Tag Archives: Katie McGrath

J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath’s Bad Robot is Developing Justice League Dark for HBO Max

Justice League Dark

Deadline has the scoop that Justice League Dark is being developed into a television series for HBO Max. Bad Robot is behind the production. It had previously been reported that Bad Robot was developing the property for film and television through its deal with WarnerMedia.

Justice League Dark is a DC Comics superhero team focused on dealing with mystical and supernatural threats. The team has primarily been made up of characters who are more focused on magic and occult like John Constantine, Deadman, Zatanna, but it has also included other characters like Swamp Thing, and Wonder Woman.

The team has had a theatrical focus in an animated film. It debuted in Justice League Dark #1 in 2011 and was created by Peter Milligan.

HBO Max is becoming the new home for numerous DC television properties. In October 2019 int was announced that Vertigo property DMZ would be coming to the digital streaming service as well as Strange Adventures, DC Superhero High, and a series focused on Green Lantern. The service will also feature every DC film of the last decade, every Superman and Batman film of the past 40 years, Joker will debut on it, and Doom Patrol will air on the platform as well. It’s expected to launch in May 2020.

TV Review: Supergirl S5E2 Stranger Beside Me

Supergirl Season 5

Supergirl, Alex and Braniac thwart an alien attack while William investigates Kara; J’onn J’onzz and Kelly use Obsidian tech to solve a problem.

What does J’onn J’onzz brother want? Why can’t J’onn remember details? This second episode reveals all of that and more. It’s an episode that balances reveals and battles each with good and bad. But, again, the most interesting aspect of the show is Kara’s work life.

Much like the season’s debut, the episode feels like it lacks some of the fun of previous seasons. There’s just something that feels off-kilter as far as tone and pacing.

The search of J’onn’s brother brings the team in contact and a quick battle ensues but it all feels a bit unnecessary. The episode would have been stronger have the hidden Martian among the team. It would have created a more tense episode and kept the viewer wondering who could be trusted. Stringing that along would create a bit more tension for the series and a unique aspect.

The episode mixes in humor with a focus on relationships that run from intriguing to a bit over the top (on purpose). It adds some levity and is closer to the “happier” tone of previous seasons. Though some of those relationships are unhealthy in reality.

Still, the best aspect is Kara and her work. With a new boss and a coworker whose actions are dubious, there’s a lot there to mine. The show dances around all of it but in a world where journalism struggles an staff are dismissed at a whim, it has the most potential of the season. A small detail at the end makes it all even more interesting and puts things in a gray zone.

The series continues to build up Lena as a villain and where that’s taken could make or break the season. It’s a bit of a shame as a Luthor as a villain feels a bit been there done that but Kara/Supergirl needs a big bad that can play out over seasons and Lena can be that.

The episode continues to set things up for the season and show continued potential. There’s a lot the episode dances around and while the tone of the episode and season is a bit different, it’s still an enjoyable hour.

Overall Rating: 7.35

TV Review: Supergirl S5E1 Event Horizon

Supergirl Season 5

Supergirl kicks off its fifth season as Kara is surprised to find CatCo has a new owner who has brought in a star reporter; new couples emerge and explore their budding relationships; J’onn J’onzz receives an unexpected visitor.

I ducked out of the fourth season of Supergirl though appreciated the show’s willingness to take on very real-world issues. The fifth season seems to be keeping that mix of fantasy and reality. Kara has been awarded with a Pulitzer for her work about the President and she and the newspaper are focused on the upcoming election. It echoes the current Impeachment and 2020 election. It wears its advocacy on its sleeve with observations about voting and voters.

The show continues to balance its superhero aspects and “real life” but in this season opener it’s the real life that wins out. The exploration of modern journalism and employment is interesting. There’s clearly more there but what’s presented is intriguing and the best part of the episode.

Kara’s relationship with Lena is the other focus. Kara is torn as to whether she should reveal her identity. It’s the second best part in an episode whose villain is rather boring.

There’s some negative in that Kara’s glasses lack glass at times and Melissa Benoist’s makeup is just not up to snuff. There’s a mix of what looks like bad foundation and tan lines (really a lack of tan). It’s noticeable enough to distract.

The episode is one of the weaker debuts for the series. It has its moments but never quite excites. Its best moments are the human ones.

Overall Rating: 7.0

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

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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.

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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 S2E12 “Luthors” Unwraps the Enigma that is Lena Luthor

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Wow, Lena Luthor and Kara Danvers have amazing chemistry. And on the other hand, Kara and Mon-El don’t really except as a goofy friend/superhero apprentice and master deal even though they excel at lobbing insults at each other. Luckily, writers Robert L. Rovner and Cindy Lichtman in “Luthors” in which the main conflict is almost every character writing off Lena as just another villain even though she hates her mother Lillian. In the fighting front, Lillian sends a dying of synthetic kryptonite poisoning Metallo and Cyborg Superman to rescue her so her campaign against extraterrestials can continue. Plus there are plenty of flashbacks featuring a young Lex Luthor and Lionel Luthor to show Lena’s twisted life, and why she leans on Kara so much.

Rovner, Lichtman, and director Tawnia McKiernan strike gold in “Luthors” by centering much of the plot, relationship drama, and suspense around the characters of Lillian and Lena Luthor, who are played with maternal rancor and a potent mix of strength and vulnerability by Brenda Strong and Katie McGrath respectively. McGrath has a talent for body language visibly shirking away from Metallo when he busts her out of prison where the guards constantly insult and mistreat her. And when Supergirl comes to stop Metallo and Lillian, she instantly runs for her. This open vulnerability that she shares with Kara, who brings her donuts in a super cute scene, is immediately replaced by combativeness as it is revealed that she is the daughter of Lionel Luthor and his mistress, which wasn’t great for Lillian and Lena’s relationship growing up. But the manipulation is counterbalanced by the paradigm challenging friendship (With heavy romantic subtext.) between Kara and Lena, who feels safe and happy around Kara, and isn’t afraid to hug her when she is mostly distant around her mother and the people in the courtroom early on.

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Brenda Strong has been sorely missed the past few episodes, and her ability to turn from wannabe nice mom to goal oriented anti-alien fanatic is on full display in “Luthors”. Lillian plays Lena like a musical instrument as McKiernan instantly cuts to her daugher’s teary face when she talks about finally having a good mother/daughter relationship now that Lex and Lionel are out of the picture. But she really just needs Lena’s Luthor DNA to unlock a special vault filled with all kinds of goodies like Lex’s classic battlesuit, some sonic bombs, and more Easter Eggs that will likely pop up in episodes to come as Cadmus continues their war against Supergirl and her alien friends. And even when Lena puts two and two together, Lillian continues to try to soothe and comfort her like mother while leaving Metallo behind to burn out while she’s off to survive another day.

Metallo is decently well-used this episode as pure, if flawed muscle as his kryptonite blaster gives Supergirl serious problems and leads to a well-staged close quarters between him and J’onn, who channels his sadness over Miss Martian leaving into a fun last minute save. His core going nuclear is a boring action movie trope, but the fact that he has kryptonite after J’onn gave Superman the rest of his supply is a clever hook for most of “Luthors”. It’s also good to have a villain who can go toe to toe with Supergirl because you can’t win all the fights even if it looks like Metallo won’t be fighting any battles after this one. Metallo is just a plot device in “Luthors”, but works well as a distraction from Kara Danvers’ attempts to vindicate Lena as innocent because of their friendship.

And finally, we make it to our favorite part of each Supergirl review: where I continue to chronicle why the Kara/Mon-El relationship doesn’t work out on a romantic level. First, Robert L. Rovner and Cindy Lichtman have Mon-El talk about his failed date with Eve Teschmacher instead of reveling in all its awkward, disgusting glory with Chris Wood mooning all over Kara. This leads to some awkward dialogue throughout “Luthors” about Mon-El and Kara caring about each other dating other people, Kara choosing being Supergirl over having a boyfriend, and there’s no real bond between them or even story elements that show why Kara’s feelings have changed towards him. It’s like they’re looking for a reason to keep Mon-El, who does have a little bit of goofy charm thanks to Chris Wood, around, and the spinner landed on romance, not friend or hero-in-training. Luckily, their smooch is interrupted by a classic supervillain

“Luthors” puts some meat on the bones of the greatest villain in Supergirl Season 2 and one of Supergirl’s most unexpected confidants, Lena Luthor. Their backstory complete with low lighting and chess imagery from Tawnia McKiernan taps into the supervillain iconography implicit within the Luthor name, and she even leaves Lena’s true allegiance ambiguous even though she hates Lillian and loves Kara. (Yeah, I used the L word, deal with it.) The other plotlines featuring Mon-El and James Olsen seem a little forced although it’s nice to Kara and James as friends after their fantastic chemistry in Supergirl Season 1, but a comic book deep cut cliffhanger promises that next week’s will be more on the experimental and comedic side.

Overall 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

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