Thursday, November 10, 2016

Supergirl Episode 205: Crossfire

Supergirl episode 205:Crossfire aired earlier this week and was an incredible episode for character growth. Obviously, the biggest moment was Alex basically coming out to Maggie Sawyer. But James, Mon-El, and Winn also had great moments as well.

In fact, I think this episode is encapsulates what the overarching theme of this season seems to be about. Self-discovery. Kara is trying to find herself as a journalist. Jimmy wants to be more than a publisher. Winn is happy and confident in his new role in the DEO. Lena wants to shed the negativity of the Luthor name and become something new. J'Onn is trying to grow into the role of mentor for M'Gann. M'Gann is trying to be a Green Martian because she is ashamed of her White heritage. And Alex ... well Alex is dealing with the fact that she has denied her sexuality for some time. Everyone is in some state of evolution. And it is incredible.

I also have to say that you need a strong cast of actors to pull off some of this stuff. And everyone of these performers has risen to the task so far.

And all this personal growth is happening with the threat of Cadmus happening in the background. Cadmus is a dark reflection of the DEO, looking to eliminate all aliens from threatening the world. And they are willing to sow the seeds of fear to sway people. Much like last episode, the allegory of fearing the 'other' is pretty big here. It is impressive.

Other than one awkward scene, maybe a personal issue with me, I thought this was the best episode so far. This whole season has been a fantastic. On to the episode details.

 Last episode, Kara took Mon-El (now with the human identity of Mike Matthews).

In what felt like an homage to the Supergirl costume montage from last season, we see Kara have Mon-El try on any number of work outfits before deciding on one which is clearly Kara-esque. From the gingham shirt to the bow tie to the glasses, Mike looks like a male 'Kira'.

The difference of the two is clear. He wants to sleep in, eat breakfast like a college student, and use his powers to get through the menial chores of a CatCo assistant. And Kara doesn't want him to do any of that, expecting him to be the efficient intern she was.

When 'Mike' meets James, the Daxamite says that he thought James would be more intimidating. It is a blow to James who already is feeling powerless and small in Cat's big office.

One thing I like is that Mon-El has picked up a tell in Kara. She gets a crinkle in her brow when she lies (like saying she never used her powers filing papers).

 Meanwhile, we get the first of several scenes involving Alex. Alex is playing pool with Maggie and she is pretty flirty.

Maggie's girlfriend broke up with her saying Maggie was too obsessed with work and a bit of a sociopath. Alex even says that she can't believe anyone would break up with Sawyer.

We haven't seen a nervous Alex any time in this show. Seeing her kind of acting smitten and a bit jittery in the presence of Maggie is fun. And throughout this show, Chyler Leigh really shines. We see a whole gamut of emotions from her.

 Unfortunately there is a threat in National City.

Bank robbers are armed with alien weapons - photon cannons, gravity guns, and other lasers. And they are powerful enough to hurt Kara. This opening scene does a great job with the effects and showing that these are a threat to Kara.

And while James tries to engage these crooks (they are just well armed humans), he is taken out. And, in a nice bit of symbolism, James camera is smashed by the getaway vehicle.

Remember, we learned that was James' father's camera, given to James before the father went off to war. It reminded James of needing to help people and honor his father's memory. James is a bit lost. He says it outright to Kara. He doesn't want to be a sidekick. He wants to be out from behind that desk and be in the action.

Cadmus sends out another Zod-like message saying that the alien weapons show what a threat aliens will be. Alien amnesty will only  compound the problem. We even see that this fear has trickled into CatCo employees. Some want the alien guns themselves, leaning on the second amendment.

As for Alex, she is so smitten she is practically mooning over Maggie while in the DEO, chuckling to herself. Winn says that he wouldn't meddle with Maggie's relationship woes, saying he only did it with Kara because he was into her.

Later, when Maggie and Alex again are hanging out again, Maggie calls out Alex on her flirting. She didn't know Alex was gay, a statement which Alex recoils from. Alex says she isn't gay but Maggie wonders. After all she has heard plenty of gay women say they are straight.

Again, I applaud the acting of Chyler Leigh here as she runs the gamut. And all these Alex scenes are both subtle, natural, and compelling. We know what is happening here. But we aren't clubbed over the head with anything overwritten.

 Okay, the one scene I didn't need. And maybe I am an old fossil.

At CatCo, Kara overhears Mike and Miss Tessmacher about to have sex in a copy room. Tessmacher asks about protection (he asks if she means a sword). She is half undressed. He talks about not having sex for 35 years.

It is funny and awkward. But I don't know if I need my 13 year old daughter seeing this. (Last season had a similar scene where Kara saw Winn and Siobhan, but it was all implied). If this is marketed as a show for kids, I thought this walked the edge.

Not that it wasn't funny. He thought that workplace sex was accepted because he saw it on a doctor show (maybe Gray's Anatomy Chyler?).

 As for Cadmus, they are the ones giving out the weapons to robbers to sow distrust in people. People who are afraid will accept Cadmus' leadership (again mirroring current politics?).

James hears a tip from Winn about a possible spot the alien-armed crooks might rob. Wanting to finally help, he dresses like a ninja in a sweat suit and takes them on with martial arts and a baseball bat. It doesn't work. I did like that he picked up something to use as a shield ... a nice nod to the eventual time as the Guardian.

There is a great scene where Winn confronts James for this fight. James is frustrated about his life. He has to go out there and help. And he wants Winn to make him equipment to help him be a vigilante.

 I love how Winn tells James that they have the power of knowledge to help people and there is no shame in that. It is a great moment for Winn. Even when James says he is still going out unarmed, Winn won't help. That shows growth from Winn, now a bit more confident in his role.

Both of these men are trying to figure out who they are.

And Alex, she is growing too.

Kara is exasperated that Mon-El isn't acting appropriately. Alex says Kara is trying to force Mike to be just like Supergirl. Alex tried to force Kara to be like her when they were young but she let Kara find herself. And 'Mike' needs to find his own way.

It prompts Alex to talk about who people need to figure out who they are and what they are meant to be. She has figured out who she is. She is about to come out to Kara when they are interrupted.

Lena shows up at Kara's apartment. She needs to talk to Supergirl.

Lena already invited Kara to a charity ball. Now she wants Supergirl there too, for protection. How can Kara and Supergirl be there at the same time?

I love how Lena talks about how she is fighting for justice. She wants to help protect people. It is the exact opposite of what Lex wants. Again, Lena is growing too.

 The party is a great scene. Kara flips between her identity and Supergirl (Operation Doubtfire ... awesome). She stuffs pot stickers in her mouth. She dances with Mike.

But the crooks come with their weapons and the fight is on. There are great effects here.

And I love how there is some growing romantic tension between Kara and Mon-El. And I like how Winn and James wonder if she could reject them and end up with him. I love Winn seen in the background between them as they dance.

 As for Lena, there is more to her than a smart businesswoman. She was hoping the armed gang would come because she made a 'black body field generator'  to short out their weapons. Winn dives under the dais for protection and finds her there trying to activate the tech. With Winn's help, the field is generated and the weapons short out. Without their guns, they are quickly dispatched.

I love how there are layers to Lena now. Can she be trusted? How much Lex is in her? Is she setting up Kara/Supergirl? Hmmm ...

 There is nothing left but the wrap-up.

When the arrested criminal try to rat out The Doctor, she melts their brains remotely. How Suicide Squad.

Winn will help James live up to his potential. After all, Winn knows what it is like to finally find himself. How can he deny James.

And Kara will loosen the reins on 'Mike' letting him discover himself. But not at CatCo. He's fired.

And then there was the most powerful scene of the show. Alex has a heart to heart with Maggie.

Alex always needed to be perfect - in school, at work, as a sister. The only place she wasn't was in romance and dating. She describes being uncomfortable and really eeks out a line about not feeling right when intimate. She comes out to Maggie but then nervously walks away.

I keep saying how great Chyler Leigh was in this episode but she particularly shines here, really stammering and painfully saying these lines as she recognizes this new truth about herself. It is really brilliant.

In some ways, I wish it ended there.

But the show gives us one more hook. At the L-Corp offices, Lena and Kara discuss the party events when Lena's mother arrives. And it is the Doctor!

Does that make her Lena's birth mom? Or Lex's mom?

So much to contemplate!

The action sequences here were well done. But the robbery storyline was just a catalyst for all the great character moments. And those were phenomenal.

I am so very impressed with this season so far.


Anonymous said...

Hope you're rested, and great review as always Anj. Definitely loved the character development present in
this episode. Alot was done to move everyone ahead, character-wise.

Personally I thought the initial scene of Jimmy going vigilante was alittle rough plotwise, but overall
fit within the narative. It will be interesting to see Jimmy as Guardian, and how that will be played
though, as in will Supergirl not know it's Jimmy, or a "you've helped me many times, now I'm returning
the favor" kind of thing.

I can't sing praises of the action scenes and SFX enough, as well! And how Supergirl continues to use her
powers in combinations. Her flying down the ways at Lena's party using heat vision from the air! Was
slightly annoyed at how Supergirl got jobbed out at the beginning, but I think she repaid the villans fully
with interest :)

Cadmus and The Doctor continue to be an interesting but fascinating villan this season. Definately agree
the final reveal at the end was a definite "WHUUUUUT?!" moment. I do have to ask though how Cadmus fits
into the overall show's continuity : last season they were a "secret government/military outfit" but now
they appear to have gone rogue and pursuing their own (read:The Doctor's) agenda, and have been VERY overt
in making their presence known. Personally not sure if I follow this, but still entertaining as heck!
ESPECIALLY Winn's "You are lame!" dartgun attack after their Anonymous-like announcement.

Two comics gems that put a smile on my face, though. Kara's "Thank Rao!" exclamation, and Lena's "Who would
have thought a Lutor and a Super working together" comment. BRILLIANT!


Kent G. Hare said...

Anj, you are not alone. I don't think that "one awkward scene" was simply "a personal issue" with you. As the uncle of a thirteen-year-old niece whom I directed toward the show last year, I thought it was very inappropriate for a show that, I assume, is directed at least in part toward that demographic. I'm with you, I love the show, and I liked this episode overall, but in my opinion this is one instance where the move to the CW has affected this show in a way I am not pleased with. - Kent

Elias said...

I'm 54 and have no skin in the parenthood racket...but the copyroom scene was a little edgy I guess all the same, sometimes these things get written in to keep a show "PG-13" instead of "PG"...thus to keep sponsors and their target demographics happy.
The opening scene with Mon El and Kara should go on MB's Highlight Reel its hilarious in all sorts of ways, at the breakfast table I kept expecting the camera to jog a little leftwards to reveal a chubby blonde baby cooing in a high chair...

Yeah both the sisters are slooowly exiting their safe zones romance-wise, Alex and Maggie and now what looks like Mon and Kara. I have a feeling that Mon El is wrapped up in the pending Dominator storyline and possibly not in a good way he might be here as plant willing or unwitting its too soon to say.
Thats my theory anyway.


Scrimmage said...

I'm enjoying the show overall, but the heavy handed, left leaning, politically correct moralizing, week after week, is becoming increasingly annoying. So far this nearly new season, we've already been subjected to thinly veiled themes extolling the virtues of amnesty for illegal aliens, and promoting the idea of a woman president, along with the usual "female empowerment" shtick, and now they're hitting us over the head with an episode in favor of gun control - RAY guns, that is, along with a cliché ridden subplot of a strong, intelligent, independent woman who, out of nowhere, suddenly comes to the conclusion that she might be gay, just because she finds herself attracted to ANOTHER clichéd character, a tough, street smart, lesbian cop. Maggie couldn't be more of a stereotype if she was a high school girl's volleyball coach, and that's just a small part of the problem.

Male, female, straight, gay, alien, or Earthling, these people simply aren't PEOPLE! They're a diverse bunch of incredibly attractive, one-dimensional, cardboard caricatures that apparently stem from the writers desperate need to appeal to every demographic. Even Mon-El has been reduced to a "Strange Frat Boy from another planet." In fact, "Fratboy" should be his superhero name.

It was bad enough that they "re-imagined" the character of Jimmy Olsen to the point where he bares absolutely NO resemblance to the original version, both literally and figuratively. Original Recipe Jimmy Olsen RELISHED the idea of being a superhero's sidekick, and he always took great pride in being Superman's friend and confidant, whereas THIS "James" resents his second banana status, and now wants a cape of his own, apparently for no other reason than to assuage his insecurity, and to boost his bruised ego. You'd think he'd be satisfied with being put in charge of an international media conglomerate, but NO! He wants to be out on the street, punching the bad guys in the face, while wearing a costume and a mask! Sorry, but that's just not normal. If Cat had wanted to put on a pair of tights and kick some butt in her spare time, we'd have thought she was out of her mind, but for some reason "James" gets a pass. WHY? There's a saying in sports that goes "Coaches coach, players play." The same SHOULD hold true for Superheroes and Sidekicks.

Speaking of superheroes...

I'm also getting pretty tired of seeing Supergirl getting pushed around by every Tom, Dick, and Hairy Alien with a ray gun. She's supposed to be SUPERgirl, remember? Even Mon-El said she was "the most powerful woman on the planet." Why don't they let her act like it every once in awhile? With her speed, those guys should've NEVER been able to hit her with those blasters before she knocked them into next week's episode. There's no need to power Kara down to the level of the competition just to prop up the DEO's role on the show by letting them ride to the rescue. SUPERGIRL'S the one whose supposed to do the rescuing around here. I LOVED her confidence early on, when she said she almost felt sorry for the bank robbers who had the misfortune to pull a job right in front of her. I want to see more of THAT Supergirl!

After all, let's not forget who the show's named after. (HINT: It's NOT "Alex and the DEO!")

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments!

I think overall this season is moving forward nicely. But it is much more political ...