Supergirl Episode 18, titled 'Worlds Finest', aired this week. The episode was the much anticipated crossover with the Flash television show and was about as close to a comic book I have seen a show be. This was the classic 'heroes team up to beat villains who have teamed up' trope I have seen in comics over the years. And it nailed that storyline completely.
But more than that, this was an episode that seemed to embrace the notion of comic books. There was joy here. There was ice cream and races and quips. There were hugs and superhero nicknames.There was mentoring and friendship. There was smiles and fun. There was sunlight and lens flares.
And this couldn't have been aired at a better time, as another hero 'team-up' is being shown on the big screen. The dark, dour, depressing mess of 'Batman V Superman' stands in stark contrast to this near perfect illustration of what makes comics wonderful. I can't help but wonder if Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler were looking at the calendar and planning this out from day one.
Much of this rests on the shoulders of the actors. Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin have such easy chemistry throughout the show. They are similar heroes, hoping to inspire and driven to do good. They interact so effortlessly. I love that The Flash is the veteran hero here, giving Kara pointers and being a role model.
We still await news of a second season for Supergirl. But I will repeat what has become a mantra for me. This show has been everything a Supergirl fan could ask for. And this episode might be the jewel in the crown.
Lucy notes some people in National City have had electrical imbalances in their brains. Livewire denies knowing anything. She says she only wants to kill Cat Grant, a nugget Siobhan tucks away.
Dr. Hamilton has to be a nod to Dr. Emil Hamilton, noted friend of Superman in comics and television. On this world, maybe she is Emily Hamilton? Hamilton has had a wild comic history, swinging between being a friend and a villain for Superman. I hope we see more of her.
At CatCo, Cat Grant gives Kara some romantic advice. She compares James Olsen to a cupcake. Cat tells Kara that she must make a 'power move' to land James. Sometimes that power move is being distant.
The peaceful afternoon at CatCo is interrupted by Siobhan who walks in and blasts Kara out the window of the skyscraper. Seemingly plummeting to her death, Kara is scooped up by The Flash who has just appeared out of a breach (wearing a tachyon collector I might add). Talk about cosmic karma!
Away from the city, Kara changes into Supergirl. She and Barry exchange names and pleasantries. He quickly learns he is on yet another Earth.
Back at CatCo, Barry explains the multiverse to Winn and James. He drops comments which sound like Earth X and Earth 3. This Earth lacks Harrison Wells, Cisco, and Caitlin. He is trapped here unless he gets help. Anytime the multiverse is discussed on one of these shows, I just cheer.
But this scene is capped with the joy of Barry showcasing his powers by running to get everyone ice cream cones. Kara reaction is pure joy. Barry and Kara then leave to eat donuts. These are heroes who have become quick friends.
Barry and the crew then meet Cat. She describes the foursome as the 'attractive yet nonthreatening racially diverse cast of a CW show'. How meta! She then labels The Flash as The Blur (surely a throwback to Smallville)!
These scenes were just perfect.
She learns from her aunt that their family has been cursed because someone stole something from a Banshee in the past. As a result, the women are unlikeable! (That is awesome.) The curse manifests when a Smythe feels wronged. The curse of the Banshee lasts as long as the person who hurt them is alive. She must use her scream to kill Kara although that will destroy her soul.
Realizing she can't get to Kara because Supergirl and Cat will stand in her way, Siobhan decides to recruit Livewire.
The Flash and Supergirl find where they are hiding (Barry comments on how villains on all earths seem to like abandoned warehouses!). Supergirl rushes the heroes into battle without much of a plan outside of an 85% chance of punching.
The fight is something of a draw and the heroes have to retreat to rethink a strategy.
Kara talks about how she has been trying to reestablish herself as a hero in this post-RedK world. She wants to be a hero again. She wants to feel good about herself again. And she has been trying so hard that she has been rushing things.
Armed with sound nullifying ear-buds, the Flash and Supergirl arrive to do battle. The banter is pure comic book stuff. Flash calls the villains Shrieky and Sparky. He say they should settle things like women, a great line which brings a confused look to Kara's face.
But when the two heroes handle the Banshee's scream, Kara becomes feisty. She taunts the two with some serious swagger!
Unfortunately, this bravado doesn't change the fact that the pairs are relatively evenly matched.
When Livewire decides to do a little collateral damage by trying to take down a helicopter in midflight, Kara steps in front of the bolt. This saves not only the copter but the people below who would have been flattened by the wreckage. (I did love that Livewire screamed how she hated copters. Remember she was in a storm-tossed helicopter when she got her powers.)
In a scene reminiscent of the train scene in Spider-Man 2, the citizens present step between Livewire and Supergirl. They will protect the shaken Kara. Wonderful!!! Inspirational!!!
And then a firetruck shows up and douses Livewire with a fire house, short circuiting her and electrocuting the nearby Banshee. Both villains are defeated.
The firefighter who led this attack was the one Supergirl saved before she was exposed to Red K two episodes ago. That is a nice touch. And his saying it was the people's turn to help her, while mimicking the pose of Superman in the title sequence, was sensational. Here is this guy, a normal person, who saved the day like Superman .... because he was inspired by Supergirl. That pose can't be a coincidence.
Cat reveals she knew that Barry was the Flash. She says she recognizes the extraordinary in her midst while looking right at Kara. I think she knows Kara is Supergirl after all.
And Barry is sent home when the two heroes race, building up momentum for Kara to throw Barry, increasing his speed enough to create a breach. They say goodbye, hug, call each other the 'Girl of Steel' and the 'Scarlet Speedster'. The two have a friendly race and Kara flings him home! They help each other!
Inspired by all the talk from Cat and Barry, Kara decides to be proactive with James. She gives an awkward preamble about infinite earths (Infinite Earths!!!) and how maybe they could be together. And then she kisses him!
But he is blank stared. Even when she asks if the kiss was good, bad, too good ... he stares ahead. And then he and all the other people in National City begin to march. This is Myriad.
This was just a completely fun episode showcasing two optimistic and happy super-heroes teaming up to beat the bad guys and having a good time while doing it. We had super-villains chewing through the scenery (great performances by Italia Ricci and Brit Morgan!). But we also saw the people of National City rally around Supergirl. We saw Lucy settle in as the boss of the DEO, clearly leading. And we saw Cat Grant at her finest.
Everything clicked. This was a comic book on screen. Just a fantastic episode..
I've been around long enough to remember when these two characters were expendable, the 'big deaths' in a comic to give it some weight.
Last night I saw them streaking into action to fight super-villains.
We've come a long way.
And I crave more.