“Welcome to Earth” tackled three items at once: aliens’ rights, a growing Supergirl universe, and the 2016 election. Sprinkle in the Arrowverse’s customary fan service and that’s a lot for one episode.
This week’s Supergirl did an adequate job of incorporating most of these elements. If there was one point Supergirl could’ve dropped, it would’ve been the 2016 election. While I get why the creative team would want to include the upcoming election (it’s omnipresent), the direct references “Welcome to Earth” makes aren’t handled with the gentlest of hands, and the issue of aliens’ rights—in Supergirl’s case it’s aliens from outer space and their interstellar immigration—does a fine job of alluding to the upcoming election and it’s an issue that should have legs if someone were to watch the show years in the future and the vivid nature of the show’s 2016 election references fade.
Overt political messages aside, “Welcome to Earth” was a bumpy ride. It gets a little too preachy; that wasn’t so good. Aliens, specifically Scorcher, fighting against a president who would grant them amnesty was clumsy. When these malcontent aliens explained why they would rebel against such a president, they force-fed us a lot of exposition. A growing Supergirl universe was nice to see; it’s good when Lynda Carter’s turn as an alien-friendly president is more than just a cameo (I’ll dive more into this with conjecture). And Supergirl has learned a thing or two from Arrow and Flash in terms of fan service—some of it was fantastic.
Most older fans know Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. She gets the royal treatment in “Welcome to Earth.” I liked it for the most part, but it did go over the top on more than one occasion. Supergirl spinning around (looking like Carter transforming into Wonder Woman) put a smile on my face, but the presidential addresses were too staid and contrived. This played into the overt political messages that didn’t always pan out. The private moments Carter’s president shared with Martian Manhunter and Supergirl were more impactful.
Scorcher was another villain of the week and since there was more of a focus on message instead of character building, she was more of a stereotype than a fully developed character. The true villain may be Lynda Carter’s president—but of course that’s conjecture on my part. Overall, “Welcome to Earth” was the weakest of the Supergirl episodes so far this season, but it’s still a solid episode and the show has a clear and intriguing direction.
I’ve been doing this for a few weeks, but just in case you’re new to this segment, conjecture is where I look at the tea leaves and divine what might happen in the coming weeks of a show. Since this section is about a possible future, a potential spoiler alert is in order. You’ve been warned.
Lynda Carter’s President Olivia Marsdin could be Supergirl’s Cyborg Superman in disguise.
The original Cyborg Superman was Hank Henshaw. Hank is Martian Manhunter on Supergirl, but how Jonn Jonn’z takes on the guise of the DEO commander Henshaw, plays into why Supergirl may be introducing Cyborg Superman. In the comics, Henshaw was an astronaut. In a storyline inspired by Marvel’s Fantastic four, he and his crew were exposed to solar radiation and began to mutate. The rest of the crew died, but Henshaw survived by bonding with Superman’s Kryptonian Birthing Matrix—it’s a Kryptonian incubator of sorts—and he eventually turned into Cyborg Superman, a cybernetic villain who half-way mimicked the appearance of Superman. Cyborg Superman battled Supes several times, but Supes could never fully defeat him because his digitized consciousness can create new bodies. In fact, Cyborg Superman wants to die and can’t.
These same bodies can shape-shift to look like anyone, and Cyborg Superman is also able to transfer—or download—his consciousness into someone else and temporarily take control of their bodies.
Enter Supergirl’s President Marsdin (Carter). Her eyes flickered red at the end of “Welcome to Earth,” and there’s the distinct possibility that she’s either Cyborg Superman in disguise or her mind is under the control of the cybernetic villain. We’ll have to see if Hank Henshaw is still alive. He presumably died years ago, but so did Jeremiah Danvers and we know that Danvers survived through Cadmus’s science-magic. Of course, Danvers (Dean Cain) could also be Cyborg Superman or the real Henshaw could take Danvers’ appearance, since Jonn’z is standing in for him. We’ll have to see what happens, but I’d be down with watching a half robotic Dean Cain.
That’s all I have this week. Thanks for reading.