REVIEW: Supergirl S3 Ep13 (Both Sides Now)

The second Kryptonian World Killer is found, and she spells trouble for Supergirl.


Supergirl – “Both Sides Now”, Season 3, Episode 13
Airdate: February 5, 2018
Writers: Jessica Queller and Paula Yoo
Production Company: Berlanti Productions / Warner Bros. Television


What You Should Know:

Due to her nightmares of Reign and the two other Kryptonian World Killers, Supergirl is able to identify one of the two still sleeping killer agents. She instructs the DEO team to take her in. Meanwhile, Sam Arias is still clueless that she becomes the central leader of the World Killers during her blackouts.


What You’ll Find Out (Spoilers):

Supergirl, her human sister Alex, Mon-El, Martian Manhunter, and a DEO swat team close in on the residence of the person Supergirl I.D.ed as the next World Killer set to awaken: Julia Freeman. Once they break in, they find her listening to the Lisa Loeb song “Stay” on her headphones, and clueless as to the team’s break-in. When she does realize that an entire swat team is in her living room, she panics and shifts over to her World Killer persona, which she calls Purity. Purity displays both the ability to create local area earth tremors and the power to focus her screams into destructive physical blasts of power.

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Despite taking several blows from Purity, J’onn (aka the Martian Manhunter) manages to take her into custody.

When Sam tries to go to work at L Corp., Lena Luthor is there and tells her that she will take care of the business for the day and that Sam is to take the day off. Initially defensive that Lena is pushing her aside because of her memory blackouts, Lena assures her that there is more to it and that Sam should spend time with her daughter Ruby. Sam agrees and picks up Ruby from school so that the two of them can go ice skating together.

Winn discovers a black crystal at Julia’s residence and takes it back to the DEO. He deduces that it is Kryptonian in nature. Supergirl confirms their suspicions, then goes in to see Purity in her cell. She tries to reason with Purity, calling her by her human name of Julia. When Supergirl is close to breaking through though, her sister Alex ruins the moment by angrily interrogating Purity, causing any sympathetic human traits to disappear. Supergirl pulls her sister aside and asks her what she’s doing. Alex tells her that Supergirl is trying to appeal to Purity as a caring being and that the tactic she’s using is a mistake. She rationalizes that Purity doesn’t really care for humanity and should be treated as a hostile. Supergirl tells her that the method she’s using is more in line with how she and Alex once felt about the world: a search for hope. Alex dismisses her and walks away.

Mon-El asks J’onn for help in fixing his ship. J’onn agrees, and Winn tags along, excited to see the future technology first hand.

Supergirl tries again to reason with Purity’s Julia persona. Purity tells Supergirl that Julia is a character that she invented, and doesn’t exist. When Supergirl holds a picture of Julia’s friend up to the glass and reminds her what her friendship meant to Julia, the Julia persona begins to re-emerge. Once again, Alex ruins the moment by being hostile to Purity, which strengthens the persona to take over once more. Purity remotely causes the crystal in the next room to become active, which in turn physically strengthens her. She uses her powers to escape the DEO, steal back the crystal, and hide somewhere in the city. The crystal’s activation also triggers Sam’s Reign persona to awaken. She flies off, leaving Ruby alone at the ice rink. Flying to the dark fortress of solitude, the A.I. program tells Reign that Purity has awoken and that she must get to her before Supergirl does.

Unaware of the escape, Mon-El and J’onn continue to work on fixing the Legion ship. Mon-El reveals to J’onn that his marriage to Saturn Girl was arranged. Their union brought together warring factions, so he and she felt it was the right thing to do. Mon-El explains that over time his respect of Saturn Girl grew into love, but that it wasn’t immediate as in the way he fell for Supergirl. He also admits that he’s been purposefully keeping a distance from Supergirl because when he’s near her, his feelings for her return. J’onn advises him to be open and honest with Saturn Girl about his feelings.

Lena appears at the ice rink to find a distraught Ruby. Ruby tells Lena that she knows something is wrong with her mother because she’s seen first hand that she forgets events that happened and at times acts like a completely different person. Lena assuages Ruby, telling her that whatever is happening with her mother that she has friends to help her through it.

Winn tracks Purity to the subway tunnels, then gives each DEO team member earpieces that are meant to counteract Purity’s sonic and vibration attacks. When Supergirl confronts Purity, a fight ensues. Purity manages to cause a lot of damage to the subway structure, so half of the DEO team try to evacuate the sub levels while the other half continue to try to stop Purity.

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Realizing that Supergirl’s earlier tactics were more successful than hers, Alex tries reasoning with Purity’s Julia personality again. After some time, they are successful and manage to make Julia the dominant personality. Julia tells them that she’s scared and doesn’t understand what’s happening. Supergirl tells her that everything’s going to be okay and that they will help her. When Reign appears, Alex attacks her in order for the others to take Julia to safety. Reign captures Alex and is about to kill her when Julia tells Reign that she will go with her if she sets Alex free. Reign agrees and takes Julia. Leaving Julia at the dark fortress, the A.I. system tries to make the Purity persona come to the forefront, but Julia tries to hold it back as best she can.

When Mon-El returns to the Legion ship, he sees that Saturn Girl and Winn were able to make the necessary repairs. Saturn Girl tells Mon-El that she’s glad that they were able to find Purity and save Alex, but asks why he didn’t tell her or Brainiac 5 that they were going after Purity as they could’ve helped. She reveals that she can see that he has unresolved feelings for Supergirl and that all she asks is for him to be honest with her. Mon-El says he’s unsure of his feelings but promises to be honest from now on. Saturn Girl says that she will do the same and that she and Brainiac 5 planned for the Legion team to awaken on Earth’s past for a reason.

Alex apologizes to Supergirl for her earlier hostile interactions with Purity. She explains that she is still going through anger issues over hers and Maggie’s break-up. She says that she’s afraid to completely let Maggie go, but understands that her feelings are affecting the people around her. Supergirl tells her that there was a reason why they broke up and that she will find another person that will not only be a wonderful partner but open to Alex becoming a wonderful mother as well.  Supergirl also says that she understands now that she isn’t meant to destroy the World Killers, but is meant to save the humans inside of them instead.

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Sam goes to L Corp. looking for Ruby. Lena tells her that she’s at her apartment and that she’s fine. Sam breaks down, telling Lena that she doesn’t remember what happened. When Lena lets slip that Ruby knows about Sam’s blackouts, Sam gets angry and momentarily shifts over to the Reign persona. Lena notices Sam’s eyes shift to red momentarily and tells Sam that she now knows what’s wrong with her and that she knows how to help her.


What Does This Mean for the Future?

Reign is now in possession of Purity, but Purity’s Julia personality is siding with Supergirl. This will no doubt bring a conflict of interest for Reign and may lead to her downfall.

Sam is also now more aware of her blackout spells and is close to finally learning about the secret killer inside of her.

Mon-El finally admits that he’s still in love with Supergirl, and now all the cards are on the table. This new revelation by Saturn Girl though just might throw a monkey wrench into what happens from this moment forward.


Rating: 7/10


Final Thought: Maybe it’s just me, but I have a sneaky suspicion that the third World Killer known as Pestilence will later be revealed to be Lena Luthor. She was adopted after all, much like the other World Killers, AND it would bring another layer of drama to the series. I guess only time will tell if my hunch is right.

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I must take my hat off, yet again, to the Supergirl writing team. Here you have a physically strong character who can punch through concrete and laser beam through steel, yet has the smarts to understand that it isn’t fists that will change the world. Instead, this physically unstoppable character knows that it’s through kindness and second chances that good will win out in the end. To be honest, I initially wasn’t too interested in seeing this episode as I thought that Purity was going to be depicted a lot like Psi was in her introduction episode: a cheesy villain making monologues and platitudes about how superior and powerful she is. Instead, we have a story where the writing team focus on the human side of the character and are able to make the viewing audience sympathetic to her experience. That’s not only creative writing but also shows that the people behind the scenes are interested in developing more than just cardboard cut-out supporting characters. For that, I give a huge Bravo to a team well deserved!


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