Monday, February 27, 2017

Mon-El Is The Legitimate Hero Of Dr. Jeremiah Danvers's "Homecoming!"

The Good: Mon-El's character, Good performances, Moments of character conflict
The Bad: Most of the characters are presented as naive and simplistic, Plot is an obvious trap
The Basics: "Homecoming" returns Dr. Jeremiah Danvers to the Supergirl narrative . . . and makes a fool out of everyone but Mon-El.

As Supergirl has progressed through its second season, there have been two main dangling plotlines hanging around Kara Zor-El. Kara and Mon-El have had a "will they or won't they" thing going on with Mon-El for most of the season and "Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk" pretty much committed Kara and Mon-El to developing a romantic relationship. So, it seems natural that now that that is (generally) resolved, the other plotline would rear its head. "Homecoming" returns Jeremiah Danvers (Alex's father and Kara's adoptive father) to the narrative. Since Mon-El and Kara were captured by Cadmus and rescued by Jeremiah, Supergirl viewers have waited for Kara to commit to busting Cadmus up enough to rescue her father. In fact, how the hell has the DEO not gotten Jeremiah back given that Lillian Luthor is in custody and Cadmus is, presumably, suffering from a power vacuum at the top.

"Homecoming" follows "Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk" (reviewed here!), though it follows up more directly on "The Darkest Place," which was the last time Jeremiah Danvers was seen. "Homecoming" is a joyful reunion only on the surface; virtually every savvy viewer of Supergirl will see it as the obvious trap episode that it is. Fortunately, Mon-El is pretty hip to that almost immediately.

The morning after Mon-El and Kara have sex for the first time, Mon-El wakes up alone. The news report, which is on the television, informs him that Supergirl has been out and very active fighting crime and doing good for the morning. Kara returns to the apartment and asks Mon-El not to talk to their friends about them dating, but the moment they show up at the DEO, Mon-El outs them as "dating." J'onn tells the pair to report to human resources, but before they can go, Schott detects Cadmus activity and J'onzz and Mon-El fly into action. The pair takes down a Cadmus convoy and, in the process, rescues Jeremiah Danvers.

Jeremiah Danvers tells the DEO team that Cadmus has a nuclear weapon, powered by the energy harnessed from Supergirl when she was captured. To welcome Jeremiah back, the Danvers's have a family dinner with Maggie and Mon-El accompanying the Danvers women. When Mon-El is cool to Jeremiah, Kara asks him to leave. Mon-El enlists Winn Schott in spying on Jeremiah when Dr. Danvers returns to the DEO. Schott observes Jeremiah breaking into the DEO server room and he appears to be spying on the DEO. When confronted, Danvers immediately comes clean, undermining Schott and Mon-El.

"Homecoming" makes incredibly good use of Mon-El. Mon-El is entirely skeptical of Jeremiah's return and his story and it is refreshing to see a character who is smart and recognizes a trap when he sees it. It is a little disappointing that Kara is nowhere near as skeptical as Mon-El in that she is the hero of the story. "Homecoming" takes on a somewhat melodramatic tone in presenting Mon-El's legitimate skepticism as a conflict between Kara and Mon-El.

Jeremiah Danvers was in Cadmus custody for fourteen years and his return is refreshingly not the rebirth of his marriage. Eliza does not leap to having Jeremiah back in her life and it is nice to see someone who is emotionally-realized enough to know that years apart are not years one can get back. Helen Slater plays Eliza with an emotional distance that even David Harewood's J'onn J'onzz does not. Slater is good in her brief part in "Homecoming" and she and Chris Wood make the most of their time on screen.

"Homecoming" is somewhat infuriating in that J'onn J'onzz is characterized as ridiculously naive. J'onzz is a telepath and when Mon-El raises questions about Jeremiah's return, it is an unfortunate use of his character to have him not telepathically scan Dr. Danvers. There are very few times I compare the source material with the derivations, but in "Homecoming" it is hard not to. J'onn J'onzz in DC Comics is the Martian Manhunter, one of the DC Comics Universes most skilled detectives. Seeing J'onzz not even in the ballpark for an analytical detective is frustrating, but in "Homecoming" he is played as a simpleton.

"Homecoming" is difficult to watch because Mon-El is characterized brilliantly and everyone else on Supergirl is suddenly an idiot. How did the DEO not have simple metal detectors?! How does a single incident completely turn everyone back against Mon-El?! And how do the writers of Supergirl not figure their audience is more savvy than this kind of dumb, obvious episode?!

For other works with Dean Cain, please visit my reviews of:
"The Darkest Place" - Supergirl

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Supergirl - The Complete Second Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the sophomore season of the Kryptonian superheroine here!


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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