Season One, Episode Thirteen – “For the Girl Who Has Everything”
By Molly Jane Kremer. This was an episode title that got me mightily worked up. “For the Man Who Has Everything”, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, is one of the best and most memorable Superman stories ever penned and penciled—not to mention an amazing episode of the JLU animated series—and when I saw the Black Mercy unfurled on Kara’s coffee table last week, I definitely freaked out (and more than a little). While I didn’t dislike the episode completely—there were some scenes of legitimately compelling acting, and Melissa Benoist is great in literally anything—a good amount of it did rub me the wrong way.
WHAT WORKED: Though it gets mired up in some forgivable melodrama (oh, network television), Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh both got a couple scenes in which to get passionate and amazing and show off their acting chops. In an episode that knocked you over the head for an entire hour with the “family” theme (I might have actual bruises), these two women took a few short scenes to effectively communicate their bonds of super-sisterhood. Their relationship has grown into one of my favorites on TV (we all know popular media isn’t exactly swarming with healthy, positive female relationships) and it’s gratifying to see it getting its due in Supergirl.
The scenes between Cat and J’onn-as-Kara are some of my favorite bits the show has done so far; I was giggling on my couch for the entirety of their exchanges. And honestly, you knew this sort of shapeshifter silliness was going to happen eventually, and in fact it will probably happen for as long as Mr. Manhunter resides in National City. If J’onn turns into other characters though, let’s hope their respective portrayers will be as good at mimicking David Harewood’s swaggering walk, mannerisms and vocal cadence as well as Melissa Benoist did. Cause she was spot-on.
WHAT DIDN’T: Instead of spending more time within Kara’s hallucinations of Krypton, establishing how much she truly misses life there and how ripping her from it second time would affect her, the majority of the episode is spent with everyone else trying to figure out what’s stuck on Kara’s chest and how to get rid of it. I know that Supergirl isn’t a show to dwell within darknesses, but the story’s poignancy is lost in having so little of it take place on Krypton (assumedly because budgetary restrictions?), with only slight focus on her emotional integration back into (and then abrupt reemergence from) a dead and nonexistent world. We never see Kara become truly invested in her pleasant fiction, or really connect with her family, as she begins the episode already skeptical before it suddenly – poof! – becomes real to her. Kara’s resultant rage at the end isn’t earned without that necessary pathos, though Benoist does a beautiful job (as usual) of making up for her scripts’ shortcomings.
The show even feels the need to explain why she’d choose a life back on Krypton as her fantasy, and Kara tells her crew—apologetically—that it was only her “heart’s desire” because she’d been feeling lost the past few weeks. She shouldn’t need to apologize because she misses her dead parents in her dead culture on her dead planet. In fact, she should hypothetically miss it even more than Kal-El, since she lived a good portion of her life there, instead of leaving as an infant. It’s overcoming, not dismissing, that loss that makes her (and her li’l cousin) the inspiring, resonant figures that have lingered in our collective consciousness for nearly eighty years.
And, of course, when a Supergirl episode has a theme, they really, really want to make sure you get it. So, since “For the Girl Who Has Everything” is about Family (and yes, that’s with a capital F) this necessitates the word “family” gets spoken emphatically by as many characters as possible, at least ten times total.
“Agent Danvers, what a surprise. You haven’t visited me since you threw me in my collectible display case.” – Max. Okay, that got an actual chuckle out of me.
Cat: “What kind of milk is in this?” J’onn: “Whole, ma’am.” Cat: “Whole milk has not passed my lips since I rode a bicycle with streamers on the handles.” J’onn doesn’t understand this logic, because he knows you can’t eat Oreos with skim milk, and honestly, what other use for any kind of milk could there possibly be?
“I want attributable quotes, no press releases. And if they try to evade you, you remind them that I am still holding on to their Hamilton tickets.” The Cat is back.
Cat: “What is the most important thing I told you when I hired you?” J’onn: “No whole milk in the lattes?” Epic retort, J’onzz. Who knew the Martian had such a perfectly dry sense of humor?
BEST MOMENT: The moment in which Alex successfully convinces Kara that her Black Mercy fiction isn’t real, she gives one of the most emotional and touching speeches she’s had, and delivers it with the perfect amount of imploring desperation. While further examination of the scene’s structure make its flaws apparent, Leigh’s impassioned plea to save her sister makes the rest irrelevant, once again feeding into the emotional core that makes Supergirl so immensely watchable.
EPISODE’S MVP: Both Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh share this week’s MVP status, as both did their damnedest (and succeeded) in surpassing this episode’s oft-mediocre script. Benoist is tasked to take Kara into different and complex places, but Alex’s role in this week’s episode gave her a rare depth, and Chyler Leigh the room to explore it. These two women are awesome together and apart. I can’t wait to see where they bring these characters as the show matures out of its growing pains.
– So, beyond the obvious association with For the Man Who Has Everything, did the episode’s title get this song in anyone else’s head? (Oh, who am I kidding, this song is never not in my head.)
– Kara wakes up next to none other than Kelex, the house of El’s less-annoying equivalent to C-3PO. (I squeed. — Ed.)
– Kara’s hair is suuuper straight when she wakes up on pretend-Krypton—but let’s be honest, I think all of our fantasy worlds would have minimal humidity too.
– The Kryptonians keep on talking about Myriad, their plan to conquer the planet for their own nefarious blahblahblah, and even though I’m pretttttty sure it has nothing to do with her, I’m kinda hoping it has something to do with the character Myriad, Sasha Green. Hey, they’re bringing back Bloodlines in the comics. Anything is ding-dang possible.
– It is absolutely hilarious (and yes, cute as hell) that they have to give li’l Kal-El a ridiculously ostentatious spitcurl, just like they did when they showed him as an infant.
– So Winn interrupts “Hank” and a DEO technician discussing the satellites being out, and then gets invited to step in and help out with their super-secret tech stuff. J’ONN. WHAT THE HECK. You didn’t even want him and Jimmy in the building a few minutes ago!
– Daaaang, Alex, that is one rad-ass Kryptonite scimitar you’ve got there. But it’s kinda weird, since it must be sheathed in lead to not affect Kara, that she didn’t remark upon the huge lead scabbard you’re wearing on your back. Also, should we be worried that the DEO has a sword made of Kryptonite in its ginormous weapons vault? Or is that just me?
– Even though it looks like her time with us is at an end, I hope Astra shows up more in flashbacks, because A.) she grew on me, unexpectedly and intensely; and B.) somebody has to figure out how to correctly style that white streak or it will haunt me until the day I die.
7.5 out of 10
Next: “Truth, Justice, And The American Way”, soon.
Before: “Bizarro”, here.