This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl Season 1 Episode 18
I’m not sure where to start with “World’s Finest.” On the one hand, I want to just kind of gush over what a wonderful little study about how impossibly perfect Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin are as Kara Danvers and Barry Allen. On the other hand, it wasn’t a perfect episode, and I don’t want to be branded as the kind of critic who makes up his mind before even watching something.
But I’ve gotta say, “World’s Finest” handled its crossover craziness more elegantly than the two-part Flash/Arrow crossover that had to set up Legends of Tomorrow did earlier this year. Granted, there were fewer characters and fewer origin stories to be told in this one, but there was less of a sense that the entire cast was going to nudge/wink you to death with its own mythology. I think Supergirl did a fine job of introducing Barry to any potentially unfamiliar viewers, while any Flash viewers making the jump were probably quickly settled into this world.
What’s really great is that the supporting cast, who I really feel took most of this season to click, were pretty terrific. The look of relief between Wynn and James when Kara informs them that Barry is “from another universe” and thus wouldn’t be sticking around was pretty great, as was Wynn’s simultaneous nerding out with Barry and his enthusiasm to help him get home. I thought Wynn was being fitted for a “nice guy” fedora/trillby earlier this season, but that’s no longer a concern. Now, if they would only reveal that Cat Grant (who was, yet again, wonderful this week) has been faking not knowing who Supergirl is this entire time, I’ll be 100% satisfied.
Livewire kinda brought things down, I guess. I wasn’t terribly fond of her intro episode, and things tend to get turned up to a kind of “before the modern era of superhero shows” level of overdone villainy when she’s around. It’s a combination of lazy dialogue that can only be delivered in kind of an over-the-top fashion, and I just feel like we’re back in the late ’90s again whenever stuff like this happens, especially when nearly everything else on this show is relatively (I said relatively!) down to Earth.
I appreciate that they went out of their way (via Livewire) to make Siobhan into a properly comic book looking Silver Banshee, I guess. But it all felt kind of obligatory. I know there are some people who would have felt cheated if there weren’t two villains for Barry and Kara to flatten, but I seriously could have just watched the two of them swap war stories and have a proper race for an hour and been completely satisfied.
I do hope that they’re finally moving things forward with Kara and James, though. I don’t think it’s too soon, and I think dragging this out over another (potential) season would be entirely too much. I’d rather they go for it now and have it not work out in the future than do the Clark/Lana Smallville thing forever and ever and ever and…
But I guess, I dunno…the whole thing was a little…safe? “World’s Finest” absolutely continues the generally upward trend of Supergirl episodes since the midseason break. So while I had a really great time watching it (and people need to find an excuse to get Ms. Benoist and Mr. Gustin on screen together more often, superheroes or no superheroes), I don’t think it was quite as strong as one like “Solitude” and it certainly didn’t destroy me the way that “Falling” did (in a good way). But lately, virtually every episode has been better than the ones before, and I feel like a 3.5 star review right now is better than 3.5 star review back in November or December. It’s tough to gauge these things over 20 episodes or so.
So forget the stars tonight. The important thing is that Supergirl showed us we can have an inter-network, multiversal superhero crossover, and it can be fun and clever and not a ridiculously painful exposition fiesta. The far more important thing is that it’s good to see that there are at least a few people out in Hollywood who are completely unashamed of the positive messages that can resonate in superhero stories, and are willing to tell them. And the ultimate message of this episode, about redemption, concern for others, and even sympathy for one’s enemies, is an important one, and one that the big screen version of this superhero universe could certainly learn from.
Let’s hope that enough of us want to see them to lock up Supergirl Season 2 and a few more years of The Flash, too.
Kryptonian Memory Crystals/Flash Facts!
Hello! My computer crashed and I lost my notes! That means that I may have to rely a little more on you good folks than usual to help out with this week’s Kryptonian Memory Crystals. Forgive me. It’s been a crazy week.
– Silver Banshee was created by John Byrne back when he was running the Superman comics. Before “reboot” was a word, he rebooted the Superman mythos, scaled a few things back, and introduced a handful of new characters. Not a ton of ’em stuck, but ol’ Siobhan is still here.
– Barry mentions a possible Earth where “the Nazis won World War II.” He hasn’t been there (yet?) but this is a reference to Earth-X, which was the home of the Freedom Fighters. I feel like Earth-X would be more at home on a Legends of Tomorrow episode, but I’d be down to see Barry visit this.
When Barry mentioned a world where “we’re all evil” I thought for a second he meant the world where Batman v Superman takes place, but then I remembered he was talking about Earth-2.
– Wynn calls our favorite pair “dynamic duo” which was traditionally the nickname for Batman and Robin. I wonder if they exist on Kara’s world?
– Flash totally would have won that race, by the way. Traditionally, Flash wins any Superman/Flash races. The old school editorial logic was that if Flash isn’t even really “the fastest man alive” (even when faced with Superman) then for real, why is he around?
You all know the drill by now, right? Let me know what I missed in the comments or on Twitter!