Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind: Supergirl, “Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk”

Due to what I can only guess was some sort of scheduling snafu, Supergirl aired its Valentine’s Day episode almost a week after the holiday. So, right as we’ve all finished our boxes of half-price chocolate and thrown out dried flowers, here’s an episode to bring back all the butterfly-inducing, infuriating, and heartwarming things about love: rooms full of roses, reliving a bittersweet Valentine’s dance, and a not-so-secret admirer.

Spoilers for 2×13 “Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk.”

We begin immediately where we left off last week: Now that Kara and Lena’s friendship is still intact, Mr. Mxyzptlk drops in to throw a wrench into Kara’s love life with a snap of his fingers. This “interdimensional man about town” hails from the fifth dimension, to be precise, which allows him to manipulate our reality to the extent that we humans might call magic. (His kind have been mistaken for genies, djinn, leprechauns, imps, and all manner of mischievous creatures.) He’s been spying on Kara for god-knows-how-long and has decided that she would make the perfect mate: She’s brave, powerful, considerate, and simply unlike any other woman where he’s from. There’s just the teeny problem of Kara having absolutely no desire to be Mrs. Mxyzptlk.

Yet even when she tells him to his face that she’s just not interested, Mxy takes it as Kara playing hard to get. She must be properly wooed, he decides, with feats of bravery like unleashing the Parasite on National City and then swooping in—in a homemade Superman-but-with-an-M costume, of course—to save the day. Never mind if any humans get in the crossfire, so long as Mxy proves his worth to the bride he’s already chosen. And what’s that—a competing suitor in the form of Mon-El? All the better! On Daxam they had a zero-tolerance policy for fifth-dimensional beings, and Mxy is more than happy to play with equally lethal stakes (and more than one Hamilton reference).

Supergirl 2x13 "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" television review

“Better not throw away your shot”–of course Mxy has gotten to see Hamilton.

It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for the guy, as Mxy gives Kara big puppy-dog eyes as she rejects each and every one of his romantic gestures. He seems to truly not understand why she doesn’t return his affection… until she puts her foot down and he responds, “All it’s going to take are two little words: ‘I. Do.’ Otherwise, things will get very bad for your world.”

Supergirl 2x13 "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" television review

This episode’s metaphor was strong enough when Mxy was showering Kara with unwanted attention, but this was the truly oof moment: He is not taking no for an answer. He gave her the chance to accept his proposal willingly, or even to be convinced by him fighting for her heart; now, she has to be with him, or else he’ll make the entire world suffer for her refusal.

Supergirl 2x13 "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" television review

So, Kara says yes. On the condition that they get married at the Fortress of Solitude—she’ll even wear her mother’s dress—in true Kryptonian fashion. Even as she pushed Mon-El away by saying that they were an awful match because he patronized her like a damsel in distress, this seemed a pretty obvious, and weak, ruse: Clearly Kara hadn’t had a change of heart, but how did she expect to wriggle out of interdimensional matrimonial vows?

Turns out that she doesn’t even let Mxy get that far: She isolates them in the Fortress of Solitude so that he couldn’t hurt anyone if he got upset (again, ooof), and tells him, in steely, no-nonsense terms, that love is not making demands of someone and that it’s never going to happen. When he lashes out and attacks her with the ice sculpture of her uncle Jor-El (interesting, using a male member of her family to “force” her into marrying him), Kara sees his attack and raises it by setting the atomic cauldron to self-destruct.

Putting aside that this is the third time in as many episodes that some sort of atomic/nuclear core is about to blow up (come on, guys, there has to be a better external plot-mover than this), the rest of Kara’s plan is pretty ingenious: Mxy can’t stop her from killing herself, so to save his own skin, he enters in the cancellation code she instructs him. Except that it turns out that the letters spell out his name backwards—the one way to get Mxyzptlk to banish himself. Not before, of course, he yells “You nasty woman” at Kara. Hey, she and Livewire are in good company, and the Supergirl writers are killing it.

Supergirl 2x13 "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" television review

With Mxy gone, Kara and Mon-El can go back to what they were doing at the beginning of the episode: ringing in the end of Valentine’s Day with a kiss. Though he believed all of her talk about them not being a good match, she revealed that it was a ruse to get him to leave her alone so she could face Mxy without him butting in. Because while most of that was a lie, she was serious about him being far too patronizing and not trusting her to handle herself. So, finally, after a cheesy “you are my kryptonite” line, Kara gets the guy.

Supergirl 2x13 "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" television review

It being Valentine’s, every subplot in this episode was about loooove in one way or another. Let’s rank them from least to most adorable:

I squeed out loud when J’onn was drafting a Valentine’s Day message for M’gann, who’s left for Mars. (In fact, I found it adorable that all of the aliens in this episode were completely down with this Earthling holiday.) But we never actually got to see him send the message! Perhaps it was cut for time, or it was all just a setup for him to say “on some planets, to write something down is to truly say it,” the inspiration for Kara’s Mxy trick.

Supergirl 2x13 "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" television review

In a total surprise, Winn gets a serious love interest! After badass alien Lyra Strayd saves his life at the alien bar, she rather directly asks him out to dinner. The two bond over Starhaven, her home planet, which happens to be “like, the number-one planet on my bucket list,” an excited Winn says. However, what he knows of Starhaven is pretty lines from their ancient texts (“The hurt of one is the hurt of all. The honor of one is the honor of all.”), while in reality the planet has been struck by blight. Still, it’s more of a connection than either expected to find, so they set a date.

Supergirl 2x13 "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" television review

But while a nervous Winn goes to all the trouble of making a reservation at a fancy place, Lyra just wants a hookup… Or so it seems. At their first official dinner the next day, she confesses that “I didn’t think you’d call” after sleeping together; she’s used to humans seeing people like her as “an experience” rather than a whole person. Instead, it’s Winn’s turn for a confession: “It’s not potentially falling for an alien that scares me, it’s potentially falling for anyone.” He’s been burned by plenty of humans, but he seems open to exploring a connection with someone with whom he clearly has great chemistry. Another recap described Lyra as a refugee; I’m curious to see if Supergirl will address any of this in her future episodes, should she stay on as a recurring love interest.

Supergirl 2x13 "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" television review

Then there’s Alex/Maggie, bringing all the Sanvers sweetness to round out this episode. At first, their plotline seemed a bit cliché: Maggie hates Valentine’s for (seemingly) all of the corporate bullshit, and Alex goes along with it, despite actually wanting to spend her first real Valentine’s with someone she cares about going all-out and embracing the cheesy trappings. When Alex (on Kara’s advice, whoops) tries to make a specialized Valentine’s for Maggie, complete with tiramisu and lingerie, Maggie lashes out and reveals what’s actually behind her aversion: As a 14-year-old in the closet, she gave her best friend Eliza Wilkie a card and asked her to the Valentine’s dance, only for Eliza to hand over the card to her parents, who called Maggie’s folks… and that’s how Maggie got outed.

Supergirl 2x13 "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" television review

Floriana Lima really sells this formative heartbreak, scarred over but still raw. Her confession that she lied to Alex about having a smooth coming-out is even more affecting when she explains that “I didn’t want to scare you. I wanted it to be better for you.” Of course, she didn’t anticipate that this she would fall for her friend again, and this time the feeling would be mutual. When Maggie first yells at Alex about planning a Valentine’s for them, she says it’s because her pet peeve is not being heard; but in truth, she’s terrified of the opposite, of expressing her true feelings and being punished for them.

Supergirl 2x13 "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" television review

Not knowing all of this, Kara interjects herself again, by suggesting that Maggie consider changing some things for Alex, because it’s so important to her to be able to participate in this (albeit cheesy and corporate) holiday because she finally has someone with whom she wants to celebrate. So, Maggie creates a belated Valentine’s prom for Alex, but really for both of them, complete with disco ball, corsage, and slow-dance music–because, she says, “You deserve an amazing romance with a woman who is absolutely crazy for you.”

Supergirl 2x13 "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" television review

“No, I am not saying yes to the dress.”

Other Thoughts

  • “Tall, dark, and blandsome” is a pretty good burn on ol’ Mon-El.
  • Bolognese-stuffed calamari? Trying that for my next fancy dinner.
  • Next week: Jeremiah Danvers returns! But something’s not right, something that could split Kara from her adoptive family.

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