Supergirl ramps up the search for the Totems in Season 6, Episode 13, “The Gauntlet.” Here is the spoiler-filled recap.
Episode 13, “The Gauntlet,” which aired Tuesday on The CW.
The race for the Totems is on in the latest episode of Supergirl. “The Gauntlet” sees the Super Friends continue their search for Nyxly, who in turn is working with Mitch to track down the Courage Totem in her quest to recreate the Allstone. Lena makes her return to National City, immediately going to help Supergirl and the others locate the Totems.
Supergirl takes Lena to the Fortress of Solitude where they ask the digitized consciousness of a Kryptonian witch named Vita what she knows about the Totems. Vita reveals that the Totems have a specific order they need to be collected in, they have an activation word, they are concealed as cultural artifacts and that a person must pass a test of character to control them. During the conversation, Lena continues to struggle with accepting magic, referring to it as energy and insists that science can explain magic.
Mitch and Nyxly scope out the Museum of Science and Technology where the first totem is supposedly located. At the same time, a scientist named Dr. Lahr receives a notice that she is losing her funding after her ex-partner, Dr. Gale, reported that their work on a project to harness lightning is too dangerous. Her co-worker asks her why she doesn’t take the plans back from Dr. Gale, but Dr. Lahr questions if he may be right about the dangers.
Over at CatCo, Andreas is less than thrilled with William and his lack of coverage of the Super Friends and a crime syndicate beat he’s supposed to write. William’s subplot for the episode covers him being shot by Eve Teschmacher back in the Season 5 finale. Although William finding his courage after the tragic event fits with the episode’s theme, it feels a bit tacked on compared to the others and how they deal with courage. Most if not all of William’s growth in overcoming his trauma was just him telling Nia about it later on without actually showing the audience what that journey was like.
Nyxly arrives at the museum and takes the Courage Totem, which is revealed to be the slingshot David allegedly used to kill the giant Goliath. The Super Friends track her and arrive right on time, trapping Nyxly. She attempts to activate the Totem to escape, only for Supergirl to slice it in half with her heat vision. Breaking the slingshot in half releases a wave of 5th Dimensional magic that envelops nearby people, including some of the heroes. Mitch teleports Nyxly out with one half of the Totem, while the other remains with Kara.
Relying on Vita again, this time with her inhabiting Brainy’s body to communicate, the Kryptonian witch reveals that breaking the Totem unleashed its magic, giving anyone within its radius a boost of “raw, unfiltered courage.” Kara and Nyxly can each take on the gauntlet to control the Courage Totem. Whoever does so first will call the other half to them. Vita warns Kara that she will pay a terrible emotional price should she pass. Failure would result in the people hit by the blast experiencing magic-induced raw courage.
Each begin their tests, as Kara relives the night she saved Alex’s plane from crashing and became Supergirl. Nyxly experiences her brother’s betrayal, introducing the audience to her brother and father on screen. Both believe their lack of courage was them not taking action, with Nyxly murdering her father this time around and Kara saving someone from a mugging that she ignored out of fear of being further exposed.
Both fail their challenges, resulting in Dr. Lahr, William, Alex , J’onn and the other museum staff experiencing rushes of courage. The museum café breaks into an all-out brawl between staff, with Dr. Lahr attacking Dr. Gale for their research. A lizard affected by the magic transforms into a dragon, yet people ignore it to continue their fights. The Super Friends arrive on the scene, with Alex immediately jumping in to take down the dragon due to her lack of inhibitions.
supergirl j’onn being a proud dad
J’onn stands out as the MVP of this episode by having the courage to express his emotions, constantly telling Kara and Alex how proud he is of them and encouraging Alex to fight the dragon. Supergirl saves Alex and J’onn from being barbecued and convinces the Martian Manhunter to psychically calm everyone, which works and turns the lizard back to his proper form. They regroup at the Tower where Brainy reveals Nia was also affected, gaining the courage to dive deeper into her dream visions than she ever has before. Supergirl begrudgingly allows J’onn and Alex to patrol the city for others affected by the Courage Totem while she attempts the trial again.
Cutting over to Nyxly and Mitch, Nyxly doesn’t understand why she failed the trial. Mitch suggests she may have to kill her brother instead, something that angers her until he reminds her that her brother betrayed her. Nyxly opens up, revealing she could never kill him, which Mitch suggests may be the test: killing what you love the most is much harder than killing what you hate.
At the Tower, Lena speaks with Vita again to learn how to stop the Totems. Vita reveals she knows Lena’s true nature as a witch and reveals that Lena may be able to control 5th Dimensional magic if she accepts her gifts. Lena recognizes that her magic likely protected her from the Totem’s magic, though her skepticism continues to hold her back from accepting. While this is going on, Supergirl attempts the trial again, saving the plane and supposedly other people she hadn’t that night, yet she still fails the challenge. As a result, Dr. Lahr is fueled with even more courage, activating her lightning harnessing machine and creating a giant lightning storm above National City.
Lena scans the storm and states that it has the potential to wipe out every power grid in the city. Brainy attempts to locate the epicenter but miscalculates, revealing that he too was affected and now has the courage to make mistakes. He remembers overhearing scientists talk about a lightning device back at the museum and works on locating them. Meanwhile, Nyxly attempts the trial once more. Instead of killing her brother, though, she opens up to him and reveals how deeply his betrayal scarred her, in the process completing the trial. She realizes that the trial of courage was about having the courage to be vulnerable.
The Super Friends arrive to stop the lightning storm, but their uninhibited states makes it nearly impossible for them to stop it. Kara instructs Lena to let their half of the Totem return to Nyxly’s, knowing since she completed the challenge that it will release everyone of its effects once whole again. The Totem reunites and does just that, letting everyone go from its influence. Now clear-headed, Dr. Lahr instructs the Super Friends on how to stop the storm. Guardian arrives on the scene to give Alex cover as she uses her gauntlet to stop the lightning, providing an awesome Kelly-Alex moment.
The storm is successfully stopped, but Supergirl passes out after sharing a mental connection with Nyxly. Lena reveals that Nyxly and Kara may share a psychic link thanks to the Totem’s restoration, allowing them to feel each other’s emotions Harry Potter-Voldemort style. The episode ends with Lena and Kara eating at Kara’s apartment and discussing the courage trial. Using some courage of her own, Lena reveals the truth about her mother to Kara and her own magical bloodline. It’s a touching moment Supercorp fans will enjoy as Lena opens up to Kara about a part of herself she still isn’t fully comfortable with.
Unfortunately the moment is cut short as Kara senses Nyxly’s anger over Supergirl not suffering through her trials while Nyxly relived the worst moment of her life and suffered for it. Mitch reminds her that Supergirl didn’t finish the trial which is why she did not suffer the emotional price, while Nyxly did and won the Courage Totem in the process. Reinvigorated by her victory, Nyxly confidently tells Mitch that she will find the rest of the Totems, meaning the battle between her and the Super Friends is far from over.