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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!