“In Plain Sight” finally reveals the truth about William while bringing J’onn’s sibling rivalry to an end.
This recap of Supergirl Season 5, Episode 4, “In Plain Sight”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
A lot has been made of the cold open in Supergirl Season 5, Episode 4, in which the DEO spring a trap to capture Malefic (Phil LaMarr) which goes terribly awry. It was being pushed around in a short clip on social media, for promotional purposes, and it sent a lot of people into a bit of a tizzy because the VFX looked absolutely awful, and the staging of the action utterly ridiculous. I can confirm that “In Plain Sight” really does open this way, and really does look that bad, which is odd considering it seems — maybe this is just me — way worse than it has in the rest of the season. I can forgive wonky CGI in Supergirl because it’s the kind of chintzy, upbeat show that is bound to have it and isn’t particularly ashamed to, but yeah, I must admit, it was unusually bad here.
Nevertheless, with their attempts to capture Malefic a resounding failure, Alex (Chyler Leigh) wants to take things to the next level and deploy the Martian-killing blaster built to eradicate J’onn (David Harewood), which J’onn is understandably not excited about. But Malefic has a more painful shot for J’onn than any blaster could cause. He’s able to infiltrate the DEO anyway and possess Alex, using her to chastise J’onn for lying about mindwiping his brother and putting all of his friends in danger with his selfishness.
J’onn stews on this for quite some time in Supergirl Season 5, Episode 4, until Kara (Melissa Benoist) reveals that there’s no way Alex could know about J’onn’s secret unless she was under the control of Malefic. Now Alex has gone missing with a stockpile of anti-Martian DEO tech, psychically challenging J’onn to the come to the planetarium, where Malefic is hilariously and inexplicably playing an entire anti-J’onn propaganda film. There’s a bit of kerfuffle that comes to involve Supergirl, James (Mehcad Brooks) and Kelly (Azie Tesfai) — they teleported in with Lex’s watch, but more on their B-plot soon — and obviously Alex. The day is saved when Malefic is banished back to the Phantom Zone, but we later learn that the device was secretly rigged by Lena (Katie McGrath) to transport him back to her lab instead.
Anyway, about James and Kelly. They head back to Calvintown in “In Plain Sight” and find the place in near social collapse thanks to a prison on the edge of town that is sentencing petty criminals to absurdly harsh terms. They meet a teenage squatter, Simon Kirby (Jalen Thomas Brooks), his very name redolent with comic-book enthusiasm, and learn that his mother is doing a decade hard time for petty theft.
James goes to see his old local newspaper mentor Nelson Stuart (Paul Jarrett) to see what’s up with all this and discovers that the paper will fold if it scares off advertisers by exposing corruption. In the first of a couple of big-baller moves, James hires a hotshot National City lawyer to take on Simon’s mother’s case, while lamenting how unwilling people are to risk standing up for truth, justice, and the American way. He later announces during celebratory drinks that he just upped and bought the whole paper, and his first act is to commission a story bringing down the prison. That’s his ticket out of the show, and he’ll be missed after a long tenure, even if he rarely had anything interesting to do.
And then there’s William (Staz Nair), who we learn the truth about in Supergirl Season 5, Episode 4 — or what he claims is the truth, anyway, although at this point I’m tempted to believe him. Nia (Nicole Maines) turns up lots of juicy details about his fabricated life, including a stock photo masquerading as a picture of his wife — the oldest, most obvious trick in the book — and a bizarre itinerary that has, in “In Plain Sight”, led him to Mexico City, of all places. Kara follows him there and gets involved in a ploy to fake the death of an Obsidian accountant with ties to offshore bank accounts and anonymous email addresses. The email leads Kara to a real address in Mexico City, where she encounters William, who reveals that he’s undercover for The Times, investigating Andrea (Julie Gonzalo) in connection to a massive and highly dangerous criminal conspiracy. He apologizes for being rude and butters her up with compliments, and then asks her to stay out of his investigation since she could get hurt in the process. If only he knew.