Let’s start with the obvious: Tonight’s Supergirl was pretty fantastic. The best superhero stories are the ones with modern relevancy that reveal what our world could be if we were all guided by our better angels; they’re a reminder to keep seeking out the good, whatever that may be. And that’s what Supergirl delivered in tonight’s very topical episode, by taking on immigration and otherwise and made our current real world feel even more like the darkest timeline.
“Welcome to Earth” picks up right where we left off last week: Mon-El wakes up in the DEO and grabs Kara by the neck. Confused and afraid, Mon-El forces his way past Kara and the rest of the DEO’s forces and escapes from the facility, jumping out of the window and speeding off down the street. Having a renegade alien in National City would be a big problem on a normal day, but it’s an even more pressing issue today: President Olivia Marsdin (Lynda Carter) is set to arrive in National City to sign an executive order that would provide America’s extraterrestrial visitors with amnesty.
As you can expect, the Alien Amnesty Act is a pretty divisive issue. Kara is very excited about it, but J’onn is a lot more pessimistic about the prospect of aliens stepping out the shadows. “People in this world don’t have much tolerance for others who look different,” says J’onn. “I say that as an alien and as someone who wore the face of a black man for 15 years.” He doesn’t think humans and aliens mixing would turn out too well. But Kara won’t let J’onn kill her vibe, because she’s way too hyped about meeting the president.
After a meeting at work, Kara flies off to meet President Marsdin at the airfield. An alien with fire powers attacks her as she disembarks Air Force One. Luckily, Supergirl is there to protect her. Alex immediately assumes it’s Mon-El — the burn pattern matches those made by heat vision — but Kara isn’t so sure. While surveying the scene, Alex meets Det. Maggie Sawyer, there to investigate the incident. Alex throws her government weight around and tries to get her to leave, but Detective Sawyer doesn’t back down. (Also, the chemistry between these two is palpable from their first meeting).
After giving President Marsdin, who butted heads with J’onn over the executive order, a tour of the facilities, Kara heads off to do her first assignment as a reporter. She’s interviewing Lena Luthor, the sister of notorious alien hater Lex Luthor, about the Alien Amnesty Act. Even though she’s trying to lead the family company in a legal direction, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t share her brother’s views. In fact, Lena has started building alien-detection devices, which she hopes to have everywhere. Kara is obviously insulted by this and ends up writing a very, very biased piece about Lena, which Snapper quickly rejects — she’s a reporter, not an op-ed writer.
Meanwhile, Alex reluctantly works with Maggie to track down Mon-El. Maggie takes her to an alien speakeasy to dig up some intel. As they chat in the bar, Maggie reveals she has dated an alien before and says she can sympathize with aliens choosing to hide to survive: She had to do the same thing as a nonwhite, LGBT female growing up in Nebraska. I love that this episode was so overt with the parallel it was drawing between the treatment of aliens and minorities. It gives this show some teeth and makes it stand out from The Flash and Arrow, which aren’t nearly as social-justice minded.
Their trip to the alien dive bar gives them one lead, allowing Winn to track Mon-El to an observatory. He’s trying to contact the planet of Daxam, Krypton’s sister planet. Kara, whose bias against Daxam starts to show as soon as she finds out, flies off to confront him, knocks him out, and throws him in a DEO cell.
NEXT: J’onn discovers he’s not alone on Earth