Supergirl -- "Survivors" -- Image SPG204b_0026 -- Pictured: Dichen Lachman as Roulette - Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
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Recap: We Do Not Talk About SUPERGIRL’s Fight Club. Well… Yeah, We Do.

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Episode 204 “Survivors”
Written by Paula Yoo & Eric Carrasco
Directed by James Marshall

[photos: The CW}

This week: our heroine gets a sidekick, the sister gets kicked to the curb, and the boss gets a kick in the head. With shades of Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice in the mix, “Survivors” is the first live-action showcase for the “Meta-Brawl” and our first hints at the confrontation that’s about to go down between Our Favorite Martians…

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To break it down succinctly:

  1. A dead alien is found in the trunk of a car, leading Detective Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima) to call Alex (Chyler Leigh). Because aliens are involved.
  2. Dead alien leads to the discovery of the Meta-Brawl, the alien Fight Club.
  3. Kara (Melissa Benoist) has to learn to let go of her prejudice against Mon-El (Chris Wood) and see him as another person.
  4. Mon-El and Winn (Jeremy Jordan) have bonding moments that involve alcohol and code names.
  5. J’onn (David Harewood) has to deal with his discovery of M’Gann (Sharon Leal).
  6. M’Gann has a deep dark secret.
  7. Alex and Maggie have more sparks, until Maggie’s date shows up. Alex haz a sad.
Why are you so GRR, J'onn? (Dean Buscher/The CW)
Why are you so GRR, J’onn? (Dean Buscher/The CW)

With this episode, Supergirl brings in elements from the Meta-Brawl episodes of Justice League Unlimited, where former Justice Society member Ted Grant (Wildcat) was the reigning champion gladiator. Unfortunately, Ted was de-aged and tasked with training Laurel Lance over on Arrow, and such a wasted opportunity that was… but that’s not this show.

In this version, it’s M’gann who’s the fierce competitor, and just as in the animated series, the “champion” feels compelled to participate because there’s no place else to go. And, like Ted, she has to be talked down from the idea that Meta-Brawl is her only remaining option. Only it’s J’onn instead of Black Canary and Green Arrow who do the talking, after Supergirl puts a stop to the first round of fights once Maggie and Alex locate the operation.

Long way from Warworld, Draaga (Diyah Pera/The CW)
Long way from Warworld, Draaga (Diyah Pera/The CW)

 

Of course, Kara gets her head handed to her by Draaga (John DeSantis), also a lift from the animated series. In Justice League Unlimited, Draaga fought Superman on Warworld, which gets at least a mention here from Mon-El.

Our resident Daxamite also gets a flashback to go with his frat brother time with Winn. Turns out, Mon-El was coaxed into the Kryptonian escape pod by his best friend? protectee? the Prince of Daxam (Ben Sullivan), who goes back to die with his people instead of running away. He sends Mon-El off to survive for them both.

We're super friends! (Diyah Pera/The CW)
We’re super friends! (Diyah Pera/The CW)

And survive Mon-El does, too! After talking about how his powers could serve him in some capacity as a superhero, and after talk about capes and costumes, Mon-El convinces Winn to take him out of the DEO facility, where they visit several pubs and … well… some people get hurt. Just a little.

J’onn is none too happy about it, but he’s distracted by the knowledge that M’gann won’t “take the bond” with him. Something Martians do as a way of communing with one another. Because she’s got a big secret, too, and it’s not just the fights. She’s (as we know from the comics and animated shows) actually a White Martian, and she’s on Earth trying to forget her past and the terrible things her people did to the Green Martians. She feels the fights are her way of doing penance, maybe? Of course, she doesn’t tell J’onn any of this, and bonding mentally is out of the question because he’d see the truth.

Personally, I’m a little irritated that the show has given us a “tough chick” M’gann instead of the one from Young Justice. I like the “Hello, Megan!” fish out of water that she brought to that show, with her wholehearted attempts to fit in, only to find that she didn’t quite get it right. I’m also curious whether the dynamic between Supergirl‘s Martians will be anything close to the uncle-niece tone adopted by the two in other versions. Time will tell, but this M’gann plays a bit older than the YJ version, and that’s sure to have an impact.

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But the heart of the episode is Dichen Lachman as Roulette. Lifted straight out of JLU, she’s as perfect as we’re likely to get with live action. From the attitude to the wardrobe and make-up, this Roulette is cunning, composed, and completely in control. Even when Supergirl convinces the aliens in Roulette’s thrall to back away and stop dancing to the promoter’s tune, she’s collected enough. Probably because she knows enough heavy hitters to get her out of jail in record time. Which is exactly what happens.

The high-stakes gambling is just the kind of thing you’d expect to find in a comic book show, and it’s nice to see that Supergirl continues to embrace its heritage from both comic books and animated source material. It’s still well ahead of the rest of Greg Berlanti’s shows as the most fun series, with The Flash certainly coming in second.

I wonder just which of the city leaders are in Roulette’s pocket enough that she can skate only hours after her arrest, with all charges dropped. Naturally, this means we’ll see her again. Because Supergirl generally tends to let the villains live to fight another day.

Next week: James Olsen tries to become relevant on a show where Snapper Carr (Ian Gomez) is Perry White and Winn Schott, Jr. is Jimmy Olsen. Seriously, the hunky athlete has absolutely nothing to do on this show, and becoming the Guardian has all the potential of being a Charles Barkley Tuurrible Idea™…

 

Supergirl airs Monday nights at 8/7c on The CW.

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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