Supergirl continues its winning streak with "Welcome To Earth", a fantastic episode which explores the complex issue of alien creatures hiding in human society. Kara is forced to rethink her views on the subject, as the Daxamite newcomer — finally identified as Mon-El — challenges Kara's prejudice against the Kryptonians' neighbor race.
In the meantime, Alex makes a valuable new ally in the form of Maggie Sawyer, who introduces her to a "safe haven" dive bar for aliens. And of course there's the President, played by non other than ex-Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, who seems to have her own secret agenda — at the end of the episode, it's revealed that she too is an alien.
There's a lot going on in Season 2 Episode 2, but all the subplots line up beautifully, with some pertinent parallels drawn between the struggle for alien rights, and real world issues of prejudice against immigrants, people of color, and LGBT people. This is an interesting change of pace for Supergirl, as the writers are leaning on the show's chief strength — an emotional heart — and combining this with some fascinating social politics.
And of course, it wouldn't be a Supergirl episode without tons of Easter Eggs, pop culture references, and nods to the DC comics.
The topic of identifying aliens, and possibly registering them was hinted at several times throughout "Welcome To Earth". Scorcher (the alien with the impressive fire power) told Maggie that the President's Alien Amnesty act was just a ploy to get aliens to "voluntarily reveal ourselves like fools." But the aliens may not get a chance to even volunteer, if Lena Luthor's alien detection device hits the market.
This is a pertinent subject, and one that has been explored by comic books before. Although DC has never had a huge arc dealing with registration, Marvel Comics has had several, from the Mutant Registration Act to the Superhero Registration Act which famously catalyzed the comic Civil War arc.
As these other comic arcs have shown, the idea of bringing non-humans (in this case aliens) out of the shadows has its risks — and Lena's alien detection device could lead to aliens being forced to register their status as non-human.
Daxam vs Krypton
We got a little bit of interplanetary history from Kara and Mon-El, revealing the tense relationship between Daxamites and Kryptonians.
While in the comics the two peoples had an amicable, if uneasy, relationship, Supergirl establishes that the two planets had been at war in the past. In the comics, the Daxamites were less xenophobic than the Kryptonians, cross breeding with Kryptonians and other alien life, and striking out to settle on new worlds. Later on in their history, social unrest lead to a civil war, and the surviving society descended into religious extremism.
This was a major factor in the Daxamites joining the Dominators in attempting to conquer Earth in Invasion! — the comic arc that will be adapted in the upcoming four-show crossover. It's highly likely that Mon-El and Kara's little history lesson is a set-up for the Daxamites' role in the crossover.
Mon-El or Lar Gand?
Confusingly, the Mon-El in the comics isn't actually called Mon-El, but Lar Gand. After crashing to Earth with a vicious case of amnesia, Lar Gand was named Mon-El by Superboy, as they both assumed he was Kryptonian.
It looks like Supergirl has just skipped over this case of mistaken identity, calling the Daxamite newcomer Mon-El because that's the name he's best known by in the comics.
Mon-El was a prominent member of the futuristic Legion of Super-Heroes — thanks to being trapped in the Phantom Zone, when Mon-El emerged many centuries had passed on Earth. Supergirl Season 1 established that this version of Superman did indeed work with this team — remember that Legion ring in the Fortress of Solitude? — but it looks like this part of Mon-El's history won't be part of the show, for the time being at least.
There is one part of the comics Supergirl may expand on though, and that's Mon-El's budding romance with Kara.
In Supergirl #51, Kara briefly kisses Mon-El before flying off to save the day, claiming it was "just for luck". This is never addressed again, but it might be that the TV show will take this moment of romance further — which could explain why Kara broke up with James after a season of pining after him.
Parallels with The Flash
There were some neat references to The Flash this episode. Kara used Barry's superspeed cyclone trick to incapacitate Scorcher, which she learned from him when he accidentally ran into her dimension in the Season 1 episode "Worlds Finest".
And Lena Luthor's alien detection device is eerily similar to Harrison Wells' metahuman detection app, which he used in Season 2 of The Flash to identify Cisco Ramon as a metahuman.
Pop Culture References
The pop culture references just flowed this week, from the obvious to the slightly more subtle. There was a cheeky reference to Wonder Woman's invisible jet from Lynda Carter herself, which may have flown under the radar for some viewers.
With the use of the word "see", this is both an Easter Egg and a pun. Nicely done. There was another reference to Carter's time as Wonder Woman when Supergirl span around to extinguish the fire on her costume, in much the same way Wonder Woman spun to change clothes in the 1970s show.
Obviously, the alien's tip off of "E.T. phone home" was straight out of the movie E.T: The Extra Terrestrial. But the alien bar itself reminded us of the demon bar in Buffy the Vampire Slayer — playing host to Spike's kitten poker game, this dive was the perfect place for the Scoobies to mine information or just lay into some bad guys if the occasion called for it.
Kara referenced the infamous real-life feud between the Hatfields and McCoys, a vicious family vs family war that raged for almost 30 years during the late 1800s.
ALEX: "You never mentioned [Daxam] before."
KARA: "Do the Hatfields mention the McCoys?"
But our favorite reference was definitely the most subtle — as J'onn said he "picked the wrong week to throw away all my Kryptonite", we couldn't help but be reminded of a similar recurring joke from the spoof movie Airplane!
Just as long as J'onn doesn't start sniffing glue, I think he's probably good.
Tell us in the comments: Did you spot any more Easter Eggs in Supergirl S02E03?