(Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW)

I have to imagine the pitch meeting for “For Good” involved the writers sitting in a room, trying to remember all the plot threads they’ve left dangling at various points. “We kind of established Morgan Edge as a major character this season and then did nothing with him.” “We haven’t seen Lillian Luthor in a while.” “It’s been a few weeks since we last raised concerns about whether or not Lena might secretly be evil.” “I guess the Guardian technically still exists?” “Umm, we might have mentioned a Lexosuit at one point?”

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“For Good” isn’t a bad episode of Supergirl, but it is a very scattered one. It either needed a zanier plot to distract from its jumbled thematic core or it needed to pull back on the amount of stuff it was trying to do and dig deeper into just one or two ideas. Because as it stands, it winds up feeling like a broad but shallow filler episode that struggles to find its focus.

The first half of “For Good” actually sets up some interesting parallels between Sam, Kara, and Lena as three women who carry the weight of the world on their shoulders in very different ways based on their upbringings. Lena grew up watching her family engage in endless cycles of violence, which made her both wary of other people and wary of herself. Sam was cruelly abandoned by her adoptive mother when she got pregnant with Ruby, which taught her early on that the only person she could truly depend on was herself. Kara, meanwhile, decided to cope with the trauma of her past by becoming the literal protector of everyone around her.

The idea of contrasting those three fiercely independent but flawed women is a really interesting one, but “For Good” quickly drops that in favor of a more simplistic “friendship is magic” throughline. Don’t get me wrong, a reminder about the importance of relying on your friends in times of crisis is a lovely message for Supergirl to send, especially because it allows the episode to focus on Alex/Sam/Kara/Lena friendship square that’s been central to this season. But it also feels like a somewhat simplistic answer to the complex, thorny issues its characters are dealing with.

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“For Good” at least offers a couple solid character scenes, like Alex comforting Sam while prepping her from an MRI or J’onn reminding Kara of the importance of her role as National City’s beacon of hope. Sam’s monologue about living in constant fear over what would happen to Ruby if Sam ever got hurt was genuinely heartbreaking and some of Odette Annable’s best work on the series. But it’s when it moves away from pure character stuff and tries to deal with plot that “For Good” really drops the ball.

After the episode’ various twists are revealed, what it all boils down to is that Lillian Luthor is back in town to deal with the fact that Morgan Edge keeps trying to assassinate her daughter and/or frame Lena for poisoning children with lead. Lillian tries to assassinate Edge with an malfunctioning car, but when Edge survives the attack he blames Lena and tries to assassinate her with some poisoned coffee. Lillian is on hand to kill Edge’s coffee-poisoning hitman with a dissolving bullet, which is also a “breadcrumb” for Lena to find her (although, as far as I can tell, Lillian does absolutely nothing to ensure her daughter doesn’t die of cyanide poisoning so that she might follow that breadcrumb). Oh and did I mention that Lillian is also Iron Man now?

It all feels unnecessarily confusing, and I haven’t even mentioned that the Guardian turns up for the first time this season, thwarting my hopes that Supergirl was quietly phasing out that storyline. The episode’s best action sequence involves Kara rushing Lena to the DEO after she’s been poisoned, but even that moment is filled with plot holes. J’onn praises Kara for risking her secret identity to save Lena, but given that it usually takes Kara less than half a millisecond to transform into her Supergirl outfit, I’m not sure why she didn’t just do that here. I’m also unclear why Kara takes Lena to the DEO and not to a hospital, although Kara using her ice breath to put Lena into an induced state of hypothermia was at least an enjoyably creative use of her powers.

I don’t mean to just nitpick every little plot hole in the episode, but “For Good” is paced in a way that makes those plot holes feel particularly noticeable. In theory, moving away from the Reign stuff for a week is a smart narrative choice, but “For Good” feels too much like filler rather than a meaningful breather. Especially because so little of what happens in the episode seems like it’ll have a concrete impact on the series moving forward. I suppose that Morgan Edge and Lillian Luthor being put behind bars is technically a big shift for the series. But given that they’re characters I only ever think about when they’re onscreen, it honestly doesn’t really matter to me where they theoretically are when they’re off it. And though Sam telling her friends about her memory loss is also a big step in theory, her uninformative medical tests feel like a stall to get us back to same place we were at the end of the last episode—with Sam confused but willing to ask for help.

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The single most interesting idea to emerge from “For Good” is Lena’s realization that rejecting her family’s evil ways doesn’t have to mean rejecting her strategic, cunning side. It doesn’t have a huge impact within this episode, as Lena’s plan to pressure Morgan Edge into confessing doesn’t feel particularly cunning or strategic. In fact, basically nothing about the episode’s gala-set climax worked for me, especially not Mon-El’s random appearance or Lillian’s even more random Lexosuit. But Katie McGrath sells the hell out of the idea that Lena has had a fundamental shift in her sense of self. Hopefully that’ll have a more compelling impact on the rest of the season than it does here.


Stray observations

  • One dangling plot thread that isn’t dealt with in this episode is Jeremiah Danvers. I wonder if we’ll see Dean Cain at all this season.
  • Given that it was shown in pointed close-up, I assume we’re going to get an explanation as to why Alex was able to draw Sam’s blood even though Sam is durable enough to crumple a bullet.
  • Alex mentions that while training to be a doctor, she spent some time in Seattle, which is a reference to Chyler Leigh’s stint on Grey’s Anatomy.
  • In no way do James and Lena feel like two people who are dating in this episode.
  • So are we meant to assume that everyone at the DEO knows about Kara’s secret identity? Because she’s now pretty regularly appearing as Kara Danvers there.
  • “Don’t grab women, sweetheart.”

Next week: Supergirl sets off to find a Worldkiller.

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