Family Is Complicated: Supergirl, “Homecoming”

Jeremiah Danvers returns! …But there’s something off about him. Maybe it’s his hand, impacted by nerve damage, that he doesn’t seem so sad about, or his insistence that he can pick up everything—his job, his marriage, his relationship to his kids—as if 15 years haven’t passed. Perhaps it’s his sudden talk of a nuclear fusion bomb (which, like Colonel Mustard’s, turns out to be a red herring), or his push to restore his top-secret DEO access as soon as possible. At any rate, his homecoming creates a fault line right down the middle of the Danvers family, with Alex and Kara opposed on how to welcome back dear old dad.

Spoilers for Supergirl 2×14 “Homecoming.”

As fun as it is to see Dean Cain again, I couldn’t help but be on Mon-El’s side (there’s something I never thought I’d say) for most of the episode: His return was far too convenient to not be for nefarious reasons. And unfortunately, according to the rules of genre TV, once that suspicion is raised, it’s almost guaranteed to be true. There wasn’t even much dramatic irony to be had from watching the rest of the characters catch on to Jeremiah’s shifty behavior; it was more about waiting for them to catch up.

Mon-El is on the case early on (“I’m at the DEO for two months before I can pee alone, and he walks right back in?”), though it takes cojones to turn the toast at the Danvers family dinner—his first as Kara’s newly-minted boyfriend—into an accusation. Just like that, Kara literally goes to stand beside her parents and tells Mon-El to take a hike. Jeremiah sees him out, and manages to slip in a threatening “I know who you are, and I doubt Kara would like the truth” which simultaneously keeps the “Mon-El is the prince of Daxam” theory going and, hi, cements that Jeremiah is up to no good.

Supergirl 2x14 "Homecoming" television review

While his wife Eliza isn’t so keen on picking up where they left off (“I’m here, I’m not going anywhere, but this is going to have to be something new. I think we’re just gonna have to learn each other again. Do you think we can do that?”), his other partner J’onn J’onzz basically hands him the key to the DEO wrapped up in a pretty ribbon. Jeremiah gets to poke around the DEO’s archives, including all the classified case files from the past 24 months because he just wants to see what all his daughters have been up to for the government, awww. He could’ve, I don’t know, asked Alex and Kara to regale him with stories over dinner the prior night, but this way is just so much sweeter, isn’t it? It has nothing to do with the fact that their case files also include tons of information about National City’s extraterrestrial population living below the radar. Nope, just a father reminiscing over his daughters’ great work.

Once he gets threatened, Mon-El turns to Winn for some validation that Jeremiah’s behavior is fishy. Poor Winn, who doesn’t get invited to Danvers family dinner and instead seems to spend all of his non-DEO time at the alien bar with his new alien lady friend Lyra. (Though I kind of love it that Winn is so comfortable at the bar that he can accidentally throw a dart at Fish-Head Guy and it’s all good.) Winn agrees that Jeremiah should probably just go through some photo albums, and the two of them manage to convince Kara that her dad’s actions should at least be questioned.

But god help you for bringing up any suspicions to Alex. Poor Alex, who should be cringing at her dad’s awkward welcome to Maggie (“There’s no man on Earth good enough for Alex Danvers, so it would have to be someone like you.” what does that even mean) and instead has been through such a year of upheaval that she’s just ready for stability. Poor Alex, who responds to that stability being threatened by being the most unstable character this episode.

Supergirl 2x14 "Homecoming" television review

More and more, Supergirl is doling out its emotional beats in whiplash-y reversals. It’s trying enough for our collective patience to watch Kara and Mon-El dance the same old steps of we trust each other/you didn’t listen to me, I don’t trust you/we’re buds again (and then do that in triplicate now that they’ve slept together), but it’s even more stressful when it’s Alex drawing lines in the sand:

Alex: You’re either part of the family, or you’re not.

Kara: You don’t mean that. He’s my father, too.

Alex: Then act like it.

And then they never address it! Maybe it’ll come up next week, since 2×15 keeps Jeremiah front-and-center. But it’s unwise for Supergirl to have the pendulum swing so emotionally, because it just makes the highs and lows incredibly hollow.

Supergirl 2x14 "Homecoming" television review

Though I should allow that that’s not the case for Alex’s other reaction at the end of the episode: facing off alone against Jeremiah in the woods. He won’t go alive, and perhaps he’s even trying to get through to her that killing him is best for everyone, as he says, “If you do it, I’ll understand.” But because Alex has been reduced to the only person supporting her dad and then he still let her down, she had to fulfill that other convention of this kind of genre story: She lets him go, and cries into a tumbler of whiskey (and then Maggie’s arms) later.

Supergirl 2x14 "Homecoming" television review

And Mon-El finally realizes that he doesn’t need to solve all of Kara’s problems for her, and sometimes the best thing he can do is just ask what she needs.

Supergirl 2x14 "Homecoming" television review

So Jeremiah makes it back to Cadmus, carrying in his brand-new metal arm the National City alien registry—not unlike in Quantico’s finale last week, when all of the U.S.’s surveillance data got uploaded for anyone to see. In a similar way, now the private information about the city’s alien population is in Lillian Luthor’s hands, tied in to whatever alien craft she’s cueing up for next week’s alien raids.

While “Homecoming” tread on a lot of tired beats, it’s one of the rare episodes this season that has set up a truly interesting arc that doesn’t seem as if it’ll be reset in an episode or two. I’m really interested to see how Supergirl moves forward on Lillian and Cadmus’ plan.

Supergirl 2x14 "Homecoming" television review

Other Thoughts

  • “Jeremiah?” “Eliza.” …and Peggy?
  • HOLY CADMUS CREAM EGG
  • “Walk this puppy down to the second floor and fill out all the forms Pam gives you, in triplicate.” The whole bit with J’onn sending Kara and Mon-El to HR after he blurted out that they’re dating was gold, and was severely undercut by all the Jeremiah drama.
  • But also, J’onn’s growly “WHY CAN’T I READ YOUR MIND” (which The A.V. Club has pointed out might be a nod to Superman: The Movie) was unintentionally hilarious.
  • Distracting Supergirl with a runaway train was a dick move, but Melissa Benoist really sold the physical strain of carrying an entire train on her shoulders.

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