This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl Season 1 Episode 5
To quote Eve Tessmacher in Superman: The Movie, “Ummmm…I know I’m gonna get rapped in the mouth for this,” but I liked “How Does She Do It” better than “Livewire.” I realize that I was in the minority in finding “Livewire” to be a little goofy and predictable, and I accept that. But for all its problems, this week’s installment felt a little more well balanced to me.
There are still issues, though, mostly with the romantic stuff. And no, this isn’t me being some romantically challenged basement dwelling superhero fan who doesn’t think there should be feelings in his stories about caped people hitting things. It’s just that none of these core romantic beats are really connecting.
I don’t buy Jimmy and Kara. I like them both, quite a bit. I think they have on-screen chemistry. I do not buy the crush Kara has on him, though. Adding to the confusion, Lucy Lane still feels like she’s been shoehorned into the proceedings a little bit. I think there’s a place for her as well as her past with Jimmy, but it’s just made for some awkward relationship exposition. It’s so early in this show’s life, and we haven’t even had time to let the connections between the regulars develop further (see my above complaint about Jimmy/Kara), and, I dunno. I’m not into it. Wynn isn’t helping, either. Nor did the second annoying Cyndi Lauper cover in three episodes.
I suppose a hint of these problems could have come from episodes airing out of sequence. “Livewire” was supposed to air after this one, but I’m not sure that would have made much of a difference. We do see more hints of a more three-dimensional Cat Grant coming through in this episode, something that took a leap forward in “Livewire,” as well. She’s shaping up to be the most interesting character on the show not named Kara.
Now that I’ve got all that out of the way, though, I still generall enjoyed things this week. The special effects continue to perhaps put me in a better mood about everything than I might ordinarily be. Kara’s opening flight sequence was really spectacular, as was the first bomb rescue. Sequences like this feel more weighty when done in the bright light of day.
Kara definitely appeared as up to the legacy that comes with that “S” this week as we’ve ever seen her. She disposed of a bomb that could level 30 square city blocks without a thought for her own safety, and we’ve yet to see her powers get tested quite to that degree. I mean, the audience knew she’d be alright, but there’s little reason to think that she knew. It’s a subtle distinction, but it’s an important thing when you wear that “S.”
I’m not sure yet how I feel about the way things ended with the bomber, though. I know Kara did everything she could to talk him out of blowing himself up, and there was never any doubt that she would choose to save everybody on the train. I was still hoping that she might find a way to rescue him at the last second, too. I don’t think this is a moral issue, it might be an experience one, and I think the show took this whole theme (the “hero has to choose” thing is a trope that needs to be retired) to a slightly more interesting place than we usually get out of it.
Are they setting Maxwell Lord up to be a big baddie of the season? Well…I’m not so sure. The Lex Luthor parallels are a little too obvious for my taste, and I can’t see them taking such an easy way out. What I do appreciate, though, is that this is now three episodes that have deviated from what we thought was going to be the prime villain-generator of the show, Fort Rozz. Balancing the alien/Kryptonian stuff with more down to earth menaces (and in this case, a villain who had nothing to do with the comics at all) is strangely refreshing.
For an episode that tackled something that weighty, though, “How Does She Do It” was still a little uneven, and Carter Grant felt like an afterthought to the whole thing. He did allow for some fun jokes from Kara and Wynn, though.
Kryptonian Memory Crystals
– Cat Grant is up for a Siegel Prize in Metropolis. Jerry Siegel was the writer who co-created Superman, alongside artist Joe Shuster.
– Carter Grant appears to have been created just for this show. In the comics, Cat had a son named Adam. Why they changed this for the show is beyond me, unless they’re holding something back for a future story.
Adam had a rough ending at the hands of the Toyman…and here on the show, that’s Wynn Schott’s father. Again, I can’t imagine they’re going to push this connection too hard.
– Speaking of the Toyman, it’s pretty funny that Wynn has a bunch of “adult collectibles” on his desk, isn’t it? I wouldn’t know anything about that, of course.
– The Lucy Lane of the comics has never been a lawyer, let alone a military one (although that fits with her background, the daughter of General Sam Lane).
– Kara being shadowed by drones that are measuring her abilities (and that were sent by a mysterious industrialist/billionaire) feels an awful lot like Superman’s early encounters with Lex Luthor from his 1986 Man of Steel mini-series. Again, I don’t think making Maxwell Lord a Luthor stand-in is the best idea, nor do I think the show will take that much of an easy way out, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
– There’s another inescapable Lord/Luthor parallels, though. Kara appearing at his penthouse window to confront him, only for the dick to be like “you can never prove anything!” is a classic Superman/Luthor beat.
– Lord makes a joke about whether Supergirl is allowed to “drink and fly.” Christopher Reeve famously refused a drink from Margot Kidder in Superman: The Movie by saying “I never drink when I fly.”
Kara’s “I care about everyone” line also echoes Lois Lane’s quote from the end of Superman: The Movie, telling Jimmy Olsen that “Superman cares about everyone.”
If I missed anything, let me know here or on Twitter! It’s been a crazy week, so I’m a little off my game. Thanks for reading!