Monday, February 20, 2017

"Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk" Is Fun And Flirty Supergirl!


The Good: Decent performances, Good special effects
The Bad: Predictable plot, Contrived character conflicts
The Basics: Supergirl opens the door to magic with "Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk" and makes a generally fun episode that sidesteps its biggest potential problems!


The DC Comics Television Universe has done a fairly good job on The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow of having a pretty decent scientific base (the Legends Spear Of Destiny conceit aside - it hasn't been revealed yet, so it's possible it will still be pulled off with a scientific explanation). It was very hard, going into the Supergirl episode "Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk" to see how that might be maintained on Supergirl - a show that was pretty well packed with aliens and alternate dimensions. Magic had not come up in Supergirl before, but in Superman comics, Mr. Mxyzpltk is from an alternate dimension and he utilizes magic - which is why Superman is vulnerable to him. How Supergirl could bring Mr. Mxyzptlk into the narrative without acknowledging some aspect of magic was instantly a problematic conceit with the episode.

"Luthors" (reviewed here!) introduced Mr. Mxyzptlk in its final moment, which leads into "Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk." While Supergirl has been toying for several episodes with a "will they or won't they" romance between Kara and Mon-El, Mr. Mxyzptlk showing up was a pretty obvious wrench into their potential relationship.

In the moment after Kara and Mon-El kiss, Mr. Mxyzptlk arrives to try to woo Kara. He illustrates impressive power to teleport and (apparently) create objects and he teleports Mon-El to the DEO in his underwear. When Kara tells Mr. Mxyzptlk she is not interested in marrying him, he disappears and when visiting the DEO, J'onn identifies the new alien as a 5th Dimensional being. Alex is a bit miffed to discover that Maggie hates Valentine's Day and at the alien bar, Winn is bullied until he is rescued by Lyra, a refugee from Star Haven.

When Alex turns to Kara for advice on how to deal with her Maggie problem, Parasite suddenly attacks. Mxyzptlk rescues Mon-El and Supergirl, but they quickly realize that he is the cause of the return of Parasite. In going through the DEO archives, Winn finds an artifact that tests high in 5th Dimensional energy and Mon-El takes it to try to use against Mxyzptlk. When Alex tries to do a romantic night for Maggie for Valentine's Day, it backfires on her, but leads them to a bigger truth from Alex's new love. When Mon-El calls Mxyzptlk out, they end up in a duel and Mon-El discovers the DEO artifact has the ability to contain the power of the 5th Dimensional being. But Mxyzptlk destroys the artifact, which puts Kara in a bind in order to rescue him. To save Mon-El, Kara agrees to marry Mxyzptlk.

"Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk" is odd in that some of its humor immediately is based upon incredibly Victorian values. When Mr. Mxyzptlk teleports Mon-El to the DEO, he is teleported in his underwear and the idea that that level of undress - or any level of undress - would upset him is a very human, very Victorian, notion. Similarly, Mr. Mxyzptlk - in helping Supergirl to stop three gunmen - makes an oblique reference to the film X-Men (reviewed here!). How the DC Television Universe justifies Marvel Comics movies within their narrative is unclear.

The relationships in "Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk" are engaging, though the two main ones fall into very predictable arcs. Mon-El and Kara fight through much of the episode, fighting over Mxyzptlk and his attempt to woo Kara. This allows both Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood to play some wonderful angry chemistry between them for their characters. Kara is upset over Mon-El's jealousy and lack of trust and when Kara agrees to marry Mxyzptlk, the more subtle levels of upset that Benoist is able to play shows real range for her!

The other big relationship in "Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk" is between Alex and Maggie. The relationship has a pathetically simple problem/solution. Alex has a bad past history with Valentine's Day and Alex loves it. Alex is not honest with Maggie about how much she truly wants to spend Valentine's Day with her and Maggie, it turns out, lied about how she came out in her early backstory. Both of these problems are incredibly simple and could have been entirely avoided if they were honest with one another from the outset. The only reason they were not seems to be to create exactly this type of dramatic tension down the line, which is disappointing and immature.

In "Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk," Winn is written virtually identically to Cisco Ramon on The Flash. In fact, Winn's arc with Lyra is essentially Ramon's ongoing fantasy with Golden Glider or any of the metahumans he has had a crush on. Jeremy Jordan plays Schott well, but he is reciting lines written essentially for another character.

Mxyzptlk himself is an interesting, if horribly misguided, character. "Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk" manages to completely sidestep the whole "magic" conceit by explaining Mxyzptlk as a 5th Dimensional being whose powers only appear as magical. Unfortunately, Mon-El believes that the only way to banish a 5th Dimensional being is to get it to say its name backwards, but there is no scientific reason that should work and it is not satisfactorily explained within the episode.

Despite that, "Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk" is a fun and generally satisfying Valentine's Day episode of Supergirl!

For other works Barry Nerling has been in, please visit my reviews of:
"Compromised" - Legends Of Tomorrow
"Legends Of Today" - The Flash
Robocop
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
Tin Man

6/10

For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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