Tag Archives: floriana lima

Supergirl S2E19 “Alex” Centers on the Women Who Love Alex Danvers

WeallloveAlex

In “Alex”Supergirl focuses on the heart of its show, Alex Danvers, played with fierceness, warmth, and a side of sheer terror by Chyler Leigh. But instead of having Alex go on a solo mission or something, writers Eric Carrasco and Greg Baldwin put in her in a cell in the middle of nowhere and have her sister Kara and girlfriend Maggie work against the clock to save her from Jigsaw-like criminal mastermind, Rick (Z: The Beginning of  Everything’s David Hoflin). He also happens to be an old friend from Midvale Middle/High, and a blast from a past bad guy with the simple motivation of wanting to save his  criminal father, Peter, from prison might be just what the doctor ordered for a show which had a human nanobot swarm as the antagonist last week.

Carrasco and Baldwin immediately pit the optimistic, yet less than wary of collateral damage Supergirl against the pragmatic, by-the-book cop Maggie Sawyer in a quick action scene followed by an awkward pizza dinner. Thankfully, Mon-El is sidelined as the goofy comic relief, and the focus in on Maggie and Kara arguing about the ethics of being a superhero. Maggie likes it when Kara helps with aliens and monsters, but wishes she would stay away from human criminals. It’s a similar to the debate between Tony Stark and Captain America in Captain America: Civil War where Cap wants the freedom to make on the fly decisions to save people while Tony wants the the Avengers held accountable. But, luckily, “Alex” isn’t a Civil War ripoff as this ideological conflict reveals the deep love that Kara and Maggie have for Alex, and they show it through doing anything possible to save her, including almost freeing a murderer in jail. They might differ on how to fight crime, but they both care for Alex Danvers very much.

Alex

Rick is an interesting villain of the week. He’s a regular guy with the superpowers of creepily stalking Alex Danvers for the past year and learning everything about her relationships and friends, which is why not even DEO super tech and Martian Manhunter’s shapeshifting can stop him.He also knows Kara is Supergirl because he witnessed her use her powers during a middle school beach trip to save an exploding car. Carrasco and Baldwin hint at Rick having a crush, but he doesn’t kidnap Alex because he has feelings for her. He imprisons her because he is still jealous of her and Kara’s “stable” home life while he had an abusive mother. This is definitely a sad backstory, but he ruins it through his traps and games that take up most of the episode’s running time. I enjoyed how the final rescue doesn’t come through brute force or advanced interrogation techniques, but Kara appealing to the fact that though Peter is a pretty crappy person, he was a good dad to Rick. Usually, Melissa Benoist’s portrayal of hopeful optimism is bright eyed and bushy tailed, but there’s an undercurrent of rage when she holds Rick in her grip and threatens him with her heat vision.

The acting from Chyler Leigh, Melissa Benoist, and in a small, but powerful role, David Harewood is pretty great in “Alex”. Harewood continues to nail the role of father figure and commander as he barks out orders one second and then softens and gives Alex and Maggie a big hug later. Leigh turns a part that could be a cliched “scream queen channeling both fear (Her desperate confessions to Maggie.) and resourcefulness (Cutting into her own body to activate her tracker.) in her performance. Melissa Benoist leans into the wistfulness of Supergirl as she realizes that although she has the ability to fly and maybe even turn back time by flying around the Earth, she can’t save Alex. But when the danger is over, she is back to her goofy self while half-flirting with Lena Luthor about not having kale at their brunch next weekend.

MaggieDinner

Floriana Lima also gets to show the softer side of Maggie’s character while also having a pretty epic action jaunt when she breaks into a federal prison with a raygun to rescue Alex even if it means caving to a terrorist’s demands. On the other hand, there is a detective-like precision to the way she delivers her thoughts about Rick and Alex’s kidnapping transforming it from a superhero mission to a very cold case. The almost silent scene that she, Alex, and Kara share at the end is filled to the brim with love, and director Rob J. Greenlea takes some time to soak in the moment after his claustrophobic camera work of Alex almost drowning in a cage.

Running almost in a parallel universe is the B-plot featuring Rhea (Teri Hatcher) trying to get Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) to help her build a transmatter transporter (To cure world hunger, she claims.) and opening a real Pandora’s box of mommy and family issues. During a dinner scene, McGrath plays Lena with a real empathy as she opens up to a woman, who thinks might be the mother she has always wished for. But this ends up backfiring although Lena and Rhea end up working together at the end as Eric Carrasco and Greg Baldwin continued the time honored Supergirl Season 2 tradition of pushing Lena Luthor as close to the edge of evil as possible. Her desire to make L-Corp a company that is the exact opposite of Lex Luthor may come back to bite her.

With a thrilling villainous death trap plot that steers close to the personal, “Alex” is one of the better Supergirl episodes in 2017. Centering the episode on a character that most fans like, Alex Danvers, is a stroke of genius as writers Eric Carrasco and Greg Baldwin use a cuckoo plot to coax out some real feelings from Alex, Kara, and even Maggie with Chyler Leigh, Melissa Benoist, and Floriana Lima creating a wonderful emotional bond as the credits roll.

Overall Rating: 9.0

Supergirl S2E17 “Distant Sun” is an Intergalactic Escapade

So, writers Gabriel Llanas and Anna Musky-Goldwyn and director Kevin Smith (If it’s not obvious from the quite clever Star Wars reference in the third act.) achieve the impossible and make a Mon-El-centric episode compelling thanks to some royal intrigue, bounty hunters, and super fun action scenes. Smith lines up some great sequences from a cold open pitting Supergirl against a fellow heat vision alien; Supergirl, Guardian, and Winn teaming up to take out a bald, mind control alien, and a Big Kahuna of a final brawl featuring Martian Manhunter. Other highlights, include Rhea, played by an icy and intimidating Teri Hatcher, rising up to true villain status, a strong subplot featuring Alex and Maggie working out some emotional baggage with Maggie’s ex-girlfriend Emily (Hayley Sales), and Martian Manhunter continuing to be a great father figure and even standing up to the president of the United States herself. There’s even a decent plot twist, and Llanas, Musky-Goldwyn, and Smith set up the pieces that will likely be knocked down after a month hiatus.

After spending the last episode tangling with Mon-El drama and showcasing her golden pipes in “The Duet” The Flash crossover episode, Melissa Benoist is back to being moral, a little bit goofy, and well super as Supergirl. (And Mon-El knows his place: the kitchen.) Smith shows this early on as she immediately leaves a scrumptious breakfast spread to save some innocent citizens from a heat vision wielding alien bounty hunter and shields them with her own body. When it’s revealed that someone has put a bounty on Supergirl’s head, she constantly bristles to go back into action, but decides to lie low and play Settlers of Catan so no one gets hurt in the crossfire. Supergirl will even fight a close quarters battle against her boyfriend’s kryptonite sai wielding mom to save the man she loves and protect Earth from the threat of a xenophobic alien monarchy that put out a bounty just so their crown prince would return to their ship. There have been plenty of Mon-El saying Kara is great speeches throughout this season, but I almost bought the one where he talked about admiring her as a hero. Maybe, it’s because it’s after a battle where they helped each other out and not a last ditch pity apology.

Speaking of relationship issues, Llanas and Musky-Goldwyn tell an Alex and Maggie story that falls outside the main plot, but ends up showing why their romance works so well. Maggie’s ex Emily is in town, and Alex is the best girlfriend ever and invites them all out to dinner because she doesn’t possess a jealous bone in her body. The first appearance of Emily causes a lot of strain in the usually unflappable Maggie Sawyer’s face with Floriana Lima conveying that there’s some darkness in their past. Alex finds out that Maggie actually cheated on Emily, but instead of going the soap opera route and breaking up with her, she is empathetic and understands that it’s hard for Maggie to trust people after  Instead of going for the easy pre-hiatus drama route, Llanas and Musky-Goldwyn double down on relationship development via talking and even steal some adorable smooches and flirting along the way.

“Distant Sun” is a generally well-structured episode of Supergirl with Gabriel Llanas and Anna Musky-Goldwyn centering the action of the plot on the strained relationship between Mon-El and his parents in a battle between heroism and an easy life of comfort. Mon-El is pretty darn heroic in this episode and talks with his father about establishing a democracy in Daxam. Lar Gand (Kevin Sorbo) acts as kind of a buffer between Rhea’s hardline stance of wanting her son back at all costs and has a quiet, misguided nobility to her ruthlessness. (If you’ve watched or read Game of Thrones, you know how these things turn out.) Teri Hatcher is fantastic at Rhea with her unflinching devotion to getting what she wants and provides an upper crust, extraterrestrial foil to Brenda Strong’s Lillian Luthor as a Big Bad this season. If you’re a mom, it’s a good bet you’re really evil if you appear in Supergirl Season 2.

Kevin Smith helps with “Distant Sun’s” strong structure by making each setpiece a little bigger than the other culminating in an extended sequence of Martian Manhunter in his green form beating down Daxamite royal guards. There aren’t any Daredevil-style one takes in this episode, but Smith lingers on the punches, kicks, and holds creating some truly epic moments like Supergirl pushing back five guards with one of their staff weapons. This longer shot technique combined with searing glances from David Harewood makes a psychic battle between Martian Manhunter and a telepathic bounty hunter believable without wasting any of the CGI budget on the CW’s Legion. Unfortunately, it hinders some of the suspense towards the end of the episode, but the action more than makes up for it.

“Distant Sun” has yet another nuanced Maggie and Alex subplot, a likable Mon-El, the addition of interplanetary intrigue to Supergirl‘s season long arc, and rock solid action scenes from Kevin Smith, which means this reviewer will be going into the hiatus as satisfied as Kara Danvers after devouring a plate of hashbrowns and poached eggs.

Overall Rating: 8.0

Sister Power Prevails in Supergirl S2E15 “Exodus”

“Exodus” reminded me of why I loved and started to write about Supergirl in the first place and is the show’s best episode of 2017 so far. It puts Mon-El and Kara’s romance on the backburner, fishes out a criminally underused Snapper Carr (And the talented Ian Gomez, who embodies truth in a single passionate, yet cynical glance.), and best of all, puts the focus on the sisterly relationship between Kara and Alex Danvers. But this episode isn’t just long stretches of Kara and Alex pouring out their feelings, but is filled with some top notch action as writers Paula Yoo and Eric Carrasco and director Michael Allowitz have Alex basically go rogue and take out Cadmus all by herself when J’onn suspends her from Cadmus. Also, in an episode that guest stars TV’s Lois (Teri Hatcher as a mysterious alien) and Clark (Jeremiah Danvers) themselves, the most romantic moment comes from Supergirl catching Lena Luthor after she helps put her on the trail to Cadmus. They don’t get a ton of screen time, but Yoo and Carrasco continue to completely debunk the Luther/Superfamily rivalry and give them a genuine friendship even if they don’t have time for kombucha this time.

Even though Supergirl is pretty damn heroic in this episode carrying a spaceship filled with deported alien refugees (There are tons of political parallels in “Exodus.), the reporter Kara Danvers is pretty flawed. And even though “he’s rooting for her”, Snapper Carr is quick to point out those flaws that include basically only using Supergirl aka herself as a source for her pieces. He might come off as irascible, but Snapper is a true crusader for journalism ethics, which is kind of big deal in a time where journalists from the venerable BBC aren’t welcome at President Trump’s press gaggles.

Snapper humors Kara and interviews “Supergirl”, but she doesn’t reveal that she got information about Cadmus taking the alien registry from the DEO even off the record so there’s no story in his eyes. But Kara goes off the reservation and exposes Cadmus in a blog post. (Sadly not done in WordPress.) She’s a great superhero, but not a great journalist. These series of events causes Lillian and Cadmus to go into hiding, but it costs Kara her job. Now, she has an existential crisis in her civilian position, and you can definitely see the sadness in Melissa Benoist’s eyes as she sits on the window sill in a sequence tearfully framed by Allowitz. It’s a relatable sequence to anyone who has lost a promising job that they were passionate about. And yeah, Mon-El is there to reassure her, but that emptiness is still there as who knows what Kara Danvers is going to do with her life moving onwards.

Continuing the theme of going against authority, Alex Danvers decides to take down Cadmus all by herself. (With a little help from Maggie Sawyer, who is there for the smooching, snarking, and raygun blasts.) Her emotional bond with her father Jeremiah continues even after he steals the alien registry from the DEO, and she continues to passionately hope that there is good in him bringing her into conflict with J’onn and disagreement with Kara. One of “Exodus'” most shocking moments is J’onn shapeshifting into Jeremiah and coercing Alex into “betraying” the DEO by agreeing to team up with him. Thankfully, J’onn walks this back later in the episode after most of everything is set to rights, and their father/daughter relationship is intact.

But before the tearful reunion, we get to see Chyler Leigh and Floriana Lima star in the queer, female starring remake of Bad Boys that everyone secretly (or not so secretly) wants. They use some gun play and detective smarts by using their buddy from the alien bar, Brian, to act as bait for Cadmus goons before springing the trap in a thrilling hand to hand combat scene. Then, Alex gets to unleash her inner Splinter Cell character and stealthily infiltrate the DEO and team up with her dad, who is in deep, deep cover and joined Cadmus to protect her and Kara. Alex believes in him so much, and they move fluidly in combat trying to stop Lillian from sending a group of alien refugees to the far end of space before Cyborg Superman has to ruin things. Alex Danvers is a true action hero, and because her abilities don’t require CGI, her fight scenes are better staged with longer takes.

Nonetheless,The Flash and Vampire Diaries director Michael Allowitz brings some powerful visuals to the forefront of “Exodus in both the action and emotion department. Women kicking ass is the throughline of the episode’s setpieces even if Guardian gets a killer save in the early going from Lena tasing her own mom’s goons before jumping off the roof because Supergirl will save her to Lyra saving her fellow aliens while Alex and Supergirl attempt to crash land an “alien ocean frigate”. A group fight scene featuring Maggie, Alex, and Winn at the alien bar is relentless as Alex uses pool cues and whatever she can find to fight off the goons and try to save the aliens from Cadmus. It shows her resourcefulness and that she is willing to do whatever it takes to protect anyone in need. This ruthless pragmatism comes in handy later in the episode when Alex threatens to blow up Lillian Luthor’s top secret base and then sets off some explosives to show her that she wasn’t bluffing. Alex Danvers has a darker edge compared to her adoptive sister, but her relationships with Maggie, Kara, and her father figures Jeremiah and J’onn give a warm humanity to a character who brutally beat a prisoner early on in the episode.

However, Allowitz’s finest moment is a tribute to Star Trek: Wrath of Khan as Alex and Kara touch hands through the glass while Kara strains to prevent the ship with the alien refugees from going into light speed. The shot is a subtle homage to the film, and no one makes a joke about Star Trek, but it’s iconic enough to be shorthand for a lasting bond of friendship that transcends life and death. Blake Neely’s score is also pretty heroic, and Melissa Benoist does these death howls to show much pain she is in while saving this ship. Kara and Alex’s relationship has been the bedrock of Supergirl since Season 1 and centering an episode around it makes “Exodus one of Season 2’s sturdier episodes. They resist authority separately with the help of the women they love (Lena and Maggie) to protect the Earth from an evil, xenophobic organization and then end up saving the day together in a glorious instant.

The past few episodes of Supergirl have focused on romance and villains of the week, but “Exodus” is grounded in the reality of the 2017 albeit through the spaceships and extraterrestrials. Allowitz opens the scene with a moment of broad comedy as a mom and dad sings along to the latest Bruno Mars hit single while the pre-teen daughter makes snarky little comments. But then they are stopped by the police, and the context immediately turns frightening as they are snatched up and sent to Cadmus’ prison base. This is a jarring sequence to watch, especially after the “Muslim Ban 2.0” executive order was signed into law by a man, who thinks that security briefings are optional before sending soldiers to be killed in action, perjury is no big deal, and it’s totally cool to conduct international diplomacy in full view of the public at a Palm Beach club for rich white people while eating wedge salads on taxpayers’ dime. Just like the random aliens that get rounded up in “Exodus”, people are getting snatched up and deported because of their religion and national origin instead of being treated like human beings. This real world connection adds weight to Lillian Luthor and Cadmus’ villainy and makes Supergirl part of the pop culture resistance in a way.

Paula Yoo and Eric Carrasco throw aside most of this Mon-El foolishness for an episode and zero in on the flaws and heroism of Kara Danvers and Alex Danvers through relationships, defiance of authority in various ways that even have negative consequences in the case of Kara’s job, and finally a breathtaking rescue sequence that is one of Supergirl Season 2’s most memorable.

Overall Rating: 9.0

Supergirl Gets Sentimental in S2E13 “Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzpltk”

Supergirl -- "Mr. & Mrs. Mxyzptlk" -- SPG213a_0018.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara and Peter Gadiot as Mr. Mxyzptlk -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

A week after the fact Valentine’s themed episode, Supergirl kicks it Silver Age style when the 5th dimension imp and classic Superman villain, Mxyzptlk, rolls into town. In a meta-casting twist, he is played by Peter Gadiot, who played a genie in ABC’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and wants to marry Supergirl because he thought she was beautiful while traveling between dimensions. Writers Sterling Gates and Jessica Queller definitely go for broke on the goofy side with Mxyzptlk’s havoc culminating in an homage to Hamilton, but the real meat of “Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk” is in the romantic relationship depart where Maggie and Alex spend their first Valentine’s together, Winn takes a chance at love with the alien Lyra, and the ball is dropped yet again in the Mon-El/Kara department.

Mxyzptlk is a fantastic villain of the week, and Gadiot plays him with unbridled energy while director Stefan Pleszczynski shoots some inventive set pieces featuring him. However, the solution to beat him is pretty low budget and word for word faithful from the comics showing Mort Weisinger zaniness can co-exist with real human feelings. It’s a nice change to have a villain that is an intellectual challenge for Supergirl and not one that she can defeat by punching, using heat vision, or the DEO armory/MacGuffin closet. She defeats Mxyzptlk in a sly way not unlike the covers of the Weisinger-era Superman comics that involved him being more of a trickster than a Big Blue Boy Scout to drive sales. Kara also fights Mxyzptlk on her terms, her turf (The Fortress of Solitude.), and without Mon-El or anyone’s help driving home her agency as a character.

James gets the week off as both Guardian and in his day job at Catco, but Gates and Queller give Winn a solo subplot of his own and an adorable, yet sexy bond with Lyra, an alien whose martial arts skills help save him at the Alien Bar. In an episode where men are trying to do “rescuing” some way, Winn’s lack of toxic masculinity is refreshing. Winn is a fan of the literature of Lyra’s home planet, Starhaven, and he immediately falls for her forward approach to romance, including asking him out and kissing him first. Except their bond isn’t just physical, and they share a nice scene where Winn talks about the pain of heartbreak and getting hurt in a romantic relationship that is relatable to anyone in the dating scene. Their storyline didn’t have much to do with the main plot, but presented some nice counterprogramming to the machismo and posturing of Mxyzptlk and Mon-El, who fight over Kara like she’s not even in the room.

Exactly how I feel about Kara/Mon-El.

Exactly how I feel about Kara/Mon-El.

I think the writers of Supergirl, including Gates and Queller, are going for an aggressive bickering leads to romance kind of vibe, like Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in Empire Strikes Back or Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally… Except those couples had chemistry (Or at least great dialogue from Larry Kasdan and Nora Ephron respectively.), and Kara and Mon-El don’t have that even though Melissa Benoist are charming actors. Mon-El reaches new levels of ridiculousness in “Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk” by treating Kara, who taught him to be a superhero, like a damsel in distress and being patronizing towards her. Also, he’s jealous of an imp from another dimension, who has major issues with boundaries and thinks that Mxyzptlk will “take” him away from her. Most of the episode is spent by Kara rescuing Mon-El from his own stupidity when he tries to go mano a mano with Mxyzptlk and lecturing him about forcing the issue in their relationship. But they still end up smooching at the end of the episode after Kara basically walks back everything she said over the past episode as not wanting to lose her “cover” when pretending to marry Mxyzptlk. It’s the silliest thing in an episode that features a teleporting, reality warping Aaron Burr cosplayer.

The message of “Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk” is simple and true. Romantic relationships should be organic and selfless with both parties caring about each other instead of doing ridiculous things to impress the other person, like Mxyzptlk and to a lesser extent, Mon-El. Except Gates and Queller walk that idea back by having Kara instantly being okay with Mon-El as a romantic partner even after she has constantly said that they aren’t good for each other, and that she is tired of his rescues and stunts on her behalf. The extended make-out between Kara and Mon-El is tacked onto the verbal equivalent “I’m sorry” as the product of all the non-existent sexual tension between them. It will be interesting to see their relationship develop in a car running a red light on a busy intersection and getting majorly totaled kind of way.

maggieprom

But, on a happier note, Gates and Queller spend a little time with Maggie and Alex, who are celebrating their first Valentine’s together. There is a big, sad emotional beat when Maggie reveals that she was outed to her parents as a lesbian by a girl that she had a crush on in high school on Valentine’s Day. They didn’t respond well, and she had to live with relatives. From personal experience, being outed against your will is a painful, trust destroying, and agency removing experience. Maggie’s first reaction is to be alone, but she runs into Kara, who tells Maggie about how much Valentine’s means to her because this is her first one as a couple. And the ending is beautifully romantic and slightly cheesy as Maggie and Alex dance like they’re at prom together. Maggie and Alex’s relationship is pretty emotionally volatile, but through Floriana Lima and Chyler Leigh’s long glances and soft tones to each other, they truly care about each other and are Supergirl”s best romantic coupling so far in two seasons.

“Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk” has a plot and villain that indulges in some true Silver Age silliness as Sterling Gates, Jessica Queller, and Stefan Plesczynski embraces Superman and Supergirl’s past canon with open arms while still having some insightful things to say about the nature of relationships. The Mon-El subplot continues to be an eyesore, but this episode of Supergirl is filled with romance, whimsy, and a touch of truth.

Rating: 8.0

TV Review: Supergirl S2E4 Survivors

spg204c-0006r-207945While investigating the murder of an unregistered alien, Kara and Alex find an alien fight club run by Roulette; Hank tries to get to know M’Gann better; Supergirl begins to train Mon-El.

The first rule of alien fight club is don’t talk about alien fight club. Yeah, that joke will probably be made in most of the reviews of this episode of Supergirl which further explores the second Martian survivor M’Gann and also gives us an alien fighting ring.

But, the episode is really interesting because it continues the themes of last episode as to who is “human.” There’s a tidbit in the episode focused on this as Roulette explains that humans don’t care about what happens to the aliens because they don’t see them as human, but other.

spg204b-0102r-207944And that’s a lot of the episode’s focus, about the “Survivors” of various planets and species on Earth trying to make a life. It’s about the aliens that are here attempting to go forward, but being treated as less.

And that idea of being a survivor extends to Supergirl figuring out what to do with Mon-El and J’onn trying to get to know about M’Gann. All are survivors from their home worlds and have to figure out what to do. Should they continue tradition or should they forge their own way forward? It’s an interesting debate and gets into real world debates such as inter-faith marriages for Jewish individuals and also an exploration of prejudices. It’s some good use of metaphor in entertainment.

spg204a-0107r-207936I think there’s also a case to be made that the concept of “survivor,” otherness, and trying to find your own also applies to Alex who clearly is crushing on Maggie. I’m cheering for these two to get together.

The episode as a whole is decent and gets us away from the usual alien attacks and the DEO and Supergirl have to deal with it. It also sets up a lot to come. The end of the episode has some twists I don’t want to ruin and is best to experience them. Some are telegraphed, but others are a bit more left field.

A good episode that sticks to positive themes while keeping the entertainment high.

Overall Rating: 8.3

TV Review: Immigrants Get the Job Done in Supergirl S2E3 Welcome to Earth

supergirl23fi

In a single hour of Supergirl, writers Derek Simon and Jessica Queller grapple with racism, homophobia, and xenophobia through both metaphor and reality. Instead of going the original X-Men route where Stan Lee used a team of white teenagers to explore racism in the United States, Simon and Qweller deal with it head it on in pointed speeches from J’onn, who mentions how being taking the form of an African American man has had an impact on how he is treated, and new supporting cast member Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima), who talks about how growing up lesbian and Latina in Nebraska, has caused her to connect with the more extraterrestrial citizens of Metropolis. Rachael Talalay’s (Doctor WhoTank Girl) direction of the scene captures why science fiction and superhero stories have captivated people of color and LGBTQ folks as she lovingly closes in on the different features at the aliens at the bar. Chyler Leigh (who plays Alex Danvers) also has magnetic chemistry with Lima, and even though, they are chasing a lead on a possible Kryptonian assassin of the president of the United States (played by a a positively regal), it seem like they are on a date at a gay bar. Text and subtext mingles to create an over the top, yet wonderful episode of Supergirl.

The main plot of “Welcome to Earth” is centered around the signing of the Alien Amnesty Act, which allows all extraterrestrials to become American citizens. There are overt parallels with the amnesty towards undocumented immigrants in the United States, and both the real policy and Supergirl one are connected to the fact that the United States is a nation of immigrants from all over the world. However, instead of having Supergirl fight against some xenophobic figurehead, Simon and Queller have her confront her own implicit racial biases towards Mon El (Chris Wood), who is from Daxam, a planet that was involved in a civil war with Krypton years ago. While Mon El is being held in DEO containment, Kara basically tells him that Krypton is a more “enlightened” planet than Daxam, which characterized as a lawless, warlike land. She is the good guy, but this is flat out racism. This scene is painful to watch, but shows that everyone (Even paragons of virtue like Supergirl.) have biases and prejudices that we need to overcome. This is in spite of Mon El’s inclusion in the plot being your usual run of the mill red herring deal as it’s revealed that an alien named Scorcher is behind the attack on the president.

Scorcher is the weak link of this episode. Her powers look cool, but there is really no substance to her character. She is just there so Supergirl and the DEO have something to fight and investigate. But Simon and Queller don’t revert to superhero comic politician cliches with the president’s reactions to her attack as she (slightly naively) continues to push the Amnesty Law even when she is attacked by an alien twice. These attacks are also a chance to show Supergirl’s unflinching heroism as Talalay zooms in on shots of her covering the president with her cape, or carefully using her freeze breath to make sure that the Amnesty Act is unharmed. It’s unfortunate that Scorcher is a pyrokinetic plot device, but she is a small setback in an episode filled with real world connections underneath a warm sci-fi veneer. Plus Lena Luthor returns in this episode and shows the signs of being a possible, excellent Big Bad as Katie McGrath delivers her lines to Kara with a casual friendliness even as she channels her inner Donald Trump and says that humans must have the ability to detect the aliens among them. Lena has the makings of a great villain because she thinks she is helping out (and making a buck) with this new technology, and because she isn’t impulsive like Metallo or Scorch, but quite the chess player.

Supergirl also continues to do an excellent job showing the difficulties that Kara has in her day job while also finally giving James Olsen some scenes that channel his undeniable charisma in Season 1 as he and Snapper Carr butt heads. By the end of “Welcome to Earth”, it is clear that he is the boss as he rewrites Carr’s choosing to take a moral stand instead of hiding behind the cloak of objectivity. Snapper does get to show off that he’s a journalist’s journalist as he pursues all angles (including religious) of the Amnesty Act and helps Kara channel her passion for the truth while filtering out her “pro-alien” bias to be an objective reporter. It’s nice to see Kara learn the craft of being a reporter instead of just using her day job as a way to set up plots, and the bias discussion with Snapper dovetails with a conversation she has with Mon-El where she admits her bias towards his planet.

Supergirl -- "Welcome to Earth" -- Image SPG203b_0160 -- Pictured (L-R): Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers and Floriana Lima as Maggie Sawyer -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Maggie Sawyer is truly a great addition to the supporting cast of Supergirl as she instantly connects with Alex Danvers with their similar take charge attitudes as they try to one-up each other at the scene of the attack on the president.. And on her own, she fills in a gap in Supergirl as she is connected to both the human and alien citizens of National City in her job as a police officer. She also happens to frequent an alien bar and be the ex-girlfriend of a certain prominent DC character, who gets revealed in a gorgeous flourish of CGI and yet another tense confrontation scene from Talalay. Talalay builds the connection between Maggie and Alex through glances similar to the looks Cate Blanchett throws Rooney Mara’s way in the 2015 LGBT indie film Carol. Add some sharp banter, and the fact that Maggie helped Alex have a more sympathetic view towards aliens and see them as nuanced individuals, and we have the start of a beautiful friendship, er, romance.

Supergirl soars to new heights in “Welcome to Earth” as Derek Simon and Jessica Queller pay tribute to the Super-mythos’ immigrant roots while taking racism, xenophobia, and homophobia head on through superpowered metaphors as well as great characters, like Maggie Sawyer, J’onn, Mon-El, and even Supergirl herself, who confronts her flaws in this episode while continuing to be adorable, especially in her interactions with Lynda Carter’s president, who is an alien herself…

Overall Rating: 9.5

Around the Tubes

NSM_Cv1_open_order_varIt was new comic book day yesterday with lots of new releases. What stood out to you? What didn’t? Sound off in the comments!

Around the Tubes

CBLDF – Experimental Comics Thrive in Middle East Despite Obstacles – Very interesting article.

CBR – “Supergirl” Finds Its Maggie Sawyer in “The Family’s” Floriana Lima – Pretty cool. Be interesting to see how they write her.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Newsarama – Daredevil #9

Comic Vine – Detective Comics #936

The Beat – The Flash #2

Newsarama – Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #1

The Beat – Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #1

Comic Attack – Horizon #1

The Beat – New Super-Man #1

Newsarama – Nightwing: Rebirth #1

The Beat – Nightwing: Rebirth #1

Newsarama – Wonder Woman #2

The Beat – Wonder Woman #2