Season Two, Episode One — “The Adventures of Supergirl”
By Molly Jane Kremer. If anyone was feeling trepidatious about Supergirl‘s much-anticipated move from CBS to the CW, last night’s second season premiere episode destroyed any lingering doubts — Supergirl is still terrific television. If anything, the show feels even more confident in its storytelling and characters, and more committed to positive and inspiring portrayals of superheroes than ever.
Plus, there’s the upcoming week-long four episode crossover on the horizon with literally every other DC television show worth a damn, one that will likely integrage Supergirl with the rest of CW’s Flarrowverse. With these gains went much of that fat CBS budget, however, and action sequences have noticeably less bells and whistles. From my eyes, the episode’s only noticeable negative. “The Adventures of Supergirl” was an hour of joy for all here at DoomRocket HQ, and the perfect start to a most auspicious season.
Aside from the introduction of Tyler Hoechllin’s Superman that all nerd media has been screaming about for months—which was actually awesome, by the way—we meet Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), adopted sister of one currently-incarcerated Lex Luthor, and assassin-for-hire John Corben (soon-to-be Metallo, played by Frederick Schmidt). Allowing us to finally meet Superman and witness his interactions with various characters gives a much fuller sense of breadth within the show’s world (since he’s mentioned emphatically every episode as they show him carefully-obscured-but-for-silhouette). Last year’s two-episode megacrisis whilst seeing little more of Superman than his boots on a hospital gurney? That called waaay more attention to his (lack of) appearance than some lame/tried-and-true “He’s busy off-world so you’re on your own!” schtick.
My one worry was that an appearance by her famous cousin would undermine our eponymous heroine, but Supergirl has shown its mettle: Clark (both in-cape and without) offers necessary assistance and familial camaraderie to Melissa Benoist’s Kara, and though they team up like whoa, he’s never the action’s focus — he’s a partner within it. Hoechlin as Superman is a delight — he smiles all the goddamn time, its crazy, I forgot a Superman could do that — and the chemistry shared with Benoist is sweet and heartfelt. (Fittingly, so very Midwestern.) I could honestly feel the joy of these two orphans bonding over their shared lost world and simply enjoying the rare pleasure of being with family.
J’onn: “The DEO has several facilities, Kara.” Kara: “A bat bit me in the last one.” J’onn: “Liar.”
Kara: “She went to Yale.” Cat: “So did George Bush.”
Lena Luthor: “I hate flying. I know statistically its the safest way to travel, but still.” Gotta love a sly little ref to the 1978 Superman film.
Supergirl: “This looks like a job for the both of us.”
Supergirl: “I used to change his diapers.” Kid bystander: “No way.” Superman: “Not exactly sure you have to tell them that.” Supergirl: “No, I think I really do.” Superman: “Okay.”
Alex: “Your cousin smells terrific.” Kara: “Enough.”
Kara: “You really have that klutzy thing down don’t you?” Clark: “Yeah, no, that was actually real.”
Cat: “You have integrity to right wrongs and see justice done. You inspire me, Kara. I can see the hero within you. Now get out. And make me proud.”
Superman: “Up up?” Supergirl: “And away.”
BEST MOMENT: This week has a tie for best moment, since I couldn’t exclude Kara and Clark saving the Venture as it crashes back to Earth from the outer atmosphere. It’s a fitting parallel to the pilot episode’s opening action sequence, except it’s in daylight! And she’s in costume! And Superman flies in to help! And, for the second time on this show, two superheroes don’t gotta fight each other before they can kick some butt together. Oh, and the shots of both Supergirl and Superman taking off to save a spaceship? Yeah, they gave me chills.
Cat and Kara have one of their patented heart-to-hearts (I’m incredibly sad these will be fewer and further between since Flockhart’s Cat is now merely a recurring character) and it was both affecting and revealing. Cat directly addresses Kara’s crisis of indecision in her professional and personal lives, and tells her, “In order to live we must keep daring, keep diving.” (I think we all need a Cat Grant in our lives to give us uplifting pep talks and probably also to make snide but honest comments about the quality of our outfits.)
EPISODE’S MVP: Talk about a crisis of indecision, I liked everyone this week, and everyone’s performance. (Yeah, even Winn. Weird, right?) Calista Flockhart was her typical balanced mix of warmth and acidity, and considering how much less we’ll be seeing her, I feel obligated to hype every time she’s onscreen that much more; Tyler Hoechlin was low-key charismatic as heck, even if we saw zilch shots of that Supertuchus; and Melissa Benoist brought her usual joy and positivity and made me want to hug her at least twice.
– So, we all know at this point that it’s Mon-El in the pod; guess we gotta wait til next week for someone to actually say his name though, or for him to actually wake up and say it himself.
– I much prefer the new DEO set to that silly-ass cave-headquarters they used last season. This is already an oft-bordering-on-silly show about people with superpowers; please have them not hanging out in a high-tech rocks-for-walls underground cavern.
– Cat Grant yelling out “Miss Teschmacherrrrr!” not once but twice, with that oh so Hackman-esque delivery, made my dang night.
– Cat: “Does this dressing look drizzled on?” Miss Tessmacher: “Yes.” Cat: “No. No, this lettuce is drowning. It’s floating on a sea of ranch like little Kate Winslets in ‘Titanic‘.” I’m gonna miss that lady. But also I… never guessed Cat would be a ranch dressing person.
– Lookit Superman, kindly shaking everyone’s hands as he enters the DEO. Aaaggghhh it’s just so… Superman. And Winn is so adorably geeked-out here, I think I actually like him again. (But only time will tell.)
– Ok, so, Superman winking at the camera? I think I felt my heart skip. No really. It was scary. In a good way. I wholly agree with the kiddo who says “That was awesome!”
– (Ok, but seriously, I hope someone made a gif of that shot of Superman winking.)
– That makes the dad say they’re moving back to Gotham? You’d rather live with the possibility of an attack with Joker venom or fear toxin than live in a city protected from that kinda shit by a Kryptonian? Wotta silly fella.
– Oooh, Intergang! Kasnian terrorists! Genocide in Corto Maltese! Those are some nerd references that make sense. (Leave National City for Gotham… Pah.)
– Dang, Alex kicked John Corben’s ass to the curb. This season: More hellacious beat-downs served by Alex, please. And then Lena shoots his ass! (Well, his tum. You know what I mean.) I think I’m gonna like this gal.
– That final scene: doth mine eyes deceive me, or is that Sue Ellen Mischke as the presumed big bad for Season Two? How exciting. Now, just like in nearly every episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation, we can enjoy the dissonance of seeing a random actor from Seinfeld pop up.
– Wonder who the character is though. Seeing’s though this is Cadmus we’re talking about, she could be Amanda Spence, or if they’re gender-flipping, Paul Westfield. Or, if they’re going the JLU route, maybe Amelia Hamilton? Anyway, I bet Jerry would be super stoked that a former cast-mate is making Metallo.
9 out of 10
Next: “The Last Children of Krypton,” soon.
Before: “Better Angels,” here.