On Monday's episode, it was nice to see the Dominators have a role in the CW DC Universe other than just being fodder for the crossover event to churn through so Barry (Grant Gustin), Kara (Melissa Benoist), and Oliver (Stephen Amell) could have some screen time together. Well, nice is maybe a stretch. They're not exactly a nice thing to see.
But instead of just being objectively threatening and abominable bipeds from another world (of course Dominators are into the slave trade since owning creatures is kind of their thing), this particular Dominator gives credence to a mostly unsubstantiated thought rolling around in all of our heads. Between the slaves, the willing submission to monarchial dictatorship, and a seeming worldwide culture of bro-y douche-ism, just how terrible was Daxam? Oh, and was Mon-El the princely heir to rule it?
Watching a Dominator, a being from a culture of enslavers and planet-invading aggression, genuflect to Mon-El was super creepy. You don't want to see evil tip its hat to you. But it's the first time in a long while that the story has inserted a little nod to Mon-El's backstory, that he might not be who he says he is. Because, unless Mon-El and this particular Dominator got hammered on fermented Mountain Dew (I picture Daxam to be like Krypton's idea of Idiocracy) back on the home planet and exchanged bro tats, I'm assuming Mon-El wasn't just a lowly bodyguard to a self-sacrificing prince.
Now, to be clear, I'm not here to try to spoil anything for anyone. The following is speculation based on some of the clues Supergirl has dropped over the past half-season, and I wouldn't feel obligated to write about it if the show itself hadn't seem willing to make the answer to a mystery abundantly clear. Take Alex (Chyler Leigh) and her coming-out, for example. That was telegraphed for at least three episodes before it actually happened and it felt like the show was preparing us for the bomb to drop. As much as Supergirl has really come into its own on The CW and gelled after escaping the millennial-hating grasp of CBS, it feels obligated to cushion the blow of its drama bombs.
We can start from Mon-El's recounting of how he left Daxam, which wasn't the most emphatic or believable even at the time. Mon-El has always had a certain entitlement to him that could extend from a Daxamite culture, which reinforces the idea that they're all the most important beings in the world and that poverty/being stranded on a distant planet is only a temporary setback to destined greatness. It could also, however, extend from a prototypical vision of royal descendants, shielded from anything not cushy and having servants take care of any labors. I don't know if that is what keeps Mon-El from knowing what club soda is but it's not not that.
The problem is that Daxam doesn't seem like the kind of place where a prince would send a bodyguard on the only escape vessel out of a doomed planet. Daxam seems like the kind of place where a prince would hop into the only escape vessel and leave all the women and children behind. The truth is probably somewhere in between, especially with the strides that Mon-El has made and his admissions that not everything on Daxam was to his liking (thankfully, he said that in reaction to his home planet dabbling in slaving). Mon-El probably wanted to save others but was convinced that the royal lineage must be spared. So off he went in his space pod to the livable planet under a yellow sun.
Then we return to the the less subtle nods to Mon-El being a VIP of the stars. The Dominator saves Mon-El from being laser-blasted, which was the only thing standing between the Dominator and his recent purchases scattering to the Maaldorian winds. Why the Dominator didn't just get into the heads of the squishy humans is beyond me (maybe in Supergirl's universe, they don't have that ability?), but with this rare bit of generosity, you see a sense of respect coming from the gangly egg-headed being.
And then, if you missed that, there are the bounty hunters at the end. Maybe it's not a bounty, but there is a Fett quality to two hooded beings that arrive on Maaldoria and vaporize Professor (James Urbaniak) for letting Mon-El get away. Generally speaking, people don't trawl the galaxies looking for unimportant citizens of lost cultures (unless you're The Collector and you like pinning them to your cosmic butterfly board). Not to mention that there's a hologram image of him available. Who has that kind of technology for a nobody? Oh, everyone on Krypton? Right.
The point is that we're closing in on a storyline in which Mon-El is going to have to come clean about his royal lineage or his MVP (Most Valuable Prince) status from Daxam — but what does that do for the Supergirl story? Other than attracting a search party/cloaked assassins, what other kinds of developments can we expect from Mon-El's secret history being revealed? What's the end game here?
Again, this is pure speculation, but this probably has something to do with the horrors the Daxam royal family perpetuated during their reign. We're in the middle of Mon-El's hero's journey, wherein he wants to become a literal superhero, which comes from the widespread brainwashing everyone that comes into contact with Kara Zor-El experiences. Did you want to be a hero before you met Kara? No? Well, you do now. And, perhaps, this is the Daxamite redeeming himself for unspeakable crimes. And once the calvary arrives to force Mon-El to face some consequences, we'll have a bit of a drama on our hands about whether the prince should face the music or whether he's better off doing community service via superheroics. Is it fair to arrest someone who has already started leaning toward being more Gallant then Goofus?
Or maybe this is just a party looking for their prince so he can go back and rule over a small group of Daxamite ex-pats, and they're so really, violently angry that they were so close to getting their leader back that they had to evaporate the doctor. When they find him, Mon-El has to make a choice as to whether he'll stay to help Supergirl fight off an onslaught of menaces or if he should go lead a people with a newly refreshed mindset that's been sun-grenaded by idea of truth, justice, and the Kyrptonian-in-America way.
These are wild allegations. The only thing we know for sure at this point is that Mon-El might be slightly more important than Kara and the rest of the gang previously thought. Enough to be hunted to far-flung planets and for someone to be so upset at missing him that they destroy our greatest living Urbaniak.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.
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