Supergirl season 3 episode 22 review: Make It Reign


For the penultimate episode of season 3, Supergirl brings a new villain to the forefront. Can the team prevent Earth from becoming Krypton?

In season 3, Supergirl has traveled to distant planets and parallel realities. It has featured magic and prophecies, psychic abilities and genetic mutations. Long-lost parents have reunited with their children, and long-time relationships have fractured. After all this ambition and drama, we at last know what the season is about — and it’s a plot ripped straight out of Man of Steel.

Reign, we learn, was something of a red herring. Perhaps that should have been obvious. Even though she manifests as a person and exhibits a personality (albeit a rather one-dimensional one), she is ultimately a weapon. She is someone else’s means to an end.

That someone else is Selena, along with two other Dark Priestesses, and their end is to terraform Earth so it resembles Krypton. Reign is the key. As it turns out, she doesn’t die when separated from her human body; on the contrary, she becomes more powerful — free. Once resurrected with the Black Rock, she can activate a series of natural catastrophes that will destroy the world. And, from the ashes of the old world, a new world will rise.

Selena helpfully reveals her plan to Supergirl, Alura, Mon-El, and Thara via hologram. Amid the barrage of exposition, she also expresses resentment toward Alura, saying that her culture was “forced into the shadows” and “deemed unworthy”. That’s about as much as we get in the way of a motive. Am I supposed to know what her culture is? If so, Supergirl wildly overestimates my interest in and ability to follow Kryptonian mythology.

Now, Kara and Mon-El find themselves in a pickle. With their ship stolen and Mon-El’s beacon ruined in the explosion manufactured by Selena, they have no way to get back to Earth. And with Argo City shielded from the outside universe, they have no way to contact Earth. Finally, Alura mentions that Kara’s father had been developing a portal to evacuate Krypton, but he wasn’t able to finish in time.

So, we spend a substantial portion of the episode basically watching the characters try to fix a computer. At one point, Kara urges Mon-El to “let me try” and proceeds to do the exact same thing he was doing. It’s the show’s most relatable moment in ages.

By the time they manage to get the portal to work, it’s too late. Selena and company have broken into the DEO, searching for Purity and Pestilence’s blood, which they need to complete Reign’s resurrection. Following Alex’s orders, Agent Demos finds the samples, but in the chaos, he can’t destroy them. Instead, he gives them to Supergirl, who blasts them with her heat vision, but only after she inexplicably tosses them at Selena. The priestesses escape, leaving Demos dead. (It’s an unspoken rule on television that if a minor character suddenly gets a storyline, he or she is about to die.)

Making things worse, because of Kara’s silly throwing stunt, the priestesses have the blood they were looking for: some of it got on Selena’s hand. They bring back Reign, who uses the Sword of Jeru to initiate the terraforming process. A massive earthquake rocks National City, and Winn receives notifications about tsunamis and hurricanes around the world.

The earthquake interrupts J’onn and M’yrrn’s reach. Dressed in black robes, the Martians echo the priestesses, though they’re performing a healing ritual rather than one of destruction. Going backwards through time, M’yrrn shares not only his memories but also his ancestors’, projecting them as if onto a screen. J’onn witnesses the White Martians’ reign of terror as well as his own birth.

Amid the disarray that bogs down the rest of the episode, these scenes offer much-needed relief. Intimate and free of mystical or scientific mumbo jumbo, they let us savor the chemistry between Harewood, his eyes brimming with sorrow, and Lumbly, his voice the sound of wisdom. They make one man’s death feel more tragic than the end of the world.

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Bullet points:

  • Sam gets sick again, because even though they’re separated, she and Reign still have a symbiotic relationship. As Reign gets stronger, Sam gets weaker. In order to reverse this, she has to return to the Dark Valley and find a fountain.
  • Related: no show should have to introduce this much mythology this close to the end of a season.
  • I could forgive the terraforming plot if Supergirl explored its metaphorical resonance as a reflection of Kara’s identity crisis. Maybe in the finale?
  • Winn using the phrase “wigging out” made me ridiculously happy.
  • I’d ask for more Winn/Demos scenes, but, well…
  • The whole rhythm of the episode felt off. When Reign got resurrected, I assumed that was the end, but there was a whole section left.
  • Good riddance, Coville, you were a lot more interesting as a one-off antagonist than a recurring character.
  • M’yrrn saying goodbye to Alex: “There is no need for watering of the eyes. All of life is change.”

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.