Supergirl season 4, episode 13 review: What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?


Supergirl and her Super-friends have to apprehend Manchester Black, who has broken out of prison to bring the Children of Liberty to justice.

Ben Lockwood/ Agent Liberty (Sam Witwer) was pardoned by the President of the United States on a loophole in the constitution where protection does not extend to aliens. In the latest episode of Supergirl, Lockwood’s release provokes a new reign of terror for all of humanity – this time by Manchester Black (David Ajala).

After being arrested, Manchester has kept himself busy in prison – he’s teamed up with an old friend of his, Hat (Louis Ozawa Changchien), as well as Pamela Ferrer/ Menagerie (Jessica Meraz), from the previous episode, to make quick work of an escape and bring the Children of Liberty to justice. Not even Kara Danvers/ Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and J’onn J’onzz (David Harewood) are able to stop them.

All this is unbeknownst to Lockwood, who is too busy meeting with the President – trouble and opportunity are brewing for this power-hungry megalomaniac.

Extreme Actions Lead to Extreme Consequences

Supergirl — “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and The American Way?” — Image Number: SPG413b_0006b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Jessica Meraz as Pamela Ferrar/Menagerie, David Ajala as Manchester Black and Louis Ozawa Changchien as Hat — Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Agent Liberty’s vendetta against aliens sanctioned the formation of the hate group, the Children of Liberty. Their wanton killing sprees and blatant terrorism has led to the creation of new extremists. In Manchester Black’s words, he and the Elit are ‘fighting prejudice with extreme prejudice’.

Once again, the showrunners are using fantastical analogies to highlight real-world problems. The aggressors in the season have been the Children of Liberty, and noticeably, they are often shown as being primarily white. While the Elit, whose actions are a reaction to hate-crimes are made up of people of color.

Their actions, unfortunately, are leading to the deaths of innocents, which is something Supergirl doesn’t stand for. While the viewer isn’t expected to side with the Children of Liberty or the Elit, the viewpoints for both parties are given prominence in this episode. It is through Supergirl that a middle ground is reached.

Nia Nal, Superhero-in-Training

Nia Nal (Nicole Maines) officially became the superhero Dreamer in the previous episode when she rescued Supergirl during the climactic fight between the Girl of Steel and Menagerie. However, Nia still doesn’t have complete control over her abilities nor does she realize the scope of them.

In this episode, Nia takes up Brainiac-5’s (Jesse Rath) offer to train her; in the Fortress of Solitude no less. While Nia’s curiosity about her past, and her future, nag at her, Brainy fends off her inquiries and makes for an excellent sparring partner. It was good to see that the writers didn’t allow Brainy to belittle Nia’s inexperience, which is often the case in popular media.

Supergirl — “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and The American Way?” — Image Number: SPG413a_0564b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Jesse Rath as Brainiac-5, Nicole Maines as Nia Nal/Dreamer and Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl — Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

It’s been evident since their first encounter in episode 2 that they are headed for a romantic relationship. In any other show, that romance would have been hacked on as part of the training sequence, but on Supergirl, it looks like that aspect of their relationship will be developed slowly.

Ben Lockwood and the President

Supergirl does not hold back. Some of the writing choices made in this season are downright bold. If you come from a country where freedom of speech isn’t quite so free, the show would look quite inflammatory. It isn’t – it is a reflection of what is happening in America right now through the lens of superheroes and aliens.

A major factor in that reflection is Ben Lockwood, all this while he has been intrinsically connected with his Agent Liberty persona. In this episode, he becomes something worse because he is enabled by the most powerful political figure on the planet. The scenes between Lockwood and President Baker are a blatant critique of politics in 2019 and should be applauded.

Super Sentiments

  • Seeing Nia’s genuine excitement at the Fortress of Solitude’s ‘robot’ Kelex was a delight. How often have we seen male characters of all ages geek out over technology? That is rarely ever extended to female characters, so this was a refreshing change.
  • Speaking of Kelex, it appears the little caretaker and Brainy have history. They can’t stand each other and listening to the ever-growing list of insults they have for each other was a much-needed injection of humor in this episode.
  • Lena Luthor’s (Katie McGrath) moving into the DEO to continue her research on empowering humans, while at the same time distrusting the government enough to share her findings with them, is an assurance that she hasn’t turned to the dark side. She has legitimate concerns which she wants to meet. That being said, we all know the old adage about good intentions.

dark. Next. Legends of Tomorrow’s Ava Sharpe to return as season regular

The biggest problem with Supergirl is that the people who are watching the show have the same fears and concerns that Supergirl and the other aliens do. Considering the unnecessary backlash that Captain Marvel is facing, it is no wonder that Supergirl has consistently struggled to bring in the same viewership numbers as Arrow or The Flash. There are important messages being shared on this show, but in essence, the show is preaching to the converted. And that is truly unfortunate, as Supergirl is the only Arrowverse show taking the political stances that have been an intrinsic part of comic book canon.