Supergirl’s third season has been a marked improvement over its predecessors, bucking the trend of other Arrowverse shows. The third season tends to be when things get dicey and the quality takes a dive. Episodes like Damage are encouraging signs that will remain the case as the season plays out.
Damage featured two big storylines. One that was really strong and another that did a disservice to one of the longer running subplots of the series.
Maggie and Alex are done. Neither will budge on their stance on parenthood so it’s over. After devoting so much time in so many episodes to this relationship, it felt like weird that the writers avoided the actual breakup. Instead, it’s already set in motion and Maggie is moving out. I read that the writers didn’t want anyone to be the bad guy, which felt like a cop out on several levels. Mostly for covering up one of their biggest mistakes.
There was really no reason last season for the writers to rush to get Maggie and Alex engaged. Their relationship also felt like it was moving at hyper speed anyway. That didn’t leave time for important questions like if the other wants children. Another issue is it’s OK for someone in a relationship to be the bad guy. On Supergirl, relationships don’t end because some was being crappy to the other. They end for a quick hit of drama … or get ignored. Does anyone remember Winn has an alien girlfriend who is conveniently vanished from the face of the show? Given how many great pains they take to add realism to a show about superheroes, the writers don’t seem to trust the audience enough to handle genuine relationships.
Season 3 has benefited from having a worthwhile villain with Morgan Edge. He was back this week to throw shade on Lena Luthor, blaming her for triggering the lead dispersal bomb to stop the Daxamites, which is now causing lead poisoning in children. I loved the callback to a previously questionable action. Unleashing a lead bomb on the city should have some consequences.
In this week’s reference to real world activity, Lena says this can’t be another Flint, Michigan. And when Lena faces the crowd at a press conference, she’s greeted by ‘lock her up’ chants. These ripped from the headlines moments also come off so hokey in the show. They’re well-meaning, but typically come off as forced instead of timely. Supergirl doesn’t need to be the topical superhero show. It’s really more than enough for it to be the fun Superman show starring Supergirl.
I’m a big fan of the casting of Adrian Pasdar as Edge. He portrays that slimy, untouchable businessman so well. Supergirl’s Maxwell Lord tested out this dynamic, but it’s much improved with the encore. The evil businessman sending Lena up on a remote control plane full of poison truly felt like a Superman style moment and the confrontation after was just as great.
Damage also progressed the Lena/James subplot. I’m infinitely more interested in a possible James/Lena romance than one with him and Kara. Of course, the writers will find some way to bungle it once they get too happy all the same.
While the Arrowverse habit of immediately bringing a newcomer into the various teams only for them to become a bad guy has become a storyline crutch, it’s coming off better with Sam. It helps that Sam just arrived in town and doesn’t have any friends and is the final piece of Kara’s Three Amigas Squad with Lena. Still, I wish the series could do more long-term planning and introduce the big season a year earlier so we have time to genuinely get invested.
I love the slow burn of her power reveals. They’re making it a nice mystery as to how she’s getting these new abilities and Odette Annable is doing a tremendous job showing Sam’s apprehension. Damage kept things rolling with Supergirl’s obvious enemy and the one to come, but the weak resolution to Maggie and Alex held it down somewhat.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW