Tonight's Supergirl midseason finale was, let's face it, a little bit crazy.
With major upheaval going on in Kara's personal, professional and secret lives, we got to see probably the series' most ambitious super-powered fight yet while introducing a new character who seems likely to be a game-changing element.
...And a lot of it seemed a bit...familiar, right?
So -- for the last time this year, on any show -- what did we see? What did we miss? Read on, and comment below.
We've seen Astra's goons before, but in this episode's credits, I noticed for the first time that one of them was named Gor.
As in Commander Gor, a key player in the World of New Krypton story that's powering so much of Supergirl's Season One narrative.
Fer-Gor was the leader of a Kryptonian military squad who often found himself in conflict with the Superman family during that storyline. He's not the leader here, though. We'll get to him soon...!
I LIKED THAT KNIFE
When it's revealed that the Kryptonians still have the Kryptonite knife and Kara hasn't got it back yet, Henshaw responds, "I liked that knife."
This might just be where my personal brain went, but I was hearing echoes of "...That was my favorite knife," from Guardians of the Galaxy.
I'm just assuming until I hear differently that was an intentional reference. Because it amuses me.
Rao was the name attributed to the prime divine entity observed in Kryptonian religious practices through books and other texts.
In some iterations of the Superman mythology, Krypton had fallen away from religion and effectively "worshiped" science. This led to conflict between the remaining Rao followers and the rest of the ruling class.
The character has appeared in humanoid form a few times, most notably as the villain in the opening arc of the recently-launched JLA: Justice League America.
The name Rao is also the name given to Krypton's red sun.
In Supergirl, he was mentioned only in passing during one of the Krypton scenes, but it seemed worth noting that we got even that much.
Introduced in the 1990s on Louise Simonson in Jon Bogdanove's Superman: The Man of Steel, Dirk Armstrong was a conservative columnist for the Daily Planet brought in by publisher Franklin Stern to write a column.
Due to his political leanings, Armstrong often came at odds with Clark Kent and Perry White, who at the time were written as fairly liberal, especially in Man of Steel. Aside from simple politics, he was one of the few to break with the company line on Superman, declaring him a "Super-menace" at one point in a column.
He was one of a few reporters kept on staff when Lex Luthor bought the Planet.
He wasn't always a one-dimensional bad guy, though; he genuinely believed in the causes he championed, even if they didn't correlate with what the rest of the staff thought, and he had a close relationship with Ashbury, his daughter.
Ashbury, who was blind, had a romantic relationship with Scorn, a native of the Bottle City of Kandor. He wasn't a standard, humanoid-looking Kryptonian, though; he had blue skin and horns. Their relationship took on a similar tone as the one between Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters for a while, and Dirk, who was initially opposed to the relationship, eventually came to accept it becuase his daughter was happy.
Tonight saw Supergirl star Melissa Benoist's real-life husband Blake Jenner join her onscreen as Adam Foster.
...But, who the heck is Adam Foster?
Well, according to his official character bio, Adam Foster is a handsome stranger from Cat Grant’s (Calista Flockhart) past whose arrival in National City tests Kara and Cat’s relationship like never before. At the same time, Adam and Kara form a very unexpected connection.
...But as fans just discovered, Adam is actually the biological son of Cat Grant.
Which makes things a little more interesting.
So far, we don't know very much about Adam Foster, but Adam Morgan (sometimes called Grant)? That's another thing entirely.
If you've been following our coverage of Supergirl, you'll know that we've talked about Adam Morgan/Grant on more than one occasion. The son of Cat Grant and business mogul Joe Morgan, Adam was a major motivator for Cat Grant when she was struggling with a drinking problem. As a society columnist, she had a reputation for being a drunk and somewhat promiscuous -- a reputation Cat wasn't particularly ashamed of, it should be noted, except when Morgan used it in court to get full custody of their son.
Not a "bad seed" or anything, many readers still didn't particularly like Adam, who was written as...well, a bratty rich kid. After overhearing Superman lecture his father about sharing custody with Cat, Adam was scared of the Man of Steel. He also didn't care for Cat's on-again, off-again boyfriend Jose "Gangbuster" Delgado, a fan favorite.
Thanks in part to Superman's words, Morgan saw that Cat had changed since he knew her and they worked out more visitation for Adam. Following the death of Superman, Cat broke up with her then-boyfriend and whenever we saw her outside the office, she was with Adam.
Tragedy struck when, after being kidnapped along with a number of other children by a demented supervillain called the Toyman, Adam freed his fellow captives, only to get himself and the others murdered for his bravery.
Toyman, who had previously been nothing but kind to children (in spite of creating homicidal traps for adults who he believed had wronged him) had justified his kidnappings because the kids in question had parents who didn't pay them enough attention -- certainly something that seems like it could apply to Cat on TV, since she seems to have no real relationship with Adam...!
Non killed the man Astra was being charged with, and also her husband.
In the comics, Non is a Kryptonian who was a brilliant scientist on the Science Council until they lobotomized him for leading a separatist movement not unlike the one he's seen leading with Astra here.
General Zod and Ursa were his closest allies, and they were condemned to the Phantom Zone together as traitors, as seen in Superman: The Movie, where Non and Ursa were created.
He was adapted by the film's director, Richard Donner, and his comics co-writer Geoff Johns into the mainstream DC Universe.
Opal City gets a name-drop in the episode, as the home of Adam Grant.
We've seen Opal referenced on Arrow and The Flash, as well: it's where Deathbolt was on the night of the particle accelerator explosion, and it's one of the DC Comics cities on the wall at the Central City Picture News.
In the comics, it's where Jack Knight (Starman) is headquartered, as well as The Shade. Periodically, other heroes would float in and out of the city, including Ralph Dibny (the Enlongated Man) and his wife Sue.
Opal, behind probably only Gotham and Metropolis, became a character unto itself in Starman during James Robinson's celebrated run on that title.
Before she sussed out who Supergirl was, Cat referred to Kara as her "Guardian Angel."
That wasn't Kara, but the "Matrix" Supergirl, a shapeshifter from a pocket universe created during John Byrne's run on the Superman titles.
That's funny, of course, since at one point during the Peter David run on Supergirl, she was a literal angel, with fiery wings and everything.
That take on Supergirl would be elimiated when the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths version of Kara Zor-El finally arrived, but David would take many of the ideas he was unable to use on the title over to Fallen Angel, a creator-owned book he published first at DC and later at IDW Publishing.