This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl Episode 15
Well, they sure packed a lot into “Solitude” didn’t they? I can’t tell if I’m simply blinded by just how much Superman mythology they hit us with this week or I’m simply impressed by how tightly paced and packed this and last week’s “Truth, Justice, and The American Way” were. Regardless, “Solitude” was solid, and flaws and all, it might be my favorite episode of the season.
And yes, because I’m a broken record, I have to say it. Supergirl remains a deeply flawed television show. In particular, I can’t stress enough how impossible it is to give a damn about the James/Lucy relationship. James is an integral part of this show. Lucy does nothing but bring episodes to a screeching halt whenever they focus on her. And while this is a carryover from last week, so I can’t entirely fault this episode for it, the idea that Jimmy would dare to tell Kara to reveal her identity to Lucy Lane, daughter of a man who has it in for her, was so asinine as to be almost unforgivable.
But you know what? I’m not here for any of that this week. I’m here to sing the praises of what is suddenly the best looking superhero show on television.
Supergirl has worked best when leaning on the sci-fi elements, if not the explicitly “comic book” ones, although the two are often inseparable. But the opening alone, well, it just looked like good sci-fi TV to me. And then it got better…
Laura Vandevoort looked pretty cool in the Indigo makeup. That’s good. Her weird power set translated well enough to TV. But her plan was big enough to stretch the budget a little bit. And that’s exactly what they did.
While Superman’s Fortress of Solitude was the obvious selling point for the episode, and it looked nice enough, the bigger deal for me was the missile chase. Making a human being fly has never been done this well on TV, and this was just one sequence of many where the visuals on Supergirl have completely buried the best special effects her cousin ever had.
Add in what I felt was a reasonable, if not entirely satisfying resolution to the Kara/Alex/Astra’s dead body issue, and I feel like “Solitude” came together pretty well. So you know what? I’m giving this episode the highest rating I’ve given any episode of Supergirl this year. If nothing else, its ambition, pacing, and look earned it, and I’m going to forgive a few things I might ordinarily kill this show for. I think this and “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” are the episodes to build on, and if they can balance things a little better, and really convince me of the stakes of Myriad or whatever Non is up to, then there’s real hope for this show. I just hope it isn’t too late.
Kryptonian Memory Crystals
– This was probably the most comic book accurate version of the Fortress of Solitude we’ve ever seen. The overall crytalline look pays tribute to the design seen in Superman: The Movie and Superman II. But we’ve definitely never seen anything like this, complete with the Jor-El and Lara statues holding up a giant Kryptonian globe.
When the Fortress first appeared in comics, it was a mountain retreat, but it eventually evolved into the Arctic hideaway we know and love.
– The key made of condensed dwarf star material comes straight out of the greatest Superman story of the 21st Century, All Star Superman. But did I hear Jimmy right? 1 million tons? I’ll remember that the next time we see Kara struggling with, ummmm…just about any feat of super strength.
– Does Indigo remind you of Brainiac? She should. She’s basically Brainiac 8. She first appeared in Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #1 in 2003, and she was created by Judd Winnick and Ale Garza.
And of course, Indigo brings with her our first explicit references to Brainiac, so that’s pretty great. If there are no plans for Brainiac on the big screen, then I’ll settle for him here. And if they’re ever going to do a proper Superman/Supergirl team-up, Brainiac is just the threat to bring them together!
– So, remember on The Flash when we saw a wavy image of a Legion flight ring and I got really excited? Well, screw that noise. Not only did we get a wonderful look at a Legion of Super-Heroes flight ring, we got it in a place of honor in Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. You know what this means? It means that the Superman of this world spent his teenage years in the 31st Century helping a group of super-powered teenagers protect Earth from interstellar menaces. I am almost indescribably happy about this.
– Robotic Kryptonian assistant Kelex was back this week, and once again, I can’t stress enough how good these robots look on this show.
– The truck that Supergirl stops has a license plate that says PLASTINO. Al Plastino was the co-creator of Supergirl, but also the co-creator of The Legion of Super-Heroes. See my above freakout about them.
And now for a host of movie references…
– Indigo’s whole schtick with the traffic lights reminded me of some of the stuff that happened in Superman III. This was better.
– Kara chasing down an armed missile that can’t simply be disarmed by traditional methods is reminiscent of the XK101 rocket chase at the climax of Superman: The Movie.
– Okay, that was TOTALLY an Omegahedron that Non was using at the very end there, right? RIGHT?!? Work with me, everyone.