CBS’ “Supergirl” wrapped up its freshman season with its 20th episode, “Better Angels”, which aired Monday night. Kara Zor-El/Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) has done an admirable and inspiring job of portraying the “Girl of Steel” throughout the season and she finished on a high note.
The season one finale began where last week’s episode ended: a Myriad brainwashed Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh), sporting a kryptonite sword and armored suit, faced off against Supergirl, just as she was preparing to deliver an inspiring speech to save the people of National City.
Myriad’s hold on Alex is broken by her mother, Eliza (Helen Slater), who tells Alex that she and her father, Jeremiah (Dean Cain), believes in her. Alex quickly comes to her senses and the three head into the first studio of Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) to broadcast, with the help of Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli), a message of hope.
Team Supergirl’s plan works, but it raises some important questions for viewers: 1.) If Eliza could reach Alex through an inspirational speech, why didn’t Kara do the same with Jimmy (Mehcad Brooks), Winn (Jeremy Jordan) and her cousin Superman? 2.)How did Eliza know that an inspirational speech would release her daughter from Myriad’s hold? 3.) If Superman was among the people of National City and Team Supergirl used the S-insignia to inspire hope and free everyone, why didn’t those people around Superman who saw him break free of Myriad’s hold?
For a show called “Supergirl”, Superman has made several appearances. Well, they can’t really be called appearances when you barely see the “Man of Steel”. Why have him on the show if all that’s going to be shown of him is a far-away image, a pair of red boots, or a blurry image? It’s a waste to have Kara’s super cousin on the show if he is reduced to a “Muppet Babies” Nanny role, sans speaking parts? To have him be the only Myriad-influenced person to be free but rendered unconscious was unnecessary and was a device used to allow Supergirl to be the one to save the day.
“Supergirl” doesn’t need Superman. She apparently never did, according to the show. He didn’t help raise her, he only appears to talk to her through online chat and he didn’t bother to help train her in her powers. Kara was willing to leave her dying world to protect her baby cousin. But, when the roles were reversed, he dropped her off with her adoptive family and flew away. In the pilot, Kara said that the Danvers helped Superman understand his super abilities, but through the season, viewers have learned that the Danvers made Kara be “normal.”
It seems Superman shirked his responsibilities when it came to his cousin. He should have remembered what it felt like to be different, with powers beyond those of mortal men, and the difficulty he had adapting to his new powers. If he had, wouldn’t he have been there for Kara as much as he could, teaching her how to use her powers to help others and still have a “normal” life?
This could explain why Kara doesn’t seem close at all with her cousin. In fact, she asked Jimmy in the pilot what Superman was like in real life, as if she had spent no time at all with her cousin. That’s why she looks at Superman as an ideal to aspire to, not a cool cousin that she admires and has a great, close relationship with. This aspect of the show is sad because Kara misses her family and her last, surviving blood relative is on the same planet and they aren’t really “family”. So, Superman should stick to sending Kara online messages if the show is renewed for a second season.
It is admirable and cool that there are such strong female characters in the show, but it seems that the male characters are weak, simpletons instead of being on equal footing with their female counterparts. Non (Chris Vance), who was second to his wife General Astra (Laura Benanti) is unable to make decisions for himself and is easily manipulated by his former lover Indigo (Laura Vandervoort). J’onn J’onzz (David Harewood), who is on the same power level as Superman, was horrible, at the beginning of the season, to Supergirl and is too easily hurt throughout the season. Kara’s love interest Jimmy was at odds with her for a while and unable to make the first move. Kara’s best friend Winn ignored her for a while when she did not return his affections. This all fails in comparison with the fact that Kara never mentions her biological father, her love for him and how much she misses him.
Female and male characters can be on the same level, work together and not have one over the other. It just takes some careful reflection, a great story and some relatable characters.
The show also doesn’t seem to know what Kara’s powers and abilities are. One minute, she’s faster than Superman and then next, she can’t hold her breath in space and fly back to Earth (but Superman has continually been on off-world missions through the season). The latter part was probably done so Alex could save her adoptive sister, by way of a pod that Alex had never flown or viewers were never told she had flown. (And how did Alex get Kara back to Earth when she had no spacesuit on and the pod had no appendages to grab Kara?)
Having Kara say goodbye to her loved ones seemed to be a waste of time, given that viewers felt she was never in danger of being killed off. The show is called “Supergirl” and without her, there isn’t a show. If it had been Winn, General Sam Lane (Glenn Morshower) or maybe even Jimmy who had been placed in a precarious situation, it might have been believable.
Episode highlights included the flirty way that Kara and Jimmy interact, the character growth of Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan Tatum), Supergirl’s fight with Non (she burned his eyes out), J’onn’s fight with Indigo (he tore her in half), Supergirl lifting Fort Rozz into space, Cat promoting Kara and finally pronouncing her name correctly. While the super fight in the desert was cool, where were the other Fort Rozz Kryptonians?
Other highlights include Cat’s reference to “Working Girl”, which her husband, actor Harrison Ford, starred in and the fact that Benoist, Vandervoort and Slater, who have all portrayed live-versions of Supergirl, were featured in the same episode.
The show left viewers with a cliffhanger as another Kryptonian vessel lands on Earth. Who’s in it? Could it be her father, Zor-El, who is currently the evil Cyborg-Superman in DC Comics? Is it a baby Kal-El from an alternate dimension? Could it be Streaky the Super cat, accompanied by Comet the Super-Horse and Beppo the Super-Monkey, come to form the Legion of Super-Pets with Superman’s Kryptonian super dog Krypto? Or is it another, younger Kara Zor-El? Viewers will only find out if CBS renews the show.
“Supergirl” has spent a year finding its footing and it has stood tall more than it has fallen. Season 2 would be a chance for Kara to spread her wings, fly high and grow stronger in her stories and the stories of those she loves.
The episode teleplay was written by Robert L. Rovner and Jessica Queller from a story by show co-creators Andrew Kreisberg and Ali Adler. Caitlin Parrish served as executive story editor while Larry Teng directed the episode.
The show was developed by Adler, Greg Berlanti and Kreisberg. Berlanti and Kreisberg also developed and executive produce the CW’s “Arrow”, “The Flash” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”, according to IMDb.com.
While waiting for word of whether “Supergirl” will be renewed or not, check out DC Comics’ digital series “The Adventures of Supergirl”, which is based on the hit TV series, on Comixology.