Finally delivering on a plot point from the end of Season 1, Jeremiah Danvers returned in Supergirl Season 2 Episode 14 with a twist — this is not the Jeremiah that Alex and Kara remember. Well, I say twist but Jeremiah's duplicity was pretty obvious from moment one, so "Homecoming" played out more as character exploration and a setup for Episode 15, which is set to be one of Supergirl's most politically pointed plots yet.
Before Season 2 began, there was a lot of chatter about how #Supergirl would explore the issue of aliens living on Earth, with execs and writers promising a critical look at immigration, ostracization, and social prejudices. Unfortunately, after the second episode of the season followed the President's quest for alien amnesty, this plot seemed to be dropped. We still don't know how most of the aliens that populate the much-frequented Alien Bar even got to Earth, much less how they're treated in everyday society.
This was briefly touched on in Episode 14 when Winn started dating Lyra, and as Jeremiah set Cadmus' plan in motion in Episode 15 it looks like the show is going to explore alien immigration issues with a vengeance — in the pursuit of truth and justice, Supergirl is set to turn a critical eye on the American way.
A Forced Exodus
Putting their plan into action, Season 2 Episode 15 will see Lillian, Jeremiah, and the rest of Cadmus kidnap all the aliens on the DEO's registry, presumably so they can be piled into that giant spaceship and deported off the face of the Earth. This is Supergirl's darkest plotline yet — the dramatic promo for the aptly named "Exodus" shows aliens kidnapped, torn from their homes kicking and screaming. Already, Supergirl isn't holding back and these scenes are evocative of many disturbing incidences in real life.
But however distressing this may seem to us, exec Andrew Kreisberg explained to Entertainment Weekly that the mass deportation is actually Cadmus' kinder option.
"[Jeremiah's plan] is a shimmy on Lilian's desire to rid the earth of aliens and it's an interesting debate in the next episode between Jeremiah and Alex if his plan is any more humane. The talking points in the episode are reflective of the current debate in our world about dealing with immigrants, which we are very conscious of and wanted to speak to."
TV shows — especially those in the scifi and superhero genres — often use metaphors to reframe real world issues in order to comment on them. It seems that, in "Exodus" as in all of Supergirl Season 2, the aliens are a stand-in for immigrant communities across the world, and there's no doubt that next episode will force us to really think about how these situations are dealt with.
Paralleling The Real World
This is definitely a strength of Supergirl, using fiction to parallel and comment on real life — specifically US society.
In recent years, and even more so in recent months, the USA has seen an immense increase in the deportation of illegal and undocumented immigrants. Then of course there's Trump's recently repealed "Muslim ban", which prevented hundreds of people from entering the USA — including Oscar nominee Khaled Kateeb.
With several aliens in the main cast, Supergirl's presentation of this issue will invite us to sympathize with those being deported, and with any luck viewers will carry over the moral of the story into real life. What's really interesting is the use of the DEO's secretive alien registry, which is something that was problemized very early on in Season 2: The villain-of-the-week in "Welcome To Earth" argued that the President's alien amnesty bill was a precursor to registration. She made some compelling points, and now we can see exactly what she was afraid of.
Many superhero stories have made use of the idea of forced registration in the past — this was the issue that originally kicked off the Marvel Comics' Civil War, and mutant registration has long been held over the characters in Fox's X-Men franchise. This may be the first time #DC has tackled this issue, at least in a big way, so it's nice that Supergirl won't shy away from an issue that has a tangled and horrific real world history.
However, as with almost everything Supergirl, this plot is not without its flaws. The fact that the DEO had compiled a registry in the first place is troubling, but hopefully "Exodus" will serve as a message that this was a breach of privacy and human (alien?) rights. Yet because we didn't know about the DEO's alien registry until now, it was rather jarring to have this thrown in at the last minute. And of course, with the alien rights plot abandoned for much of the season, the Supergirl writers may struggle to make "Exodus" a coherent conclusion to a story that we've had to squint to see so far.
Ultimately though, it looks like "Exodus" will be one of the high points of the season, continuing Supergirl's successful trend of paralleling, and offering a commentary to real world issues.
Tell us in the comments: Which subplot from Supergirl Season 2 have you enjoyed most?