An alien fight club is all the rage on the fourth episode of Supergirl’s second season, “Survivors.” Apparently, everybody talks about the alien fight club, but by “everybody,” we mean National City’s power elite, the movers and shakers, the wealthy and powerful who, bored with spending their fortunes on expensive toys, have decided to go into B-movie territory and gamble away large sums of cash in exchange for watching illegal underground fight clubs led by Veronica Sinclair (Dichen Lachman). She goes by “Roulette” because in a city filled with superheroes and supervillains, why not give yourself a colorful, if on-the-nose, nickname? Roulette always bets on herself and by episode’s end, it’s clear she’s not lying when she claims she has powerful men and/or women keeping her safe from prosecution or government interference.
Roulette, however, just functions as just another vaguely defined, one-and-done antagonist, setting the plot in motion while the real fireworks, the big theme or themes “Survivors” wants to convey to Supergirl’s fans, unfolds right beneath the surface. The message or theme? Peace, love, and understanding once again, with a side helping of tolerance, empathy, and compassion. While Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan), still a newbie to the DEO (Department of Extra-Normal Operations), bro-bonds with Mon-El (Chris Wood), the sole survivor of Krypton’s sister planet and onetime eneny, Daxam, his boss, Hank Henshaw / Martian Manhunter (David Harewood), makes a Herculean to bond, figuratively and mentally, with M’gann M’orzz / Megan Morse (Sharon Leal), the self-described “Last Daughter of Mars.”
A Green Martian like Henshaw – the genocidal White Martians wiped out all but Henshaw and M’gann – Megan has spent the last three hundred years hiding in plain sight among humans, though why she choose to disguise herself as an African-American woman – with all of the history of racism, sexism, and misogyny that implies – remains an unanswered question by the time “Survivors” hits its by now obligatory twist ending (hint: Megan’s hiding something about her identity that’s easily discoverable on her Wikipedia page, if only Henshaw knew to look there). Megan repeatedly rejects Henshaw’s attempts at connecting, citing their different outlooks (he’s still stuck mourning the past, she just wants to live in the present), but that doesn’t stop Henshaw from pursuing her. He’s lonely, after all, even if his questionable behavior borders on pathological.
Megan eventually rewards Henshaw’s unwanted attentions by betraying him to Roulette. Roulette, of course, sees an easy money-making opportunity pitting the Martian Manhunter against Miss Martian. Even an earlier intervention by Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) breaking up another fight – thanks to a timely phone call from Supergirl’s adopted sister/DEO super-agent, Alex (Chyler Leigh), and Alex’s new crimefighting, potential romantic partner, Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima) – does nothing to deter Roulette from staging the second fight between Mars’ remaining survivors. Almost immediately, the Martian Manhunter and Miss Martian reconcile in mid-fight, angering Roulette and forcing her to add another warrior alien into the mix. With another timely, if expected, intervention from Supergirl, the fight’s over almost as soon as it’s begun. (Sometimes talking about fight club is slightly more exciting than watching fight club, especially fight club on a TV budget).
A running subplot once again involves Supergirl in her Kara Danvers alter-ego trying – and repeatedly failing – to impress her new boss, Snapper Carr (Ian Gomez). Kara getting instructed on the basics of Journalism 101 by Carr rather than in J-school or a school newspaper just might be Supergirl’s weakest, least believable storyline, but how else to give Supergirl’s alter-ego an evolving story of her own that doesn’t involve her now dormant romance with James “Stop Calling Me Jimmy” Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) or Cat Grant (Callista Flockhart), on sabbatical doing something or other? Apparently, Supergirl’s producers thought turning Kara into a carbon copy of her famous cousin, down to his chosen profession, was the best (only?) way to accomplish that particular goal. For now, it’s moving forward in fits-and-starts, though it did give potential villain Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), a chance to do Kara a solid while not-so-subtlety implying she’d call on Kara one day to return the favor. Nope, nothing ominous about Lena’s dialogue or McGrath’s line delivery. Lena might be adopted, but apparently, being raised a Luthor will erode your conscience (if any) and corrupt your soul (again, if any).