I want to believe in Supergirl. Each episode has enough promise that it can get better, but the showrunners awkwardly keep stifling that potential by over emphasizing aspects that I wonder if anyone still cares about.
Tonight had way too much Supergirl bashing, but there were some signs that had me more optimistic by the end of the episode.
The Everyone Hates Supergirl plotline feels so tired and we’re only six episodes in. After saving a group of children from getting killed by road raging motorists, Supergirl is vilified for standing up to one of the drivers.
The writers want to paint Supergirl as this constantly down on her luck hero who can’t catch a break and everyone considers a screw-up, but it doesn’t fit the character at all. That’s Spider-Man’s shtick and trying to make Supergirl Spider-Man doesn’t work in any context. Making Supergirl this hapless loser doesn’t make her endearing or sympathetic as it feels like a cheap ploy to make the viewers root for her.
The show keeps wearing its grating dated feminism concepts in every episode. Cat’s mom questions why it’s not Superwoman instead of Supergirl, insists she’s safer in Metropolis with Superman and prefers a male doctor. Maybe this would have been riveting fun dialogue in the early 80s or 90s, but show is going to keep colliding with tall buildings setting its storyline heights so low.
And weekly we’re given some extended monologue on why it’s so hard for female superheroes, female executives, female custodians, etc. to thrive in a male-dominated environment. Too bad Supergirl isn’t black, Latina or Asian as the show could get bogged down from an even stronger platform. I’m really starting to question if the show wants to be accessible to all audiences or just to women who continually feel held down by the system.
The more progressive Jessica Jones isn’t a superior show because of its edgier content, but because not one character bothers making the female leads’ gender an issue. Kryptonite isn’t Supergirl’s biggest weakness, it’s the constant soapbox spouting that makes the show not nearly as much fun as it should be.
Continuing the Supergirl bash fest, Gen. Sam Lane arrives in town ready to try out a new super military weapon, the RT. I’d prefer them just call it RT as its barely resembles the DC Comics character Red Tornado.
Lucy backs up her father in all but forcing Supergirl to test RT’s capabilities than cattily tells James, Winn and Kara she wasn’t all that impressed during the office game night. These office game nights must have been pretty underwhelming with just three people.
During the training exercise, Kara gets a little too fired up and shatters RT’s arm, prompting it to trigger its stealth mode, which naturally developer T.O. Morrow can’t trace, and an ultimate defense mode that makes it a threat to everyone in National City. Who builds an A.I. that has the option of going undetected and immediately goes into kill all puny humans mode? And once again, somehow this is all Supergirl’s fault.
I really wonder where this show would be without Melissa Benoist, who should be wearing a cape behind the scenes as she does so many heroics to keep me mostly invested in Supergirl’s maturation as a hero.
Kara’s cathartic sparring session with James was the most realistic we’ve seen the character. Not that I want her turning all dark and cynical, but Kara has been a little too sunshine and roses. This scene was a glimpse that Kara has more humanlike traits — desiring a normal life, feeling overburdened by responsibilities and frustrated with her position in life — that made her relatable to anyone, not just the audience carrying the feminism torch.
This scene was also noticeable for James acknowledging that black men aren’t encouraged to be angry in public. I wondered if the writers would be bold enough to have Gen. Lane find James not good enough for Lucy because of his skin color, but they went the safer route of Lane considering him a glorified member of the paparazzi.
The show can get some solid mileage out of the unique dynamic of Kara’s position as a mistrusted alien and James as a black man in modern America. I’m surprised this was the first time the show has tackled this and hoping this won’t be the last.
Tony Stark Lex Luthor Maxwell Lord a visit for help with putting down Red Tornado. Peter Facinelli isn’t Robert Downey Jr., but in these scenes Chyler Leigh is definitely giving me more of a Lois Lane vibe than a DEO operative.
Lord’s brilliant suggestion that Morrow was still controlling Red Tornado and seeking vengeance against Gen. Lane seemed like a forced way to bring him in the episode. No one else considered Morrow as a possible suspect?
Annoyingly when Red Tornado comes after Lane and knocks Lucy out, Lane has not concern for her or any appreciation for James getting her out of the way. The tornado effects were hit and miss. On the smaller scale battles with Supergirl, they looked fine, but in the city battle it looked more like a marshmallow cloud than destructive force of nature.
The final Supergirl/Red Tornado fight allowed Supergirl a chance to cut loose with her heat vision. It’s still weird that it’s blue for some unexplained reason. Red Tornado version 1.0 was obliterated and Morrow was seemingly killed by Alex, which felt like a waste of a recurring villain and eventual ally.
Kara got a much needed ego boost on both fronts with Henshaw having her back with Gen. Lane and Cat standing up for her against Cat’s mother. Kara’s appreciation for Heyward doesn’t last too long as Winn is able to hack into the DEO files (why is this guy just working as a lowly media company staffer?) and discovers he was the last person to see Alex’s father alive.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10