Season One, Episode Two – “Stronger Together”

©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

By Molly Jane Kremer. CBS’s Supergirl carries the hopes and dreams of many, many lady superhero fans, and the pilot episode didn’t disappoint. The combined power of a top-rated network’s budget and the sincerity of classic DC comics do-goodery snagged Supergirl a whopping sixteen million viewers, and the honor of being this fall’s most-watched series premiere. But now that the pilot episode is behind us, with its breakneck pace and likeable-to-her-very-core lead actor’s introduction, can Supergirl sustain that quality—and, just as importantly, sustain this massive quantity of viewers? The former, at least, appears to be likely… with a couple of inevitable hiccups along the way.

WHAT WORKED: The casting choices are beginning to show their true worth, and most everyone is settling into their respective characters wonderfully. Notably, the chemistry between Kara (Melissa Benoist) and James (Mehcad Brooks) is palpable, even when they’re just having friendly chats. (No such sparks between Kara and Jeremy Jordan’s Winn, though; a love triangle between the three seems like it would be a futile endeavor.) Chyler Leigh, as Kara’s sister Alex, is incredibly likeable in her role, and gives the character the many facets it requires as both Kara’s sister and colleague, helping her become the best hero she can be. Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant continues the pointed delivery of her sharp and witty dialogue, and even lets show a bit of vulnerability beneath that hard-ass facade. For everyone to be doing this well by only the second episode points can only mean greatness.

Remember when the byline for ‘78’s Superman was “You’ll Believe A Man Can Fly”? Part of the reason superhero fare is so prevalent now is that the ridiculously fantastic can be believably (and easily) fabricated, for both film and now television. Stronger Together’s special effects, despite the lack of last week’s pilot-episode budget, look to be at major-motion-picture level. Kara flying, her landing and taking off, look just as good as Henry Cavill’s did in Man of Steel (and that is the only favorable comparison I’ll make to that movie here. Good day, sir).

WHAT DIDN’T: Laura Benanti’s Alura—Kara’s mother, shown in a quick flashback sequence—stood out from the otherwise strong cast. Benanti’s delivery was stiff and discomfiting; appropriately, she later plays a hologram version of the same character just fine. She pulls double (triple?) duty in the series as Kara’s villainous aunt, General Astra, and does marginally better in that role. With Supergirl’s obvious efforts at continuing in the more Donner-esque Superman tradition, creating a villain so akin to General Zod makes perfect sense, and assumedly Benanti has much more fun with Astra’s scenery-chewing.

Though it was strange to hear everyone in the pilot episode dance around saying the word “Superman”, this episode—aside from actually calling him that, finally!—talks about him nearly constantly. It’s, what, Kara’s first week on the job still? Let’s reduce the amount of cousin-comparing for now, guys, until she gets a few more wins under her awesome gold belt.


My sister just broke the sound barrier, sir.” – Alex Danvers. The pride in her voice there is tangible and real.

This sounds like a job for Supergirl.” – Kara Danvers. HECK YEAH IT DOES.

Drunk at 9am. That’s the last time I have breakfast with Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” – Cat Grant was unprepared for brunchin’ with the Notorious RBG.

I don’t like the fishes, but it reassures me to know they’re still under there swimming about.” – Cat Grant, concerned citizen and budding ecologist.

Every woman worth her salt knows that we have to work twice as hard as a man to be thought of half as good. – Cat Grant, on why Supergirl herself needs to be truly super. Preach it, sister.

You’ve always had the heart of a hero, Kara, long before you put on that ‘S’.” – Alex Danvers. A bit too on the nose, yes, but least one of the women in Kara’s life is occasionally encouraging.

BEST MOMENT: Kara and James’ heart to heart on the balcony. These two. They’re the cutest. They always have each others’ backs (essential when working under the demanding Ms. Grant), and Jimmy (sorry—James! I can’t help it!) expresses his dismay at being “Superman’s pal”, and a desire to escape that ubiquitous shadow by leaving Metropolis. Kara then tells him about the House of El’s family motto: Stronger Together, and that “part of being your own man is learning when to accept help.” So Kara agrees to an interview with Cat – thus saving his job – and James decides that helping someone in a red cape has rewards beyond his personal celebrity. Benoist and Brooks have that aforementioned chemistry, and a sincerity absolutely essential for these two characters. And seeing it bounce back and forth between the two? Magic.

EPISODE’S MVP: Melissa Benoist. Still so sweet we might need an insulin shot, even when demonstrating that Kryptonians’ learning curves are all too similar to humans’. She gets pummeled by her non-superpowered sister in a quick lesson on fighting (well, granted, it was in a special Kryptonite-infused room), and a stern talking to—both as Kara and as Supergirl—from her boss Cat Grant. Through it all, Benoist ensures Kara keeps a sparkle in her eye that quickly transforms into a glint of steely determination.

©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved


– “He’s able to hide because the world can’t believe that there’s really a hero in their midst.” Call me old fashioned, but I liked the “glasses/posture/passive personality” rationale behind Clark Kent as a secret identity. But honestly, there’s no point in looking into it too deeply: it’s mythos-engrained.

– When chasing a villain who’s on a truck full of DDT vats, maybe don’t shoot at all the toxic chemicals, guys.

– Oh hey, another journalist left his hometown to find his fortune in National City, and it’s none other than Pawnee, IN’s Perd Hapley.

– When Kara and Astra have their heat-vision duel, they were very lucky the beams never touched their carefully coiffed, curling-ironed hair, or they’d have both gotten some heavy and unintentional bangs.

– So, Hellgrammite’s an alien now? Ah, ok.

– Plastino Chemicals: named after one Al Plastino, co-creator of Supergirl. 5th and Siegel? Superman’s co-creator Jerry Siegel. Donner Avenue? Superman director Richard Donner. Never stop these creator shoutouts, CBS. Never, ever stop.

– So the dude who plays Hellgrammite is named Justice Leak. That might be the greatest name in the history of names. He and Ava Engers would make a wonderful couple, just sayin’.

– Henshaw shows us some freaky red eyes at the end of the ep. Is Cyborg Superman on his way? And will Hank ever get to tell us his briefly-hinted-at tragic origin story that’s twistedly reminiscent (but certainly not trademark infringing) of the Fantastic Four’s? (Yet, still nowhere as tragic as this summer’s F4 filmic debacle.)

– Less soft-focus on Calista Flockhart’s face in her close-ups, please. Or at least make it less obvious?

– Peter Facinelli as Maxwell Lord! Well, for like ten seconds… as a talking head getting interviewed on TV. Let’s just assume he’ll be showing up more later, shall we? Or maybe he’s learned to stay out of the way of superpowered women, since it didn’t work out so well for him last time… 

– “She’s not just a little girl from Krypton anymore.” SIGH.

– And who’s that mysterious bad guy talking to General Astra from the shadows? Could be Hank Henshaw. Could be Maxwell Lord. Could be anybody. (I’m crossing my fingers that it’s Michael Rosenbaum Lex Luthor, even though I’m absolutely, 100% sure it’s not.)