Supergirl 5.19: “Immortal Kombat” Review

NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Supergirl” are present in this review



Despite The CW’s currently-airing DC dramas losing several episodes to production difficulties related to the COVID-19 pandemic (a fate that only Legends of Tomorrow managed to avoid, due to completing filming on its current season last year), The Flash and Batwoman managed to guide their abruptly shortened seasons to surprisingly satisfying conclusions. Supergirl, however, doesn’t appear to have been quite so capable. Despite being halfway through filming its originally planned season finale at the time the pandemic lockdowns were first ordered, Supergirl ultimately ends up representing the scenario that I, and many other critics, feared for a CW series that’s lost three planned episodes to the pandemic.

“Immortal Kombat” ultimately doesn’t function very well as a premature season finale. It simply feels too rushed and schmaltzy to deliver a worthy end to Supergirl’s current season. Even worse than that is that this episode has to force a painfully dull, anti-climactic end for Leviathan, a villain organization that clearly had a lot of development left on the cutting room floor. This leaves Leviathan as yet more shallow, unremarkable foes for Team Supergirl to vanquish in the name of their virtue signaling. We don’t even get much of a tease for the next threat to come in Season Six, in fact, even if the ultimate method through which Leviathan is defeated is at least interesting in concept, if also devoid of its seemingly inevitable consequences.

If there’s one thing I can’t fault this episode for though, it’s the fact that it at least pulls out all the stops to be as action-packed and exciting as possible. Leviathan pulls a few more immortal alien agents out of their asses, just in time for this premature season finale, allowing Rama Khan to be flanked by two more enforcers, as the bulk of Team Supergirl tries to keep them distracted from Kara. Meanwhile, Kara and Lena fortunately mend fences for good here, but even at the end of their season-long tension, their last-minute squabbling still feels too forced and melodramatic. Lena at least comes through for Kara in making her an anti-Kryptonite suit however, along with protecting her identity from William as promised, allowing Kara to briefly battle against Rama Khan and his super-powered thugs with her friends, but this is moot anyway, since Leviathan’s agents are immortal, and resurrect themselves even after being turned to ash.

Amidst all of this chaos, Eve’s role with Leviathan also has to be hastily wrapped up here, leaving a pretty disappointing end to the twist of William being kidnapped by Eve last week. William is still a terrible reporter and a terrible character, and he should probably be removed from the show next season, but either way, Kara comes to talk Eve down from killing William (though she does non-fatally shoot William before Kara arrives. Oops!), and that’s just the end of it. Eve is reunited with her mother, Eve is apparently good now, and whatever. I don’t care. Eve’s story arc is very clearly compromised from Supergirl’s lost trio of planned Season Five episodes, and her involvement with Leviathan might as well have not carried over to Earth-Prime.

The same is unfortunately true of Andrea, who is finally activated as Acrata… Only to immediately be talked down from killing Supergirl by Lena. Well, what’s the point of that then?! Just like Eve, Andrea’s involvement with Leviathan might as well have not carried over to Earth-Prime. Instead, all Andrea is ultimately good for in this episode is starting her big community event in Obsidian Platinum, which leaves literally billions of citizens across Earth-Prime vulnerable to some sort of lethal cyber-attack by Gemma. Okay, I know it’s the Arrowverse, but the fact that billions of people are somehow congregating around a literal virtual world this quickly feels pretty unbelievable. Even more unbelievable is that Kara saves literally all of them with a pep talk, which feels less like an instance of needing to take a shot in this case, and more of my regular audience probably needing to down the bottle. It’s hokey, it’s ridiculous, and it represents everything wrong with how Supergirl solves its problems, when it’s not smart enough to come up with a more clever solution than unrealistically talking them away.

Fortunately, like I said, Leviathan’s ultimate defeat is at least more creative, and utilizes Brainy’s growing torment under Lex pretty well. Brainy is ultimately the one to bring down the immortal Leviathan agents in the end, using his female multiverse counterpart within his mind, which inspires him to bottle Leviathan’s forces and permanently neutralize them, just like his Coluan ancestors used to do. Brainy sneaks onto Leviathan’s ship to do this, after Lex manages to come aboard and get protection from its deadly radiation (yet another plot turn that goes nowhere), and endures unimaginable pain to begin a sequence that allows him to bottle every Leviathan member, save for Gemma, who turns into some sort of android creature instead. Whatever. Oh, and we also get a convenient mention that Gemma at least, if not all of Leviathan, apparently answers to a, “Higher power”, with the only clue being that this mysterious threat is female, and that’s apparently our only indication as to the next threat that will inevitably face Team Supergirl next season. Well, that lack of information is pretty lame, needless to say.

Even Brainy is ultimately spared from certain death however, or so it appears, when Lex takes the bottled Leviathan agents, and hands them off to Lillian, as the two prepare yet another plot to kill Supergirl once and for all. That’s our big tease for next season, and again, it’s pretty dull. It’s painfully evident that, “Immortal Kombat” is trying to get around Supergirl’s pandemic losses by squeezing three episodes’ worth of plot into one. As you can expect, this renders Supergirl’s premature season finale a complete mess, while also completely deflating Leviathan as a worthy, devious threat. Adding insult to injury for series fans is that Supergirl won’t be coming back in January, unlike the majority of The CW’s ongoing DC dramas, and won’t begin airing its next season until well into 2021, probably at least April or May. This is supposedly due to series star, Melissa Benoist being on maternity leave, but I imagine that January’s debut of new Arrowverse series, Superman & Lois, along with rapidly declining interest in Supergirl among audiences, is probably also a factor in Supergirl’s sixth season being delayed even further into 2021.

The wait will be extra long, but considering the weak, disappointing whimper that Supergirl’s fifth season ultimately ends on, even if it ended three episodes earlier than it was supposed to, it’s tough to feel all that much pain from having to wait potentially an entire year for more Supergirl episodes. If Superman & Lois proves to be a good series as well, it further begs the question of why Supergirl is even bothering to stay in The CW’s ongoing series lineup. I guess we’ll see what happens next year, but for now, the Arrowverse’s Maiden of Might is in dire need of more interesting villains, and better fleshed-out storylines that actually push clever writing over performative wokeness.

Supergirl struggles through a rushed, clumsy and unsatisfying premature season finale this week, as a final battle against Leviathan threatens billions of human lives.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Plenty of action throughout
Lena ultimately coming through for Kara
Brainy putting his life on the line to bottle Leviathan's agents
Leviathan go down as yet more shallow, unimpressive arch-villains
Kara disabling all of Obsidian Platinum with a pep talk is laughable
Eve and Andrea being Leviathan agents is ultimately pointless