Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Supergirl Episode 301:

The season premiere of Supergirl Season 3 aired earlier this week. It was incredible. It nailed it. I was floored. This was just the sort of strong start that you want a show to have.

The episode was aptly named 'Girl of Steel' as it dealt with Kara dealing with her grief over losing Mon-El by becoming hardened and denying herself any feeling at all. She forsakes her humanity. She embraces her 'alien' nature. But she seems to be protesting too much as every so often Kara shows she is hurting. I probably sound like a broken record but Melissa Benoist is incredible. From subtle intonations of lines to facial expressions to body language, you know just what her characters are feeling. Remember, Kara sent Mon-El to possible oblivion. This was her decision. And she is hurting.

We get to see most of the supporting cast interacting with Kara, trying to help her in any way they can, but mostly worrying about her. They see she is hurting. They are giving her space. But eventually, they have to intercede.

And while, for me, these character moments were the high points of 'Girl of Steel', the episode also does a great job of setting up the season. We hear about Cat and Snapper. We see Alex and Maggie together again. We get to see how James and Lena have grown in prominence. We meet one of the big bads in Morgan Edge. We get a hint of the bigger bad Reign. And, as usual, we get action sequences and great effects.

Overall, this was a brilliant episode, especially with showing just how Kara has to work her way through her feelings. Incredible.

The show opens with Kara walking through an idyllic field in flowing white robes. She sees Mon-El and the two embrace. It is clearly another world as a huge ringed planet towers in the sky. I guess it's Krypton? And then, in the distance, Kara sees Alura. This is all she longs for - love and family. But on seeing her mother, for a brief second, you see a look of disbelief on her face. She knows this is too good to be true. But she won't waste the chance to tell these two people that she loves them. In the background, we hear a song about daydreaming.

It is beautifully shot with all the feeling of paradise right down to the lens flare.

We as viewers know this isn't real. But I assumed this was Kara dreaming ...

But it turns out she is daydreaming.

We see reality, Kara floating above the world, taking in all the sounds of National City, trying to pick out any sounds of danger.

This is the night. She is alone. This is dark ...

She picks out sirens and joins in a chase where the NCPD and the DEO (with Maggie and Alex in the lead car) chasing down an 18 wheeler. Supergirl has to fly in to protect her family and the other officers, jumping in front of a turret gun.

It is a good sequence with Kara tossing the main baddie in the truck into the air to the side of the street and stopping the truck before it hits a family car. But Supergirl doesn't pause to say hello to the kids inside. She is off to the next emergency.

Back at the DEO we hear Supergirl talk about not finishing the job because the gunman escaped. This wasn't a win. She needs to do more. Everyone is worried about how she is burying herself in the job. But J'onn reminds them that grief has no deadline.

We cut to Morgan Edge, a real estate tycoon and general bigshot, talking about how capitalism has saved National City. (It is only Lena and James who remind people that Supergirl helped.) Edge is trying to woo these businessmen and the mayor to let him rebuild the waterfront to rid the city of homelessness and crime. Edge bemoans the biased press of CatCo and how Lena is trying to make up for all the ills Luthors have done (including herself for building the transporter that brought the Daxamites here).

It is clear that the boorish, narcissistic Edge is a stand-in for a Trump-like character. I doubt it is accidental that all the folks nodding yes to Edge are white males while James and Lena are the only dissenters. I guess, as a white male, I should be used to this representation. At least I have Winn.

We then learn that Cat has moved on to be the President's press secretary. (Maybe this means more Calista, albeit on screen and not interacting with characters?) Snapper is on sabbatical. James in in charge of CatCo. And he has a scene where he actually acts like he is in charge. He even has to nudge Kara, hoping she'll complete an assignment- an interview with Supergirl. He asks if she is okay but Kara snaps back that Supergirl is her real job. It is biting. But before he can prod further, he sees a news report that Edge is trying to buy CatCo.

In the first of many scenes where Kara's friends reach out to her, we see Lena talk to Kara. Kara is hoping Lena can stop Edge's plans. Lena will try. But then Lena apologizes for her role in sending Mon-El away. But we hear how the two friends haven't seen each other recently. There have been no brunches. Kara is very distant. 

And the rest of Kara's friends are still at the bar wondering how they can help.

But business interrupts. Winn has discovered the gunman is known as Bloodsport, a vicious and violent mercenary. And he was stationed in a nearby military installation before going AWOL. The base he was at suddenly goes dark leading Supergirl to investigate.

Inside she discovers the place has a cloaked Daxamite ship. A skirmish ensues. During it, Supergirl has to decide if she should pursue Bloodsport or help injured troops. There is a moment of what seems like indecision. We heard earlier how Kara just wants to finish the job. Thankfully she still helps the casualties.

Then Jimmy's signal watch goes off. Flying to CatCo, Kara finds James is fine.

James has decided it is time for an intervention. This is a fantastic scene, especially for James who was essentially missing for me last season. He tells Supergirl that Kara Danvers has gone off the radar. Her deadline came and went. Kara needs a life, needs to be a reporter.

Angrily, Kara quits.

This was just incredible!

I have to say I love Adrian Pasdar playing Morgan Edge. He is just oily and a makes me a bit squeamish. He is everything you imagine when you think of a narcissist. He is putting in his corner office. He pours his scotch. He makes some veiled innuendo comments at Lena. And he tells Lena despite her protests he'll buy CatCo and control the story.

"People love to believe what they read," he says. Perhaps a #fakenews callout?

And then we get the best scene in the show. This time it is Alex who confronts Kara. Remember, it was the sister scenes I loved in season one and we didn't get many last season. The chemistry is definitely there between Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh.

Alex says she can't wait anymore. She has tiptoed around Kara. Kara needs to open up and not bottle things in. She needs Kara to start healing. It is heated.

And Kara's response is just as heated. She tells Alex that if it were Maggie gone that Alex would be in the bar and broken (a casual reference at Alex's drinking problem?). Kara Danvers is a sad girl whose boyfriend is gone. Kara Danvers 'sucks right now'. Harsh.

But then, as she says that even Superman couldn't make the decision she made to send Mon-El away, we hear this little crack in Kara's voice. She isn't invulnerable. She isn't unfeeling. She is just hiding it away.

The scene ends with Alex saying that Kara Danvers was her favorite person who saved people.

What a tremendous scene. Just fab.

 At the unveiling of a Supergirl statue on the waterfront, it is time for J'onn to try and get through.

He reminds Kara that she is courting emptiness. It was Kara who saved J'onn, taught him about loss. She can't deny her humanity.

We see the anguish on Kara's face. Maybe the cracks are showing.

And then we see the statue. Pretty cool.

While here we meet the woman who will become Reign. We hear how Alex is hurting because she wishes Jeremiah could be at the wedding.

But the celebration is cut short by an explosion.

 During the episode we learn that Bloodsport has stolen a Daxamite cloaking device and a high pressure regulator meaning he can cloak an earth vessel.

Using her superhearing like at the beginning scene, Supergirl locates the ship. It turns out to be a submarine. He begins firing torpedos into the shore, shaking up the waterfront area like an earthquake.

Despite not being able to breathe underwater, Supergirl heads into the water. Despite being knocked around, she stops the sub and dead presses it out of the water. There are great underwater scenes and effects. Really a gorgeous end fight.

During the fight, when apparently knocked out, Kara is stirred to consciousness by an image of Mon-El yelling to her to 'wake up'.

 Not much left but a lot of wrap-up.

Lena buys CatCo and Edge confronts her saying that Luthor has his all of his attention. Supergirl flies and drops Edge of on a ship to nowhere. Supergirl knows Edge was the only one who would benefit from the waterfront attack. She is watching him. National City is her town and Edge has all of her attention. Nice!

 In a super touching scene, Alex asks J'onn to walk her down the aisle. Both almost cry. I loved it.

 In her apartment, Kara finds a photo booth strip of pics of her and Mon-El. Out loud she says wake up. Does she wish her grief was a nightmare and she would wake up? Is it that she needs to shake off the doldrums and wake up? Both?

Regardless, she tells Lena she'll head back to work. She heads to the bar and joins her friend. Maybe her period of distancing herself from her emotions is ending.

One last thing.

At the waterfront we meet a single mom Samantha with her teen daughter Ruby. During the attack, the daughter gets pinned under rubble and the mom frees her with sudden super-strength. Later we see the torpedo attack has shaken a Kryptonian pod from the bedrock below National City. And then this woman has a dream of Krypton but not so idyllic.

We know this is Reign. Nice introduction.

Whew ... long review and retelling. Sorry.

The main thing here was seeing all of Kara's friends stepping in and trying to help her. Those scenes are tense and intense. They are well-written and well-acted. But even between there a great one-liners throughout. Everyone is on the top of their game.

This was a great great opener.


Anonymous said...

Good opening season, with good emotional scenes, action and character development.

Unfortunately, and although reactions appear to be mostly positive, this episode was up against Dancing With The Stars, The Voice, The Big Bang Theory, Monday Night Football, and a Baseball Play off game between the Yankees and the Indians, so the ratings weren't good. And trolls and haters are gloating.

Sigh. Well, "Forget about them", I tell myself. They have been praying for a cancellation since the S1 Pilot or even earlier, and the show has survived. Let's hope the ratings improve throughout the season and it's renewed.

Moving on.

Kara deciding she wants to be only Supergirl because being "Kara Danvers sucks" reminds me of Dark Supergirl during Justice League's Lemire run. That Kara was using DS as a mask because it was too painful to be Kara Zor-El after New Krypton.

"She tells Alex that if it were Maggie gone that Alex would be in the bar and broken (a casual reference at Alex's drinking problem?)."

'It was about time someone called Alex out'. Honestly, that's what I thought.

And do my eyes deceive me? James has found his place in the show? Mind-boggling!

Martin Gray said...

Fab review of a great opening episode. I’m so pleased the Miserable Minnie stuff looks done and dusted. Kara’s caring friends are a real tribute to her.

The thing that’s really bugging me is how Kara treats Lena - surely she’s earned the right to know who she also is? Lena is going to be devastated when she inevitably learns the truth.

Anonymous said...

"The thing that’s really bugging me is how Kara treats Lena - surely she’s earned the right to know who she also is? Lena is going to be devastated when she inevitably learns the truth."

Judicious application of Ancient Kryptonian Memory Erasure Pressure Point should correct that.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Morgan Edge played here by Adrian Pasdar? The guy who's been voicing Iron Man in all the recent Marvel properties ever since 2010 or something? I thought the way he was prortrayed and how he acted as a womanizer was more of a dig towards Marvel and a "Take that Iron Man".

Martin Gray said...

I really can’t see a big TV show basing a recurring character’s casting and lines on a (probably non-existent) grudge.

Anonymous said...

Great review Anj, and I'm SOOOOO happy Supergirl is back on the air for another season! Just LOVE
how the main cast nails their characters and motivations this episode, Melissa B especially. I've
heard from other sites that where her mindspace is right now may lead to a Red Ring, but let me say
this again, I HOPE THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN! Like you said, she's lost all she loves, but there's signs
she's digging herself out, and she has her family and friends to help her with that. Love Alex and
J'onn's scenes especially with helping her -- I noted that subtle dig about Alex being at a bar and
broken if the roles were reversed; is that still a possible future plot point, mewonders?

Antagonist-wise, I'm slightly disappointed Bloodsport was given such short shrift this episode; he
was basically hired muscle and a punching bag for Supergirl. Morgan Edge however; now THAT is a
villan! And personally since Maxwell Lord's departure, can't say any other recurring villan has
reached his level of despicableness since... so looking forward to that. Also the scene where
Supergirl lands on Lena's Balcony, and her comment of "now you have all MY attention!" then leaving
him in the middle of the ocean on a container ship? EPIC!!!

Well, 2nd only to the scene of Supergirl lifting an entire submarine out of the water. I had the HUGEST
grin on my face seeing that.

Oh, bit of geographical trivial for those north of the 49th -- the scene of the Supergirl statue
unveiling, that's Canada Place in Vancouver, near the Vancouver Convention Center and the Canada Place
Cruise Ship Terminal. Very Appropos :)

Addendum : the final screenshot posted? NIGHTMARE FUEL TO THE NTH DEGREE! I haven't been able to
get it out of my head since this episode aired, but seems to fit the point of Reign to a T.


Anonymous said...

Kara lifting that Typhoon class sub is all I need. The rest of that episode was just heaps and heaps of icing on the cake.

Great review for a great episode.

I love the triple entendre of the title. Well played by someone.

Am I the only one who get heavy silver age vibes from the statue? I think it's something about the stiff pose that was more common in the older comics.

Anonymous said...

Waaal I'm not sure making "Bloodsport" the supporting plotline was a good call, on the other hand the "Invisible Super Submarine" made my inner child Mark Out like a Bill Goldberg Fan....
The larger existential question here seems to be "Is Mon-El worth whinging about?" LIkely no, but then the show has to mine emotionality from somewhere when it comes to Ms Benoist's particular talents so I'm along for the ride on this one. Frankly they could extract the same drama from hooking Kara up with anyone and I suppose we should be grateful it isn't Lena....:)
Speaking of the GalPal, It seems odd to me, that Kara is perfectly emotionally accessible to Lena Luthor or all people while doing her best to freeze her sister out...but then, Lena isn't planning a wedding is she?
The season is as always, off to a flying start....and yes I loved the "snoozing while flying" scene a sure sign Our GIrl is stressing out maximum...

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments.

I love that James seems more comfortable in his skin, at least in this episode. I wouldn’t mind if we get no Guardian this season.

I loved the ‘all of my attention’ turnaround.

I loved the ‘uktraserious’ line about Alex. I loved hearing that Winn never buys rounds. I loved Alex and J’onn. It was all great.

And yes, this steeling did feel like Robinson’s Dark Supergirl.

garyb said...

"Judicious application of Ancient Kryptonian Memory Erasure Pressure Point should correct that."

Uh, "the Kiss?"

Thayse L Couto said...

Thanks for the review was amazing, I think I was the only person who did not like this episode ... maybe I start to enjoy Supergirl again more ahead, I never thought I would say this after the second season but I really liked James here. ..Lena is the best character in the show for me and it's kinda sad that Kara has not told and probably will not tell who she really is.

Anonymous said...

"Judicious application of Ancient Kryptonian Memory Erasure Pressure Point should correct that."

"Uh, "the Kiss?""

Nope. "Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade". In case you haven't read it -in which case I heartily recommend to read it-, Lena discovers Kara is an alien, turns on her and Kara's evil twin flicks Lena's head and claims she used an "Ancient Kryptonian Memory Erasure Pressure Point". Kara replies there isn't such a thing and Belinda agrees... which is because they are so confused when it apparently works.

Scrimmage said...

In anticipation of Season 3, I had hoped for two things. First, that the writers would turn down the overheated, left-leaning, politically correct rhetoric now that the election season has long passed, and secondly, that they would put the “SUPER” back in Supergirl! I guess one out of two isn't that bad.

I got my second wish right off the bat when we were treated to an exciting opening sequence, with scenes reminiscent of “Superman Returns,” featuring a now mature, fully confident, and EXTREMELY powerful Supergirl making short work of human thugs armed with heavy artillery and some high tech weapons that posed absolutely NO problem for the Girl of Steel. She even toyed with the ridiculously named “Bloodsport” before she completely, and easily kicked his butt, before speeding off to save more innocent lives. Now THAT'S the Supergirl I want to see!

We heard many references about how this new, improved Supergirl was single-handedly reducing the crime rate in National City, and we saw more of her in the closing action sequence versus a submarine, which she lifted out of the water in an impressive stunt that still seemed just a bit too derivative of a similar scene from the Season One finale, when Supergirl hoisted Fort Rozz, the alien prison ship, into orbit. She showed a lot more strain in that one, but I'm sure that million ton spacecraft was MUCH heavier than a small submarine. Throughout it all, when it was time to get down to business, Supergirl was large and in charge, which is exactly what you would expect from the most powerful woman on the planet. That was the Good.

Unfortunately, there was also a lot of needless bad, including the introduction of a new bad guy, Morgan Edge, an “EVIL” capitalist, and real estate developer, and Donald Trump surrogate, who is doomed to be the butt of an endless string of male bashing, sexist jokes. The idea that someone would use a submarine attack to somehow accelerate a real estate development project that – naturally - “benefits the rich at the expense of the poor” is so ludicrous, it's almost laughable. Throw in some clips of Cat Grant spouting leftist propaganda about how the fantasy of so-called “Global Warming” is “undeniable,” while singing the praises of an equally imaginary female President, and it's clear that the show is going to continue beating the same dead horse that almost made last season unwatchable. That was the Bad.

More good?

No “city of a thousand alien immigrants” in this storyline, which in my opinion, diminishes Kara's uniqueness. She's SUPPOSED to be the Last Daughter of Krypton, but for some reason, these damn pods keep popping up with new relatives ever season!

No “Guardian.” Enough said!

Alex and Maggie kept their relationship/wedding angst to a minimum, and mostly just for minor comic relief, although Alex's promise of the “gayest wedding National City has ever seen” doesn't bode well for the future.

Best of all, Supergirl not only saved the city, she also saved HERSELF, finding her own way out of her depression, and putting some much needed balance back into her life by accepting that she must be BOTH Kara Danvers AND Supergirl, taking the good with the bad.

That's the same way I'm looking at this episode, and probably this entire season. I'll just have to focus on the good parts, while trying to ignore the parts that go out of their way to insult half their viewing audience while shoving a clearly biased political point of view down our throats. About 75% of this episode was good. The rest was just noise that I can easily ignore, since it has little bearing on the show, or in reality. I can live with that, but if it ever swerves into 50-50 territory, I'm outta here! I don't need that kind of aggravation.

Anonymous said...

Morgan Edge has always been a evil capitalist, he was a broadcaster & media tycoon back in 1970 and a patsy for Darkseid as well. If he's a real estate developer now then..shrug I think way too much gets read into this by people who tune at 8pm on Monday's in a angry frame of mind....:) As for Alex & Maggie's wedding its likely gonna be called off by Maggie (the actress is leaving the show)...which is good because it'll open up a pathway to the far more interesting topic of Alex's ongoing alcoholism.


KET said...

"Unfortunately, and although reactions appear to be mostly positive, this episode was up against Dancing With The Stars, The Voice, The Big Bang Theory, Monday Night Football, and a Baseball Play off game between the Yankees and the Indians, so the ratings weren't good. And trolls and haters are gloating."

Let them have their moment; it's merely fleeting, as The CW is a multi-platform network that doesn't base its success only on Live broadcast ratings numbers. In fact, it routinely ignores them than any other broadcast net, and for good reason: it simply doesn't have the large affiliate scope of the others. So it makes its overall impact from multiple spources, which include The CW streaming app, and rebroadcast deals with Netflix and Hulu, among other revenue streams.

I think the network and showrunners had anticipated some turbulance for the start of Supergirl's Season 3, which is why it's building up its story arc more gradually this time around. Nothing to be concerned about, at the moment.