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Recap / Supergirl (2015) S4E6 "Call to Action"

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The Children of Liberty begin patrolling the streets in golden masks as the hunt for Agent Liberty continues.


Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Brainy alludes to a poor relationship with his mother; when Nia compliments his manners, saying that his mother must have raised him right, Brainy replies, in a very serious tone, that she definitely did not.
  • Adorkable: Alex makes a Harry Potter reference to express her frustration with Colonel Haley. Later, when faced with a dragon:
    Alex: This is what I get for making a Harry Potter reference.
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  • All Animals Are Dogs: Spike the dragon may be the size of a private jet, but he's very affectionate once he's calmed down.
  • Asshole Victim: Petrocelli was a Dirty Cop and member of a xenophobic hate group. No one's likely to be very upset that Manchester killed him.
  • Bad Liar: Brainy tries to dispel Colonel Haley's suspicions by claiming to have been so impressed by her sweet potato pie that he was searching for a recipe to try baking one himself. Amazingly, he considers himself to have mastered on-the-spot improvisation. Haley either buys it or just chooses not to press the issue.
  • Badass Boast: Brainy tells a group of Children of Liberty to return to their homes "or else". When they ask the obvious, he tells them, then shows them.
    Brainy: Or else I'll be forced to beat you up. With physics.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When some of the Children of Liberty attack a home, they begin beating up the father, which they(and most likely the viewer) assume to be the alien. Instead, it turns out that the daughter's pet lizard is the alien, who quickly chases the Children of Liberty off.
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  • Beam-O-War: Supergirl pits her cold breath against Spike's dragon flame. Both eventually give up after getting nowhere.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Manchester saves an alien couple from the Children of Liberty and then gets rescued himself by Kara.
  • Brick Joke: Alex makes a Harry Potter reference at the start of the episode to vent about Colonel Haley. During the climax, after being told that a dragon is on Main Street, she thinks the reference might have been Tempting Fate.
  • The Bus Came Back: Kara's and Alex's mother comes to visit for Thanksgiving.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Manchester captures Officer Petrocelli and tortures him for information on Agent Liberty.
  • Cure for Cancer: Lena is trying to use the Harun-El to cure cancer. Instead, she learns how to make human tissue invulnerable.
  • Deadly Dodging: Brainiac beats a group of Children of Liberty "with physics" by getting them to hit each other.
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  • Dirty Coward: The Children of Liberty are consistently portrayed as this throughout the episode, always running away tail between their legs the second they realize they aren't in control anymore.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Some of the Children of Liberty carry lit tiki torches with them when they go to kill aliens. The image of tiki torches are now unfortunately tied to nazism and white nationalism due to them being used at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia (best known for being carried by men chanting "Jews will not replace us!). At one point Ben Lockwood also compares the current situation with the Native Americans being slaughtered by the Europeans for their hospitality, a common right-wing rhetoric tactic when it comes to discussing immigration.
    • Lockwood also equates the original Mayflower Pilgrims, the basis for the Thanksgiving holiday and who enjoyed more than 50 years of cooperation with their hosts, with later settlers who came with different intentions.
  • Dramatic Irony: Kara and Alex spend a good deal of the episode trying to identify Agent Liberty. Kara then spends a TV segment debating with the man himself.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: The masks worn by the Children of Liberty have specialized lenses to detect tags written in invisible ink, used to mark homes and businesses with alien residents.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Lockwood counters Kara's points about aliens by comparing them to Europeans slaughtering hospitable Native Americans. His argument might hold a bit more water if Lockwood himself, as a white American, wasn't descended from the invading Europeans.
    • The Children of Liberty attack any house with an alien presence without bothering to actually identify who the alien is or seeming to care about collateral damage; they brutalize a random father, unaware that the alien is actually his daughter's pet lizard. They also attack Brainy for trying to erase one of their tags, despite having no reason to think he's anything other than human. So much for "we don't harm humans".
  • I Am Spartacus: The Children of Liberty are now all wearing the Agent Liberty mask, and claim that they're all Agent Liberty, making the point that it no longer really matters who started the group as they're now fighting for the ideal itself.
  • Idiot Ball: James, an experienced journalist, goes to a meeting with an unknown member of the Children of Liberty, then gets into a car to travel to another location. Lena even lampshades this, telling James "that's how journalists get killed". Even worse, he goes to meet the same man in a dark parking garage, and gets kidnapped by the Children of Liberty for his trouble.
  • Ill Girl: Turns out Nia has narcolepsy.
  • Internal Reveal: Lena reveals to James that she traded information to the DA to get her to drop the Guardian case.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: It's really hard to feel sorry for the Children of Liberty that Manchester murders and tortures throughout the episode.
  • Kid with the Leash: Spike does not grow from lizard to fire-breathing dragon and attack until his owner, a little girl named Alana, asks him to. Supergirl calms him down by assuring him Alana and her family are safe.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The Children of Liberty adopt copies of Agent Liberty's mask to act as a gang of roaming vigilantes.
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • The Children of Liberty attack a home which they've identified as having an alien resident. They think it's the father. It's actually the family iguana, which is a dragon in disguise.
    • In another incident, the house they target is a setup by Manchester, who pulls a gun on them.
    • They hassle Brainy for trying to erase one of their tags. He proceeds to beat them up. With physics.
  • No Social Skills: Brainy demonstrates his once again numerous times throughout the episode. For example, when he brings Kara flowers at Thanksgiving and immediately tells her that they are not real.
  • Not So Above It All: Haley, for all her no-nonsense attire, brings Sweet Potato Pie to the DEO for Thanksgiving.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Colonel Haley is annoyed that Supergirl intervened in an assault by the Children of Liberty because she hadn't been ordered to patrol in that area.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Spike is a dragon that is classified as an alien lifeform rather than a magical creature, and is capable of shape-shifting to look like an iguana.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Colonel Haley allows Alex to continue investigating the Children of Liberty under the radar even though Alex was ordered to let the proper jurisdictions handle it, and admits they are actually relevant to the DEO's mandate after the first major incident results in an alien dragon going on the warpath to defend his owner.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Tom has a pretty vicious Malinois which he uses to detect aliens and he even sics him on them.
  • Sleep-Mode Size: Spike the dragon can shrink down to the form of an iguana.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The alien dragon's name is Spike. It's probably not a coincidence, since this Spike is the pet of a little girl.
    • From Alex: "I swear, if she gets any more Dolores Umbridge-y, I'm gonna go full Weasley twin." She later considers the presence of the dragon to be karma for the reference.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Ben Lockwood spends most of the episode being with his family at Thanksgiving.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Lockwood is considered respectable enough to be invited to a televised roundtable discussion. His argument strikes a chord with the audience, who cheer him on. Lockwood's popularity leads to him getting his own show at the end of the episode.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: After Nia is nudged awake, she gasps, "Chocolate-covered espresso beans!"
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Lena starts drifting further into this territory, preparing to start human trials on the Harun-El to try and give humans powers comparable to aliens.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Lena believes that the cause for anti-alien sentiment is a simple feeling of inferiority, and that giving humans powers might work as a solution. J'onn brings up the counterpoint that this might result in evil people getting superpowers, and Lena's attempts at a response come off as her digging herself deeper and sounding like she feels justified in playing God.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: James tries to (forcefully) talk some sense into Tom when the latter wants to go out with the rest of the Children of Liberty to brutalize aliens. Sadly, it doesn't seem to take.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Manchester implicitly kills Petrocelli once he's given up everything he knows.

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