This week’s Supergirl put the focus on J’onn J’onzz. He headed to Mars, with Kara Danvers at his side to help. His mission was to help M’gann M’orzz extract information from his father in order to save the planet. But, this proved difficult. His father believed him to be a Green Martian in J’onn’s form. It was a fun adventure that felt like a throwback to classic sci-fi. The mix of genuine emotion and fun set pieces like J’onn’s spaceship that looks like a classic car worked perfectly.
Unfortunately, this episode also delivered one of the most insulting subplots I’ve seen on television. It started with Maggie Sawyer opening up about her parents kicking her out of the house as a teen. Alex Danvers reacted in classic poorly-written-fictional-gay-person style: she suggested that Maggie simply call her parents up. She claimed “the world is different now.” This plot bounced from one trope to another without a bit of resonance or sincerity.
The truly awful part was when Maggie asked her father why he’s so unaccepting. He blatantly attributes his homophobia to his Mexican identity. Supergirl loves half-assed topicality, so of course they gave him an impassioned speech about how people today hate Mexicans and want to build a wall. This is one of the more striking examples of how Supergirl ignores context in its eagerness to be relevant. They drew attention to anti-Mexican sentiments, but did in the midst of a scene drawing a direct line between being Mexican and being homophobic. All cultures are capable of being homophobic and I’m sure there’s something interesting to explore in the cross-section of Mexican-American culture and homophobia. But, this was not the way to do it.
In the end, Maggie told her father that she didn’t need him. Alex told Maggie that she was glad she “got closure.” I would’ve preferred an apology for pushing her to reach out to people who abandoned her. Even worse, Alex then pivoted to somehow assuming that this experience would make Maggie open to having kids. I generally like Alex and Maggie but, damn, they were a trainwreck in this episode.