Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Supergirl Season Two Overview

It has been a couple of weeks since the end of the second season of Supergirl and I have been mulling things over. There is a lot to think about and process when you realize we are talking about 22 episodes.

I felt like I needed one more post to bring up the lingering thoughts and issues I had and give everyone more opportunity to chime in. This won't be exhaustive. This is really just me writing a bit off the cuff, talking in broad strokes, and being a bit more raw.

Season as a whole: B
There are definitely a lot of high points to this season and I'll go through each character after this. I think the big villains in this season were definitely a high point. Lillian Luthor/Cadmus and Rhea/Daxamites were delicious in their villainy. I thought the addition of Superman was just right. The few moments we got of Cat made me realize how much I miss her. I thought the addition of the Alex/Maggie relationship was very good. I thought the Kara/Mon-El relationship was a bit forced. But my main problem with these relationships is that it made for much fewer Kara/Alex moments, a big part of what I love in this show. There are characters that seem forgotten or lost. I thought the politics of the show often seemed heavy handed and one-sided. Much like I complained about the Feminism 101 approach to season 1, I thought this season was Liberal Politics 101. Don't tell me ... show me. It is funny to think that the episodes I feel I will rewatch the most are Mr. & Mrs. Mxyzptlk, Duet (from the Flash), the Invasion crossover, and Alex - and many of those are a bit outside of the main plot running through the show.

All that said, there was never an episode that I finished and said 'that was awful'. The cast is terrific together. And there was a ton of super-heroics throughout that made me very happy. There are some things that need to be smoothed out, but overall I thought this was a very solid season.

On to the characters!

Supergirl/Kara - I think this season had some ups and downs for the character. There were a lot of great moments. I loved seeing Supergirl be so confident in her heroing skills, sometimes to the point of over-confidence. I loved seeing her ascend to be the 'hero of Earth'. There were still plenty of emotional moments for her in the series, especially looking at Alex through the glass of the spaceship in Exodus. I thought her growth as a reporter from someone flaunting the rules to understanding what she needed to do was also great. And I loved seeing her interact with Cat.

But I felt that a little too much time was spent on her on again/off again Mon-El romance. There were episodes where I felt she was being held back a bit by him. I could read the haters online about how toxic he was. I definitely thought that the time dedicated to that story might be better spent on super-heroing. I didn't like how she seemed to be defined by this relationship. And that made there be less Kara/Alex moments.

I'd love for next year to be romance-free for Kara, a year where she is a journalist, a hero, a great friend and sister.

Mon-El - I am not knocking Chris Wood's performance of Mon-El. He played him with a goofy charm and he definitely seemed likeable. He had an arc where he went from hedonistic frat boy to becoming a man desperate to do better. But there was a portion in the middle of the season where there was just a bit too much 'two steps forward two steps back' in his character. He always seemed to backslide into this caricature of the beer-drinking buffoon who doesn't care about his partner's feelings. It all seems to end in a better place, with him understanding Kara's decision to save Earth. But I wish ... WISH ... he had a moment in the finale where he sacrificed something, showed he had grown.

Alex/Maggie - Alex coming to terms with who she is and forming this relationship was an important and well-done portion of the show. It was interesting to see Alex being so emotionally vulnerable at times while at the same time being the same kick butt agent we have seen all along. Both characters needed to grow a bit, mature into a caring relationship. But, as I have said, so much time was devoted to this relationship that we didn't get enough Alex time with the rest of the cast. I love Alex's character; I love what Chyler Leigh brings to the table. I want to see her talking to J'onn, working with Winn, and definitely having those super-sister moments. But I understand why the Maggie relationship was so important. I guess I want it all.

J'onn - Hank had some quality time this season. The subplot with Miss Martian, with his working past his own prejudice, was very good. But I just thought that the writers had a hard time dealing with J'onn and his power set this season. All too often he was incapacitated or his mental powers were 'somehow blocked'. I do think they should set up a rivalry with the real Hank. That needed to be a fight this season.

James - Of all the characters, James suffered the most this season. It seemed the writers just didn't know what to do with him. The Guardian identity, especially his motivations to become the Guardian, seemed wrong. He never seemed to emerge as a force for justice as the head of CatCo. He could have been a hero just by having control of a media dynasty and being a beacon of truth. But he seemed lost, absent in whole episodes, and basically missing from the finale. Is it time for him to be written off?

Winn - Conversely,  Winn really grew leaps and bounds this season. Working for the DEO made way more sense for his tech-character than being the IT guy at CatCo. Seeing his playful personality in the midst of the more stoic DEO environment was a lot of fun. I'll never forget the 'blink and you'll miss it' imitation of Batman. And he grew as well. He wasn't going to be kicked around any more. He was comfortable with who he was. And Jeremy Jordan made the most of his moments, like being awestruck at Superman. I don't know if I have latched onto the 'bad girl' romance with Lyra. But we'll see.

Lena - I think the breakout new character of the season was Lena Luthor. There was this delicious dread all season of 'will she become a bad guy'. You could see Lena trying to fight nature, trying to be the white knight on the chessboard, trying to work with the forces of good to distance the Luthor name from evil. And seeing how that all plays out in contrast to the incredible Lillian Luthor was all the more phenomenal. Katie McGrath just crushed it as this powerful, intelligent woman who was still nursing the emotional wounds of her childhood. I suspect there might be an evil turn next season but for this season it was great to see her be as big a hero as Winn.

Lillian/Rhea - What could be better than two evil mothers, vying for control of Earth, and ready to use their offspring as pawns to get their desires. Brenda Strong played Lillian with this quiet, simmering evil. You couldn't believe one word she said but it was delivered in a way that made you wonder if this was the time she was being honest. She was an ice queen sort of villain, using tactics behind the scenes. This was contrasted by Teri Hatcher's performance of Rhea, this out in the open, spittle-flying, evil queen who chewed the scenery every time she could. Just wonderful big bads this season.

Quick thoughts on others:
Jeremiah - He was there, he was gone. He was a villain; he was a hero. He simply disappeared. How about wrapping up this story next season?
Mr. Mxyzptlk - Just the best villain I could ask for, perfectly annoying and mischievous. Sterling Gates wrote that spot on. He better be back next season.
Snapper Carr - I hope we see more of him next year. You could play whole episodes with the old George Reeves style scripts with Carr as Perry, Kara as Lois/Clark, and James as Jimmy. Give us some of this ... please!

So my final thoughts!
What did you guys think?


Anonymous said...

If I can quote Dickens: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

The second season had some very good moments, and some pretty bad ones. I'd say the good far outweighs the bad, nonetheless.

I wish see more of Kara and Supergirl being a hero, and less of bad romance and politics delivered in extremely heavy-handed fashion.

I didn't care for the Kara/Mon-El romance, but the haters are... irritating. They harass Karamel shippers and Mon-El fans everywhere, going as far as claiming they're the only ones care for Supergirl and demanding Karamel fans stop talking about their shipped couple. So only Karamel haters are allowed to express their opinions?

Ugh. It's Smallville Shipping Wars 2.0.

I think Jimmy, Henshaw and Jeremiah's subplots were victims of the channel hopping. No doubt many plotlines had to be altered or dropped because of the show being transferred to the CW, the availability of the performers or because they weren't embraced by the fandom.

Jimmy is a good example of it. Fans disliked Karolsen (ironically, Karamel haters now lament that Karolsen was dropped in favor of Kara dating a black man. Where was that support back during the first season?), so that pairing was dropped quickly. The show-writers came up with the "Guardian" subplot so James had something to do, but it didn't work either, so James all but faded in the background. It's clear -IMO- that no one knows what to do with the character, so he should be written off or turned into Mr. Exposure. He can give background information whenever Superman's past comes up (such like Cat having a crush on Clark, Clark and Lex being ex-friends and Superman being friends with a vigilante).

I feel Miss Martian character was kind of wasted. Originally she was cheerful and bubbly. Here she's angsty and haunted. I think Kara and M'gann could have been good friends: two young female survivors of dead worlds, trying to fit in.

Lena was an excellent addition. For the God's sake, I hope she doesn't go bad. Let Lilian fill the "evil Luthor" role and Supergirl save a Luthor from herself.

My wishes for the third season:
- Several plotlines being finally resolved: Jeremiah, Henshaw, Maxwell Lord...
- More Supergirl's classic enemies and secondary characters. Reign is a good start (although haters claim she's a female Doomsday and proof of the show being lame). I want more. Blackstarr, Nightflame, Starfire, the Gang, the return of Reactron... Lucy Lane becoming Superwoman and bedeviling Kara?
- Batgirl (Barbara), Lois Lane and the Legion of Super-Heroes -especially Saturn Girl and Brainy-. Maybe Batgirl is impossible for legal reasons, but I'd like to see her. I'd add the Amazons and Atlantians, but it can limit Kara's screentime.
- Kara/Supergirl, her relationships and her hero development being the show's main focus again. And the show-writers remembering Supergirl is supposed to not kill her enemies.
- Supergirl, Superman and Martian Manhunter taking part in the next crossover.

Anonymous said...

I am a bit STRICTER on this season. I gave it a C+. Was going to be a C-, but a somewhat strong season finale saved things.

The main probelm aside from the romances which slowed things down, was the POLITICS. When Buzzfeed, a progressive news site calls Supergirl the most PROGRESSIVE show on TV...ALARM BELLS WENT OFF for this Independent libertarian conservative!

Welcome to Earth was propaganda pure and simple and would rate an "F."

It was a struggle for me to get back this season.

James was wasted royally as The Guardian " Is it time for him to be written off?"

Well maybe. A return trip to Metropolis should be in order.

Snapper Carr was as well and doubt he will be back. Plus of course the wonky writing and such.


"I love Alex's character; I love what Chyler Leigh brings to the table. I want to see her talking to J'onn, working with Winn, and definitely having those super-sister moments."

She was recognized by TV Line I think it was as performer of the month...AND RIGHTLY SO. The Kara Alex bond is what holds this show together. We had FAR less of it and that's one of the reasons I think it fell apart. As for the Maggie link in the chain, Floriana Lima has been downgraded to I think guest star so there might be less of "Sanvers."

Mon-El, well Chris Wood is back for season 3 but just up to what? Does he join The Legion, does he get his suit...and can he return to Kara? Yeah I am one of those rooting for those two. But I don't want him to become a beta male. Hey a guy can cook in the kitchen and not lose the fact he is still a man!

As for Lena..."I suspect there might be an evil turn next season but for this season it was great to see her be as big a hero as Winn. "

Lena was the Rookie of the year. BUT...if that heel turn happens, it will become a Super Luthor fight in skirts...SEEN ONE SEEN THEM ALL...DO NOT MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

And yeah Winn gets the most improved award. Working at the DEO as their tech guy makes sense making him the Cisco Ramon of the show. And he is just as nerdy as it gets. He's a SUPER GEEK!

Mr and Mrs Mxy was one of my faves this season. Pure comic hijinks and a good play on Mr. Mxyzptlk.

When Supergirl goes for the feels with Alex and Kara and Jonn or some pure comic fun it soars UP UP AND AWAY. But when politics gets involved...IT'S KRYPTONITE!

Anonymous said...

Excellent recap! Here's what I would like to see in Season 3:

Sisters - What I missed most from Season 1 was the relationship between the Danvers sisters. Kara's support of Alex when she came out what great as was the scene in Exodus when their hands met on the glass of the ship and gave Supergirl the strength she needed. But, I would love to see more one-on-one movie nights between the two of them next season.

Supergirl/Kara - I would like to see more of Kara in the real world and navigating work and such rather than her hanging out at the DEO all the time. As the previous comment said, I would like to see her relationships and hero development be the focus for next season.

Alex - I love Alex Danvers and I loved her coming out story. The writers did a great job and Chyler Leigh killed it. It was the highlight of the season for me. That said, I would rather see Alex kick booty in season 3 than going on dates.

Mon-El - I don't mind Kara getting a boyfriend but I do mind him becoming the focus on the show and her putting up with his behavior. I was sad in the season finale that he left but only because Kara was sad. I'm not sad to see him go. Maybe he can make occasional appearances in season 3 but that's all I want to see from that character.

J'onn - I like the fatherly relationship he has with Kara, Alex and Winn. Keep it up but no more of the "I can't read his mind!" nonsense.

James - Find something to do with poor James other than pseudo head of CatCo or Guardian!

Jeremiah - Just end it. The episode where they just let him back into the DEO as if nothing ever happened was ridiculous. Get rid of this story!

Love the recap. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anj,

Thanks for posting this up, and interesting thoughts. I think you pretty much hit the high points on all the characters -- definitely
I'd love next year to be romance-free for Kara / Supergirl but continue on her Hero's journey, and I HOPE TPTB find something interesting
to do with Olsen beyond Guardian. Also hoping the writing in Season 3 improves more : I've said it before here, while I _LOVE_ the
fact that there's an actual Supergirl TV series on, the writing seems to be less than pitch perfect at times, and has space for coontinued

Also, no shoutsout to Tyler H, Anj? If not, let me be the first to give him kudos for giving us a) a Superman we can like and believe
in again, and b) some GREAT Supercousin screentime! I can die happy now! Hope he's brought back for more episodes again!

Another shoutsout to Lena / Katie McGrath -- DEFINITELY was the biggest delight this season, and seeing her interact with Team Supergirl,
contrasted with her own prickly relationship with her mother. I'd have to say she should be solidly on Team Supergirl, but _IF_ TPTB can
find an interesting enough storyline for her to become evil, so be it.

In terms of repeat / other guests I'd love to see in Season 3 :

- Brit Morgan / Livewire : reflecting on her episode, Brit just KILLS this role, and there seems to be more to do with Livewire as a
true frenemy to Supergirl.

- Reactron : Nuff Seid.

- Helen Slater (Zen) : Nuff Seid, Again.

- Batgirl : Nuff Seid, Pt 3.

- more Supergirl Rogues. Reign as Season 3 big bad sounds like a good deal, see how it all turns out.


KET said...

A few replies:

"And that made there be less Kara/Alex moments."

It was by design. As Kara was growing more confident in her Supergirl persona, her bonding with Alex became less frequent, which is often normal when siblings leave 'the home nest'. The second episode of the season foreshadowed what was to come when Kara mulled over moving to Metropolis to be with Clark more, and Alex snapped her out of it. Then Mon-El woke up, and he became a surrogate for raising Clark (which was Kara's original mission when she left Krypton, BTW). Naturally, there were going to be some hiccups along the way to 'raising' a Daxamite into a hero, not the least was Kara's own preconditioned prejudice from her original homeland. With Alex actively developing another relationship, Kara will likely continue to bond more with others...such as Lena Luthor (as Katie McGrath will definitely be back next season as a regular cast member).

"I would like to see more of Kara in the real world and navigating work and such rather than her hanging out at the DEO all the time."

Agreed. If there was one thing that threw the season off-balance a bit, it was the absence of Cat Grant, which made many of the CatCo scenes less relevant to the season arc goings-on. Don't know if this 'working girl' aspect of the show will bounce back in S3, unless Calista Flockhart becomes more available for episodes. Snapper Carr has likely left the CatCo building for good, as Ian Gomez is starring in a new sitcom in the fall.

"James - Find something to do with poor James other than pseudo head of CatCo or Guardian!"

Seems to me that there's still an opening for James to do more in his work at CatCo, as the "City of Lost Children" episode hopefully provided a clue. His development arc was definitely moving at a slower pace in S2, due to the loss of the relationship with Kara, which still seems unsettled....maybe it could return, now that Mon-El has disappeared into space? :)

Of course, I suspect that Mon-El's disappearance is merely temporary.

"I thought the politics of the show often seemed heavy handed and one-sided."

A matter of perspective that's probably not going to change, since wrestling with topical issues of the moment is part of this series' distinction from the other CW hero shows (or at least, until Black Lightning premieres). It also dovetails with the core cast and show runners' activities outside of the show, as most of them are into social activism in various ways. It's meant to take a more personal stance.

"But I just thought that the writers had a hard time dealing with J'onn and his power set this season. All too often he was incapacitated or his mental powers were 'somehow blocked'."

Well, it's consistent with the show's central trait (or conceit) that it's a female empowerment show. Even in S1, the male cast members usually took a back seat to the women.


Anonymous said...

Agreeing with most things said. Just want to make a shout out to Roulette who was my favourite Monster of the Week Villain. I want more delightful Roulette villainy in season 3.


Thayse L Couto said...

Great job with the recap Anj, I would give C- for this season, there were amazing things like expanding the universe of Supergirl and introducing new characters, but in my opinion they had trouble working with them.

In this season I missed the dynamics among the Super friends, in the first season I really believed they were like a family but in for most of this season they seemed more like 'coworkers', I missed the strong connection that the Danvers sisters had in the first season and I missed a stronger approach to Kara's career as a journalist.

I agree with you about the characters, unfortunately I couldn't care about some of them this season, I also hope with all my heart that they don´t make Lena a villain, I would not like a Superman VS Lex 2.0,the message ''You're not your family, you're his own person''is much more interesting to me,besides that Lena was my third favorite character this season.

In regards to the romance in this second season I can only say that displeased me, CW seems to have problem in working this.

I hope that the next season is more focused on Kara's development, I would like to see her more as a journalist, that the super friends look like a family again,the consequences of what she had to do and that they focus more on the relationship that I love so much in this show that is Alex and Kara,I also wish that the romance remains the minimum possible.

KET said...

A couple more takeaways:

"In regards to the romance in this second season I can only say that displeased me, CW seems to have problem in working this."

Actually, I don't see it as an issue, and the show certainly doesn't. The romance aspects appeal directly to half of the show's audience, which has always been, the shippers keep the buzz on this series very much alive. In essence , it's an essential marketing aspect as well...because it generates a mighty amount of word-of-mouth. No amount of advertising can equal that kind of buzz (which the series discovered it had the moment those initial promo pics of Supergirl in hit the Internet, which resulted in a huge sensation across the globe.

Seems like the show may be yanking on fans' chains again with the upcoming Big Bad, since the press releases have already mentioned that Reign's costumed look won't resemble the character's comics appearance.

"Just want to make a shout out to Roulette who was my favourite Monster of the Week Villain. I want more delightful Roulette villainy in season 3."

Well, since Roulette is still at large, there's room for her to meddle in National City's immigrant issues as they inevitably come up again. Hopefully, actress Dichen Lachman is keeping her availability open for more Supergirl encounters. One of the BTS tidbits she divulged this past season was that the 1984 Supergirl movie was in regular rotation in her family's home while she was growing up.


Anj said...

Thanks for all the great comments. There certainly was a lot to mull over this season. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out next season with Cat and now Maggie listed as 'part time'.

I just hope the whole James thing gets sorted out ...

Thayse L Couto said...

''Actually, I don't see it as an issue, and the show certainly doesn't. The romance aspects appeal directly to half of the show's audience, which has always been, the shippers keep the buzz on this series very much alive. In essence , it's an essential marketing aspect as well...because it generates a mighty amount of word-of-mouth''.

The problem I was talking about is the excessive drama in the romances and sometimes the rush with which they are made,that's what bothers me in CW shows, I have no problem with any romance with as long as they are well developed and from all the shows that I watched in CW the only one that comes close to being something acceptable is Iris and Barry.

The publicity is important, but the romance can not be the main focus of certain shows as arrow, supergirl or the flash, because who suffers with this is the show itself when the couple X or Y ends.

I know a lot of people enjoy how the romance is made on CW and that's ok, but unfortunately it's not something that I like.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with our host, A solid "B" for the sophomore season, my main criticisms are the recourse to klunky sci fi writing to wrap up a script, the inevitable dangling plot threads (Jeremiah anyone?), the producers fascination with Sanvers at the expense of the far more interesting "Alcoholic Alex" say nothing of the decline and fall of James Bartholemew Olson.
On the other hand this is a far more confident heroine with the stamina to stare down physical danger and emotional damage sans demure that storyline is on track come what may.
As for Mon El, I think he has to be viewed as Supergirl's "Angelus" a sometimes innappropriate BF whose job it is to bring in the emotional content and divide the audience without getting people to drop the show that regard he did his job as a character admirably.

What I'd like to see in Season Three is:
More Cat Grant, Cat is a asset in nearly every scene she wishes the schedules could be reconciled to make this a reality.
More Eliza!!! If we can't get more Cat then we need and deserve more Helen Slater in a show with a breakneck pace she is an island of calm...if Alex is ever outed as an alcoholic then that's Helen's opportunity to swoop down and dominate some episodes.
Just for a goof I'd love to see Heatwave team up with Kara for an episode, it'd be even funnier if despite being polar opposite that they got along famously...
As for new and different guest heroes and villains, Lady Blackhawk, Mary Marvel, The Enchantress, Doctor Light, Prankster, Toyman, Mxie again....oh ZATANNA THIS is the show for her!



Anonymous said...

I apologize for the negativity in my comments. In season one we had Cat Grant and the center of the action was the news room or Kara's apartment. When Cat left, the center of the show changed to a seedy bar where the characters were more interested in getting hooked up. That shift, for me, took Supergirl into a world I would rather not see her in. "Well that is reality" can be the argument but for me not one I wanted to see. The news room, the apartment, family, friends, adventures, fighting evil. When Cat Grant left, the moral anchor of the show left and the characters went drifting. I went from waiting for the next episode to checking in now and then after the fact.

Supergirl was mistreated by the writing in my opinion.