Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Smallville: Supergirl

As I continue to move forward from the news of Sterling Gates leaving the Supergirl book, I figured it was about time to review last week's episode of Smallville, an episode titled Supergirl and marking the return of Laura Vandervoort to the role of Kara Zor-El.

As a Supergirl fan there was a some stuff to like about this episode. But in the end, it left a very uneasy feeling in my stomach, something I will talk about later.

As this is the last season of Smallville, much of the overarching plot involves Clark embracing his role as Earth's champion and finally figuring out that he need to be in the open, showing his face as a hero, but protecting his time as Clark. One thing that I like about his dealing with these issues is that on the show Lois has figured out that Clark is the 'Blur' but hasn't let on that she knows. As a result, she is able to help him figure things out without him getting overwhelmingly nervous or skittish (which he often does on the show).

As the end of the show's run must be a true shot of Superman, costume and all, Clark is faced with many different foils all of whom help him build who he will eventually be. Hey, it has only taken him 10 years to realize he needs to be a champion!

In this episode, it's Supergirl.  Kara is everything that Clark is not. She is very visible, in primary colors, acting the part of the public hero. She is doing this at a time when Metropolis is unsure of its feelings with around super-powered vigilantes. The city has been whipped into an anti-hero frenzy by talk radio personality (and current host of the Darkseid spirit) Glorious Gordon Godfrey. Here we see Kara save a crowd at a Godfrey rally from a collapsing billboard.

It seems that Kara searched deep space for Alura and never found her. Then Jor-El, who has finally given up on Kal-El to become a champion, called Kara back to Earth. Jor-El knows that 'a darkness' has arrived on Earth. Darkseid, that dark threat, is able to prey on people's fears and uncertainties, feeding on them, and even possessing them if he wishes. That is how he possessed the neurotic Godfrey. (In a nice visual, Darkseid possesses someone by swarming around them as a murder of spectral crows.)

To combat this evil, Kara has been told by Jor-El to out in the open as a very visual hero, someone the people can look up to, someone that can inspire them and reduce their fear. I don't know if I agree with her methods, but here Kara is on a photo shoot so her pictures will be everywhere.

Kara says that Jor-El thinks that only she, equipped with all her powers and confident, can face this darkness. She asks Clark to stand back and let her complete her mission. He isn't so ready to let someone else do what he thinks is his job. For once, he actually seems like he is ready for action.

Swayed by his powerful words, Kara decides to help him. As family, they should have each other's back. She even tries to help him learn how to fly. Unfortunately, Clark still can't head up,up, and away.

After a talk in the Smallville barn, they realize just how Darkseid slipped into this reality.

Somehow during the ritual last year which cast Zod and his cronies into another dimension, Darkseid snuck in. Knowing that Kara's bracelet has opened portals in the past, they wonder if they could use it to shove Darkseid back where he came from.

Deciding they need to work together to face this threat, the cousins head to the Watchtower. They realize that Darkseid would take a position of power that would let him spread his distrust. It becomes clear that the person is Godfrey. And the Watchtower cameras have found him at an S&M club.

Godfrey isn't alone there. Lois has tailed him and dressed in latex is able to get some unsavory pictures of him as a way to discredit him. Lois wants him taken down for any number of reasons including the fact that Godfrey is anti-Blur as well as threatening to reveal that Oliver Queen is Green Arrow.

Manifesting his Darkseid powers, Godfrey tries to possess Lois but is unable to because she is 'pure of heart'. Instead, he trusses her up to use as bait.

The cousins arrive to the club and face off against the dark Godfrey. In a classic Smallville scene, Godfrey berates Clark telling him all of his short-comings: he has wanted to kill in the past, he doesn't know if he is up for the job of champion, he isn't ready to come out publicly, he doesn't have access to all his powers.

Broken down by Darkseid's verbal assault, Clark nearly gets possessed by Darkseid! Only Kara's timely intervention with her bracelet stops that from happening. The portal didn't banish Darkseid, only repel him. Nice save for Supergirl.

Even though Godfrey is discredited by Lois' photos, the anti-hero sentiment in the city seems to be building.

Clark runs into a very Linda-looking Kara. She has learned that sometimes it is tough to get where you need to be when you are the 'center of attention'. She once again tells Clark to leave the Dark threat to her. Darkseid would be unstoppable if he possessed someone with Clark's powers. And he was unable to possess Kara because she, like Lois, is pure of heart.

The bottom line is Kara isn't going anywhere and is sticking to Jor-El's mission.

So why am I worried? Well, throughout the episode it is reiterated that the biggest threat would be if Darkseid possessed a super-human, especially someone with Clark's abilities. It therefore figures to play out that the ultimate conflict for this season will be Clark facing off against a Darkseid-possessed superhero. In this final conversation, Kara says she doesn't feel 'pure of heart'. And this episode ends with the idea that Kara is staying on Earth. I can read these road signs.

I can already picture it in my mind. The end of the season has Clark facing off against a Darkseid-possessed Kara!! That is the threat they have been warning us about. That is why she is sticking around and feeling not pure of heart. They are building the story of her fall. Can't you imagine Vandervoort in a 'Dark Supergirl' style black and silver outfit facing off against Clark? They are going to make Supergirl the villain!

I suppose it ends with Kara being exorcised and not killed so that, in theory, a Supergirl spin-off would remain viable. But still, I won't be happy if Kara ends up the vessel of a Dark god ... again!

Otherwise, there were some nice nods to the DCU despite the fact that the word Supergirl is never uttered. We hear her called 'the Maiden of Might', Power Girl, and even Ubergirl. And, at least in this issue, Supergirl is shown to be strong, confident, and caring. I guess I should be happy with that.


Anonymous said...

Face it, to make Clark become a hero they are gonna throw Supergirl under a bus.
As you so succinctly pointed out, all the signs point to it.
And I for one AM NOT happy with that.
Supergirl IS NOT cannon fodder for some played out franchise presided over by the worse actor to ever play Kal El...
Ghod bless Ms. Vandervoort she "gets" Kara, a normal universe she'd be presiding over her own spin off now, but this is not a normal universe.
Someone has to stand athwart the whole Smaillville catastrophe and howl "HALT!"

John Feer

valerie21601 said...

Except for a handful of episodes, and the most die hard fans, I get the feeling Smallville will quickly sink away into non-existence after the show is done airing.

The producers/writers/whoever apparently don't care one wit about the comic book fans nor the characters past history, at all. If they did they would have a MAJOR hit on their hands instead of a cult hit. Plus rake in mega-bucks on merchandise and the after the show ends products instead of just tv advertising dollars. If only they had listened to the comic fans, if they had reached across to the comic fans as well as the tv fans they would/could have been so much MORE.

anthonyriva said...

I doubt there will be a spin-off. With the Wonder Woman series just around the corner, DC might focus all their attention on that show, rather than spin off something from Smallville.

I would LOVE to see a Supergirl spinoff, but if it hasn't happened already, I doubt it will ever see light. Usually, you'd have a spinoff run concurrently with the original series in order to get fans to cross over to the new show and have crossovers and specials and whatnot. Usually. [For example: Buffy/Angel, Star Trek TNG/DS9/VOY, Stargate SG1/Atlantis (maybe? I think Stargate Universe started on its own and that seems to be doing well) etc...]

As for Kara on Smallville, I think I would be happy with her coming back in the last few episodes to be the big bad! I really hope we get to see her at least one more time. My impression was that she was only able to steal herself away from V to film this one episode and that this was going to be her last appearance.

I was suprised that she mentioned she was sticking around Metropolis. Just not sure if they had plans to bring her back. So, I felt uneasy that she'll only exist in the background and we will never get a proper sendoff for her. I was hoping this episode would be an epic sendoff, maybe leaving Metropolis for another town, leaving us feeling like she's come into her own and will begin having her own adventures (that we may probably get to see in a spinoff, if one was ever possible.)

TalOs said...

GREAT RAO! O_O Now THAT was a truly kick ass Supergirl centric intended themed ep yet! We FINALLY get to see Kara evolve her look to that of a prototype 'Supergirl' one (just like her cousin has been trying to do come his 'Superman' own since the very beginning of season 9), Kara making her official heroic worldwide debut in Metropolis which resulted in changing the gathered anti-Super-Heroes minds upon doing so, trying to impart her own 'know how' on how she can fly to Clark (which i thought was just SO cool and later hilarious upon seeing Clark crash through his farm barn's roof), selflessly coming to the rescue of Clark upon Darkseid's evil misty like essence trying to possess him, doning the Earthly disguise of what looks to be one 'Linda Lee Danvers' and being MORE then willing to live amongst 'us' even if it should mean giving up her very own life upon protecting her newly adopted planet to call home including it's inhabitants and especially that of her younger aged cousin (remember, the show continuously has their Kara point out that her main obligation is to protect her younger cousin whenever around him) against the evil threat that is Darkseid.

Anj - With all due respect i think you may unfortunately just be jumping to conclusions come Kara's story concluding in having the 'Super cousins' duke it out while she's being possessed by Darkseid's essence only for her to be killed off.

Oh, and PTB on Smallville have recently said that WB/CW could as of yet change their mind in the 10th season being the very last and there may be hope as of yet for another season next year. But in having had said that they also said that should they get the green light for an 11th season the main new theme would be to showcase Welling as Superman proper as well as having to flesh out how to handle the DC Universe characters introduced through out seasons past.

Jason said...

All in all I thought this was a good episode and I was so thrilled they brought back Kara. John, you are right. Laura really does "get" Kara. I was so happy to see Kara portrayed so confident and sure of herself, a departure from her past appearances. This time she had something to show Clark instead of the other way around. I didn't get the vibe that Kara would end up possessed by Darkseid at all.

I have to agree with another poster that you may be reading into that a little bit too soon. I, for one, am glad that Kara is finally sticking around this time. Granted, I don't think that means we'll be seeing her anytime soon again, but at least now it's a lot more plausible than it was than if she was in the phantom zone or flying around space.

I'm glad they acknowledged her flight into space, even though they did fudge with that fact a little bit. When last we saw her, it was to search for Kandor. Now, we are told she was simply searching for her mother. Finally addressing Alura for the first time (we never heard about her during Season 7), it makes me wish we had seen her. I remember thinking that back when it was announced Helen Slater would be in Season 7, that I thought it would make more sense and be more of a Supergirl homage for Helen to portray Alura rather than Lara. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that we got Helen either way. I just wish we could've seen Alura and seen that not both of Kara's parents were bad.

While I know Anj is uneasy about that last scene where Kara talks about feeling not pure of heart and sticking around, I kinda read it the other way around. I read it as that she was actually sticking around this time and might actually be more involved in the plot of this season than we originally thought, something which I would welcome. I would love to see her more regularly again. I did like how she was able to repel Darkseid with her bracelet, and again I thought this point showed she might actually be an important player this season. If that turns out to be true, I hope that she ends up an important player in a GOOD way and not in a possessed by Darkseid way.

And I do also finally like that we saw the "secret identity" side of Kara in this episode. Now we just need a name to go with it, since she didn't actually speak one. If she does show up again, I would love for her to use this new secret identity to call herself Linda Lang, to be in line with the comics. Of course, she couldn't be Lana's neice, but maybe she could be Lana's cousin?

ArgoCityCub said...

I was kinda disappointed at the fact that they didn't give her more screen-time and the fact that they didn't use the movie theme at the end. I also didn't like the whole darkseed being a bunch of crows that goes around possessing people.It would have made sense if his goons we already on earth in secret.Come on Smallville writers,get it right!

I did like that she went to go search for Argo/Kandor(which i really hate that they change her birthplace) and i also liked how they gave her the costume and gave her a secret identity.

Anj said...

Thanks for all the posts.

I think I am in a 'glass is half-empty' mode right now so it is good to hear that some of you think my 'Supergirl will be the enemy' thought is outrageous. Hopefully you are right.

I do think that Laura Vandervoort channels Kara nicely and seems to have the spirit that you need to pull off the character. I hope we haven't seen the last of her in the role.

Smallville I think has realized that it's core audience is comic collectors now as they have tried to jam in as much DC stuff as they can recently (the new gods stuff obviously, but the suicide squad, deadshot, cat grant, etc .. and that's just this season). But it is very 'Elseworlds' so I think that it can both delight and aggravate comic fans to see that stuff.

JPH said...

I don't think Kara will end up possessed by Darkseid.

My hope is that in the Series finale, Darkseid possesses Sam Lane, (and thus returning Micheal Ironside to his rightful role as DARKSEID) and procceeds to clobber the heroes of Earth. On the streets of Metropolis, the members of the Justice League and the Justice Society lie battered and defeated, and Kara is at the mercy of a Darkseid's hands around her throat!! And just when all hope seems lost, enter Tom Welling in the Superman suit, challenging Darkseid ala Superman/Zod in Superman 2 (General, would you care to step outside?).

Saranga said...

given the recent Supes/bats dvd and the refusal to market it as a supergirl dvd, I can't see the producers building the season finale around Kara(possessed or not). I just can't.
i also think they will want a different version of events to other supergirl media, so i don't reckon she'll get possessed by darkseid.

so erica durance gets put in pvc again? bloody hell, what did she do to become the only lady on that show who routinely gets dressed up for the male viewers? I love ms durance i think she's beautiful, but some of the cosutmes they've put her in are ludicrous.

ealperin said...

Saw the episode...

Kara's character development was an improvement from the Martian Manhunter hating version. I mean, She called him "Red Eyes"! Is that wrong or what?!


Now, back to the episode: Is it me or are they making Jor-El sound like a complete douche?

Either way Laura And Erica were great in the episode... I'm a bit peeved Ollie stole Iron Man's line, though.

Btw, "Homecoming" was a great "Clois" episode. Very brief shots of Clark being an "uptight-nerdy" guy with his hair gelled back and the glasses on... but it's a great one either way. Lois even had a shirt rip gesture when Clark hopped into the elevator. ^_^