Welcome! Thanks for joining me here in this Supergirl recap for episode 603: “Phantom Menace.” Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Previously on Supergirl, Brainy thought he had to work with Lex to ultimately stop him and it got him in a heap of trouble, Lex sent Supergirl to the Phantom Zone, Team Super tried to get her back but failed spectacularly, and Lex was found not guilty of his attempted MASS MURDER because the justice system and also maybe the structure of this TV show is broken.
This week, Kara is set on her plan to hitch a ride on a phantom to get through a portal to see where it leads, but things go sideways and she hurts her leg, and her and her dad find themselves in a crater with some raiders. While they’re being tied up, a woman drops in and manages to convince the men to leave with a little trickery. The men take Father Zor-El but leave Kara behind, and she’s grateful.
Back on Earth, Brainy is working in the Tower, talking to himself while scanning the Phantom Zone for signs of a petite blonde heroine, when Lex comes on the TV. Brainy starts to lose it, screaming at the news coverage, almost punching the image of Lex, but luckily before Lex can claim the TV as another victim, the Martians swoop in. They had found Silas at his apartment and he told them a phantom had hitched a ride inside him and now is loose in the world. Silas says his roommates are missing and J’onn needs his team but looks around and finds his numbers lacking. Brainy explains that Nia is taking over for Kara at a reporter retreat (which let’s be honest she probably would have had to do for Kara even if she were here) and Alex hasn’t come in yet today, so J’onn calls her.
But Alex isn’t answering her phone right now. No, she’s wallowing in her grief and watching Kara’s Legacy Download, listening to Kara talk about how Alex was her first companion on this Earth and taught her how to be human. Kelly comes in and asks why she’s watching it now when she wouldn’t before, and Alex says before she didn’t think Kara is gone, now she does.
Alex thinks Kara is in hell because of her, and what’s the point in doing anything if she can’t save her baby sister. Kelly comforts her, says that she was upset when Obsidian folded but found helping people made her feel better. Showing up for other people can be easier than showing up for ourselves. Only she can decide to keep going, but she had to make that choice.
Across town, Lena arrives at her office to find her brother lurking like a bad stench.
He’s mad about being shut out of his company but Lena is dead-set on protecting not only LuthorCorp but also the world from him. She doesn’t want to give him more power so she’ll fight him at every turn. Lex says he has tricks of his own and he will win this game she’s playing, he’s seen the Queen’s Gambit and thinks he knows how it ends.
At first I thought this was going to be Lena’s new role despite finally knowing Supergirl’s identity, that she was going to just be stuck alone in Lex’s web, but luckily I was wrong.
After her pep talk from Kelly, Alex does manage to pull herself together enough to make it to work, where J’onna and Brainy have figured out the Phantom that was let loose can make new Phantoms now, and probably started with Silas’s roommates. Unfortunately they get to watch the process in real time when Silas’s soul leaves his body and he becomes a Phantom before their very eyes. As the Phantom rises up and attacks, Alex has flashbacks about the last time they fought Phantoms which makes her think of Kara and how she might be gone forever and Alex just…freezes. Alex “would jump off a balcony because it looks cool” Danvers can’t move for fear she’ll be unable to save her friends, that she’ll lose someone else she cares about.
But luckily the team rallies and stops the Phantom before that happens. There’s a lot of totems shmotems here about the history of the Phantoms and their alien race and how all this metaphysics works but the important thing is, they come up with a plan to stop the Phantoms before they start a Phantom apocalypse.
Alex goes out on to the Feelings Balcony and J’onn joins her for a Space Dad pep talk. Alex doesn’t understand how he can soldier on, but J’onn says marching forward is the only way to get Kara back. But Alex is too tired to march.
Back up in the prison world, Kara is trying to stand on her broken leg, unused to this pain but trying to power through it, and blaming herself for her dad getting kidnapped. The new lady says that the men who took her father are going to sacrifice him to a terrible monster, but the good news is there’s some time before that will happen.
They decide to get to know each other, Kara giving her the spiel from the top of every episode and explaining how at one point she thought there were only two Krytponians left in the universe but then they started popping up like weeds so that’s no longer the case. The lady introduces herself as Nyxly, a fifth dimensional imp like Mxyzptlk. She has a power dampening cuff on so she’s not at full power but she has a crystal ball she can use to scry on dad, who seems fine for now.
Down on Earth, M’gann has an idea to contain the Phantoms, but J’onn rudely yells at her to not, which is a surefire way to get someone to do something, in my humble opinion.
Lena is working in her office when Brainy holograms in to discuss what they’re adorably calling Operation: Vengeance, aka their plan to take Lex down. They talk about how they already locked Lex out of some aspects of the company, and the next step is to take money from one of his shady fake foundations he uses to buy Kasnian weapons and donate it to a children’s hospital.
And so Brainy gets to hacking for her. A formidable duo of intelligence, these two.
But then Brainy hears something happening in the Tower so he hangs up his hologram and goes to see what’s happening. The Phantom looks like he’s trying to head south even though he’s in a containment unit, and Alex scans the news and finds an alert for a disturbance at a warehouse to the south. They turn to tell M’gann to suit up and realize she left without them, against J’onn’s orders. Which frankly doesn’t feel like something M’gann would do? But maybe when they melded souls she caught some of J’onn’s “my way or the highway” tendencies.
It does turn out J’onn was right this time though, because when they find M’gann at the warehouse, the Phantoms are portaling away and M’gann has been scratched. If they don’t do something fast, she’s going to start luring teen girls into her watery underground lair.
In the Phantom Zone, Nyxly tells Kara that she was sent to the prison realm for no reason other than she was the daughter of a mad king. Her father was a power-hungry, paranoid narcissist who got rid of his heirs, killing Nyxly’s older brother and banishing her.
While she tells her princess origin story, she builds Kara a splint and a crutch, all while calling herself useless without her powers. But Kara points out that she has saved her twice over at this point, and that Nyxly is resourceful. They might not have their powers, but they have each other and they have the one thing this place hasn’t taken from them yet: Hope.
In his lackluster lair of lethargy, Lex is trying to strike a deal with Kasnian weapons dealers when he realizes his accounts have been drained and donated to the Luthor wing of the children’s hospital. And what happens next Lena learns about on the news: Lex sets fire to the wing and publicly blames Lena, saying she was in charge of the most recent updates to the hospital.
While Kara gets some rest, the princess imp uses her crystal ball and Kara’s inspirational speech to access her powers again and get the power dampener off; she has her magic back. She tells Kara she’s been having flashes of parallel lives, likely due to CRISIS, but that she was happy to save Kara because she has a good feeling about her. And now that she has her magic, she’s more ready than ever to help. And Kara is so happy she was able to spread hope in such a dark, cold place.
Lena and Brainy are in the Tower bonding over their hatred of Lex and Lena off-handedly says she wishes she could kill him and Brainy takes that idea and runs with it, serious as can be about taking him out once and for all, and while Lena watches Brainy devolve before her eyes, her expression goes from rage to a soft empathy.
Brainy doesn’t understand why she’d oppose this plan, she’s already killed him once. But Lena remembers that timeline and how it broke her, turned her into the darkest version of herself, made her more like him than she ever wanted to be. Brainy is having a hard time dealing with these feelings, the depth and weight of them being fairly new to him. His rage feels like an endless ocean, he wants it to go away, he wants to shut it all off.
Next page: Sentinel babes!