Before the season finale last year, the Supergirl episode entitled “Manhunter” teased us that Jeremiah Danvers might still be alive. When J’onn J’onzz read the mind of his army captor, he saw a brief flash of Alex and Kara’s father being tortured by Project Cadmus. By the story’s end, Alex would promise her adopted sister that she would pursue the truth about Jeremiah’s fate. But seemingly, that thread stopped. We didn’t receive any update or follow any developments about Dr. Danvers’ location. Then, earlier this year, he suddenly surfaced to help free Kara and Mon-El from their prison at Cadmus. Because of Kara and Mon-El’s weakened state at the time, they could not take Jeremiah with them. And just as before, information on his status again went dark. In “Homecoming”, Dr. Danvers not only came back, but he also finally returned to his daughters’ side at the DEO. Sadly, it wouldn’t be the miracle that Alex and Kara wished for. (WARNING: Spoilers ahead!)

Jeremiah, it turned out, was now a plant by Cadmus. Moving him by a suspiciously large convoy, Cadmus drew the attention of the DEO. Taking the bait, Supergirl and Martian Manhunter moved swiftly to disrupt the transports. They quickly discovered Jeremiah chained up within one of the trucks. Dr. Danvers was spirited back to the DEO for medical attention. After a fast reunion with his family, Jeremiah sought reinstatement with his former employer. It was, at this point, however, that his true mission began.

Dr. Danvers started by diverting the DEO’s attention with a fake nuclear bomb plot. Once Supergirl, Alex and Mon-El were dispatched away from home base, Jeremiah began sabotaging the DEO’s mainframe and stealing its entire registry of known aliens on Earth. Furthermore, we discovered his own cybernetic enhancements. Danvers walloped J’onn J’onzz with his bionic right arm and escaped. Though Alex tracked him down and had him in a standoff, she couldn’t ultimately pull the trigger and he left to reunite with the Cadmus team. For Season 2, this episode was the first unqualified victory for Lillian Luthor’s project and it revived her dream of an alien holocaust. Below are the rest of my reactions for “Homecoming”.

What Went Right

Melissa Benoist (Kara) and Chyler Leigh (Alex) convincingly portrayed the enthusiasm of finally having their family back together. Their relief to see him alive, their concern at his apparent injuries, and their melting at the reunion of Jeremiah and Eliza (their mother), was moving. For this episode to work, Alex and Kara couldn’t just be excited at their father’s return – they had to willingly close their mind to any potential danger from it. Benoist and Leigh hit that note perfectly. Leigh soared in playing Alex’s indignation at the charge that her father had aligned with Cadmus. When Jeremiah’s sabotage made the truth inescapable, Leigh also performed Alex’s devastation perfectly. It was a welcome thread for the elder Danvers sister. For several episodes, Alex’s character has been completely enveloped in her first LGBT relationship. Bringing her back to a DEO-centered storyline was a good reminder of Leigh’s versatility. While Jeremiah’s daughters found themselves tragically taken in by Cadmus’ ruse, two other characters remained presciently guarded.

   

Eliza Danvers smartly saw Jeremiah’s rejoining the family as a long process. Rather than simply resume their marriage as Jeremiah did with his DEO service, Eliza wanted time and space. She told Jeremiah that the couple had to re-learn one another. Unfortunately, because of how quickly Supergirl’s writers chose to move this plot along, we never got to see any extended time spent between them. With the action remaining largely at the DEO, we instead saw a larger focus on the reservations of another DEO member.

The first comrade of Supergirl to smell something rotten was Mon-El. The telegraphed attempt to move Jeremiah, coupled with his fortuitous knowledge of a Cadmus “bomb plot”, became too much of a  coincidence for him to dismiss. Eventually, Mon-El won an audience with Winn for his concerns. Sure enough, Winn soon spotted Jeremiah trying to hack the DEO’s mainframe. Dr. Danvers, however, successfully talked himself out of suspicion. The incident would get Kara to re-raise her guard about her stepfather’s re-enlistment, but it would prove too little, too late. Jeremiah ultimately stole the entire DEO alien registry. This chapter displayed Mon-El’s first signs of tactical competence this year, another piece of his superhero maturation. (He also progressed in his emotional intelligence. He started the episode blabbing news of his and Kara’s relationship to the entire DEO. Yet, by the installment’s end, he figured out that quiet, doting support was his best contribution after the heartbreak of Jeremiah’s turn.) Though his instincts and insight proved correct this week, he still suffered in one pivotal scene.

What Went Wrong

If Mon-El showed the strategic intelligence to doubt Jeremiah’s return, he should have been able to handle the politics of a first family dinner. Instead, he blurted out his hesitations with the subtlety of a barstool drunk. His bullheadedness almost cost him as well. Jeremiah took the responsibility of escorting Mon-El out and in doing so, he threatened to expose the Daxamite’s real identity to Kara. The series has hinted before that Mon-El is actually the Prince of Daxam, but never so overtly. That twist now is almost fully given away. The sequence also served as Mon-El’s one step back for his other steps forward. While it’s arguable that Mon-El should still struggle in becoming a leader, the fault in this episode of the DEO’s active Director seems much less forgivable.  

One of Martian Manhunter’s many powers is mental telepathy. Despite hearing Mon-El’s reservations and even learning that Jeremiah hacked the DEO mainframe, it never occurred to J’onn to scan Jeremiah’s mind. Before re-hiring Dr. Danvers, he even mentioned in passing that there would be a psych test. Yet, that moment never came. It was understandable that J’onn would want Jeremiah’s reintroduction to succeed, but for a being of J’onn’s age and experience, this recklessness was a stretch to believe.

What I Took Away

On the whole, “Homecoming” was still a solid episode for the year as it added a new complexity to Cadmus and the Luthors as the season’s Big Bad. Jeremiah Danvers may wind up playing the role of General Astra from Season 1. Astra and Jeremiah are both family to Kara, who mean well but are severely compromised. The general’s methods in fighting planetary disaster became too extreme, and Doctor Danvers appears to have made a deal with the devil (Lillian Luthor) to save his Kryptonian daughter at the expense of every other alien on Earth. Just as Astra met her end, I wonder if Jeremiah will survive this season. Next week is “Exodus”, where we may start to see the consequences of the Luthor’s latest plot.

Submitted by Jody Money


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