Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Supergirl Episode 18: Worlds Finest

Supergirl Episode 18, titled 'Worlds Finest', aired this week. The episode was the much anticipated crossover with the Flash television show and was about as close to a comic book I have seen a show be. This was the classic 'heroes team up to beat villains who have teamed up' trope I have seen in comics over the years. And it nailed that storyline completely.

But more than that, this was an episode that seemed to embrace the notion of comic books. There was joy here. There was ice cream and races and quips. There were hugs and superhero nicknames.There was mentoring and friendship. There was smiles and fun. There was sunlight and lens flares.

And this couldn't have been aired at a better time, as another hero 'team-up' is being shown on the big screen. The dark, dour, depressing mess of 'Batman V Superman' stands in stark contrast to this near perfect illustration of what makes comics wonderful. I can't help but wonder if Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler were looking at the calendar and planning this out from day one.

Much of this rests on the shoulders of the actors. Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin have such easy chemistry throughout the show. They are similar heroes, hoping to inspire and driven to do good. They interact so effortlessly. I love that The Flash is the veteran hero here, giving Kara pointers and being a role model.

We still await news of a second season for Supergirl. But I will repeat what has become a mantra for me. This show has been everything a Supergirl fan could ask for. And this episode might be the jewel in the crown.

The episode starts with Siobhan being examined at the DEO by a Dr. Hamilton. Siobhan isn't alien. She isn't a Fort Rozz escapee. She is human. But with sonic scream powers. Frustrated by the lack of answers, of Winn's friendship with Supergirl, and her ruined life, Siobhan storms out. But as she leaves, she spies Livewire in her cage.

Lucy notes some people in National City have had electrical imbalances in their brains. Livewire denies knowing anything. She says she only wants to kill Cat Grant, a nugget Siobhan tucks away.

Dr. Hamilton has to be a nod to Dr. Emil Hamilton, noted friend of Superman in comics and television. On this world, maybe she is Emily Hamilton? Hamilton has had a wild comic history, swinging between being a friend and a villain for Superman. I hope we see more of her.

At CatCo, Cat Grant gives Kara some romantic advice. She compares James Olsen to a cupcake. Cat tells Kara that she must make a 'power move' to land James. Sometimes that power move is being distant.

The peaceful afternoon at CatCo is interrupted by Siobhan who walks in and blasts Kara out the window of the skyscraper. Seemingly plummeting to her death, Kara is scooped up by The Flash who has just appeared out of a breach (wearing a tachyon collector I might add). Talk about cosmic karma!

Away from the city, Kara changes into Supergirl. She and Barry exchange names and pleasantries. He quickly learns he is on yet another Earth.

Back at CatCo, Barry explains the multiverse to Winn and James. He drops comments which sound like Earth X and Earth 3. This Earth lacks Harrison Wells, Cisco, and Caitlin. He is trapped here unless he gets help. Anytime the multiverse is discussed on one of these shows, I just cheer.

But this scene is capped with the joy of Barry showcasing his powers by running to get everyone ice cream cones. Kara reaction is pure joy. Barry and Kara then leave to eat donuts. These are heroes who have become quick friends.

Barry and the crew then meet Cat. She describes the foursome as the 'attractive yet nonthreatening racially diverse cast of a CW show'. How meta! She then labels The Flash as The Blur (surely a throwback to Smallville)!

These scenes were just perfect. 

Meanwhile, Siobhan keeps getting flashes of the Banshee in her mind.

She learns from her aunt that their family has been cursed because someone stole something from a Banshee in the past. As a result, the women are unlikeable! (That is awesome.) The curse manifests when a Smythe feels wronged. The curse of the Banshee lasts as long as the person who hurt them is alive. She must use her scream to kill Kara although that will destroy her soul.

Realizing she can't get to Kara because Supergirl and Cat will stand in her way, Siobhan decides to recruit Livewire.

Siobhan breaks Livewire out of the DEO and the two decide to team up. Livewire calls them an 'evil Taylor Swift squad! But they cannot fight until Siobhan updates her look to a more villainous look. I have to say, on the episode, this Banshee outfit looked great!

The Flash and Supergirl find where they are hiding (Barry comments on how villains on all earths seem to like abandoned warehouses!). Supergirl rushes the heroes into battle without much of a plan outside of an 85% chance of punching.

The fight is something of a draw and the heroes have to retreat to rethink a strategy.

In another great scene, the two superheroes have a moment on the Balcony of Wisdom.

Kara talks about how she has been trying to reestablish herself as a hero in this post-RedK world. She wants to be a hero again. She wants to feel good about herself again. And she has been trying so hard that she has been rushing things.

Here Barry gives the wisdom that she needs to slow down. Things will improve. He knows because he lived through something similar. He is the veteran here, speaking from experience.

Cat ends up being kidnapped by Banshee and Livewire, used as bait to bring the heroes out. Throughout this whole episode, Cat has been unfazed about the danger she is in. In a rare showing of vulnerability, Cat begs for her life so her sons won't be left alone. I thought this humanized Cat a lot.

Armed with sound nullifying ear-buds, the Flash and Supergirl arrive to do battle. The banter is pure comic book stuff. Flash calls the villains Shrieky and Sparky. He say they should settle things like women, a great line which brings a confused look to Kara's face.

But when the two heroes handle the Banshee's scream, Kara becomes feisty. She taunts the two with some serious swagger!

Unfortunately, this bravado doesn't change the fact that the pairs are relatively evenly matched.

When Livewire decides to do a little collateral damage by trying to take down a helicopter in midflight, Kara steps in front of the bolt. This saves not only the copter but the people below who would have been flattened by the wreckage. (I did love that Livewire screamed how she hated copters. Remember she was in a storm-tossed helicopter when she got her powers.)

In a scene reminiscent of the train scene in Spider-Man 2, the citizens present step between Livewire and Supergirl. They will protect the shaken Kara. Wonderful!!! Inspirational!!!

And then a firetruck shows up and douses Livewire with a fire house, short circuiting her and electrocuting the nearby Banshee. Both villains are defeated.

The firefighter who led this attack was the one Supergirl saved before she was exposed to Red K two episodes ago. That is a nice touch. And his saying it was the people's turn to help her, while mimicking the pose of Superman in the title sequence, was sensational. Here is this guy, a normal person, who saved the day like Superman .... because he was inspired by Supergirl. That pose can't be a coincidence.

There is nothing left but the wrap-up. Livewire and Silver Banshee, as humans (not aliens), are put in jail (not kept at the DEO). In a throwaway line, we here that Barry helped the National City police upgrade the jail to handle metahumans. This hearkens back to the discussion about justice and human rights in the Master Jailer episode.

Cat reveals she knew that Barry was the Flash. She says she recognizes the extraordinary in her midst while looking right at Kara. I think she knows Kara is Supergirl after all.

And Barry is sent home when the two heroes race, building up momentum for Kara to throw Barry, increasing his speed enough to create a breach. They say goodbye, hug, call each other the 'Girl of Steel' and the 'Scarlet Speedster'. The two have a friendly race and Kara flings him home! They help each other!

Inspired by all the talk from Cat and Barry, Kara decides to be proactive with James. She gives an awkward preamble about infinite earths (Infinite Earths!!!) and how maybe they could be together. And then she kisses him!

But he is blank stared. Even when she asks if the kiss was good, bad, too good ... he stares ahead. And then he and all the other people in National City begin to march. This is Myriad.

This was just a completely fun episode showcasing two optimistic and happy super-heroes teaming up to beat the bad guys and having a good time while doing it. We had super-villains chewing through the scenery (great performances by Italia Ricci and Brit Morgan!). But we also saw the people of National City rally around Supergirl. We saw Lucy settle in as the boss of the DEO, clearly leading. And we saw Cat Grant at her finest.

Everything clicked. This was a comic book on screen. Just a fantastic episode..

I've been around long enough to remember when these two characters were expendable, the 'big deaths' in a comic to give it some weight.

Last night I saw them streaking into action to fight super-villains.

We've come a long way.

And I crave more.


Anonymous said...

Could not agree more. And ratings wise it was a BIG boost for the show (1.7 tying it with a slipping Dancing with The Stars while The Voice beat out all comers as usual). Want to thank the Supergirl and Flash fans (I fall into both categories) for viewing it. The On Demand numbers will send this even higher. Had a smile from ear to ear and was even hoping for a Hostess Apple Pie commercial (LOL!!!!)

Kara's reaction to that ice cream..a cheery cherry on top of a smile sundae.

Gene said...

This episode is a valentine for all those who love DC Comics for what it has given them for so many years.

Fingers crossed for an Supergirl/Arrow crossover in season 2.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping for a bigger blowout cathartic battle between Banshee Livewire and Kara/Barry something that would showcase the heroes capacity for improvised teamwork and trust. BUT I realize also this was about restoring Supergirl's good name with the citizenry so the story arc worked very well...I do think though we are owed a very serious Livewire beatdown as she is the only villainess this season that Kara hasn't decisively defeated.
But that is something for season two, Gustin and MB make good teammates would love to see SG crossing over to the Barryverse, her meeting the Star Labs team has preemo written all over it....
for that fact I am drawing up a list of Supergirl team ups for season two...Batgirl anyone? Mary Marvel?? Lady Blackhawk?? or maybe Zatanna? (has Arrow grabbed her off? I don't watch that show).
The possibilities are endless...lets hope the Adventure Continues!


KET said...

".I do think though we are owed a very serious Livewire beatdown as she is the only villainess this season that Kara hasn't decisively defeated."

Disagree...Livewire's Achilles Heel has always been water, and Kara took her down quite well the first time. However, I thought it was kind of odd that Kara completely forgot that strategy while she was with Barry...too distracted by The Speed Force, it seems. :)

Pretty happy that both Barry and Cat finally got Kara off of the fence regarding hooking up with James...and then suddenly, the dreaded 'Supergirl dating curse' kicks in again.

Looks like it'll be a huge fight over the merits of free will for the finale. I'm relieved that the show is going for this instead of recycling the New Krypton plot, which always seemed to be what they were originally heading toward.


Anonymous said...

I only have one word for this ep, Anj. "WOOOOOOOOW!" Enough said. Agree about the timing with BatmanvSuperman, whether
accidental or deliberate, well when taken with the DC Superhero special that aired on the 19th... did the planets just
line up right? I'm one VERY HAPPY SUPERGIRL FAN this March!

Everyone played their parts beautifully : Cat Grant showing she's human under all her (supposed) armor, Winn acting like
a kid in a candy store at the multiverse, the Supergirl x Flash interaction, Siobhan going full on villan... "and I like
it!," the return of Livewire.

And HEARTILY agree the icing on the cake this ep was how National City was inspired by Supergirl's selflessness to defend
her when she was on the ropes... "Supergirl, it was our turn to help you" brought a smile to my face... and the final race
at the end... wasn't for charity, but there was enough amusing friendly trashtalk between the two superheroes to keep me happy.
Can only hope and imagine what things would look like if Supergirl were to come over to Barry's Earth -- Barry "This is my
friend, Supergirl... from another planet." Cisco acting like a lovestruck puppy. Wells going all "can I get a sample of"
on Kara. The Wests and Caitlin Snow just gawking...

The two downsides I feel was a) the 43minute limitation again of the episode; felt like there was so much more plot and
fight scenes to be developed here, and b) the whole Supergirl romance debate. I know she's had feeling for Jimmy since
the Pilot, but at least from a season-pacing and tonal perspective, I'd've preferred things to be setting her up as a
person and a hero in her own right than worrying about her love life.


Anonymous said...

They'd have to be nuts not to have a season 2. This series rocks!!!

Unknown said...

I didnt get it ?
Barry haven't tried to cross dimensions yet in season 2.
But he appeared in SuperGirl !
Does that means the crossover was set in a near future of flash tv series.
Which means barry as of episode 17 of flash doesn't know supergirl ?
Please help !!!

KET said...

"Does that means the crossover was set in a near future of flash tv series.
Which means barry as of episode 17 of flash doesn't know supergirl ?
Please help !!!"

Gustin explained in a BTS video for the crossover that they were in the midst of filming episode 18 of The Flash in Vancouver when he flew down to LA to appear in Supergirl's episode 18. So in this week's Flash episode, you see Barry acquire the means to accidentally cross over into Supergirl's world.


Anonymous said...

BTW the "ice cream" scene was a Thing of Joy.....The Flash procures ice cream for everyone and MB has this priceless expression that conveys three or four emotions in one go sans any dialogue. That girl is GIFT to broadcast television, CBS has got to renew this, we are on the cusp of something big here.