Supergirl's 'Strange Visitor From Another Planet' was an optimistic episode which paid off – for the most part. As usual the symbolism was a little on the nose and some of the writing was a little lazy, but the show is still managing to go from strength to strength.
Supergirl still needs to get comfortable in its own skin, but the show's creators are beginning to understand the message they want to transmit through the adventures of Kara Danvers. So what references can we spot? Did you notice any I missed?
1. Strange Visitor From Another Planet
There weren't many notable references this episode, but the title itself happens to be a Superman reference. The Adventures of Superman television series introduced itself using the line a "Strange visitor from another planet"; It's a small reference, but yet another example of the Supergirl creators drawing on elements of Superman.
This is also pretty noteworthy considering Supergirl is a rather alien-centric show, with an alien hero, an unending stream of alien villains and now an alien ally. After all this, "strange visitor from another planet" seems about right!
2. Adam Foster
Melissa Benoist's real life husband husband Blake Jenner has now joined the show and seems to be set up as a regular love interest... too bad for Winn!
Blake Jenner joins us as Cat Grant's estranged son, Adam, who we know from the comic books as a stuck-up rich kid caught between his separated parents. I'm guessing this adult version won't be struggling with his parents break-up, but it does go some way towards explaining his backstory.
3. J’onn J’onzz Origins
In December Hank Henshaw was revealed as J’onn J’onzz, a.k.a. Martian Manhunter, a founding member of the Justice League. Hank Henshaw was already a fan favorite and this discovery solidified his position as one of Supergirl's finest moments.
Now we know Hank Henshaw's true identity we're beginning to ascertain a sense of his backstory. In 'Strange Visitor From Another Planet' we learn that J'onzz's family were killed in a holocaust-like event on Mars.
This is a story straight out of the comic books, in which J'onn J'onzz's Green Martians battled against the White and Yellow martians. Martian Manhunter's tortured past is a strong and endearing storyline which I'm interested to see expand as the show progresses.
4. White Martians
We now have white martians in Supergirl... bold move, CBS!
In the comic books it was J'onn J'onzz's brother who was responsible for the destruction of Mars; Supergirl have shaken this up and blamed it on the White Martians.
Burley, fierce and monstrous, Supergirl's White Martians are pretty far-removed from fan favorite, Miss. Martian, from the Teen Titans series.
5. Immigration and Politics
Superman has been used as a means of perpetrating political agendas since his earliest conception. Whether fighting Nazi's or dealing with cold war tension, The Big Blue has been a symbol of truth, justice and the American way.
Frankly it was commendable and gave the character some real substance, which I feel has been absent from recent incarnations.
Consequently, should we really be that surprised that Supergirl is being used as a vehicle to explore current political tensions? As reported by Variety: the latest Supergirl episode tackled the current issue of immigration, which is a global hot topic.
'Strange Visitor From Another Planet' discusses racial differences through the inclusion of the Green and White martians; there were also anti-alien sentiments expressed by Senator Miranda Crane (Tawny Cypress). The suspicion and mistrust surrounding aliens certainly reflects current issues of immigration and was a surprising but not unwelcome addition to the Supergirl series, which has been seen to frequently address feminist issues.
'Supergirl' returns next Monday on CBS with 'Bizarro'. Take a look at the promo!