alex Struggles with Work-Life Balance

Supergirl — “Menagerie” — Image Number: SPG412b_0304b.jpg — Pictured: Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers — Photo: Kailey Schwerman/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

This season has done wonders for Alex Danvers’ characterization – she has shone as the Director of the DEO, despite the appearance of Colonel Haley as her boss. But in this episode, we see that she has been putting her life on hold. Kara thinks it’s her fault, because the Kryptonite bomb made her vulnerable, yet there’s more to it than just that.

Alex has been through a lot, and admittedly, juggling secrets has taken its toll on her love life. It appears the mind-wipe on episode 10 of Supergirl may be working in her favor. But one has to wonder, how great a partner and mother would Alex be if she isn’t the compassionate Alex of before?

Super Sentiments

  • The one big negative on ‘Menagerie’ was how Nia’s roommate, Yvette, is pretty much treated as a joke throughout. Perhaps it isn’t intentional, but one would expect Supergirl of all shows not to shame a character for being big, loud and a fan of partying.
  • J’onn taking his new private investigator role seriously is undoubtedly the best part of this season. Not only is it a wonderful homage to his comic book story arc, but it keeps the character relevant and in-the-know, while not taking away from Alex’s new role as DEO Director.
  • Ben Lockwood being back is the worst part of this episode – he brings out the worst in the people in the Supergirl universe, but he’s such a worryingly accurate portrait of how bigotry and hate can brainwash anyone into believing they’re heroes.
  • The addition of Bruce Boxleitner as the POTUS on the show was always meant to be a reflection of reality. Yet, it’s still painful to see how the aliens will continue to suffer on the series because those in power have turned their backs on them.
  • That final scene with the episode’s villain is a tantalizing teaser for what’s in store for viewers in the next episode. Looks like it’s going to be a doozy.

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Supergirl continues to be an outstanding piece of television that works in different angles to remain relevant and poignant. And, for the first time ever, superheroes have gone beyond the binary spectrum of gender and embraced inclusivity. What’s not to love about this show?