Saturday, April 20, 2024

Supergirl: 1.3 Fight or Flight Review

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In comes the Man Whose Name No Longer Risks Copyright Issues.

Okay, maybe I spoke too soon last week. We have a Supergirl monologue, and it’s longer than either Barry Allen’s or Oliver Queen’s.

And we have a “previously on…” segment.

That’s fine, though, because we actually get to see Kara’s talk with Cat Grant, which I honestly wasn’t expecting. I thought maybe they’d go with a flash-forward and only mention it tangentially, but we’re in luck. Also in luck? Kara. Cat Grant is frosty as ever, accusing Supergirl of not being up to par with the Man of Steel, but Kara-as-Supergirl can take it.

Even when faced with the reality that she could have saved lives during natural disasters before the series started.

Kara needed to be ready.

And we get another Feminism 101 moment: Supergirl is unhappy when Grant asks her if she plans to start a family, because nobody asks her cousin those sorts of questions. After giving that last nugget of info, Kara storms off.

I love seeing the duality of Kara-as-Supergirl and Kara-as-Kara-Danvers, though. She gets breakfast the next morning with Alex, and James surprises her with not only his presence, but a lame joke that she laughs much too hard at. Something else that’s laugh worthy? When he looks at Alex and asks, “How’s the covert alien-hunting business?”

Obviously not covert enough, if he knows.

Another quirk I like about Kara-as-Kara-Danvers, as she rants to Winn about Cat Grant: “She’s like a villain. She’s like a super interviewing villain!”

Perhaps it’s because I see a lot of myself in her, but I can’t help but find Melissa Benoist’s Kara absolutely endearing. I think it’s the same reason I like Felicity over on Arrow. Even when she has troubles facing aliens or Cat Grant herself, Kara still tries and doesn’t give up. It’s something I admire.

In a way, I also admire Grant’s tenacity. I may not like the way she tramples on Kara or the rest of the staff at CatCo, but she’s successful and hellbent on writing an expose on Supergirl. It’s something to admire even with her gruff exterior. Something else to note, by the way, is the confirmation of this taking place in a world not unlike ours: Grant name-drops the Vanity Fair issue about Caitlyn Jenner as a thing to beat with her Supergirl issue.

Understandably, Hank and the rest of the DEO–including Alex–aren’t exactly happy about the interview, but it’s something Kara needed as we get what the core of this episode is about: who exactly is Supergirl? We know she’s a hero, we know Kara’s training and improving, but she needs to find out who she is, and what the title of Supergirl means to her. It’s not limited to Kara Zor-El, either; finding out who we are as ourselves is something that everyone goes through.

What not everyone goes through, though, is having to fight off aliens and save people from car crashes.  Now that the world knows she’s the Man Of Steel’s cousin, she’s a target for those who want to hurt him; in this case, it’s Reactron, who fought with the Man himself. He’s a human, though, and the DEO doesn’t want to deal with it, and doesn’t want Supergirl to deal with it.

Of note, though? Winn finds an old office in the CatCo building that he appropriates for Supergirl and her fight against Reactron. Honestly, it seems a little like an odd choice for a secret base considering it’s right down the hall from Cat Grant, but that’s not something they can think about when James suggests calling Superman for help with Reactron… and lets slip that Clark Kent is Superman.

Kara won’t have any of it. She’s not Superman’s cousin; she’s Supergirl, defined by her own wins and losses.

James: “I guess stubbornness runs in the family.”

We also get to see Maxwell Lord from last episode. He’s a scientist, ruthless like Cat Grant; he fires someone on the spot for being even slightly negative. Unfortunately for him, Reactron needs someone that knows nuclear energy. He tries to take one of the Lord Technologies crew, but Maxwell volunteers himself instead, and it’s up to Kara to rescue him.

Good news, though. While the DEO isn’t behind Supergirl fighting Reactron, Alex is. Reactron views Superman as responsible for the death of his wife, having stopped a nuclear reaction at a power plant but accidentally let the two of them get caught in a radiation leak. Lord has to fix his technology to let Reactron fight Supergirl, or face death.

Cat Grant wants to fight Supergirl, too. The expose she’s writing? It’s nothing more than yet another Reactronary (ha! See what I did there?) article attempting to expose Supergirl as an entitled, bratty millennial. Vomit. The accusations echo into the episode’s alien-plot, too, as Grant insists that Supergirl will do what all millennials do in her mind: call for family help.

But Kara argues the point: Supergirl needs to prove she’s a hero. She wants people to think of Superman as a symbol for help, but to also think of Supergirl. She wants to be a hero in her own right. And that’s what she tries to do: she wants to talk to Reactron, not fight him. He’s a human and deserves mercy.

He doesn’t show her any, and Superman comes to the rescue—we see some boots, a partial body, and then Kara passes out. She wakes up, only to find out that Maxwell Lord chalks his rescue up to Superman.

And Kara and James argue, because it was James who called for help via a super-watch. James is glad she’s alive, but Kara tells him to leave, because she can’t become a hero herself with Superman always saving her. Alex tells her that it’s going to be her saving the Man Of Steel someday, and I hope that’s not foreshadowing; I want Supergirl to stand on its own.

Kara can do that, though, even if she needs help. At the launch party for the Supergirl issue, Grant corners her about copies of the magazine itself, and Winn comes to the rescue with an excuse… and then asks her to repay him by dancing. It’s nice that CBS isn’t going with a gay-best-friend relationship between him and Kara, but Benoist and Jordan simply don’t have chemistry. She has more with Brooks, and even that feels more like a mentor relationship than anything else to me. It’s not a weak point of the show necessarily—that’s more along the lines of the clunky dialogue—but it sticks out to me. I almost want it to be a gay-best-friend thing.

What isn’t a gay-best-friend relationship, though, is that between Grant and Lord. It’s implied they’re ex-lovers, but it doesn’t matter, because Grant bounces from her own party early, all in the name of power.

Alex decides to tell Hank Henshaw off, though: she wants to save the world, not just Supergirl or humans. Despite the glowing red eyes that he’s hiding, he signs on to help Kara fight Reactron.

At the Supergirl issue debut party.

Luckily, Kara stops him by creating a lead glove to contain the radiation from his power suit, and the show’s focus finally shifts from solely alien threats to all threats Supergirl deigns it worthy to take on.

And then enter Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan Tatum), James Olsen’s ex.

Also, CLARK KENT USES EMOJIS. Inexplicably, he sends an instant message to Supergirl, giving her his blessing after the fight with Reactron: defeating him was something Clark couldn’t do. He may not be the central character of the show, but he’s there, and the theme of family is reinforced in a short few-message conversation.

And that’s how we end the episode: Alex and Kara, heading off to save the world as “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” plays in the background.

Supergirl is slowly but surely finding its footing. The dialogue is a little clunky, and the feminism isn’t always implemented well, but it’s improving as it finds its niche just as Kara is doing the same.

I can’t wait to see more.

Image courtesy of CBS

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