‘Supergirl’ Season 4 Premiere: “American Alien”

Supergirl returns for a 4th season, and it’s not hiding any of its political punches!

After Supergirl was able to stop the World Killers from destroying Earth at the end of last season, everything’s looking better for Kara.  With her cousin off-world, she’s taking on the mantle of being earth’s only Kryptonian and ergo, the protector of the planet.  After a brief montage, we see that she’s getting good at it as she goes all over the world helping solve problems only Supergirl does, but she also is managing to excel as a reporter as well.  Like she says to the audience, everything seems to be going in her way.  Of course, we know that means this blissful period won’t last long…..

Everyone else is also moving forward in their lives.  Alex is now the head of the DEO.  While she is having some problems with Brainiac 5 (as he really doesn’t have the best social skills), she’s running a tight ship now that J’onn has left and placed her in charge.  James is still the CEO of CatCo, but with him outing himself as the vigilante Guardian, it’s any day now that the National City District Attorney will charge him.  Speaking of J’onn, he seems to have found a new calling as he is a part of a support group for aliens are everyone’s favorite watering hole.  No longer fighting, he’s taking a pacifist role in trying to help out his fellow “outsiders.”

One of the aliens in J’onn’s support group happens to be a world-famous scientist.  However, when his lab gets attacked and an EMP stolen, the attackers surgically take his horns off his arm.  While it may seem like they were removed as a means of obtaining his biometrics to break into the vault containing the device, some aliens are now thinking this is a hate crime.  J’onn stresses to Kara the problem, but she blows it off as him looking for a problem that doesn’t exist.  She states that it’s just a robbery and nothing more.  This is Supergirl’s sly attempt to show white privilege (especially white female privilege) in action, and it’s no accident that the one complaining of the hate crime that falls on deaf ears is taking the form of a black man.  Kara fails to stop the attackers as they have some serious hardware that even stops her.  At the moment, she’s taking this as a robbery and not something bigger than what it is.

Lena Luthor is concerned about her boyfriend James being brought up on charges.  As a result, she pays a visit to her mother where she finds out a family secret about a money launderer.  Lena decides to pull a fast one on her mother and record her telling Lena all about it.  This is enough evidence for her to go to the District Attorney with a new big fish to catch under the notion that James will be off limits.  It shows that for all the good Lena has done to distance herself from the Luthor name, she can play dirty just like her mother and brother can.  James none the wiser, thinks everything worked out and Lena doesn’t tell him of her role in it.  However the DA sorta reneges and says that James will not be charged for past crimes, but if he continues as Guardian, he will be arrested.

At CatCo, Kara meets Nia, the newest reporter to join the company.  Even though Nia has a degree that could warrant her pretty much any job she wants, she has a passion for fashion and wants to make her mark at CatCo.  Unfortunately, she has a fear of stepping up.  When another reporter wants to take on writing about fashion and beats her to the punch, she doesn’t assert herself, much to Kara’s disappointment.  Kara then gives her a pep talk about moving past your fear.  While Nia’s role in the season premiere was short, expect more from her.  In the comics, she was known as Dreamer, an alien with precognitive abilities.  Given that the actress playing her is Nicole Maines, a transgender actress (and Supergirl doesn’t shy away from politics), expect that to also play a role in future episodes.

Speaking of Supergirl and politics, this entire episode was pretty much a ham-fisted allegory for our current political climate.  There’s now a “humans-first” type of movement going on in America.  Blaming aliens for the loss of jobs, and any other reasons, there’s a new form of toxic nationalism going on.  It pretty much mirror’s the right’s rationale against undocumented immigrants in our current world.  There are attacks on places aliens frequent and when Kara chases down the two who stole the EMP, she discovers countless internet chats that a pretty much an alt-right or 4chan wet dream.  Realizing she was wrong, she apologizes to J’onn and asks him for assistance in stopping them, something he surprisingly refuses.

Thanks to some sleuthing by Brainiac-5, it’s discovered that the culprits are going to attack President Marsdin while she is at Camp David for an alien amnesty summit with many alien leaders.  The two carry out the attack, but are foiled by Kara.  However, they manage to try and shoot the president, who we all remember is an alien in disguise and capture it on film.  This gives the group the PR win they need.  Towards the end of the episode, we get to meet our potential big bad Agent Liberty the leader of the human’s first hate group the Children of Liberty.

The episode ends in Kasnia (a DC Universes’ fictitious Russian proxy country) where under a bridge Supergirl previously saved, there’s another version of Kara punching through a mountain underground under the watchful eye of troops.  It looks like Supergirl is setting up a “Red Son” storyline.  Comic fans know that Red Son was a storyline that did a “what if” Superman was raised in Russia instead of Kansas and becomes an agent of the Soviet Empire.  Expect some sort of confrontation down the line.

Next week, Agent Liberty takes the fight to Supergirl.