For the second airing in a row, Supergirl shined its spotlight on several of its supporting characters. Last week, J’onn J’onzz (Martian Manhunter), M’gann M’orzz (Miss Martian) and Mon-El all received attention regarding how they are surviving as refugees. While the focus did remain partially on Mon-El, Alex Danvers and James Olsen stepped forward to begin new season arcs for themselves on Monday. The common thread running through each of these storylines was the notion of identity. For this trio – as Alex Danvers would put it to Kara, they would just “have to figure out what works for them, know who they are inside.” Alex would finally connect to her own sexuality. In James’ case, he felt his own calling to be a hero. Meanwhile, Mon-El would start to learn that he couldn’t simply become a copy of Supergirl’s human alias, Kara Danvers. (WARNING: Spoilers below!)
As their personal stories played out, National City came under siege from a band of criminals armed with alien weaponry from Project Cadmus. Robbing high-profile locations, while successfully fending off Supergirl and the DEO, these hoodlums sought to both enrich themselves and create a climate of fear. The latter goal’s purpose was to create the environment necessary for Cadmus to acquire control of domestic security. As these high tech thugs piled up their successes, however, they also became more arrogant. They planned their ultimate heist to be the charity gala of LuthorCorp CEO Lena Luthor. This time, their adversaries would be prepared…with an unexpected ally saving the day. Lena, with an assist from the DEO’s Winn Schott, set an electromagnetic trap to overload their weapons and detonate them.
Below were my takeaways from this week.
What Went Right
The first credit goes to Chyler Leigh for continuing to expand the character of Alex Danvers and doing so in a convincing way. Throughout “Crossfire,” Alex would hesitatingly chase National City Police Detective Maggie Sawyer. Inquiring about her current relationship, then seeking to comfort and spend time with her once she learned of Maggie’s recent break-up, Chyler effectively portrayed a character expressing an attraction that she did not consciously understand. When Maggie first raised the notion that Alex might be “into girls,” Alex nervously pulled away, having never confronted the idea within herself. After just losing an opportunity to first come out to her stepsister, Kara, after taking time to consider her own feelings, Alex instead chose to talk through her feelings and conflicts with Maggie. Alex’s arc within this week’s offering ended at that moment, so we’ll start to know what potential exists from it next week. But for now, Chyler gets her due praise for exhibiting this character evolution.
If Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer were the emotionally heavy story within this chapter, Kara and Mon-El ably provided the comic relief. Mon-El, despite the near-perfect duplication of season 1 Winn Schott’s attire, stuck out like a sore thumb at CATCO. Introducing himself as “Mike of the Interns,” referencing his SSN as part of his name, and thinking hospital soap operas were examples for interoffice relations, Mon-El’s incompetence was only equaled by Kara’s frustration with him. The apex of that stress arrived with the interruption of Mon-El and James Olsen’s assistant in a CATCO storage closet. Through all of the fun, though, Kara and Mon-El came to realize that if he was going to successfully integrate into life on Earth, it would have to be on his own terms.
What Went Wrong
While this week’s journey for James Olsen lands in the wrong category, there were sincere moments that felt very effective. Unfortunately, the most poignant dialogue had in these scenes would be undone in subsequent conversations. It’s completely understandable for James to feel isolated at CATCO with Cat Grant gone from National City and Winn Schott now working for the DEO. In addition, his professional relationship with Kara has suffered with her move to CATCO Magazine and the tutelage of Snapper Carr. Naturally, James seeks to join Kara in the field as a hero. He feels it’s the only way to make an impact. When confronted by Winn over his choice to be a vigilante, Winn delivers one of the most inspiring lines of the season. He tells James and that the two of them help people by disseminating information. They “fight with knowledge.” This point of view certainly rings true when you consider the role of Cat Grant in Season 1. Her national city broadcasts and editorial discretion were instances of leadership and resolve. James must apparently buy none of that. In the end, Winn would choose to help James’ quest. He promised to deliver him an armored suit to help him be a hero. While it was gratifying to see Mehcad Brooks and Jeremy Jordan rekindle their on-screen chemistry – typified by Winn’s admonition that while Kara can be hero because of her powers, James was “just tall” – James’ dismissal of his influence as CATCO CEO for life as a vigilante still hasn’t quite stuck.
What I Took Away
Considering that even what went wrong had its very effective points, Supergirl has continued a strong consecutive streak of airings to begin its run on The CW. The show has heavily invested in its central and supporting characters, as well as developed its best villain to date. In this space following week 2, we guessed that the identity of the Cadmus mastermind might be a Luthor. It appears we did so correctly. In the final teaser scenein “Crossfire”, the Cadmus leader walked into an office meeting between Lena Luthor and Supergirl. After Kara’s departure, Lena addressed the character as “Mom.” With that revelation disclosed, the next question centers on whether her mother plotted the attempted assassination of Lena by John Corben (aka Metallo). Hopefully, we’ll see more interaction between Katie McGrath and Brenda Strong’s characters next week in “Changing.”
Submitted by Jody Money