I’ve often said that CBS’ Supergirl can be a tad clunky in how it presents its action and drama. It excels on an emotional level, but still has to work on building up the super heroic plots. Resolutions to major conflicts almost always end anti-climactically, as if the show is afraid that it might lose viewers if it concentrated more on the super heroics rather than the drama of each character’s life. Given the majority of CBS‘ demographic, that school of thought isn’t entirely unfounded. But like it’s heroine, Supergirl shouldn’t be afraid to step out of that comfort zone. For all that griping, however, I always find myself forgiving Supergirl’s flaws because the show is so damn good at making you feel something.
“Better Angels” spends the first half of the episode toying with our emotions. The battle between Supergirl and the mind-controlled Alex wearing a Kryptonite-laden battle suit abruptly ends when J’onn and Eliza Danvers appeal to Alex’s love for her family. She suddenly breaks free from Myriad’s hold (through the power of love). Supergirl and company resume their plans from last week to reach out to the people of National City via retro television and a message of hope. It somehow works (Maxwell Lord quickly explains it away with brain science, but I’m not about to repeat it), and Non’s plans are thwarted. That is, until Indigo “twists Non’s arm” to amplify Myriad’s signal from the hypnotic zombie setting to head-popping migraines. Before the climactic showdown, Kara spends time saying goodbye to/thanking every character in her life. Just in case. No…the feels…I can’t take it!
In the end, though, the battle we’ve all been waiting for falls a little short. There are two surprising moments: The Martian Manhunter literally splits Indigo in half, and Supergirl burns Non’s eyes out in a heat vision standoff. Was not expecting either of those from a family-friendly TV show.
The image of Supergirl flying Fort Rozz (the source of Myriad’s signal) into space looks fantastic and unlike anything this show has ever done so far. Her tearful goodbye to Alex brings much more emotional weight to Supergirl’s sacrifice than watching everyone in the world about to die during the J’onn & Supergirl versus Non & Indigo fight. And seeing Kara float in space (dying) brings about the kind of beautiful imagery that sums up every virtuous quality about Supergirl.
For all it’s flaws, “Better Angels” highlights just how far Supergirl has come over the course of a season. Alex and Kara’s sisterly relationship has deepened since they’ve become more open and honest with each other. Hank and Cat have evolved from one-note characters to the most compelling supporting players. Cat Grant especially shines at the end when she gives Kara a promotion, gives her her own office, and pronounces her name correctly. This “Working Girl” ending made me a little verklempt. And while the romantic beats haven’t been as compelling, I was impressed how the show handled Winn’s unrequited love and evolved that into close friendship. Plus, the chemistry of James and Kara’s kiss has me intrigued to see how that develops should the show continue. What can I say, I’m a sap. But only if done right.
Since it’s debut, Supergirl has been incredibly smart about how it uses themes of optimism, inspiring heroism, and female friendship. Dare I say that the show is more positive and hopeful than Greg Berlanti’s other DC Comics television show, The Flash. In light of Batman V Superman, that beacon of light has only gotten brighter. At least to me. And that’s what makes Supergirl so damn special. Even though we live in a world where Marvel movies balance a steady mix of humor, drama, action, and bright colors, we as comic book movie consumers still feel like we’re in a grim/dark age of superheroes. Maybe it’s because we’re only considering DC’s (dumb) direction, or maybe it’s just me. What sets Supergirl apart from everything else out there is that the hero is unceasingly positive. Even in Kara’s darkest moments, she somehow finds herself back in the light through sheer will, to continue hoping that things will be better for everyone. She’s the heroine of a Japanese mahō shōjo where every day is saved through the power of love and friendship. And that’s kind of what we need nowadays. I just really hope that when it comes back, it’ll start improving on all of the bad elements keeping it down.
- The season ends on a cliffhanger. A new Kryptonian pod falls from the sky. Who’s in the pod? WHO’S IN THE POD??? My personal hope is that it’s Karen Starr, who somehow broke free from her own universe and landed in Kara’s world. I just want Power Girl 🙂
- “I need you to promise me that when you find Jeremiah you’ll tell him that I never stopped wearing the glasses.” Cue ugly crying.
- Supergirl’s on-point eyeliner this week is something to aspire to.
- So…I’m confused. I thought Kryptonians were able to travel through space without much trouble. Superman was able to take a mission off-world. Does he have a space ship of his own then? OH! Does Green Lantern exist in this universe?
- Wait, the Army knew where Fort Rozz was this whole time??? What the hell, man?! Compartmentalization is necessary and all, except when you forget to share the location of the source of all the aliens threats with the one organization meant to keep Earth safe from them!
- General Lane gives Maxwell Lord the Kryptonians’ omegahedron, a huge power source that powered kept Fort Rozz and Myriad running.
- Thanks for following my Supergirl reviews this season!