12:37 pm EST, December 2, 2019

‘Supergirl’ season 5, episode 8 review: Justice, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder

Supergirl season 5, episode 8 is an anxiety-ridden fight to save the world and Lena's soul.

Supergirl season 5, episode 8 picks up immediately following the events of the previous episode, with Kara in the Fortress of Solitude after Lena’s revelation and trap. Meanwhile, Rama Khan decides it’s time to reboot the Earth.

Honestly, Supergirl season 5, episode 8 is such an anxiety-ridden episode that it was nearly impossible to get my thoughts in order to write this review. From Lena’s unexpected battle and showdown with Alex and the DEO to Kara and Andrea having to prevent Rama Khan from resetting the Earth with a massive volcano, this is an episode that could have (and maybe should have) been split into two, if only to get the time and full emotional impact that some of the scenes deserved.

After Supergirl season 5, episode 7, Lena’s feelings about Kara’s secret identity and betrayal were finally brought into the spotlight, and she had quite an interesting (and mostly understandable reaction, despite her locking Kara in the Fortress using kryptonite). Needless to say, the aftermath of that reveal is what I was most excited to see unfold, and that it did… in such an unexpected way.

Supergirl season 5 episode 8

‘Supergirl’ season 5, episode 8 review

While Supergirl season 5, episode 8 is obviously one of the top episodes of the season thus far, I cannot say it’s my favorite episode. Unfortunately, it felt almost too packed, and the Rama Khan story felt like something that should have definitely been shelved until another episode, giving the aftermath of Lena’s reaction and her attempt to start Project Non Nocere proper focus, as that’s been the most prominent arc of the season.

Earth-38 being in danger just doesn’t hold a candle to what’s in store in a week’s time during “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” so Rama Khan’s threats were laughable, honestly. For a “god,” as he called himself, he sure failed pretty miserably. The only good thing to come out of that story is Andrea’s growth, so I’ll give it that.

For a mid-season finale, it ranks pretty high, in my opinion. This episode didn’t really wrap anything up, and instead progressed the fight for Lena’s soul and Leviathan in such intriguing — and, in Lena’s case, devastating — ways. (However, on another note, I don’t think any mid-season finale will top Supergirl season 3, episode 9, “Reign,” and that fight set to a Christmas song.)

Supergirl season 5 episode 8

Kara’s fight to save Lena from herself

It’s so heartbreaking to see how hard Kara is fighting for Lena to no avail, to see Kara recognize the role she played in hurting Lena by lying to her for so long, regardless of the reason, after fighting to be close to her when Lena first arrived in National City. And as angry and/or upset as many are with Lena for not coming around to Kara’s pleas, I mean, can we really expect her to do so already?

While we waited a week for Supergirl season 5, episode 8, only mere hours had passed from Lena telling Kara how she really felt about discovering she was Supergirl (and how she really learned of this) to Kara appearing as a hologram to beg Lena to stop. Even the simplest rift between friends would likely remain unsolved in this time frame. The cracks in the foundation of Kara and Lena’s relationship are so deep now that it’s going to take months to fix what has been broken in both of them, realistically.

On another note, Kara’s insistence to not give up on Lena was probably the highlight of the episode for me. It’s clear how much Kara loves Lena and how often she relied on their friendship over the years to get her through the tougher times, whether it be unrelated to Lena or during the time when Lena absolutely hated Supergirl. Kara sees the best parts of Lena, which are still inside of her despite the darker path she’s been going down this season.

Objectively, it wouldn’t make sense for Kara to give up on Lena, especially so soon. As I said before, the true fallout of the reveal only just happened hours before the events of this episode. Kara’s never been one to give up on her loved ones, even if they’re completely off, like Astra was during Supergirl season 1. She believes in the good in everyone, even villains (like Julia/Purity on Supergirl season 3) and especially those she loves.

Despite Lena’s intention to use Myriad, she didn’t kill anyone in order to do so, as Astra did, and her intentions were good (even though it was in such a wrong way). Her mind is twisted by the trauma of all of the betrayal she’s experienced in her life, and Lena’s clearly desperate for someone to love her and just not lie to her, for once in her life. Seeking out friendship with Hope, a program she literally created, is a clear example of the pain Lena’s in.

It’s going to take time for Lena to forgive Kara. When she’s experienced betrayal in the past, she’s just been able to cut those people out of her life because they’ve been, well, terrible people, like Lex and Lillian. Lena hasn’t been betrayed by anyone capable of redemption, as much as she held out hope for her family to actually see her worth. So, in many ways, what Lena is experiencing is quite new, though fueled by devastating past experiences.

And while Supergirl season 5 has solely focused on Kara and Lena so far, it’s clear there’s work to do with everyone if Lena is going to find her way back to this family of super friends. Many of those in her chosen family lied to her for all of these years, and as much as Kara has to try to win her back, the others do as well. And while this will be beautiful and brutal to watch, Lena has to put in the effort, too. She’s hurt them, too, and now everyone is in the wrong, some — like Lena — worse than others.

But before this, something substantial is going to have to happen to make Lena see the light and realize the path she’s on is actually quite awful. Given the parallel between Lena saying that sometimes the good guys don’t win and Lex insisting that he’s always been the hero just within this episode, my bet is it’ll be the similarities to Lex opening her eyes to what she’s been doing. When, however, that happens is another question. This arc could likely go on all season, though I hope not.

Supergirl season 5 episode 8

Alex’s reluctance

Alex’s decisions on Supergirl season 5, episode 8 were definitely quite hard to immediately understand. Maybe, if you’re against Lena, it was easy to side with Alex and pray for her to blow up the mountain. But as someone who loves all three of these characters, it was incredibly hard to watch this episode and see the tension between them.

It took some time, for me, to understand Alex’s earlier decisions, but I think I do. Simply put, Alex was doing her job. Her job as the the Director of the DEO is to save National City and the world from alien threats (or threats that other government organizations are unable to handle, like Myriad). Her initial reaction to, frankly, kill Lena if she didn’t back down is just part of working for the terrible DEO.

Once the threat was stopped, Alex realized that her initial reaction was wrong and that Lena should be saved, not forcefully stopped. And, unfortunately, it’s not the only time where one of our main characters has questioned Lena. Hell, even Kara has, if you think back to those terrible season 3 days. It comes with the territory of Lena walking a darker path; those she loves are even going to question her, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Kara is torn between whether Lena is still the person she became best friends with or if she’s closer to her family than ever before.

(Side note: I’m still not able to get past Alex bringing Sam into the conversation about Lena hiding things from them. Sure, she hid Sam in L-Corp after discovering she was Reign — in order to protect her, with Sam practically begging her to help — because she wanted to protect one of her best friends. I understand bringing up Lena’s hiding Lex’s release from prison, but bringing up Sam just seemed completely out of place, especially because Alex would have done the same thing at that time if the DEO had the same resources.)

Supergirl season 5 episode 8

Andrea and Rama Khan

While this story, for the most part, seemed pointless and unnecessary to take place on Supergirl season 5, episode 8, it brought along two interesting developments. First and foremost, Andrea’s growth in this episode (and already this season) is incredible. I’m so happy she’s fighting back at Leviathan after they took Russell from her, and I’m excited to see the Acrata from the comics show up. She’s an anti-hero, taking out the bad guys, quite like Reign was at first on Supergirl season 3.

I expected to fully hate Andrea Rojas when the season began because of how she treated Kara, but I have to say, Julie Gonzalo is giving an impressive performance. There are so many layers to Andrea that are unexpected, and even though we briefly saw only glimpses of Andrea and Russell’s relationship, she’s giving so much that it’s really making me feel for the loss she experienced. I’m excited to see how losing him will impact her going forward, and if her decision to take on Leviathan will impact her work at CatCo in the latter half of the season.

Secondly, the revelation that there’s someone above Rama Khan and the woman he was working with, both of whom are above Granny-viathan, is quite intriguing. Though I didn’t expect Rama Khan to be the end-all of Leviathan, I didn’t expect there would be yet another person hidden in the shadows. Maybe this story will turn out to be better than I expected it to be…

‘Supergirl’ season 5, episode 8 final thoughts

Unfortunately, in my opinion, Supergirl season 5, episode 8 is where Lena completely crossed a line. Nothing she had done previously had been that bad, though Hope taking over Eve’s consciousness was certainly up there and brought her directly to the line. Having Eve take the fall for what she’s done and go to prison, despite Hope still ruling Eve’s consciousness, was quite unlike Lena and is beginning to show what she’s truly capable of.

Though I think Lena will be saved and fully redeemed down the line, it’s kind of exciting that Supergirl season 5 is going to show what Lena is truly capable of. Kara was lucky to have Lena on her side for so long, for the world to have a good Luthor in it, but with that gone for a bit, Kara’s going to realize what a formidable foe Lena can really be.

I’m dumbfounded that even J’onn, a supporting character on Kara’s show, is the first from Earth-38 to learn about “Crisis on Infinite Earths” and that he’s more tied into this than Kara is. How, year after year, can they continue to disrespect Kara in these crossover events? I understand why J’onn needed a test for the crisis, but where was Kara’s? There’s been no specific mention of anything preparing Kara for the crossover, and it begins on her show.

Malefic leaving for Mars to help M’gann (I’m so glad we got an update on her!) defeat the White Martians and end the war was a beautiful way to close out this story, to bring the brothers together and at least fix one relationship during this half of the season.

And, finally, where the hell are Kelly and Nia? This is two episodes without them, and it’s quite disappointing to see (or, rather, not see). It would have been so interesting to get Kelly’s take on what’s going on with Lena and what advice she would have given Alex on the situation, but alas, this episode was so packed with important moments that there was absolutely no time.

That’s why I wish this Rama Khan story would have been saved for another episode because it took away from the plot with Lena and all of the emotions we could have seen explored from everyone involved. Everything felt really rushed, which was unnecessary.

Supergirl kicks off “Crisis on Infinite Earths” on Sunday, December 8 at 8 p.m. ET!

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