Supergirl S4x01 – American Alien

A new era begins for the Maid of Might and her team at the DEO and the series continues its allegorical journey into political commentary. 

Previously on SUPERGIRL

Some of the weakest episodes of SUPERGIRL‘s third season came when the show decided to be a little preachy. While I don’t think the show strayed from the beliefs that Supergirl and her comrades should uphold when they had their message episodes, the writing got a little clunky and the momentum of the story always felt a little stunted. 

With the way the fourth season premiere was presented, it looks like we’re in for some more messaging from the SUPERGIRL team, and instead of having one-off episodes, it looks like the arc of the season (at least for now) will focus on some political allegory. I can only hope that the writing staff learned a lesson from the missteps of the previous season.

This season, we’re returning to the battle for the acceptance of extraterrestrials, both in National City and the world as a whole. We start with Kara racing to a press conference with President Olivia Marsdin, after saving a bunch of people, in recognition of the second anniversary of the accords that gave aliens citizenship. While Kara is proud of the progress the country has made, she proves to be a little naive to the backlash from many who don’t want the aliens in the country. 

Despite warnings from former DEO head J’onn J’onzz about the anger, Kara can’t see it at first, despite some prominent aliens being attacked. A scan of message boards on the dark web, though, left for her from new DEO agent and Legion of Superheroes member Brainiac 5, open her eyes a bit to the plot from new villains Mercy Graves and her brother Otis. They stole an EMP device and plan on attacking a summit with the President at Camp David. 

Supergirl catches Otis, but Mercy gets away, reporting back to the person who seemed to be sponsoring her anti-alien attacks: a hulking Captain America clone named Agent of Liberty. The Agent kills an alien before making more threats toward Supergirl and other aliens. Even more concerning, the President is revealed to the world to be an alien, which should throw whatever tentative peace there is in the country into some upheaval. 

There’s a lot going on in this episode… 

The Graves siblings are revealed to be former associates of Lena Luthor’s mother, Lillian, at Cadmus and when Supergirl goes to the prison to question her, Lena is also visiting, giving Supergirl an icy reception. Lena’s disposition is markedly different when she sees Kara elsewhere in the episode. Lena may have cooled on Supergirl, but Kara is still one of her best friends, and they’re all hugs when Lena gets back from Metropolis to help other best friend Samantha – who was last season’s big bad – get set up in her new life. Lena is also working with the National City D.A. to have charges dropped against James Olsen for his acts as the vigilante Guardian. 

Lena uses information she received from her mother about Metropolis mobster Bruno Manheim to leverage some leniency for James. The last time we heard the name Manheim mentioned in the ARROWVERSE, though, was in an episode of ARROW from last season. Is that a hint to a possible convergence of worlds? Or is it just that the Manheims of two worlds are criminal masterminds? 

Back at CatCo, Kara is tasked with mentoring a new cub reporter, who is shockingly similar to a younger Kara Danvers. We’re surely going to be hearing more about Nia Nal in the episodes to come, despite her debut being shunted to the C- or D-plot of the episode. 

And finally, in the teaser, at the end of the episode, we get a glimpse at a Russian version of Kara – last seen in the season 3 finale – punching away at some rocks. I can’t wait to find out what THAT’s all about. 

It’s an interesting start to the fourth season, with a lot of promise. The third season had a lot of great moments and was able to overcome a couple of clunky episodes. Hopefully, the fourth season continues to be great. I’m looking forward to seeing how everything plays out.