Supergirl – Episodes 8 and 9

As I got delayed writing the review for Supergirl’s mid-season finale, I’m going to roll it up into a double review and include the next episode!

Spoilers

Astra versus Kara round two happens in episode 8, we also meet Astra’s husband, Non, and we get to see more about the relationship between Astra and Alura. Kara herself is beginning to look a little unhinged as her memories of Astra and Alura become more muddied. She begins to doubt, and lashes out at her mother’s hologram. We’ve already seen Kara’s anger at her mother for sending her away, and now with Astra sounding reasonable, it seems easy for Kara to switch sides. Cat Grant’s back story gets more meat as her email accounts are hacked, but that’s just a side story pretending to be the focus of the episode, until, of course, it looks like Cat is going to lose her job. Kara overhears pertinent information using her powers, but that makes it tricky. Enter Lucy Lane as they try to make her more useful to the team other than a fly in the ointment in the Kara – James romance. The main story takes over again as Astra appears to challenge Kara. The fight is over quickly. Too quickly, considering Kara wins fairly easily.

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Of course it’s a trap! Astra is way too smart to allow Kara to beat her. Astra is exactly where she wants to be as she continues to try to convince Kara to join her side. Once the hacking storyline is put to bed, we get to cliffhanger part 1 – Cat figures out Kara’s identity. This could be good, but it could also be very bad. We’ll see. Cliffhanger part 2 comes immediately after – Non goes after Maxwell Lord, and just as things heat up, we’re forced to wait for the next episode.

Luckily, episode 9 takes over precisely where 8 left off, and after a very quick battle, Non grabs Henshaw and escapes, while Maxwell Lord becomes uncooperative again, and Kara tries to prove to Cat that she’s not Supergirl.

Non offers to swap Henshaw for Astra, General Lane takes over the DEO, and James tries to confront Maxwell Lord. Things get interesting from there, starting with General Lane torturing Astra, and James paying a little B&E visit to Maxwell Lord. Astra proves that torture doesn’t work by springing her trap, and blowing up a whole group of General Lane’s soldiers.

Supergirl grows up a lot in this episode. She falls apart, and gains strength because of it. She shows intelligence and openness with Astra afterwards that finally gets Astra to open up about what happened on Krypton. Anyone starting Supergirl on this episode after watching only the trailer would be very surprised at the depth of her character, especially when she puts General Lane in his place as she takes her aunt to the prisoner exchange. The exchange turns into a trap, but Astra calls the trap off, showing that Kara is getting to her. In the tension, Alex slips up and reveals a clue to Henshaw’s identity. The reveal lets Kara gain Hank’s, or rather Jonn’s help to prove to Cat that she’s not Supergirl.

The final moments tease Maxwell Lord’s plan, which we’ll have to wait two weeks to see more of!

This show has yet to depart from its trend of general improvement. There have been some dips, but the steady build up of the characters and world is working. What do you think? Has the show dropped off your radar, or are you ready to try it out again?

Supergirl – Episode 7

Not sure I can say much before I can get into the spoilers. It’s a big episode! Read on after the image.

Spoilers

Martian Manhunter! Hank Henshaw’s character, in a huge divergence from comic book canon, turns out to be J’onn J’onzz! It turns out that Kara’s foster father, along with Hank Henshaw, died to save the last son of Mars. They were sent to deal with him, but they found him to be a good guy. Things went sideways, and they ended up losing their lives to let him go. Their sacrifice let him take Henshaw’s place in the DEO.

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Okay, getting back to the cliffhanger from last week, Supergirl’s still powerless. She burnt out her powers in the fight with Red Tornado last week. This gives us a chance to see who she is when she’s not invincible. Of course, this means it’s earthquake time in National City. It turns out she’s strong enough to talk a guy into giving up his gun, even when she has a broken arm. This, of course, leads to a tender moment with Jimmy Olsen, and shows the ugly side of Winn. His jealousy flares, and he refuses to listen. Winn is becoming annoying. He’s carrying a torch for Kara, we know this, but he also knows she doesn’t feel the same way, so why is he trying to bring her down? I hope that behaviour stops, but then, it’s also possibly a gateway for him to turn into Toyman, although I think the possibility of that is remote, simply because there’s not a good way to have him turn bad and still know Supergirl’s secret identity.

Meanwhile Maxwell Lord switches to being anti-Supergirl again, and this leads to Cat stepping in to defend the absent hero.

A lot more happened in this episode, but it was all overshadowed by the reveal of the Martian Manhunter. How he will fit into the series, considering Hank Henshaw is a regular, will be interesting. If he ends up being a mentor, that could work, but I prefer Cat as the mentor. If he’s a supporting hero, that would work best, but if he ends up as Supergirl’s saviour more than once, It’ll ruin the show’s attempts to distance itself from the furore created by its trailer’s similarity to that sketch.

I’ll return with more from Supergirl after the next episode. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

 

Supergirl – Episode 6

This episode of Supergirl highlights another gender disparity in the world; that men are allowed to be violent, but women are not. If a male hero goes head to head against an arsehole, nobody cares. If a woman does, it scares children.

I feel I have to say this: Women are human beings. Women and men have an equal right to the whole gamut of human emotion. To suggest otherwise is just weird.

Okay, on with the review.

Spoilers

One thing that Supergirl has been weak on is the end of episode cliffhanger. That improved last week, and the knocked it out of the park this week. A truly WTF moment where I, for one, need to know more NOW!

Supergirl shows that she’s not all sunshine, rainbows, and geeky rom-com awkwardness. She gets mad. This is a good thing. She shows that even when furious at a guy getting into her face (really stupid guy), she doesn’t kill him, even though it would be easy for her to. Of course, she gets into trouble for it, and is accused of scaring children by being angry, because, of course, an angry woman is terrifying. Pfffffffft. While Kara tries to figure out why she’s angry, the source of Cat’s anger appears in person; her mother – Katherine Grant. This leads to more bonding and advice going back and forth between Kara and Cat. The relationship between the two of them is taking over from Kara’s doe eyed looks at Jimmy. I’m liking that the most important relationship on the show so far is not a romantic one. Cat will get Kara ready to be the best Kara she can be.

This episode saw appearances from General Lane, Red Tornado, and T. O. Morrow. Red Tornado, in this case, is before he turns good. He’s under Morrow’s control. The fights take a back seat to Kara discovering that the source of her anger is her mother (another thing in common with Cat), and her inability to have a normal life.

The romantic subplot seems to be shifting focus to Alex Danvers and Maxwell Lord. In this episode he becomes a help rather than a hindrance, making him less of a stereotype. I’m still not sure where they’re going with him – One week I hate him, the next week, he’s pretty cool. We’ll see how this goes.

Following on from discovering that Kara’s foster father died while working with the DEO, the team discovers that Hank Henshaw was the last person to see Jeremiah Danvers alive. There are more hints as to how Henshaw may have gotten his powers in a botched operation.

And then, right after another great Kara/Cat scene, Kara cuts herself on a piece of glass. End scene.

As much as I hate cliffhangers, I had to admire this one. Right when everything looks awesome – Boom. What did you think of this episode? What do you think has happened to Kara’s powers?

Supergirl – Episodes 4 and 5

Seeing as these two episodes of Supergirl were aired out of order, I decided wait until I had seen them both before writing them up.

Supergirl is a girl. I feel I have to say this, because people seem to think that if she does anything remotely girly, she’s failing as a role model. People never really say this about male characters when they act boyish. Boys in such shows have a free pass to act like boys, but girls? Sorry, no free passes. Nobody bats an eye when Oliver Queen shifts from girlfriend to girlfriend (he’s on his third great love now), but having a romantic storyline associated with a female superhero is somehow wrong?

I call bullshit.

If we prevent strong female characters from having a romance, or behaving like a girl (in context), then we’re shifting women from one two-dimensional stereotype to another.

Okay, rant over. Let’s get on with the shows!

Spoilers

Episode 4

This episode is more about the people than the foe. We see the relationships between the characters evolve a little, and yes, the old standby of needing some sexual tension in a show is thrown in with about as much subtlety as an anvil. We know that Kara and Jimmy like each other, but as this is a TV show, they won’t actually get together for a few seasons, and if they do, there’ll be something that forces them to be apart again. I could add another rant here, but I won’t. We also get another look at Maxwell Lord, and where his character is going. It seems like he’s being set up as another Lex Luthor, as opposed to what he was known for in the comics. We also see more of Hank Henshaw’s abilities. While Henshaw is being portrayed as more of an ally than a foe, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. He’s going to go bad, and when that happens, I can see a twist where Maxwell Lord steps up to take his place. This is purely conjecture on my part, but if that is what happens, I won’t be surprised, but I will be slightly pissed off. I would rather see Henshaw remain good, but be ostracised for keeping his abilities secret, so that he has a way back into the DEO.

Episode 5

Livewire gets an origin story, and we get to see some of Kara’s childhood. Former Supergirl actress Helen Slater also arrives, this time as Kara’s foster mother. This is another episode where the villain of the week takes more of a back seat to the family dynamic between Kara and her foster family. I loved that about this episode, though. This show is succeeding where all of the Superman movies failed: It’s making Supergirl a more well rounded character. She’s not just a nerd, and not just a hero. She’s learning how to be more, and with the quality of the villains, she’s getting more of a challenge, and seeming a little less than invincible. This is not to say that she’s weaker than Superman (her strength was illustrated when she beat Reactron). She’s having to use her brain in both of her personas, and applying the lessons from each into the other.

At the end of the episode, we learn more about Henshaw’s early involvement in the Danvers family. While this may seem like more hints that Henshaw will go bad, I have a feeling that what happened to Kara’s foster father will explain how Henshaw got his powers. I’ll be watching carefully to see where that arc goes.

Also, Cat Grant gets the best lines. Her little twists to common phrases are hilarious.

I’m looking forward to the next episode! Are you still watching? What do you think of the show so far?

Ash vs. Evil Dead 1.3 – “Books From Beyond”

The next question on the mind of both longtime Evil Dead fans and newcomers to the series (one week after being granted proof that the show can function properly without Sam Raimi writing or directing), was simply one regarding repetition. For the first two episodes, Ash vs. Evil Dead has had a noticeable blueprint; some traveling and witty dialogue, all punctuated by a gloriously bloody set-piece with a Deadite, all with a few subplots thrown in depicting a police officer and an unknown character of seemingly great knowledge portrayed by Lucy Lawless.

So it comes as a welcome surprise that this third episode entitled “Books from Beyond” (also directed by Michael J. Bassett, whom steered the ship on last week’s episode “Bait“) plays with that formula. This comes by further exploring the lore of both the Necronomicon origins and its demons beyond the standard Deadite looking to swallow souls and sing nursery rhymes.

Ash, as brilliant as always, while visiting the bookstore of a friend that apparently can decipher the ancient text and iconography penned inside, decides that the next step should be summoning a lesser demon in power on the hierarchy (using a special chant to contain it within a ritualistic circle), and essentially interrogate him for information on how to undo everything once and for all. It’s not necessarily a bad idea on paper (aside from the fact that a creature willingly helping them  would make no sense), but we all know somehow this will go terribly wrong. Much to our surprise it’s not Ash that royally screws everything up this time, but I’ll leave that as a surprise.

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I would rather briefly touch on this new demon itself, named Eragos (that’s probably spelled completely wrong but even with research I cannot find the actual correct spelling) who is a gray, faceless, monstrosity with deep cuts and streaks of blood all over his head. His only distinction is a round mouth with vicious looking teeth and saliva, or possibly slime dripping downward.  Most intriguingly, is how he attacks (is it really a spoiler that he escapes from the captivity of a circle?) by sonically affecting neurons in the brain while placing his palm over the faces of characters. It’s not really known how this will affect anyone in the long term, but the demon is described as one that preys on the psyche of the mind.

My only real complaint (one of the first with the entire show so far) is that it is easily defeated by having the Necronomicon slammed shot around him, which seemingly transports him back into the book. It’s completely odd and uncharacteristic of an adult oriented horror/comedy show, and something more in line with what I would see and forgive in something family-friendly like Goosebumps. There’s also the possibility that this thing isn’t dead at all, but the finale to this action sequence was unfortunately rather anti-climactic. The baddies unleashed within this book should take an overwhelming amount of punishment before succumbing to defeat, or at the very least, having a spell vocalized.

Also, while this episode was still definitely humorous, it did pale in comparison to the previous two efforts. It still has its moments and memorable quotes, but placing it alongside episode two showcases a noticeable step down in terms of quality. Trying to choose a specific favorite moment from the first two episodes was fairly challenging, but not so much with this one. The bright side is that some lore of the universe was delved into, and we got to see some new interpretations of what hellish beings this book actually houses.

Rating: I’m going to give “Books from Beyond” a 7/10. Although not the best episode of the series, Ash vs. Evil Dead is still one of the best shows on television. This episode expands upon the mythology. pushing the narrative forward, all while still delivering what we’ve come to expect from the franchise, although the absurd humor and over-the-top violence wasn’t all there this time around except for one scene in particular towards the beginning, which is actually our…

Grooviest Moment: We still don’t know who Lucy Lawless is playing (although you could spoil it for yourself by looking at some appearances she and Bruce Campbell made recently on television talk shows), but we do know that she can fuck up a Deadite. While visiting the farm house of Kelly’s now deceased parents, the father rises from his grave (fork still stabbed in his eye) much to the expectations of Lucy Lawless, whom then impales the sucker on Ash’s makeshift crosses, demands the whereabouts of Ash, and then uses a very large knife to cut off his face. Ouch!

Supergirl – Episode 3

This week’s episode was all about separating Supergirl’s story from Superman’s, but I’ll get to that later. One thing I’ve noticed is that the writers are pushing a lot of anti-sexist sound bites into the show. Whether this is a reaction to the criticism the initial trailer received, or it was always intended, I don’t know, but it’s a good thing. My spoiler-laden review begins after the warning image.

Spoilers

This episode begins where the last one ended – at the beginning of Supergirl’s interview with Kat Daniels. Their exchange sees Kara hit back at a sexist question, and in the same breath shows her inexperience by revealing too much. This leads to the villain-of-the-week, Reactron, learning that Kara is Superman’s cousin. In a departure from the comics, Reactron is portrayed as one of Superman’s tougher enemies, and one that he had never really defeated. This leads to many people telling Kara to call in her cousin to help.

Supergirl E3 Interview

Cue a couple of battles. It wouldn’t be a superhero show without some battles. The kink in the plan, however, is that Hank Henshaw and the DEO refuse to help on the grounds that Reactron is not an alien, therefore outside of their jurisdiction.

After a tease last week, Maxwell Lord is fully introduced. Lord is usually a good guy, but here he comes across as self serving and overconfident. He’s not shown as likeable, and yet, as Reactron tries to kidnap one of his people, he volunteers to take his place, and then helps Reactron repair his suit. When Supergirl comes to his rescue, Reactron gains the upper hand, and before our hero can gather her wits, Superman swoops in to the rescue. One reason Superman needs to stop appearing is the way he has to appear blurry all the time.

Supergirl E3 Damselled

And here we have it. Supergirl is damselled. The good thing is that this is not the end of the episode. Reactron is not defeated by the big blue guy, but at least a very annoyed Kara is saved. She then discovers that Jimmy had called in Superman, and is even less happy. It gets even worse when Maxwell thanks Superman for his rescue rather than Supergirl. Kara doesn’t get whiny. She gets furious. She also manages to turn it around and save a couple of guys who get damselled, but that happens later.

Supergirl E3 Kat and Kara

Meanwhile, the subplots continue – Kara manages to have Kat unwittingly mentor her in how to be a better Supergirl, her budding crush on Jimmy Olsen gets noticed by Alex, and then gets crushed by the arrival of Jimmy’s ex, Lucy Lane (Lois’ little sister).

Supergirl E3 Hank

Hank Henshaw’s mini reveal as being more than human is shown in a bit more detail, along with a hint about his powers – he senses that Alex Danvers is working off book on helping Kara with Reactron, and while his red eyes are ominous, and his presence is imposing, he volunteers to help Alex rather than restrict her.

Supergirl E3 Magazine

The writers’ attempts to pour on a pro gender equality message is shown even in set dressing. Supergirl’s magazine cover shows a secondary headline regarding shattering the glass ceiling. I’m, of course, loving all of these little mentions that promote gender equality, and I hope they continue, but I also hope that they become a little less like sound-bites and more like natural conversations.

This episode was a little heavy handed. It didn’t feel as solid as the second episode, but it was still better than the pilot. It achieved what it set out to in that Kara has a chat conversation with Clark where he admits that Reactron was a job for Supergirl, and that he won’t step in again. Hopefully that will reduce the frequent mentions of Superman. While this story is about Superman’s cousin, it’s not about Superman. He really needs to be less of a feature in the show. This episode scores a solid 7.5/10, purely because of the many small touches that show how Kara is growing into her role, both in and out of costume. The actors are also coming to terms with their characters, and their performances are improving.

Do you think Superman will become less of a feature on the show? Where do you think the next episode will go? How long before we find out who the mystery person was at the end of episode 2?

Let me know in comments!