The second episode of this second season of Supergirl aired earlier this week and continued to showcase the super-cousins as they faced the Kryptonite-powered menace of not one ... but two Metallos! I got the sense from this episode that the show runners were using this first mini-arc to set up the current season, redefining some of the characters' roles while reestablishing some of the emotional cores of the show. Remember, a network change happened. The producers might feel they need to inform new viewers exactly what happens in National City all while satisfying everyone who followed from CBS.
As a result, 'Last Children of Krypton' felt a little busy. A lot happens in this episode. And some of it felt a little off as the emotional beats and some storylines happen a little quickly. This isn't as nutty as last season's premiere which could have used another 30 minutes. But it felt a bit cramped.
That isn't to say I didn't like the episode. What is stuffed into this episode is, for the most part, pretty good. From the strained relationship of J'onn and Superman to the new Catco to Winn being the voice of familial reason, there is some solid stuff here. I was happy and entertained. You can't ask for more.
So with the deck chairs rearranged and everyone's roles reset, this season is ready to take off. No complaints here.
On to the particulars; settle in.
The episode opens with a fun montage of the Kara and Kal zipping around the city dealing with a number of minor incidents - a building on fire, a robbery, and even (off screen) taking out an alien Kigori. Everything seems happy and perfect. I have never heard Kara laugh or seen her smile as much as this. And that elation seems to be a little too much for the DEO to take. J'onn is irked by the mirth. And Alex seems exasperated, maybe a little lonely.
Things aren't as rosy at CatCo. Snapper Carr arrives as the head of the investigative branch of CatCo magazine and he is everything a rumpled, old school, curmudgeon should be. It is clear (as the producers said) that the template here is Lou Grant. That is a high bar to aim for.
I think the trick here is going to be not making him a caricature. He has no respect for Kara as a reporter because she hasn't made her bones. He derisively calls her 'Pony Tail' (this season's Kira?). He acts like he has an ethical core. He has won a Pulitzer. But I hope he isn't going to be the target of some of the Feminism 101 that we heard last season. My hope is he'll become the grizzled mentor of Kara, the stand-in for Cat while being the unpolished opposite of her.
I love how Kara gets flustered as she tries to come up with barbed comebacks for Carr's insults. Perfect acting by Benoist.
After he horns in on Danvers' Sister Night (you can feel Alex bristle), Clark drops the bomb that he is heading back to Metropolis, a statement which deflates Kara. But before he can leave, news talks about a jumper on a nearby bridge. The cousins decide to team up one last time.
The 'jumper' is Metallo. Corben has been brainwashed (programmed?) by Cadmus to be a zealot for the anti-alien cause. And his heart of Kryptonite is the perfect weapon. He actually gets the upper hand on both Superman and Supergirl until Kal shoulderblocks him miles away. (I do think that Supergirl actually does a better job in fighting him in the battle.)
Weakened by his Kryptonite ray, Kara needs to be carried back to the DEO by Kal. Yes, this is clearly a riff on Crisis for all us comic fans. And, as I have said before, I have come to terms with this image, recognizing how important it is to both comics and Supergirl fans. So I like it.
After all, she is just weakened here, just as Superman was seconds before.
This does open up a can of worms. The DEO was supposed to have all the Kryptonite on Earth. Some has gone missing. And Superman isn't happy about it. In fact, for a second it looks like Kal and J'onn might throw down. (Winn, like any fanboy, is both scared and giddy!)
J'onn seems to have a reasonable argument for having it. After all, without it Zod and Astra would have taken over Earth. But Superman isn't having any part of it. This is an angry Superman ... interesting.
But before that can fester, Cadmus announces themselves in a very Man of Steel Zod-like message, including the glitchy sputtering and static. I wonder if the writers were trying to capture some Snyder-iffic imagery.
As someone who didn't like Man of Steel, it seemed odd for Cadmus to tip their hand like this. So I hope it wasn't done just to get that vibe.
At CatCo, Kara talks to Cat about Snapper Carr's flippancy. Cat basically tells Kara that she needs to stand up on her own. After all, Cat has decided to move on from CatCo for a bit. She has 'swam in the same pool' for too long. I think that makes sense. I will say, as someone churning away in the same job, I occasionally thirst for a new challenge.
The hug from Cat seemed both spot on and way off. I suppose she has developed a closer relationship with Kara than with most. So I guess the Ice Queen has melted.
But Kara understands that things in her life are changing rapidly. After years of personal stagnation, Kara feels unsettled. So you would think she would cling to the rocks in her life ... Winn and Alex.
With Metallo still out there, Kal and J'onn head to the Fortress to try to track him down. Luckily, a shard of Metallo turns out to be made from Promethium, an easily detectable metal.
The power of this scene is the J'onn/Kal interaction. J'onn actually speaks Kryptonian to say a prayer for Superman's parents. But Superman won't have it. The Kryptonite issue still looms.
I'm sorry but I tend to side with J'onn about this. He has witnessed genocide. He has declared Earth his home. He needs everything at his disposal.
Remember how I said that Kara should cling to the rocks in her life? That would seem like something she would do based on all of last season, right? Instead, she says that she's decided to move to Metropolis to be with Kal.
Not surprisingly, Alex can't believe it. But she doesn't tell Kara why that would be a mistake. No, instead she turns it around saying how much she has given up personally for Kara ... how could Kara abandon her! That feels way off to me. Almost petty.
What I did like is Alex pulls no punches. She says that Superman abandoned Supergirl with the Danvers. We all have thought that now and then, especially when reading the Silver Age stuff. But instead of sounding self-centered and needy, you would think that Alex would say why this would be a bad decision for Kara instead. And there are lots of reasons why it wouldn't be good.
Of all people, Winn is the voice of familial reason!
He knows that family don't keep score. They show up. Alex needs to think more about Kara and less about herself. This is a short scene but might be my favorite of the episode. This episode is about family and togetherness. It took Winn to make Alex see that she needs to be there for Kara.
I like Winn in this new role. I like how he is a little more confident, more salty. He is, of course, going to be the omni-scientist. More than a hacker, he is someone who can retro-engineer armor that counteracts Kryptonite. Because comic book scientists know all fields of comic book science. And his complete awe in the face of Superman makes sense.
And Winn is able to help Alex figure out who is the DEO mole who stole the Kryptonite. This leads Alex to meet the Doctor, the woman who made Metallo. She says that she will tell Jeremiah hello and then has her men attack. She even offers Alex a seat at the Cadmus table, reminding Alex how much she has personally forsaken to be with 'aliens'.
It is always good to see Alex cut loose and she gains the upper hand momentarily. In the end though, Kara has to come in with the rescue, catching a bullet and finishing one of the Cadmus thugs off. After all, family needs to stick together. Kara recognizes she can't leave. Alex is too important. That makes sense ... especially given all the things we saw last season.
Cadmus does fascinate me. It is the scarred side of the DEO coin. Both places seem to have a mission of keeping Earth safe from aliens. But Their methods and ultimate goals are much darker.
I am forgetting to mention the super-villains. Earlier in the episode, Cadmus created a second Metallo and sent one to Metropolis to run amok. Suddenly the cousins have to defend their respective cities.
In what has to be a bit of a no-brainer, Kara realizes they can't win one-on-one. They need back up. So action-suit Alex joins Kara and J'onn teams up with Kal. I guess, given the subplots of the episode ... of forgiveness and acceptance ... those pairings make sense. And J'onn has a nice finishing move, using his intangibility to rip the Kryptonite out of Metallo. Nice.
I don't know why shattering the K or ripping it from Metallo's chest makes it less toxic, but I guess I'll roll with it. Both action sequences are well done.
Nothing left but the wrap up.
Cat meets with Supergirl on the 'Balcony of Zen'. I thought for sure Cat would reveal she knows Supergirl is Kara ... but no.
Jimmy inherits Cat's position.
Snapper accepts Kara's first article .. begrudgingly.
J'onn gives Superman all the remaining Kryptonite (hurray, can't be used as a crutch any more!). Clark heads back to Metropolis.
And Mon-El awakens ...
Overall, the emotional turns seem fast. Kara decides to leave Alex then stay with Alex in about 10 minutes. Alex seems petty then reasonable within minutes. That said, the action was well choreographed. J'onn was solid. I am glad to Superman was on the show. But I am very happy he is gone. Supergirl needs to shine a bit on her own now. (As a side note, even my 13yr old complained about his presence saying this was Kara's show!)