Tag Archives: Jessica Queller

TV Review: Supergirl S2E22 “Nevertheless She Persisted” has Kick-Ass Action and Human Emotion

Supergirl‘s Season 2 finale “Nevertheless She Persisted” opens up a potent can of whup ass with a no holds barred throwdown between Supergirl and Superman, who is being controlled by Rhea with silver kryptonite that makes Kara look like General Zod, courtesy of veteran Arrow and Smallvile director Glen Winter. And it has a Battle of Pelennor Fields-esque second act with White Martians, a Superman and Martian Manhunter team-up, and even Mon-El busting out some kung fu to defeat the Daxamites. However, where this episode really shines is how writers Robert Rovner, Caitlin Parrish, Jessica Queller, and Andrew Kreisberg,  and actor Melissa Benoist show how far Kara Danvers has come along as a woman, reporter, and hero. She’s not afraid to make the hard choice and irradiating the atmosphere with lead to make the Daxamites go away but feels terrible about having to send her boyfriend Mon-El away before he dies. Her grief comes out in teary, silent close-ups of Benoist as she flies in the twilight and wishes there was some way she could be with Mon-El. Also, having a nice trial by combat between Supergirl and Rhea is an excellent main plot point.

And this is where Cat Grant is kind of perfect in a more dialed down performance from Calista Flockhart even though she makes some great, leaning on the fourth quips about never seeing Star Wars to Winn and Kara. She gives Kara the pep talk of all pep talks by praising her investigative reporting while giving her constructive criticism about her writing style. Then, Cat hits what is honestly the thematic core of Supergirl as a TV show: women can be emotionally vulnerable and still fight on. And this goes for all the women of Supergirl, including the bad guys. Rhea is a terrible, cowardly tyrant, but she still has love for Mon-El even as she collapses in lead dust. On the other hand, Lillian Luthor will do whatever it takes to protect the world from aliens, but she regrets being so negative towards Lena while she was growing up and straining their relationship.

Even more so than the MacGuffin/mind control/Myriad season 1 finale, Supergirl Season 2’s finale is a war story. Most of the shooting is done in the dark, but Winter occasionally shows shots of buildings, fountains, and windows being caught in the crossfire of powerful aliens from the Superman vs. Supergirl battle in the beginning to Supergirl vs. Rhea and finally the all out Martian/human/Kryptonian/Daxamite battle royale. But unlike its higher budget cousin, Man of Steel, “Nevertheless She Persisted” consciously shows the heroes helping every day people, like Martian Manhunter carrying civilians out of harm’s way or Superman protecting them with his freeze breath. Superman and Martian Manhunter have a truly epic moment when they say “Stronger together” in their native tongues before giving us one of the coolest superhero team-ups in TV history.

But they get emotional stories too with Superman playing a supporting role even though Tyler Hoechlin has leading man charisma, and you can tell why Cat Grant has a crush on Clark Kent. In a sparring session, she opens up to him about her fear of losing Mon-El if she activates Lillian Luthor’s fail safe, and he empathizes with his fear of losing Lois. Except for when he’s under the influence of silver kryptonite (Which I didn’t know was a thing), Superman is kind, compassionate, and a team player. And the writers of Supergirl use him in small doses so he doesn’t overshadow Kara and the main supporting players’ arcs.

They don’t spend a lot of time onscreen together thanks to the frantic flying and rushing to fight Rhea and the Daxamites, but “Nevertheless She Persisted’s” writers manage to get a few great scenes out of Kara and Alex’s interactions. Their bond as sisters has been this season’s bedrock and even enhanced the romantic relationship between Alex and Maggie, which gets a bit of an upgrade in this episode. Alex nurses her back to health in the Fortress of Solitude and then later on thanks her for helping her come out as lesbian earlier in the season although she was struggling to be herself. Kara is definitely thinking about Mon-El as she flies and broods above National City, but her last great interaction is with Alex, the woman who she inspires and is inspired by in turn.

Supergirl is a TV show about women of action who also have rich emotional lives, and when the writers strike that balance between those two things (Instead of following Mon-El down a douchy rabbit hole), it can be a great genre show as “Nevertheless She Persisted” (And a great Cat Grant speech.) demonstrates. Supergirl Season 2 has definitely been a rocky ride, but by doubling down on the relationships between female characters and villains, it stuck the landing while leaving some threads for next season like Lillian Luthor being free as a bird, yet another pod being sent from Krypton, and perhaps a romance between Kara and Lena Luthor.

Overall Rating: 8.50

Review: Supergirl S2E21 “Resist” is the Cat Grant/Kara Power Hour

Beginning with an action prologue showing the Daxamites putting National City under siege, writers Jessica Queller and Derek Simon literally bring out the heavy guns in Supergirl Season 2’s penultimate episode “Resist”. The core plot is simple: the main cast of characters plus special guest stars Cat Grant (Callista Flockhart slaying everything.) and President Olivia Marsdin (Lynda Carter) are fighting back against the Daxamite occupation. President Marsdin (Whose alien secret is revealed early on.) introduces the equivalent of the nuclear solution pretty on by authorizing Alex Danvers and the DEO to disintegrate the Daxamite flagship with Mon-El and Lena Luthor on it. They are arranged to be married and have a “perfect” Daxamite/human child because Rhea is basically a space Nazi. Katie McGrath’s side eye reactions to all things have to do with Lena’s arranged marriage to Mon-El are priceless.

Because her boyfriend and best friend are on the ship, Supergirl has a personal connection and decides to team up with Lillian Luthor and Cyborg Superman to save them, which goes pretty well… They might be the Big Bads of Supergirl Season 2, but they’re definitely bad guys. It’s not a Professor X teaming up Magneto in X2 situation, but more like being cool with the “bigger fish” in The Phantom Menace for five seconds or so so your submarine survives to be a part of yet another inane subplot.

It’s an understatement to say that Callista Flockhart steals every scene she’s in as Cat Grant, and that someone at the CW should move heaven and Earth to get her back on Supergirl as a regular or recurring guest star. There’s her reintroduction scene riding shotgun in Air Force One where Cat says that she could broker peace because she fixed Kanye and Taylor Swift’s relationship, and she even comments on the fact that James Olsen made her office smell like a gym locker room. But she’s not just comic relief in a relatively dark episode of Supergirl. Cat brings a high level of inspiration and direction to “Resist” and gives a great pep talk while sitting on a trash outside an alien dive bar. It definitely seems like the writers try to pack in a half season of interactions between her and Kara, but the scene where she talks to her about the importance of human relationships and connection stands on its own.  And it pays off later with Kara and Lena kicking ass together on the Daxamite ship and definitely with Alex and Maggie infiltrating the DEO. Also, Flockhart gets to share the screen with Lynda Carter and Teri Hatcher that turns a rote disaster movie plane crash into three strong women verbally sparring with Cat Grant playing referee to the political posturing of Rhea and President Marsdin. As a journalist, she truly wants to follow the path of peace and truth.

In its last few episodes, Supergirl has definitely rekindled its political allegories and is definitely not shy at taking potshots at Donald Trump, or using the Daxamites as a metaphor for his administration. Cat’s “resist” speech pinpoints all the problems with his campaign promises, including basically selling his supporters up the river with false promises and con artistry while taking away their healthcare and some basic social services, like Meals on Wheels or PBS. And there are broader themes of resisting fascism represented by the faceless Daxamite goons, who try to subjugate National City.

Supergirl‘s treatment of President Marsdin is interesting too as she protects extraterrestrial refugees because she is one too. However, she is also perfectly okay with firing upon civilians (Lena, Mon-El) for the greater good. Marsdin represents the problems I had with former president Obama and Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy with their liberal social conscience meets hawk-ish foreign policy. It’s nice to see a sociopolitical critique in a superhero show in 2017 that doesn’t just go for the obvious target.

Millicent Shelton, who has directed episodes of Empire and Black-ish along with the first Earth-2 episode of The Flash, brings a visually muscular style to “Resist” that matches its subject material. The cold open of the episode is quite epic and filled with whip cuts culminating in Supergirl catching Alex in slow motion. It’s the kind of action scene that immediately raises the stakes of the episode and is worthy of a Warner Bros blockbuster and not just a CW show. It’s good storytelling too as it introduces the conflict between human and alien by centering on Maggie Sawyer and the National City P.D. and not Supergirl or the comatose Martian Manhunter. There are good aliens and bad aliens just like there are  good and bad humans, and this keeps the conflict messy and nuanced as Supergirl Season 2 rounds its final bend. Also, Maggie Sawyer should use shotguns more often.

“Resist” is a visual treat from director Millicent Shelton (See the slow-mo action sequence where Cat deduces Guardian’s secret identity.) , is packed to the gills with action and moral conflict as Supergirl teams up with Lillian Luthor to save her friends, and has a season stealing performance from Callista Flockhart as Cat Grant. Add a fun/weird cliffhanger, and I can’t wait for the season finale.

Overall Rating: 8.5

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.

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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

Supergirl S2E8 “Medusa” is More Mother/Daughter Relationships than Crossovers

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While the lion’s share of the advertising and general hype surrounding this episode of Supergirl is about its impending crossover with the other CW superhero shows, writer Jessica Queller and Derek Simon don’t abandon the show’s arcs and relationships for guest stars and dimensional rifts. “Medusa” is centered around relationships between mothers and daughters and family in general as Lillian Luthor tries to get Lena to join the family business and release a bio-weapon killing. On the more heroic side of things, Supergirl works with her adoptive mother, Eliza Danvers (a very pleasant Helen Slater). The intertwining of the family secrets and the passive aggressive sniping of the Luthors thanks to Brenda Strong along with the added side dish of Martian Manhunter struggling with becoming a White Martian elevates the plot, which is a standard quarantine disaster movie or the X-Men “Legacy Virus” crossover without them.

The theme of family is definitely fitting for an episode immediately airing after Thanksgiving, and director Stefan Pleszysnki uses warm lighting and plenty of shots of Kara and her friends and family to show their bond despite “secrets,” like James Olsen being the vigilante Guardian, or more seriously, Alex Danvers coming out as lesbian to her mother. Alex does come out to Eliza later in the episode in a warm moment of acceptance, but thankfully the Guardian subplot is sidelined for this one. Helen Slater is basically a human sunbeam, and even though she mainly plays the role of scientific exposition or fixer of bio weapons, she brings intelligence and love to each scene. This is a total contrast to Kara’s real father, Zor-El, who is responsible for creating the basically racist bio weapon Medusa, which can destroy the DNA of any non-Kryptonians as a last ditch weapon.

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It’s disconcerting that Kara’s father, who instilled in her the values of goodness, hope, and being “stronger together”, created something that could be used for genocide and could kill innocents. Melissa Benoist’s performance as Supergirl is less bright and more pensive than usual after this reveal as she talks to Martian Manhunter about her father’s terrible legacy. As the lone survivor of a world he would have given anything to save, he slightly understands Zor-El’s motivation, but mentions this in passing and instead comforts Kara. David Harewood channels the noble, honorable warrior inside of J’onn Jonzz that comics fans and viewers of the Justice League cartoons have loved for years as he flies out to help stop Lillian Luthor from releasing the bio weapon. He has a passion for good that can’t be drowned out by the White Martian DNA devouring his body even if this disease makes for some nifty special effects makeup.

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In “Medusa”, we finally get to see Lena and Lillian Luthor share some extended screen time, and Queller and Simon make their pacing around an office scenes more tense than Cyborg Superman getting his block knocked off or doing a “super punch” for the umpteenth time. (There is nothing wrong with punching just a character that exists as a one-dimensional goon, punching bang, and waste of David Harewood’s acting talent.) Brenda Strong continues to be the queen of passive aggressive condescension mixed with the cold, hard truth. (Yes, she prefers Lex to Lena.) Katie McGrath pulls out all the acting stops going from being the easygoing friend as Kara “interviews” her to get information about Cadmus and her mother to the cold, disdainful daughter measuring each syllable in venom when her mom decides to drop in. And she is especially entertaining in villain mode with raised eyebrows and a purr that evokes Eva Green if she ever decided to play Lady Macbeth. And Pleszynski holds the reveal that she sabotaged the bio-weapon for quite a while hinting at some dark irony as aliens celebrate red sparks that fall from the sky and do nothing.

And this being a CW show, this review wouldn’t be complete with an overindulgent discussion of the romantic pairings in “Medusa”. Queller and Simon go to the soap opera well and have Kara and Mon-El share a kiss while he is on his “death bed” after being exposed to the bio weapon. It isn’t really logical that Kara would fall for a kind of sexist, kind of adorkable, and slightly cowardly guy like Mon-El, and the “bonding” scenes where they play Monopoly and discuss the meanings of “crush” and “like” don’t really help. He is attractive, but it seems like the Supergirl are trying to do Romeo and Juliet with DC Comics aliens and hopefully less bloodshed in their relationship. It lacks the spark of, say, Alex and Maggie or even Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak in early seasons of Arrow. Plain and simple, Mon-El is way too douchey to be with Kara.

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But, on a happier note, Maggie Sawyer and Alex share a beautiful scene at the end of “Medusa” , which acts as a rousing conclusion to Alex’s coming out arc. It’s kind of cute, kind of awkward, and also very empowering as Maggie finally realizes that Alex came out not so she could be with her, but that she could finally completely be herself. There’s great symmetry between both her chat with her mother and Maggie about finally being able to feel her full identity, but substitute familial for romantic love. Maggie and Alex finally share a long kiss, but it’s the little pause where Alex asks Maggie if she likes her that encapsulates their relationship as Alex is still a little unsure of herself after Maggie previously rejected her. This hesitancy and fear makes Alex’s coming out that much more organic because even if your friends and relatives aren’t homophobic, the process can be a little awkward. Luckily, Alex has a supportive mother and sister.

As Supergirl Radio podcast host Carly Lane astutely tweeted, “Medusa” is like a zero issue or prologue for the “Heroes vs. Aliens” crossover with The Flash and Vibe enlisting the help of their extraterrestrial ally in a battle against a mysterious alien threat. There is a scene with aliens on a ship that seems spliced in from a later episode or another show altogether, but mostly the “crossover” scene at the end is a reminder of Gustin and Melissa Benoist’s adorable chemistry (They give the best hugs. with a tinge of sadness as Barry and Cisco aren’t on the best of terms. And in true comic book fashion, the episodes ends on an energetic cliffhanger as Kara will get to meet Team Flash (and possibly more people) tomorrow night.

With the reveal of Zor-El as potential destroyer of worlds, Jessica Queller and Derek Simon find a real commonality between Lena and Supergirl in “Medusa”. They are both daughters trying to make something better out of their family’s misdeeds even if Luthor will always have a more villainous ring to it than El unless you’re a disgruntled train commuter. This through line of family, especially mothers and daughters, keeps this Supergirl focused, but some fun romantic, Martian, and speedster detour don’t derail it.

Overall 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

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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

Supergirl S2E1: The Adventures of Supergirl Recap

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Season 2 of Supergirl kicked off with a bang last night on its new home The CW. Any fans who were skeptical about how the change in networks would effect their beloved show can relax.

Fans and newcomers to the show were treated to a new intro and that classic CW look. Always ready to keep the viewers on their feet there was a space pod crash and a mystery Kryptonian crash landed on earth.

In the interim between season 1 and season 2 the clandestine alien hunting team have moved into newer digs. No longer underground and with a little more autonomy, the lovable laughable Winn is now a member of the team. He’s their tech guy and it was a clever way to keep him on the show since it looks like Kara won’t be spending much time at the office season.

Supergirl -- "The Last Children of Krypton" -- Image SPG202a_0016 -- Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist Kara/Supergirl and Tyler Hoechlin as Clark/Superman -- Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

We also get to meet Superman and see the big cousin, little cousin ribbing and love that we needed. Having Clark on the show means Kara has someone, like her to talk about her Kryptonian problems. The Superman intro was delightfully campy, complete with slow motion running and shirt ripping to reveal the giant house of El crest.

The villain this time around is kind of ambiguous. Lex Luthor may or may not be trying to take his sister out and he’s willing to put all of National City at risk to do it. Supergirl and Superman team up throughout the episode and prove that two heads are better than one. I just hope that this mash up does not turn into the Superman show with Kara as a side kick.

Everyone’s favorite mogul and Kara mentor is back and still being the awesome example of a boss chick that we love. She is putting pressure on Kara to chose her next career at Cat Co. because she’s too good to just be an assistant. A good quarter of the episode is Kara trying to choose her path and Cat trying to lovingly but, bluntly get her to make a choice. In the end Kara chooses to be a reporter which Cat knew she would chose from the second she met her. That’s why Cat was so hard on her. She wanted to polish the diamond in the rough. There’s something refreshing about seeing them interact. We get to watch an older successful woman mentoring a young woman just starting out. She’s not trying to turn her into a clone, she’s trying to help her be the best she can be. So often in media we see women tearing other women down, exhibiting a sort of Highlander (there can be only one) mentality, or lamenti about boys. Their relationship is the kind that little girls need to see because it’s an image that is lacking in most media & depictions of female relationships.

clarkandkaraSpeaking of relationships, Jimmy and Kara are trying to make the relationship thing work. But, it’s not going as well as planned. clearly these two love each other and we all love to ‘ship them but, the timing isn’t right and Kara isn’t as into it as she could be. There is this great moment where Kara breaks the news to Jimmy and he acts like a human being. I phrase is like that because so often men take it the wrong (aggressive) way when women friend zone them. When Kara tells him that she just wants to be friends because she needs time to figure out who she is, how she can be Kara and Supergirl and, how she can manage a career he accepts it and supports her instead of telling her why she is wrong and pushing a romantic relationship on her. There was no saltiness and he kept his sulking to himself. It was a nice example for the young men watching, a feminist flag saying that women are not property and they don’t owe you a romantic relationship .

Another nice example for the men watching was Superman himself. When Kara asks for his advice about balancing it all he gives it to her. He doesn’t mansplain or tell her what to do instead he tells her how he did it and that she can figure it out. He treats her as a person instead of an object. He listens instead of ordering and, helps instead of sowing seeds of doubt.

Lena provides an antiCat for the series, she’s a strong woman but, she’s a variation on the most common women in power trope. She’s ruthless, cold and kind of heartless. She doesn’t even bat an eye at shooting a mama who was sent by her brother to kill her, even though Superman or Supergirl could have taken him down. But, the shows  take on this trope makes her relatable. She’s end fighting for her place so long she knows she’s alone and somehow it comes off less sexist and cliched and more complex and real.

With the threat to Lena neutralized and another unconscious Kryptonian pod person in the mix, Clark decides to stick around. The last few minutes of the show gave us the birth of Metallo who I’m assuming will be one of this seasons villians. Pod man (or should I just call him Valor? Because, it’s not like y’all weren’t thinking the same damn thing) will hopefully join the fight and I’m hoping the hero injection on the show doesn’t over power the She-ro the show is supposed to be about.

Overall this was a great start on the new network. It was serving up a little Smallville magic and I am hoping the magic continues. Supergirl is one of the few truly Girl powered (and empowering) shows on right now and, I am hoping that the writers continue to do right by her because she deserves it.

Overall Rating: 9.7

TV Review: Supergirl S2 E1 “Adventures of Supergirl” is a Crossroads for Kara

Supergirl -- "The Last Children of Krypton" -- Image SPG202a_0016 -- Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist Kara/Supergirl and Tyler Hoechlin as Clark/Superman -- Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Much of the press surrounding the season 2 premiere of Supergirl has been centered around Teen Wolf‘s Tyler Hoechlin guest starring as Superman, and he does turn in the best performance as the Man of Steel since the last Christopher Reeve. However, “Adventures of Supergirl” is about a turning point in Supergirl’s (Melissa Benoist) life as she must decide what job she is taking at Catco, whether she wants to date James Olsen (Mechad Brooks), and basically choose what kind of person she wants to be. Sure, a mercenary with a British accent and a name that is familiar to comic book nerds shows up to wreak havoc, and there is some intrigue from Lena Luthor. But writers Andrew Kreisberg, Jessica Queller, and Greg Berlanti focus the main brunt of the plot on Supergirl’s “coming of age” and ably position Superman’s guest apperance as both a family member and someone she can aspire to be. It’s the bedrock of a pretty overstuffed premiere that also features a subplot about tension between Superman and Martian Manhunter (David Harewood) over the DEO keeping kryptonite as insurance against any rogue Kryptonians.

“Adventures of Supergirl” is a major episode in Supergirl’s continuing character arc, and Melissa Benoist shows some nice acting range as she goes from smiling while saving a plane with Superman to stuttering about filling out an Internet quiz to pick her new job at Catco. And even though she isn’t Cat Grant’s (Calista Flockhart) assistant any more, Kara is a little unsure of herself as she and Superman (in disguise as Clark Kent) investigate Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) and in some of her interactions with Cat. However, she has never been more confident as Supergirl as she smiles while speed fixing L-Corp (formerly LexCorp) Tower and crack jokes about changing Superman’s diapers on Krypton to a family of bystanders she rescues. When Supergirl shields civilians or bullets or flies to save an airplane, it makes you believe in things like truth and justice. And this extends to her civilian life as Kara Danvers as she channels some of her life as Supergirl into an impassioned plea to Cat Grant to become a reporter at Catco. (Also, it’s the perfect job for a superhero, and you can get “exclusive scoops”. Just ask Peter Parker or Lois Lane.)

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“Adventures of Supergirl” also features a trio of wide-ranging guest performances for the earlier mentioned Hoechlin, Flockhart, and McGrath. Hoechlin’s plays Superman as a human being, not an icon, and he channels the competent, mature reporter and hero that has settled down with Lois Lane as written in Post-Crisis stories by John Byrne, Dan Jurgens, Mark Waid (His investigative reporting in Superman Birthright especially.), and the DC Animated Universe. The writers give him just a dash of cheesiness in his dialogue to satisfy fond memories of “bumbling reporter” Clark Kent, and director Glen Winter frames the big “S” front and center in the action scenes and establishing shots before cutting to him making a dry quip or shaking DEO soldiers’ hands. Superman is a family man with godlike powers, and Hoechlin and Benoist have a cheerful chemistry with Superman giving her helpful tips about being a more efficient superhero while Supergirl tells him stories about Krypton. I’m glad that they will have a few more episodes to explore their relationship, grow together, and share more triumphant high fives and smiles.

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Unfortunately, Cat Grant’s time as a main cast member of Supergirl has drawn to a close, but “Adventures of Supergirl” is hell of a curtain call for her. Kreisberg, Queller, and Berlanti build off the friendlier relationship that she and Kara developed at the close of Season 1 while still keeping some of her trademark sniping for good measure, like her constant reminders of the exact time Kara has to choose a job at Catco. Cat gets some of the most perceptive writing in the episode as she remarks that Supergirl’s beliefs are what make her a hero, not her abilities. Cat also gets a tiny bit sentimental when she talks about Kara’s potential to grow from an awkward, unsure assistant to a confident woman because she sees her drive to succeed in Kara. Flockhart excels at playing the mentor much more than the angry boss even though her one-liners are sharp as ever.

Finally, Katie McGrath brings an otherworldly presence to the role of Lena Luthor. Her calculated line delivery makes her initially seem like a femme fatale played by Eva Green, and Clark Kent doesn’t trust her, but she is really a woman, who wants to make something for herself apart from her family. She isn’t Lex Luthor’s plant, but a woman with a vision even though we don’t get to see her business acumen in this episode. Lena does end up being the one to take out Corben, and Kreisberg, Queller, and Berlanti do a twist on the Superman/Luthor dynamic by writing a favorable article about her and her company L-Corp because it’s the “truth”. But from the slow, measured ways that McGrath delivers Lena dialogue, and the “all too easy” ending of this episode, she may end up being a villain yet.

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Despite strong performances and inspirational themes, “Adventures of Supergirl” does have its shortcomings. The lack of budget in the move from CBS to the CW definitely shows with Winter’s quick cuts to not expose the fact that Supergirl and Superman are flying against a generic cityscape green screen. The sad richness that David Harewood brought to his voice performance as the Martian Manhunter in Season One is also distorted in the sound mix. Besides these technical hiccups, John Corben is a pretty one-dimensional villain of the week as your standard run of the mill merc with a drone that looks bought off eBay. (He becomes immensely cooler in the stinger though.) “Adventures of Supergirl” is also juggling a ton of plots and subplots, and major one of them (Jimmy/Kara romance) doesn’t get the kind of attention and lingering camera shots it got last season as Kara decides to just be friends with James. It does make sense that she wouldn’t have time for a romantic relationship at such a transitional time in her life though.

A villain of the week and some special effects issues aside, “Adventures of the Supergirl” is a sparkling example what an inspiring show Supergirl is and features some excellent character chemistry between Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl, Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman, and Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant. The episode dedicates itself to establishing and shifting the character of Supergirl while setting up a couple of mysteries to explored down the road. Lena Luthor is especially captivating thanks to Katie McGrath

Overall Rating: 8.5