Although still battling through some early season legacy issues, this week’s episode was another strong outing that put Kara at odds with her allies philosophically until a villain reveals she’s not exactly coming across like a true hero.
Supergirl and the DEO try to locate the Master Jailer, a Fort Rozz guard who’s been tracking down and executing the escaped prisoners. Master Jailer’s costume looked like he raided Legends of Tomorrow’s Chronos’ closet. While admittedly the comic book attire won’t be winning any best costume awards, the show’s version is way too drab, uninspired armored villain of the week material.
The action sequences were more of a mixed bag this week, but I appreciated the effort to try something different with a Supergirl opponent even if it didn’t work all that smoothly. Master Jailer used an endless array of chains, which he could use as whips and ropes, to keep Supergirl at bay. How that mechanism worked exactly was never really explained, but it was nice to see a different fight style incorporated.
At times, that made it hard to follow and the scenes where Supergirl is hovering remain unconvincing and take me out of the moment as it’s too easy to envision Melissa Benoist just being suspended in the air instead of Supergirl assessing her opponent. Master Jailer ends up nabbing another prisoner and Kara. While in custody together, the prisoner reveals he’s become a professor giving Kara time to appreciate a person can make a mistake and do good later in life. Maybe it was somewhat on the nose, but it was an important lesson for Kara to get at this point in her superhero career. Alex and the DEO arrive just before Master Jailer can execute the prisoner though it was weird to see Alex battle toe to toe with a villain that gave Kara fits.
Realizing an important piece was missing from The Devil Wears Prada homage, the writers finally addressed that this week by adding another administrative assistant in Siobhan Smythe (Italia Ricci, Don Jon) to fill the Emily Blunt role. Unfortunately, the writers try to cram 13 episodes of character building into one episode so Siobhan quickly gets in the mix with everyone at Catco. She immediately decides Kara is her rival, wants to know what’s up with Kara and James, mildly flirts with Winn and eavesdrops on James and Lucy’s conversation. Ricci is only slated for two appearances on the show so in some regard this rush made sense, but it was a lot of work to establish a character for just two episodes.
As he predicted, Kara was unusually cold toward Hank since she thinks he’s the one that killed Aunt Astra. I still don’t buy his explanation that Kara would ‘lose’ Alex if she learned it was her stepsister and not Hank that killed Astra. It seems like padded on Kara/Hank drama for the sake of reintroducing some tension that was lost after the Martian Manhunter reveal.
Cat surprisingly had an outstanding scene this week. Interacting with characters beyond Kara always seems to do wonders for her and this time, she had a great scene with James as she revealed her inaction in not reporting the truth may have led to an actress’ death. Cat is such a better character when the writers make her more of a person instead of an obnoxious boss caricature.
This led to a strong confrontation with James and Kara about Maxwell Lord’s rights and how the DEO just can’t keep him in custody indefinitely. If it meant keeping the Lex Luthor/Tony Stark love child off camera, I’d fully be Team Supergirl, but doing the right thing meant Kara and company had to let him free.
Moving James away from being infatuated with character and talking to her straight instead of being her Yoda has helped their dynamic immensely. As strong as that scene was, it was even more intriguing that James sought Kara’s permission to tell Lucy that she’s Supergirl. The friend’s relationship always suffers from these kinds of secrets and I’m glad James is actually making an effort to save his relationship instead of willingly letting it falter for Kara’s sake.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Supergirl is still enduring growing pains, but the character development continues to be a strong point. This was another pivotal episode in Kara learning how to become a hero in her own right and not simply follow her cousin’s blueprint.