With the introduction on a villain with an actual spark (sorry), this week’s episode did a lot right even if it’s still stumbling through a few unnecessary rookie mistakes.
Most importantly, the writers finally realizing it was OK to make Cat a character and not a caricature.
Taking a page from her mentor, Catco shock jock Leslie Willis (Brit Morgan) is taking advantage of the Thanksgiving week to spread a little holiday misery namely bashing Supergirl. Looking back, Leslie probably should have been verbally attacking Supergirl right from the start of the series as opposed to the regular National City news media.
Knocking her down for going after Supergirl too hard, Cat reassigns Leslie to traffic reporter duty when she’s ironically rescued by Supergirl during a powerful thunderstorm.
Leslie doesn’t emerge unscathed as a bolt of lighting passes through Kara and hits her. The resulting exposure transforms Leslie into a being composed of electricity. Renaming herself Livewire, Leslie is ready for payback on Cat and Supergirl.Although never reaching the heights of fellow Animated Series creation Harley Quinn, Livewire has been a fun addition to the Superman mythos since graduating to the comic universe.
As far as villains go, Livewire is one of the more ideal super-family villains to bring into the series and Morgan does a great job infusing some character to a villain besides being a Supergirl punching bag.
The early special effects for the episode were a bit soft, but sacrifices had to be made to save the budget for the actual Supergirl/Livewire conflicts. Thankfully, those deliver as well as the numerous uses of Livewire’s powers including the Max Headroom inspired bit.
In a rare, but long overdue, meaningful conversation with Kara, Cat shares that her mother pushed and prodded her to be something and she used that motivation to form her company. Now, Cat finds herself using the same harsh motivational tactics for those she cares about and that’s backfired with Leslie making Livewire her responsibility.
It’s the first time the show has made Cat lower her walls and actually be human. I desperately hope this isn’t a holiday miracle as I could quickly grow to like this more open mentor role especially since Henshaw has the bitchy mean boss market covered.
Similarities to the Paris terrorist attacks forced the show executives to swap episodes so Thanksgiving comes a week early for Supergirl. The only hit to continuity is why James is back with his ex, Lucy, and what that means for the forced love triangle with Winn, Kara and James.
Amazingly, I doubt I’ll be losing any sleep over it, but the writers need to do a better job explaining why the Pollyanna-esque Kara is so smitten with James beyond the tight T-shirts and booming voice when her far more compatible match in Winn is right there.
Beyond Livewire, Kara had other drama to deal with as her foster mother Eliza (Helen Slater) was in town for Thanksgiving dinner. I’m hopeful the next time a scenario is presented, the writers don’t take the typical, cliche route. In this case, Alex dreads these visits as Eliza holds her to an impossibly high standard forcing Alex to wear her “mom never thinks I’m good enough” cap tonight even after outing herself as DEO operative helping to protect the planet.
I kinda feel like this episode should have been accompanied by either Boyz II Men’s “Mama” or 2Pac’s “Dear Mamma” rather than that ghastly “Take Me to Church” cover by Ellie Goulding. Eliza confesses she didn’t know how to criticize Kara (that does a lot to explain Kara’s overly positive attitude), but she just wanted the best for Alex. Of course, by episode’s end, everyone’s happy and cheery again, but Eliza has another family secret to reveal.
The series’ larger overall issue remains her second “job” with the DEO. It diminishes Kara’s superheroics as she’s just the DEO’s super-powered staffer reporting at Henshaw’s beck and call. Here’s another issue for the feminists to rally around: is Supergirl doing more than the average DEO agent and not getting paid?
Eliza shares that Henshaw came knocking on the Danvers door years ago to bring Kara in, but her husband, Jeremiah (Dean Cain) agreed to work with them instead. That job resulted in his death … maybe, it’s never that simple with TV shows.
Now, Supergirl and Alex have a new purpose — learn Henshaw’s secret and find out what really happened to their father. I’m a little concerned this subplot is borrowing too heavily from The Flash with a mentor figure possibly being responsible for the death of a parent.
And whatever happened with Kara’s aunt and the whole seemingly overarching plot of her taking down Supergirl?
Rating: 7 out of 10
Supergirl got more than an boring punching bag with her first inspired villain, but family drama and the treading water DEO storyline keep this episode from really soaring.
Check out Livewire’s debut in Superman the Animated Series
Superman: The Complete Animated Series