‘Supergirl’: Kara earned her journalistic bonafides, finally
Season Two, Episodes Eighteen & Nineteen — “Ace Reporter”, “Alex”
By Molly Jane Kremer. It has been too long! After nearly a month away from National City, the DEO, and CatCo, Supergirl returned to the CW with two (mostly) enjoyable episodes.
“Ace Reporter” saw Kara earn back the mantle of journalist while saving the city from an evil nanite swarm; and “Alex” felt like it may have borrowed a tad from The Cell and Saw, but it certainly took Kara — and Maggie — out of their comfort zones to save Alex from a blast from their Midvale past.
Kara’s return at CatCo brought a semblance of balance back to this unfocused season. Year-long arcs have been left on the hook for now (boy, Cadmus has sure been quiet) but we got a delightfully Lena-centric hour with some exceptionally nice visual effects in compensation. Still, with only three episodes left to the season, Supergirl had better start hustlin’.
Some newfound journalistic pluck from Kara provided a chance for real character growth, something the CW DC TV shows don’t always allow their leads. But the oh-so-skippable Guardian B-plot in “Ace Reporter” — which dwelled on the odd interplay between Jimmy, Winn, and Lyra — was tooth-grindingly obnoxious. (At least those scenes were moderately brief.)
“Alex”, strangely enough, could have used more of Chyler Leigh, who spent most of the episode locked in a glass cell while her sister and girlfriend (and the entire DEO) worked overtime trying to find and free her.
The dichotomy between Kara and Maggie was the focus of “Alex”, with Kara as the bad cop to Maggie’s good cop for most of the hour, strangely enough. As the literal ticking clock counts the seconds before Alex’s untimely demise (in a CW show? Nah…), we saw the lengths Maggie was prepared to go to for love (Maggie seems real into all that due process stuff, until she suddenly isn’t).
Maggie’s severity left Kara alone with a hail mary appeal to a convicted manslaughter-er’s better angels, though it beats me why she didn’t try doing that before the clock was down to its last five minutes.
Lena: “Are you grief baking?” Kara: “No!”
Lena: (to Kara) “So what’s your kryptonite?”
Kara: “This just feels like stalking.” Snapper: “No, it’s journalism.” Kara: “This is creepy journalism.”
“Isn’t there a Pinterest Anonymous support group meeting you’re missing right now?” – Snapper.
BEST MOMENT: J’onn and Kara’s regret-tinged conversation on the balcony during “Alex”.
EPISODE’S MVP: Katie McGrath’s Lena Luthor certainly got some of the best material in these two episodes, and aside from a few accent inconsistencies, upped the watchability tenfold. Her chemistry with Rahul Kohli’s Jack Spheer was palpable (to the point that, like Lena, I’m sad we won’t be seeing more of him), and her reactions to both his alleged villainy and subsequent vindication were very affecting. Her interaction with Rhea in “Alex” could show her searching for a new non-psychotic mother-figure to connect with, and her anger at discovering Rhea’s dishonesty felt achingly real.
– “Ace Reporter”s opening scene–with Kara flying above and through National City’s skyline–was a fleeting, nostalgic reminder of how often we used to see that sort of panorama on CBS.
– Cute little detail that Kara doesn’t need oven mitts or nothin’ to pull a cake pan straight out of the oven.
– Originally, Jack Spheer was a character who first appeared back in the early Aughties in Power Company by Kurt Busiek and Tom Grummett, and was way more of a straight-up villain than the mind-controlled object of Lena’s affection in “Ace Reporter”.
– I’m not sure why Kara couldn’t have saved poor Joe Watkins from his nanite-s’ploded car. Just like Barry’s in The Flash, her superpowers are only allowed to be as super as the plot requires them to be.
– Snapper’s informant is wearing a System of a Down t-shirt. They still make those? Maybe it’s vintage.
– I wonder (and sincerely hope against it) if this episode and its tragedies will be another stepping stone on the road towards Lena’s total heel turn.
– Teri Hacher’s suits are fucking fantastic. Keep her dressed like this, costumers, and skip that fantasy-alien-queen-bullshit.
– Rick Malverne was originally Richard (or Dick) Malverne, a friend and fellow orphanage-resident of the Silver Age Supergirl. The Rick Malverne in “Alex” seems more closely based on Kenny Braverman (or Conduit), who grew up in Smallville resenting Clark Kent, and upon discovering Clark and Superman are one and the same, commenced making Clark’s life a living hell.
– I think Alex carving open the meat of her own shoulder with a cracked credit card (what kind of a nimbus leaves their prisoner with that stuff?) is the most hardcore this show has gotten, and watching her pull the tracker from her flesh was wonderfully icky. We need to see this side of Alex more often, because she’s amazing.
– Weaving the first season flashback footage of Kara’s childhood rescue into Malverne’s explanation of how he figured out Supergirl’s identity was especially convenient/ingenious.
– Soooo…does the DEO regularly mindwipe perps, like they say they’ll be doing to Malverne…? Because, if I recall, there was a horrifying comic book crossover series detailing the consequences of exactly that. And it didn’t end well, okay?
7 out of 10
Next: “City of Lost Children”, in two weeks.
Before: “Star-crossed”, “Distant Sun”, here.