Supergirl Review: “Far From the Tree”

The family theme runs throughout as Maggie comes to terms with the abandonment of her parents on the eve of her wedding, and J’onn rediscovers ties to his long lost family.

Supergirl – “Far From the Tree”, Season 3, Episode 3
Airdate: October 23, 2017
Writers: Jessica Queller and Derek Simon
Production Company: Berlanti Productions / Warner Bros. Television

What You Should Know:

Centuries ago, the White Martians took over Mars, enslaving and killing the majority of the planet’s Green Martian population. J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, escaped to Earth to avoid being a victim of the genocide, and is thought to be the only living Green Martian remaining. On Earth he discovered a sympathetic White Martian named M’gann M’orzz who became his ally, but she later left Earth to find more like-minded White Martians on Mars. In last week’s episode, J’onn received a telepathic message from M’gann asking him to see her on Mars right away.

Supergirl’s sister Alex Danvers is now engaged to police detective Maggie Sawyer. Over time Alex was able to discover that Maggie is estranged from her family over the fact that she is a lesbian. She rarely talks about her parents due to still hurt feelings, so Alex has resolved to not push the issue and to let Maggie open up about her past in her own time.

What You’ll Find Out:

Supergirl’s and Alex’s mother Eliza Danvers organizes a bridal shower for Alex and Maggie. While planning the specifics of the party, Eliza makes Alex and Maggie a homemade lasagna dinner. It’s over dinner that Maggie shares that she hasn’t seen her parents since she was 14 years old. She explains that when her parents discovered that she was gay, her father packed her a bag and drove her to her aunt’s house to live. When Maggie asked him what it was that she did wrong, he tells her that she has shamed him. Horrified, Eliza and Alex comfort her, telling her that the only shameful thing was for her parents to have abandoned their own daughter.

When J’onn informs Supergirl that he must go to Mars to see M’gann, she insists on going with him. They leave for Mars via a small space ship disguised as a vintage Earth automobile. When they arrive, M’gann welcomes them, introducing them to an assembled group of sympathetic rebel White Martians. She explains that they were able to invade the last remaining Green Martian concentration camp and discovered that one Green Martian still lived. J’onn is shocked to discover that it is his father, the high priest M’yrnn J’onzz. The White Martians have kept him alive all these years in the hopes that he will tell them the location of a powerful psychic weapon called the Staff of K’narr.

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When J’onn reveals himself to his father, M’yrnn thinks that it is a trick due to the many years of torture he has received from his White Martian captures. It is only when J’onn takes him to his old home and they relive a special memory that M’yrnn is able to believe that J’onn is truly his son.

Feeling sentimental, Maggie calls her father and lets him know that she is getting married to a woman, and that she would like to invite him and her mother to their bridal shower. She is surprised when her father accepts the invitation. When he arrives in National City by bus, Maggie asks about her mother. Her father begins to explain that her mother didn’t want to come, but she stops him from continuing with the explanation, preferring not to hear it. He surprises Maggie when he tells her that he’s been following her police work and is very impressed at the number of cases she was able to help solve. She tells him that she simply follows the advice he gave her as a child.

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At the bridal shower, Maggie’s father sees that there is a poster showing childhood photos of Alex, but none of Maggie. When he asks about it, Maggie tells him that she doesn’t have any photos from that time. He then takes a photo from his wallet of a young Maggie, kisses it, and places it on the poster. Things turn sour though when he sees Maggie kiss Alex. He storms out of the party and Maggie follows him. When she confronts him, he says that he had a hard life when he was young and had to put up with a lot of racism and abuse. He explains that he had to earn the respect of the people who tortured him in order that his children wouldn’t have to deal with it when they went out into the world. When Maggie tells him that his past has nothing to do with her being gay, he says that times haven’t changed and that the only thing that the world hates more than Mexicans are homosexuals. Just before he leaves to return home, Maggie gives him back the photo of her. She tells him that he abandoned her as a child, but that she’s grown up now and doesn’t need his validation anymore. Returning to Alex, Maggie tells her that she is all the family that she needs, and that her past has nothing to do with the fact that she still doesn’t want children.

On Mars, the rebel team learn that the White Martians have discovered the location of the Staff of K’narr. Just before they are able to take it, Supergirl, J’onn and the White Martian rebels attack and are able to defeat the evil Martians by using the staff’s power. The rebels then ask Supergirl to hide the staff on Earth, as it is much too powerful a weapon on Mars. Supergirl agrees and returns to Earth with the staff, J’onn, and his father.

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What Does This Mean for the Future?

Things still remain a bit rocky between Alex and Maggie as Alex still wants children, but now feels that she can’t be a mother because of Maggie’s wish to remain childless. This added to Maggie still recovering from her father’s recent visit makes me think that there will probably be more than just pre-wedding jitters happening at their wedding.

Now that J’onn is reunited with his long lost father, we may start seeing a less serious J’onn and more of a happy-go-lucky version of him running around…at least for a few more episodes anyway. Me thinks the DEO will definitely be a bit more sunnier with a newly happy boss running things. How M’yrnn adapts to Earth though may be a different story altogether.

Rating: 7/10

Final thought: Overall, I thought this episode was pretty well plotted. The theme of family hit every story shown nicely. After so many episodes of seeing Maggie reserved and not willing to talk about her past, it’s nice to see a window into why she does the things she does. It makes Alex’s storyline more well rounded as well as Alex has a loving and supportive family who embraces her differences. This is completely opposite of Maggie’s backstory, causing more depth and substance to their individual roles. All the more tragic as well as the episode ended with Maggie’s father leaving their relationship again, only to have J’onn reunited with his. A perfect example of providing audiences with feelings of both tragedy and joy.

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