Poor, poor Emily. We hardly knew her. Actually, no one knew her. It was a slight, modest shock when Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) name-checked poor Emily, a red-haired co-worker who takes a deep, fatal dive off the open balcony of CatGo Worldwide Media’s HQ. Supergirl doesn’t save Emily from the fall. She’s too busy saving James “Stop Calling Me Jimmy” Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) And Winn Schott Jr. (Jeremy Jordan) when they simultaneously take deep dives of their own from adjacent balconies. No, Olsen and Winn haven’t joined a death cult – a grim-dark development too grim and too dark for the infinitely sunnier, brighter Supergirl – but they are under the influence of a mind-control weapon co-created and operated by Season 1’s Big Bad, Non (Chris Vance), a Kryptonian criminal and Kara Zor-El’s uncle.
Non, we learn, has a dream, a dream to unite the world under his benevolent (benevolent only if humans follow his lead and leave disobedience behind) rule thanks to the oft-mentioned, but only recently revealed “Myriad” weapon, a weapon so powerful that Non and his dearly departed wife, Astra (Laura Benanti), found themselves greeted not as saviors by their fellow Kryptonians, but tossed into Fort Rozz, the same Fort Rozz that semi-conveniently crashed on Earth at the beginning of the first season, unleashing countless super-villains of the week for Supergirl to take down. Non’s fellow Kryptonians, however, are curiously absent from Operation Myriad. Where they are or what they’re doing remains unsaid and offscreen, most likely the result of TV budget limitations.
In short, we don’t get to see Supergirl in action against her fellow Kryptonians or even against Non. Non pulls a Dark Knight edition Joker move and appears in Cat Grant’s (Calista Flockhart) office while Cat, Supergirl, and Lex Luthor wannabe Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli), are in conference mode, deciding how best to stop Non from taking his mind-control weapon national and international. Instead, Non simply strolls in, makes his case for why Myriad isn’t so bad after all (mind-controlled humans are peaceful, well-meaning, productive humans) and threatens to harm everyone Supergirl cares about before sending Olsen, Winn, and poor Emily off their respective balconies. At a loss after she saves Olsen, Winn, but not poor Emily, a hesitant, self-doubting Supergirl does what any superhuman would do: She calls her sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh), for some sisterly bonding and advice. All the while poor Emily’s corpse lies nearby. It’s easily one of the oddest, most callous image in a series that – at least until now – has handled the whole death of civilians thing with far more grace and subtlety than anything in the Snyderverse.
Speaking of death, Maxwell Lord’s plan involves a Kryptonian super-bomb, a bomb filled with Kryptonite gas that will kill all Kryptonians within a certain distance. That’s all well and fine (bad Kryptonians need to go), but Supergirl and Cat understandably balk at the so-called “collateral damage,” roughly 300,000 people will lose their lives in the explosion and the after-shock. Supergirl understandably has a problem with so many civilian deaths, though the thought of killing fellow Kryptonians doesn’t seem to bother her very much. Without her usual support network in place, Supergirl turns to Cat for an all-important pep talk, with Cat reminding Supergirl about the hope thing. And in a flash of insight, Supergirl comes up with a plan, a plan involving one of Cat’s unused broadcast facilities, a message of hope (plus peace, love, and understanding), and analog equipment. It’s all good until a mind-controlled Alex shows up, decked out neck-to-toe in armor laced with Kryptonite. She’s even carrying the Kryptonite sword she used to off Astra several episodes back.
How and why Alex found and recovered that sword will likely remain a mystery like poor Emily’s last name or what Emily’s voice sounded like, but what we do know, however, is that next week’s finale promises a sister v sister battle royale unlikely to be matched for the foreseeable future (i.e., next season). As for Non, he has to be one of the most hesitant, recalcitrant super-villains on TV or film. Every time he wavers, though, he has Indigo (Laura Vandevoort), a sentient AI with an implacable hatred of organic life forms, Kryptonians excepted, to whisper in his ear, Lady MacBeth style (except she’s covered in blue body paint and a skintight, blue bodysuit and can travel via the Internet as a literal ghost in the machine). Given Non’s deference to Astra in the past and his deference Indigo in the present, it’s obvious he can’t think for himself. He lets the women, organic or synthetic, do the thinking for him. It makes him a bit weak as a supposed super-villain, but on the plus side, next week’s final episode of the season promises a definitive resolution of the Supergirl v Non legal challenge.