This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl Episode 13
I’m going to spoil this review somewhat right up front. I’m going to consider “For The Girl Who Has Everything” as the best episode of Supergirl so far. Certainly my favorite since “Fight or Flight.” It’s still an enormously flawed episode, but overall, I feel like the show took a step forward this week, and I do believe these successes can be built on.
Here’s where I consider this episode to be a stunning success: the pacing. You know, the thing I’m usually killing this show for. Especially during its first act, “For The Girl Who Has Everything” had work to do, and it didn’t mess around. It got it done.
My usual complaints about Jimmy and Wynn? Not this week. This is the most fun I’ve seen these two have in each other’s presence. Putting Alex right in the middle of them (her “key” to Kara’s apartment was awesome) shouldn’t have worked but it did. Listening to Melissa Benoist duplicate David Harewood’s delivery was a special treat, so much so that I will totally forgive the fact that this is now the second time that Martian Manhunter has stepped in for Kara and that I still can’t quite bring myself to forgive the fact that Cat Grant looks like an idiot for putting two and two together and coming up with five.
Other than the needlessly sugary and sentimental ending (which felt tremendously out of place after what unfolded during the previous hour), things moved along pretty well. In fact, they moved along so well that the big selling point of the episode, the Krypton scenes and the fact that this was inspired by one of the single greatest Superman stories ever, felt almost like an afterthought.
And maybe that’s a good thing. There is simply no living up to “For The Man Who Has Everything” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Trying to do so would have been an impossible task, even had this been stretched over two episodes. Calling this episode an “adaptation” of that story would be generous. If I let myself judge this by its inspirational source material, well, this would be a far less positive review.
What worked in that regard? Some of the stuff on Krypton really looked great, especially Kelex, the medical robot (more on Kelex down below). Beyond that, I’m not sure how wise it was to really lean on the connection to the original story. The fact that Kara is aware that she isn’t supposed to be there early on feels like it was shoehorned in by TV executive notes, and it immediately robs the story of some of its dramatic impact. While Kara is “at home” in this hallucination later on, that disconnect early on kind of de-emphasizes the fact that, in her mind, she has actually lived the previous 12 years on Krypton as if nothing has happened. It would make the decision to leave this reality later feel that much more traumatic and real to the audience.
But again, the Krypton delusion is more of a side dish for this episode. While I really, truly, thoroughly dislike the Maxwell Lord “entering your subconscious via VR goggles” magic plot device, I do think this is the episode that finally cemented my real belief in Kara and Alex’s bond. I’ve been lukewarm on that aspect for so long, and I think that for the most part, this one sold me. The same goes for Kara/Astra, which brings me to…
…I really didn’t see that ending coming. Having Alex filet Astra like that is the first genuine “surprise/holy shit” moment they’ve given us in ages. J’onn covering for Alex was a nice touch, too, even though this is going to set up another ten episodes of needless soul searching. Maybe now Non can step in and fill the role of truly menacing big bad guy that this show has been desperately searching for. Astra never quite got the job done and Maxwell Lord sure as hell isn’t going to. Third time’s the charm?
Is “For the Girl Who Has Everything” uneven? Absolutely. Is it really worthy of its source material? Not even close. But in terms of utilizing its cast and the rules that have been established to its best advantage, it’s probably the best Supergirl has done all year. It’s still not quite the home run I’m waiting for, but I can’t fault them for lack of ambition this week!
Kryptonian Memory Crystals
– “For the Girl Who Has Everything” was adapted from “For The Man Who Has Everything” which appeared in Superman Annual #11 in 1985. That story came from the Watchmen creative team of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. If you haven’t read this story, well, I don’t know what to say. You need to. Immediately.
It’s one of the greatest Superman stories of all time. I could write thousands of words about why it’s so good, and as a matter of fact, I already have. Whatever you do, do not let your opinion of this episode sway you on whether or not you should check out that story. Just read it, and enjoy 48 pages of perfection.
– Right out of the gate they give us Kelex! You might recognize Kelex from the opening scenes of Man of Steel. But Kelex actually first appeared in Man of Steel #1 in 1986. This TV version of Kelex looked quite a bit like the version John Byrne designed. I was really happy to see Kelex. What can I say? I’m easily pleased.
– Why the hell were the guards wearing House of El insignia? I know it has been established on this show that the pentagonal border thingy is some kind of official seal, but what goes in it is something else entirely. Can we chalk this up to it being a sign that Kara isn’t quite remembering all the details of her homeworld right? Like maybe it’s a little subconscious alarm that something is wrong? That really annoyed me. Sometimes, I am easily annoyed.
– Kara was said to be suffering from “Argo Fever.” Argo City is where Kara was originally from in the comics, although I can’t quite seem to remember it being mentioned on here before. In Supergirl’s old comic book origin, Argo City was thrown free of Krypton when it exploded, and kind of existed as a domed city on an asteroid. Its citizens later became sick with radiation poisoning, although it was never called Argo Fever.
– The spherical astronomy thingy that young Kal-El was playing with, I mean…how many of you saw the 1984 Supergirl movie? If you haven’t, ummm…I don’t necessarily recommend it (although Helen Slater is awesome). But for real, would it have killed them to have this be an Omegahedron? I’d like to just pretend that the name of this unnamed thingy is an Omegahedron. Please indulge me.
– Did…did my ears deceive me? Did I hear a mention of the name Lar-Gand on Krypton? Somebody help me out. If I’m not losing my mind, I’ll update this with all of the reasons that hearing the name Lar-Gand on TV is cool. It’s really cool, though. You’ll just have to trust me on this.