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Recap / Supergirl (2015) S2E9 "Supergirl Lives"

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Kara and Mon-El follow missing persons reports to an alien slave trade. Meanwhile, Winn must deal with his fear of field work.

Tropes in this episode:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Winn is spooked and refuses to help James be the Guardian after he's nearly killed on one of their missions, but changes his mind after fighting an alien on Maaldoria.
  • Against My Religion: Kara and Mon-El tell the "doctor" that their religion bans them from giving their blood. It is an obvious lie.
  • Asshole Victim: The alien "doctor" that is sending humans to be enslaved in Maaldoria gets vaporized by the mysterious beings hunting for Mon-El.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": The Slaver posing as a doctor seems to have trouble emoting in his role.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Maaldoria's red sun, Arcturus, leaves Kara and Mon-El without powers.
  • Call-Back: There's a Dominator on Maaldoria, who apparently recognizes Mon-El and even bows to him, and whom Supergirl comments on disliking. This is both a reference to the Earth-1 Dominators, whom she fought only recently, and the Earth-38 Dominators, who have attacked Krypton in the past.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Played With. Winn mentions Stargate. Several alumni of the franchise have appeared in the Arrowverse Earth-1 showsnote , but never here on Earth-38. Whether or not they have Earth-38 counterparts or if the Stargate franchise also exists on Earth-1 remains to be seen.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The yellow sun grenade, which J'onn hands Alex before the mission (but doesn't identify on-screen), saying they only had time to prepare one.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Kara jumps on the missing-persons case because, after returning from saving all of Earth-1, she's gotten bored with stopping jewelry thieves and bank robbers and is itching to help people again.
  • Clark Kenting: Maggie mockingly lampshades this, saying the glasses don't help when explaining how she figured out that Kara is Supergirl.
    Maggie: [when explaining how she realized Kara is Supergirl] Come on. Look, I — I know you. The only person you get that torn up over is Kara. Plus, the glasses don't help.
    Alex: I always said that, too. It's kind of ridiculous.
  • Crapsack World: Invoked by Kara and Mon-El on Maaldoria, when they compare it unfavorably to the interplanetary vacation worlds they've visited.
  • Destruction Equals Off-Switch: Zapping the control panel Earth-side disables the teleporter. Presumably they took further steps after that to make sure it wouldn't be used again.
  • Determinator: When Brought Down to Normal, Kara still has one power left—she never gives up and she will stand back up even after getting shocked several times in order to protect others.
  • Deus Exit Machina: The atmosphere of Maaldoria is toxic to Martians, keeping J'onn from just wiping out the entire operation in a few minutes.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Kara runs through the portal with no backup, telling Mon-El to call the DEO. Then he runs in without calling, stranding them both.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: Unspoken, but clearly implied when Kara finds out that Maggie spent the night at Alex's place.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The face of the doctor at the "research center" has dozens of moles and pimples. Turns out its hiding a reptilian alien.
    • The Dominator bowing to Mon-El.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: When Kara goes missing, Alex's panic causes her to ignore Maggie's efforts to get in touch with her, so Maggie drops by the DEO to see if she's alright. Alex is so worried about Kara that she goes into a mild rant about how she knew better than to be happy about their relationship and pretty much blows Maggie off. Later that night, Alex apologizes, but an obviously still upset Maggie points out that they're both law enforcement officers, which means stressful situations aren't rare. She accepts Alex's apology and recommittment to their relationship, but also warns Alex that she won't stand for being treated like that again.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Snapper is proud of Kara for standing up for what she believes in. He would likely have to be tortured into admitting this to her.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The slaver disguised as a human gets killed by the aliens searching for Mon-El in the end after telling them that he is on Earth. No tears were shed by anybody.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: J'onn's superpowers would have made the episode a lot shorter, but Maaldoria is toxic to Martians.
  • I Want My Jetpack: Upon appropriating and using an alien pistol, Alex immediately calls dibs and keeps it.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Snapper objects to Kara telling Izzy's mother "we're going to find your daughter", for the implied reason that there's a significant chance they wouldn't be able to, and saying something like that, while well-intentioned, would break her heart if they couldn't keep that promise.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Roulette was bad in her first appearance, but at least her fighters were (mostly) willing participants. Once that fell apart, she jumped right to kidnapping and slavery.
  • Just in Time: James saves Winn just a mere moment before he gets shot. Deconstructed, as this leaves a pretty big emotional impact on Winn.
  • Know When to Fold Them: The alien holding Izzy wisely runs away once Supergirl gets her powers back.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Maaldoria's red sun leaves both Kryptonians and Daxamites as vulnerable as humans. Its atmosphere is also unbreathable for Martians.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Mon-El reveals that yes, Daxamites practiced slavery, and no, he wasn't thrilled with it. May overlap with Defector from Decadence, judging by the Dominator treating him like royalty.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The title is a reference to director Kevin Smith's unproduced screenplay Superman Lives. He reportedly had Tears of Joy when he found out.
    • In the episode, there's also a reference to a Thanagarian snare beast, which featured in Smith's screenplay.
    • Winn calls J'onn "The Martian Manhunter", his alias from the comics, although it has been mentioned on-screen once or twice as well.
  • No Sympathy: Snapper brushes off the disappearance of Izzy Williams quite rudely; possibly he's trying to subtly encourage Kara to investigate on her own. Either way would be appropriate for his character.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Mon-El and J'onn independently have this reaction upon learning that the alien world is Maaldoria, the primary hub for the galactic slave trade. It's Personal for Mon-El, since Daxam regularly bought slaves there and, judging by the Dominator's actions, it may be doubly personal for him.
    • Kara has one when she sees her knuckles bloodied and looks up to see a red sun.
  • Out of Focus: James and J'onn are barely shown. James, at least, gets to participate in the Batman Cold Open, but pretty much disappears after that.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: For the very first time, somebody (Maggie, to be precise) sees through Kara's practically non-existent masquerade.
  • Phlebotinum Battery: A special device charged with The Power of the Sun temporarily energizes Kara while still on Maaldoria, restoring her powers long enough to fend off the aliens and return through the portal.
  • Protagonist Title: Notice the Supergirl in the title?
  • Rock Beats Laser: While Winn is guarding the gate, he is attacked by one of the mooks with a raygun. He uses the trope to the letter.
  • Sequel Hook: The hunters now know where Mon-El is.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Maggie wears Alex's shirt, which thrills Alex, being another of the things that couples do that she finally gets to experience.
    Alex: You're wearing my t-shirt.
    Maggie: Yeah, is that okay?
    Alex: That's amazing. I mean, like, you're in my apartment, and it's—it's morning, and you slept in my apartment and now you're wearing my t-shirt and making coffee and I can't believe this is happening and everything coming out of my mouth is very clichéd.
  • Shooting Superman: The thugs in the opening chase scene make a big deal of shooting Supergirl with a rocket launcher...which does exactly as much as you'd expect.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Kara asks why Winn wears Sunglasses at Night. He snarks, "The future is so very bright," referring to Timbuk3's "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades."
    • When demonstrating how she would fake being sick to get a sick day in order to stay in with Maggie, Alex fake-coughs and says, "I've got the Black Lung."
    • Winn refers to the teleporter as a "Stargate," and Alex jumps in by telling him to "dial us home" when they're on the other side. Fortunately there's a DHD. When working on the teleporter, Winn also mentions that they're "thinking with portals".
    • Winn repeats to himself that he's not a Red Shirt as a Survival Mantra, and later on ends up on a rocky desert planet fending off a reptilian alien with a rock.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: The episode's main plot.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: When the DEO's yellow-sun grenade restores Supergirl's powers, her theme music plays as she starts kicking ass.
  • Token Good Teammate: One resident of Maaldoria actually helps Kara and Mon-El infiltrate the enemy headquarters so they can rescue the enslaved humans. Fortunately, he survives and comes to Earth with them at the end of the episode.
  • Took a Level in Badass: At the beginning of the episode, James has to save Winn from getting shot. At the end of the episode, Winn saves himself.
  • Trapped in Another World: The missing people are revealed to be sent to Maaldoria. Kara and Mon-El are also trapped there for much of the episode.
  • Victory Is Boring: Kara bemoans that only stopping petty crime is kinda boring in comparison to saving the world.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Roulette is shoved into the cell with the alien doctor, but later when he is inspecting the damage done to the fortress, she is nowhere to be seen. It's not explained where she would have gone.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: The Maaldorians pay Roulette in diamonds, which are as common as dirt on the Slaver's Moon. She is aware of this, so it works out for both parties: She is being paid a fortune, but as far as the slavers are concerned she's practically working for free. It's win–win.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The hunters vaporize the Maaldorian "doctor" as soon as he gives up Mon-El's location.
  • You Monster!: Supergirl calls Roulette out on selling people into slavery. Not that she cares much.
  • You No Take Candle: Jo the alien talks this way. Justified as English is not his native tongue.
  • You Shall Not Pass!:
    • Supergirl, despite being Brought Down to Normal, still protects the other prisoners as much as she can, getting herself shocked several times while standing in front of them when the aliens go get them out of the cell to embark them.
    • Mon-El pulls one off, standing in front of an armed Maaldorian. Although, he may have known the Dominator would not let the guard shoot him.