Supergirl: Stronger Together
November 3, 2015 1:45 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

When Kara’s attempts to help National City don't go according to plan, she must put aside the doubts that she -- and the city's media -- have about her abilities in order to capture an escapee from the Kryptonian prison, Fort Rozz. Also, Cat pressures James to use his connection to Superman to get her an interview with Supergirl.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich (28 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I thought that this was a solid episode and I enjoyed it quite a bit. An improvement from the pilot. I'm very much enjoying the unabashedly comic book tone and wow do I love Kara. She could strangle a puppy and I'd still be smitten. I'm beginning to wonder if Melissa Benoist doesn't have a superpower herself.

The theme of the episode was very well done and poignant -- and whoever is responsible for this way of differentiating Supergirl from Superman deserves a big pat on the back. Was this from the comics? This idea that because Superman was a baby when he got here and for other reasons is naturally a loner while Kara partly grew up on Krypton and has a strongly internalized sense of her culture and what her family was all about and so she's a team-player -- that's interesting and has potential. Although she hasn't actually, in practice, been much of a team player in these two episodes. But maybe the point is that she's finding herself. As she becomes Supergirl, she will become the kind of hero her mother thought she was destined to be.

One thing that isn't quite working for me that really ought to be is the sisterhood thing. They've written all this stuff about how they are together and how Alex looks after Kara, and they've had a lot of screen time together. But there's not really any chemistry there, something about how they interact is more like moderate friends and not the close sisters they're supposed to be. I don't know whose fault this is and I don't want to blame the actress who is playing Alex. But I'm just not feeling it and I think this is supposed to be pretty core to the show.

Seems like here and elsewhere almost everyone doesn't like Flockhart's "Cat". I don't hate or strongly dislike her and I don't think I'd much care for any version of this character trope. So I don't have any particular sense of what's not right with this character, but it's not really working for me and a whole bunch of people really dislike Cat, so... I don't know.

But otherwise I'm very pleased by how well this show is coming together in only the second episode.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:06 AM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I said in the comments for the pilot that Totally Not SHIELD really needed to make Kara take a self defense course. So I was very gratified that they more or less did exactly that as her first order of business. It's always a good sign when the show writers appear to have actually put at least a modicum of thought into the events of their series.

I did chuckle a bit at Kara's mom's line when Kara said she wanted to be just like her. That she will... because she has the heart of a hero.

Not big on the ol' humility, Kara's mom.
posted by Justinian at 2:58 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nice little self-reference to Clark Kent not resembling Supercuz at all because "glasses and a bit of a hunch".
posted by arzakh at 4:23 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Good to see they negotiated the rights to actually say "Superman." Although, I wonder if the in-world reason for that is the crazy super-faith stuff their hinting at with the new movie. "Don't speak His name for He can hear you!" (Which is incidentally how Kara found her sister, so maybe there's good reason for that.)

Poor Jimmy Olsen. So sad that he's only known for knowing a guy. I wonder if there is a song he listens to for comfort.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:43 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I am such a comics noob sometimes - it wasn't until Cat Grant's line about having been Perry White's assistant that I realized that this Cat is the same character as the Cat who was always hitting on Clark in "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman".

Still some clunky dialogue, but an improvement on the pilot. The flying portion of the fight scene between Kara & Astra was pretty bad, hope they keep them on the ground in future fights or give themselves a lot more time & budget to make the wire work look better.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:24 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I'm Perd Hapley, and the story of Supergirl is that she is super, and apparently, a girl."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:06 AM on November 3, 2015 [18 favorites]

I was so excited to hear Perd's voice, but, then, I'm a huge Perdvert.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:10 AM on November 3, 2015 [6 favorites]

Here's a pretty great little interview I just found with Jay Jackson. (Spoiler: he was a newscaster.)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:19 AM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

This episode built nicely on the pilot for me. Right now I'm very happy with this show, and I think for two episodes in, it's right on track. The tone, network, and audience might mean that the ceiling for the show is "lighthearted fun," rather than "best superhero show ever," but I think that's fine.

The Alex character became a little more rounded and I feel like the actress is getting a better sense of her. Hank Henshaw is the only character that I'm still completely unimpressed by; I don't think the writers are giving him much to work with and the actor sort of feels like he's going through the motions.

The pace is still fast, which I'm liking, over the "slowly put the pieces into place" mode that can plague some superhero shows. It's a comic book show: I want twists, I want action, I want to breakneck pace. The show is giving me that.

Thematically, I did like the idea that Kara needs to start with easily solvable problems. That small scale rescuing cats snakes in trees stuff feels like it should be the backbone of a superhero's day to day superheroing, especially one grounded in the Superman family of characters who should be helping people, not just beating up bad guys. It's also a nice way to give her her powers, and let her use them and succeed, rather than immediately facing the setbacks that you need to build longer arcs, but can be a little depressing right out of the gate.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:41 AM on November 3, 2015 [4 favorites]

Good to see they negotiated the rights to actually say "Superman."

Apparently only once, though.
posted by Etrigan at 6:47 AM on November 3, 2015

I baffled my wife by pointing out Perd's appearance on the news.

In terms of almost everything, this episode was a step up, as should be expected, from the pilot. With the exception of the Fire Chief at the dock, who kind of stuck out like a sore "I'm not great at acting" thumb, everyone appeared more comfortable in their roles and had more control of the dialogue. There was a bit less forceful dialogue, though I don't think Astra has quite found her spot. She's hovering all around where her character should be, but just hasn't nailed it. Right now, I keep seeing her as "Angry/Spiteful Anti-Supergirl Mom." I think it was a mistake to create her as a twin to Supergirl's mother, as Laura Benanti has to play against herself, and so in turn, has to help differentiate between the two characters. The result flattens both characters and it would be great if her mother can be seen to be not as "good" as she currently is and a bit more "good" light shed on her aunt. Right now the juxtaposition is hurting both characters.

I'm getting used to Cat, though distracted by Flockhart's almost there and almost not eyebrows.

I appreciated the minor sub point of Jimmy Olsen, who has been presented as this incredibly cool and confident fellow, is reduced by Cat to just someone who knows someone famous, and in his own mind, as just someone who took a photo of someone famous. It's a nice crack in an exterior that exudes a side career in male modeling and motivational speaking.

I expected Astra to deal Supergirl a bit more of a hard fight, given that she's a trained soldier and Kara has had one training session with her sister. Also, everyone raise their hand if that kryptonite dagger will be used against Kara later in the season?
posted by Atreides at 6:50 AM on November 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

Also, everyone raise their hand if that kryptonite dagger will be used against Kara later in the season?

Obviously. This is Chekhov's Kryptonite dagger is ever there was one.

In a general sense, I wonder if they're going to move just Henshaw in the direction of villainy or the entire Not A.R.G.U.S. organization. That organization has a lot of Kryponite stuff just lying around and would present a pretty formidable foe at a later date.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:40 AM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

we set up a room just for you to talk with your dead mom and also please forget that we have kryptonite machines in here too it is really just a safe place for you to hang out and will in no way ever be the setting for our inevitable betrayal
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:48 AM on November 3, 2015 [16 favorites]

I did forget to add, but the "trap" for the monster alien of the weak consisted of driving around with open barrels of a dangerous chemical and then shooting at it with handguns from a moving vehicle behind an also moving transport carrying said chemicals. This might have been one of the few "wha?" moments of the episode which struck me as pretty poorly thought out, designed entirely to move the plot along to allow Kara's sister to be captured for Astra's plan.
posted by Atreides at 8:20 AM on November 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

Was anyone else bothered by the soft focus in all of Calista Flockhart's scenes?
posted by bradf at 9:18 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

That wasn't just my imagination? I'm relieved, at least, and yes, it stuck out to me and was distracting. I guess if you can't emote with your face, by going soft it would amplify your facial expressions?
posted by Atreides at 11:24 AM on November 3, 2015

I wonder if they're going to move just Henshaw in the direction of villainy or the entire Not A.R.G.U.S. organization.

It's going to be interesting seeing where they go with this given the history of his comics analogues. Also I was surprised to learn that the DEO is an actual DC universe agency that postdates my comics-reading.

As far as the episode goes, I thought it was a strong sophomore outing and yeah, improvement is still needed, but they're still in shakeout mode. I'm mostly super-glad Berlanti has learned not to leave secrets/plot points dangling for half a season.
posted by immlass at 6:25 PM on November 3, 2015

I checked his IMDB page and Jay Jackson (Perd Hapley) is set to appear in 3 separate episodes of Supergirl. So keep an eye out for that, I guess; it seems like some wily casting to wink at Parks & Rec fans.
posted by axiom at 8:22 PM on November 3, 2015

I sort of have a perverse liking for Cat, who is awful and yet kinda has a point in her weird sort of mentorship. Work up to things, indeed. "THE COUSIN" never trashed a boat, after all, so that's something to live up to. And working on that self-defense is good.

I suspect there's twins because otherwise you can't really justify casting Laura Benanti in the part and then just having her show up once in awhile? Though the magical mom computer thing is...SUPER WEIRD and kinda creepy.

Anyway, I liked how the points of this were "work your way up to things" and "it's good to have a Team Supergirl on your side."

It is very LOL how Supergirl wanders around with no masks whatsoever, and yet we're going to have to pretend that Cat doesn't recognize her assistant at all for weeks, months, years on end because of no glasses. I know the woman's self-centered, but she can't be that blind and self-centered and stupid...I know it's trope, but it is a dumb trope.

Hah, yeah, Cat Grant from Lois and Clark! Hah!
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:33 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Kinda disappointed Olsen gave in to the interview request and didn't negotiate for something, anything. Now Grant can essentially just threaten his employment every time she'd like to talk to Supergirl?
posted by ODiV at 11:30 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

The things I didn't like it were much the same as the pilot, which I watched many moons ago:
Fort Rozz - y'know, maybe someone's cousin should do something about that.
CatCo - Cat's the worst (which I expected from the comics), and her girlpower speeches, while no doubt necessary, are as bad as her weird face (I read she was being digitally smoothed).
James Olsen - It ain't sitting right.
The DEO - really?

But otherwise, considering everything Supergirl has to battle to just be a show, I love.

Kara/Melissa is just a joy to watch, like Grant Gustin was in S1 of The Flash - everything's so new and fun.
The training montage.
The constant digs at that terrible Man of Steel movie, and making "it means hope" actually kinda work.
The SFX are only occasionally terrible.
Hank (who really, really reminds me of Diggle) sucks less.

They really are going to have to deal with the whole Superman thing, aren't they? I mean you can't have a Kryptionian army running around and not ask the world's foremost (or only?) superhero for help. Maybe they should do The Death of Superman off-screen.

My knowledge of Supergirl is scatty at best (considering her history), and my fondest memories are of Superman Family or something, but how soon do you think we'll see Kandor?
posted by Mezentian at 12:41 AM on November 4, 2015

Now Grant can essentially just threaten his employment every time she'd like to talk to Supergirl?

I'm pretty sure she'd do that anyway.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:10 AM on November 4, 2015

They really are going to have to deal with the whole Superman thing, aren't they? I mean you can't have a Kryptionian army running around and not ask the world's foremost (or only?) superhero for help.

SCENE: Janky old warehouse or something, who cares.
ASTRA: "Okay, everyone on this side of the room is staying here to destroy my niece. Everyone on that side of the room is going to Metropolis to keep my nephew busy. Hands in... Break on three -- one, two, three!"
posted by Etrigan at 9:18 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

I guess the negative reporting on Supes in Metropolis was meant to imply that he had his hands full taking on his own problems. But yeah, Superman, ironically, will have to exist as a god-like figure in this t.v. show, always mentioned, always believed in, but never making an appearance but for glimpses and implications of his true form.

Admission, whenever I hear Fort Rozz, I think of Frasier's production manager.
posted by Atreides at 9:43 AM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

I think we can all agree that this episode raised one burning question the show could be ruined if it doesn't answer.

How did Fluffy get into the tree? Was the little girl taking it for a walk? If so, again, how? Leashes don't work on snakes!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:25 PM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]

How did Fluffy get into the tree?

Hellgrammite does some freelance evil when he's off duty.
posted by Etrigan at 6:40 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

To be fair, The Flash had a lot of bumps early on; people loved it right away, but I don't think it really clicked until five or six episodes in. This was a huge improvement over the pilot, but the stuff that didn't work at all there -- Cat and the DEO, mostly -- still isn't that great. I get that this is story engine stuff that gets thrown in during the planning stages...sometimes it sticks, other times less so. The show would probably do better without these elements. The Catco setting in general just makes Kara too much like Clark Kent, and Cat seems like an insufferable asshole we're supposed to love to hate or something, but who really you just kinda hate because she eats up screentime. I don't really care about her Devil Wears Prada schtick. And the DEO is just boring.

Liking the rest a lot.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:47 PM on November 10, 2015

"What's next? Keeping Up with the Krytponians?"

I would totally watch that.
posted by Comrade Doll at 2:31 PM on December 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

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