SUPERGIRL has its first lull in the season with “Ahimsa.” Lull is a relative term, in this case, as the episode isn’t bad. However, it’s the season’s weakest episode as of yet. “Ahimsa” has some good character work, but the standalone story is rather weak. The episode also doesn’t do much to move the season as a whole along either. The good character beats aren’t enough to keep “Ahimsa” as exciting as the other episodes this season.
The primary story isn’t super interesting. The two brainwashed aliens aren’t really that much of a threat. There’s also next to nothing new added with Agent Liberty or the Graves twins. This has been a trend in several SUPERGIRL episodes this season (and THE FLASH, too). There’s clearly a lot of focus on character work, which makes for a stronger season. However, the episode solo stories often feel like afterthoughts, which makes the episode feel like a slog. A few meaningful moments with characters don’t make up for a poor forty minutes.
That said, there are some good character developments in the episode. Alex and Brainy get put under a lot of pressure, bringing more emotion out of both. David Harewood also gets to shine a little more, as J’onn J’onzz goes back into battle. Harewood did a lot of great work last year, as his dying father brought out a lot of emotion. It’s nice that the series clearly isn’t done with exploring the emotions of the newly peace-minded Manhunter. These moments don’t save the episode, but they make it watchable.
Manchester Black may be the strongest element of the episode. He’s an interesting new character that doesn’t distract from the plot. He is perhaps the strongest example of how to balance out character and story. Manchester shows up as a way to help J’onn find Fiona, giving the two an episode arc. However, this arc also provides J’onn the guidance he needs to understand his less violent path. Manchester gives J’onn peace of mind, which SUPERGIRL has built up over the past three episodes. Manchester shows that SUPERGIRL knows how to write a good solo story.
There are cool character moments, but the story-by-story action should be stronger. SUPERGIRL isn’t bad, but it’s disconnected. As illustrated with Manchester, the strong elements only make the weaker elements more confusing. The bond between episode and season arcs needs to be stronger for the season to work. Hopefully, this disconnect is mostly due to Supergirl’s smaller role, due to Kryptonite poisoning. Now that she’s free from her “armor” (c’mon, it’s just a costume with a helmet), SUPERGIRL will return as strong as it should be.