NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Supergirl” are present in this review
With the seemingly supernatural influence of Leviathan being fully outlined in the previous episode, “Tremors” completed its reveal for the arch-villains of Supergirl’s latest season. This episode properly introduces us to the real leaders of Leviathan, with that mysterious elderly woman merely being a lieutenant for them in the end. These Leviathan leaders have lived for thousands of years, existing since before recorded history, and are apparently denizens of a now-destroyed sister world to Krypton called ‘Jarhanpur’. They also appear to be headed up by a man named Rama Khan, a very powerful terrakinetic alien sage, along with his partner, Gamemnae, who appears to be the one masterminding the affairs with Obsidian North, and the world’s growing obsession with Andrea’s VR lenses.
Our first proper chance to see Leviathan’s true leadership in action leads to an especially exciting Supergirl episode as well, one that’s effectively complemented by several great storylines shared among the show’s heroes, as Kara and J’onn find themselves having to confront difficult and emotional challenges. Alex and Brainy also headline another storyline, though this one is noticeably less effective, particularly when Alex’s conflict yet again needs to dig up increasingly tired romantic drama. Still, Brainy gaining some heightened intelligence, at the cost of less inhibition, is kind of interesting, which results from an injury he sustains after Leviathan sets a trap for the DEO, using Rip Roar’s cybernetic remains. It’s too bad that Supergirl doesn’t end up doing anything with this Brainy turn though, beyond a few weak jokes. Even Alex and Brainy supposedly finding Leviathan’s location is weirdly inconsequential here. Yes, I know that Gamemnae is intentionally misleading them, but did Alex and Brainy seriously find nothing while poking around that weird cavern?
Likewise, Alex didn’t really get to shine as much as she deserved to here. Aside from tagging along with Brainy to find Leviathan’s headquarters, or so the two DEO agents think, Alex was also saddled with dealing with an emotional and distraught Kelly, who reacts badly to news of Alex being injured. This eventually appears to lead to Kelly wanting to terminate her relationship with Alex as well, which is a very tedious and tiresome story turn that will likely have many viewers rolling their eyes. This subplot is supposed to represent Alex learning to be more sympathetic to Kelly’s PTSD, but all it does is continue to make Kelly look weak and short-sighted. At least the show didn’t go through with ditching Kelly though. Alex has been through too many love interests lately, and she’d benefit from finding a true successor to Maggie in that role.
Like I said though, this episode’s other storylines were actually pretty great, containing a lot of excitement and drama in equal measure. After Lena barely survives an attack by Rama Khan, who is after her medallion, she once again tags along with the DEO, before Kara eventually brings Lena along to the Fortress of Solitude. This gives the two a nice chance to explore some of Supergirl’s plot history, most notably surrounding Myriad, calling back to the show’s first season, back when Supergirl aired on CBS, and Lena hadn’t yet joined the series. Naturally, the Fortress has protocols in place to protect against the presence of a Luthor, but Kara defends Lena every step of the way, even going as far as to successfully fend off another attack from Rama Khan, who is subsequently forced to flee.
In the end though, Kara catches Lena attempting to make off with Myriad. How Lena was planning to get away with Myriad without being noticed, I have no idea, but regardless, this finally presents an opportunity for Lena to fully confront Kara about her deception. As much as I think that Lena reacting so badly to Kara keeping her in the dark about her Supergirl identity for so many years, especially after Kara did fess up at the start of this season, is a little forced, I do have to appreciate the fact that this scene was performed very well by Melissa Benoist and Katie McGrath. As much as Supergirl too often tries to force melodrama, which is bland at best and cringe-inducing at worst, I have to admit that Lena breaking down and recounting her bad history with betrayal, and how she believed Kara when Kara said she would never lie to her, really made for a powerfully dramatic moment. Lena trapping Kara in the Fortress and escaping is even better, with Kara still confined there at the end of the episode. That’s all the more effective when Supergirl is taking an extra week off from here too, before returning with its midseason finale at the start of December, not counting its subsequent crossover episode for the Crisis on Infinite Earths event.
J’onn also headlined a pretty great subplot here, as he once again consults his father for advice regarding why he can seemingly sense Malefic everywhere, to the point where it’s even interfering with his training. Granted, this is a little bit of a Deus Ex Machina though, since Myr’nn easily indicates to J’onn that Malefic is still in National City, under lock and key in Lena’s lab. Seriously, what’s the point of Myr’nn being dead, when J’onn can still call on him whenever his storyline is in a corner? Well, whatever the case, J’onn confronts Malefic in the lab, and completely disarms himself, allowing his brother to kill him if Malefic so wishes. Malefic melds minds with J’onn before planning to execute him as well, only to get a glimpse of J’onn’s gesture of love, during the two brothers’ difficult history on Mars. This results in the two Green Martians appearing to reconcile, which is a really nice moment to wrap up the episode on, balanced nicely by the ominous cliffhanger of Kara being stuck in the Fortress of Solitude, after Lena runs off with Myriad.
“Tremors” stands as perhaps the strongest episode of Supergirl’s fifth season at this point, providing more solid establishment for Leviathan’s origins and influence, while allowing Kara and Lena, and J’onn and Malefic, to have their own simmering drama come to a shocking and emotional head. Alex and Brainy were stuck with much less effective subplots, by contrast, particularly Alex, who had to pull double duty within an unrewarding Leviathan recon mission, and another forced breakdown for Kelly that feels too ham-fisted to register. Still, the complementary story results for Kara and J’onn, which sees J’onn successfully reconciling with his brother, while Kara is betrayed by Lena and trapped in the Fortress of Solitude, sets Supergirl up very well for its midseason finale in a couple of weeks. Supergirl may not have spent any real time building up to the imminent Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event this season, meanwhile, which will begin a week after its season’s proper front portion concludes at the start of December, but it seems like Arrow and The Flash are doing that well enough anyway. This will hopefully leave Supergirl to effectively finish the foundation for Leviathan’s brewing agenda during its upcoming midseason finale, so Kara can join the coming battle against the Anti-Monitor, with narrative momentum to spare.
- Rama Khan's powerful first impression
- Lena betraying Kara, and trapping her in the Fortress of Solitude
- J'onn successfully reconciling with Malefic
- Disappointingly little payoff to Alex's and Brainy's DEO mission
- More forced drama with Kelly