Tonight’s episode felt like that perfect pizza. The cheese was nice and gooey, the crust was baked just right and the pepperoni had the ideal amount of crispness. Then some wise guy gets the bright idea of adding anchovies, green peppers, chicken, sausage, bacon, ham, olives and pineapples. That great pizza, like For the Girl Who Has Everything, now has way too much going on to enjoy it.
The biggest frustration was the unnecessary need to clutter up a story we’ve seen done pretty darn spectacularly twice before. The original of course was Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ iconic Superman story, which you can read here: Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? The second was a nearly perfect translation in a superb Justice League Unlimited episode (Justice League Unlimited: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]) that offered an excellent blueprint on how to make the story come to life.
Instead of sticking with the established, proven gameplan the writers decided one of greatest Superman stories of all time wasn’t compelling enough to carry an episode and it needed some extra ‘sizzle.’
In keeping with its overachieving status this episode featured the first Team Supergirl team-up, Winn happily celebrating his return to the friend zone, Maxwell Lord helping Team(s) Supergirl, J’onn Jonzz going undercover at Catco and the death of a major character.
And Supergirl living out her most pleasant fantasy of being back home on Krypton with her parents and hanging with a toddler Kal-El. The episode really should have just stuck to Kara’s fantasy world and the efforts to get her back to the real world.
This wasn’t the first time an episode felt like the writers were being too ambitious, but it did mark the first occasion where it felt obvious they were attempting too much. Supergirl not immediately buying into the fantasy created by the Black Mercy that ambushed her last week was peculiar, especially since the writers had to rush her along into believing it was real.
If you took a shot after every mention of family, you probably didn’t finish the episode. Helping Kara reunite with her living family unit was the central focus. Although Alex not checking in on her mother after Max’s not so thinly veiled threat still is frustrating.
With the help of Team Supergirl (Catco version) and Team Supergirl (DEO version) along with an assist from Max Lord, Alex was able to enter Kara’s fantasy and help her wake up. Although why Alex had a gun in her VR realm was curious. One of the stronger aspects of the episode was Supergirl’s noticeable change in demeanor and immediate desire to get payback on Non for making her lose Krypton twice.
Melissa Benoist continues to be one of the consistently best performers on TV and this was another standout showcase for her. Even with the abbreviated time with her parents, Auntie Astra and Kal-El, Benoist made Kara’s loss of her Kryptonian life feel like an emotional gut punch. With Kara ‘sick,’ Hank had to go undercover and fill in for her at Catco. Benoist effectively mimicked co-star David Harewood’s stiffer, more authoritative walk and speech pattern in a fantastic transformation. Cat was still smarting Kara’s ending things with Adam derailed her efforts to establish a stronger relationship with him. They’re called smart phones, Cat and you’re probably the only one hoping for a Kara/Adam reconciliation.
At least the payoff was exciting with Supergirl going off on Non and Astra trying to hold off the Alex/Martian Manhunter team-up. Astra had been set up as the major season-long villain, but she’d been continually losing her status. First, with the writers’ decision to make Max Lord a Lex Luthor stand-in and secondly with Non assuming more control over the Fort Razz army. That said it was a huge surprise when Alex killed her with her Kryptonite sword. Martian Manhunter’s animation looked pretty clunky this week and its interaction with Astra revealed there’s still some work to be done on that front. Still, it was good to see him in action against a super powered opponent.
Before Alex could fess up to killing Astra, J’onn lied and said he struck the death blow. His logic being he didn’t want Kara’s opinion to change of her hero. This episode focused just as much in showing Alex could handle herself in any situation far more capably than any other DEO agent. Not that she has a lot of competition on that front. Good thing Winn happened to be at the DEO to help those clueless operatives figure out Non’s plans. The DEO would function far smoother and much more effectively as a two-man squad of J’onn and Alex at this rate.
As Kara celebrated a night off with Winn, James and Alex, two things dawned on me. Kara’s friend/family unit has really been strongly built and these moments are becoming highlights of the show. Secondly, Lucy is the most absentee girlfriend ever.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Adapting one of Superman’s greatest stories would have been enough to make this one of the better episodes this season, but cluttering it with other important subplots didn’t do enough justice to anything.