James Olsen is a character that has been severely underutilized on this season of Supergirl, so it was quite a pleasure that “City of Lost Children” revolved heavily around him.
For about three quarters of the season, James has been leading a double life — working at CatCo during the day, and patrolling the streets as Guardian at night. In “City of Lost Children”, we learn that being Guardian is not as fulfilling as he hoped it would be. He wanted to be a figure of hope and inspiration, but instead people are afraid of him. Later, when there is an alien attack on a public park, James does his best to help people escape the destruction, but no one relaxes until Supergirl arrives.
I’m glad that they’ve finally devoted some more time to James and his arc as Guardian. I feel like his becoming a vigilante should have been a bigger deal, but much of it seems to have been sidelined. This episode gave us more development for him than the past, oh, ten episodes combined? We got to see all sides of James — kicking ass as Guardian, bravely rescuing strangers as himself, and kindly consoling a scared child. Though J’onn and the others easily dismissed him at the beginning, it’s James who averts a near-catastrophe when he manages to get through to Marcus, who is unable to control his powers.
Meanwhile, Rhea continues to charm Lena into helping her build a portal. Lena, of course, has no idea of Rhea’s true identity or purpose and is simply eager to participate in such ground-breaking science. I do worry about where they intend to take Lena; the foreshadowing for her turn to the dark side is insane, and I feel that “being used by the bad guy” often turns people evil in stories like this. Not to mention that Lena sees in Rhea the mother-figure she wanted Lillian to be. I hope they don’t go that way with Lena — she is definitely too strong to be so easily manipulated — but that does seem to be the direction in which they’re headed.
Rhea as a villain is fantastic and frustrating. She’s smart and driven, wholly convinced that her point of view is a) correct and b) the only opinion worth having, which makes her extremely dangerous. It’s difficult to reason with people who are so absolutely convinced that they are right. What makes me the angriest, though, is her emotional manipulation. Telling Mon-El that his father committed suicide because he was so broken up about Mon-El’s decision is a level of evil I think transcends many of her other deeds.
At least we finally know her plan: she forced open the portal to allow all of the surviving Daxamites entry on Earth, which she intends to take over as “New Daxam”.
These plots are such a strong contrast to each other. On the one hand, you have Rhea, who lied and manipulated her way into setting up a situation wherein she plans to take over an entire planet by force, seemingly to punish Kara for brainwashing Mon-El. On the other hand, you have James, who when faced with the knowledge that the group of people he promised to protect could destroy the entire city, instead used kindness, compassion, and words to give them hope that they were not alone. It flips the power dynamic — generally men are the violent ones and women are the ones who rely on talking and compromise. It’s jarring, but then that was probably the intent.
- Why would anyone ever choose Britney and Justin getting back together over an *NSYNC reunion?
- They know he’s married, right?
- And does anyone seriously call him JT?
What did you guys think of “City of Lost Children”?
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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