Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Supergirl Episode 311: Fort Rozz

Supergirl episode 311, titled 'Fort Rozz' came out this week and was an excellent mix of plot progression, character development, and continuity. I have been very impressed with the show leaning into the overall theme of Kara reclaiming and embracing her humanity as this season progresses. Here we see that again in full force. I love it. But for me, the best thing about this episode was how much it leaned into the show's history. I love it.

The overall plot is Kara heading to Fort Rozz in space to gather information about Reign. She'll be powerless and so needs to call on former enemies for aid. Of course, Reign is a killer and so Supergirl hopes that the enemies of her enemy will remain her friends, regardless of the past. In essence, she is calling on their humanity (there's that word again) leading to someone making an ultimate heroic sacrifice.

Fort Rozz was a key point in season one, so hearing about it again was a great callback. And bringing back Livewire and Psi to be Supergirl's squad was a great touch. Livewire's character actually has grown over the three seasons and that dedication to the supporting cast is one of the things I love about the show.

But it is Yael Grobglas' performance as Psi which shines the most. From tiny physical affectations to haughty villain lines, she steals the show.

The episode isn't perfect. Some plot points seem a little contrived. Brainiac 5 is really obnoxious in this episode, dimming the awkward chemistry I liked so much from last episode. And a Alex/Ruby subplot, while having a couple of nice moments, seemed a little needless and forced.

On to the show.

We start out in Alex's apartment. Laid up with her broken leg, she is seen watching an old movie, The Philadelphia Story. In walk, Kara, Sam, and Ruby.

Sam needs to go away on a business trip and the babysitter cancels. Kara is also called away. Suddenly Alex is up. She'll babysit even though in her past she showed a young Kara The Shining. Still, Alex is stir crazy and agrees, setting up this subplot.

The Philadelphia Story is an interesting choice by the writers to put in here. While it is a romantic comedy, it is basically about a couple who have split up (like Maggie and Alex). Cary Grant, the ex-husband, was an heavy drinker and had irreconcilable differences with his ex-wife Katherine Hepburn. She is now engaged to someone else. In the end (spoiler alert), they get back together when Hepburn sees the good in him. Perhaps this is wishful thinking by Alex, a split couple getting back together. And Grant being a heavy drinker could be the person Alex identifies with.

Meanwhile, the DEO realizes that the priestess Thomas Coville spoke about in a past episode could have been an inmate on Fort Rozz. There is one listed on the prisoner manifest, Jindah Kol Rozz. At the end of season one, Kara pushed Rozz into space. It now orbits a blue sun. Under a blue sun, Kara will be powerless. The sun also emits deadly radiation for males. Thus an all-female squad needs to be assembled, starting with Kara and Imra.

Needing more firepower, Supergirl tracks down Livewire who is working at a diner as 'Roseanne'. Supergirl admits that she has been 'keeping tabs' on Livewire, an interesting thought.

Whether Livewire has gone straight because of a change in her morals or because Reign is killing criminals is unclear. But she does hate Reign for killing some of her friends. And if this mission could lead to information to bring her down, she'll agree to help.

I love how Supergirl tells her she needs someone like Livewire, someone she knows, to watch her back on Rozz where she'll be powerless. That is a big risk. Livewire has brawled with Kara multiple times, appearing in three prior episodes. But she does seem to have changed ...

As usual, Brit Morgan plays Livewire with a sort of caustic sassiness, a 'no nonsense' cynical edge. But there is a glimmer of something better in her too. That couldn't be easy to pull off.

When Livewire arrives at the DEO, Winn asks her if she remembers him as the IT guys at CatCo. She doesn't. Small moment that gives both characters a little more depth.

And then, the other person on the squad is brought in, complete with psionic dampener, Psi! Despite some protests from J'onn, Supergirl thinks Psi is worth the risk of bringing given the danger of the remaining prisoners on board.

I love the 'Squad Goals' look of this, a sort of 'The Right Stuff' walk towards the camera.

On the Legion cruiser, heading to Rozz, Livewire and Psi trade barbs. As I said, Psi's lines are a sort of haughty, almost Shakespearean in nature. And Grobglas delivers them in this aloof, cold style that is just delicious. Delicious!

Before Sam can head on her business trip, one of clear importance to Lena, she is called back to her Fortress. The ghost priestess there says that Supergirl is on Rozz and could learn of their plans. Reign jumps in her pod to intercept.

The scene opens with Reign saying that Sam's personality is stronger than expected ... what does that mean? Reign was a baby on Krypton. She didn't possess a human child. I don't think they are 'two personalities'. But this makes it seem like they are. Perhaps Reign 'going away' as described last episode means she is exorcised in some way by Supergirl?? I keep thinking that Staff of Kalor from Mars is going to play into this. Why bring in an all-powerful religious artifact and have it in the DEO armory without it being used later? The DCU version of Chekhov's gun?

But it still doesn't make sense to me. Isn't Reign/Sam the same person?

I just thought I'd share a  shot of Rozz as the squad tries to track down the Priestess.

For me, the architecture reminded me a little about the jerry-rigged prison created by The Master Jailer way back in season one. I wonder if that was intentional. If so, nice continuity.

The eventually encounter a prisoner who attacks them. After all, Kara is wearing the S-shield, the crest of Judge Alura.

During the fight, I believe as an accidental reflex, Psi blasts Saturn Girl incapacitating the Legionnaire. Luckily Livewire blasts the prisoner so the heroes can regroup.

Realizing that Psi might be too twitchy to depend on, they put the psionic dampener back on. I love Grobglas' little physical affectation when the dampener is taken off, a sort of crane of the neck, like she can finally stretch a muscle.

And Livewire continues to needle Psi, scorching her for attacking 'Matilda', a funny nickname Leslie has given Imra.

The show cranks up the suspense a bit by having the Legion cruiser and the prison get struck by a flare which is dragging them both into the sun. Repairs have to be made to the cruiser so it can undock. But communications are out. Rozz falling into a blue sun reminded me of the original end to Argo City in the New 52.(Heck, the comic Supergirl even fights Reign there!)

Livewire and Kara decide to use the time to try and find the priestess. Meanwhile, Imra tries to fix the ship but doesn't know how.

On Earth, the DEO tries to figure out a way to repair communications but to Brainy the tech is archaic. Angrily, he demands time alone, rejecting all of Winn's ideas in a demeaning fashion. I get that Brainy can be intense. I am sure he is worried about Supergirl. But this put him in a bad light. If the show wants the everyday viewer to 'ship' Brainy and Kara, they need to make him more likable.

Alone on Rozz, Supergirl and Livewire get into a philosophical debate. Livewire hopes they are getting the information they need to kill Reign. Supergirl says she is looking for a way to get through to Reign's good side.

Livewire laughs, calling Supergirl Pollyanna in her views. After all, Livewire is only helping because of Reign. If not for the bigger threat, she'd kill Supergirl right there.

In an intense moment, completely sold by Melissa Benoist, Kara challenges Livewire to kill her then, right there. She doesn't think Leslie will do it. Supergirl got through to her in some way. Seriously, Benoist just kills it with her piercing stare there.

In fact, Kara continuing to call Livewire Leslie humanizes the villain. It shows how Kara is always reaching towards her enemies with an open hand, not always a closed fist.

Okay, I have been avoiding the Alex/Ruby subplot so far.

Alex is floored when Maggie contacts her. Maggie left her passport in Alex's apartment. Suddenly Alex is struck again about her loss. We heard earlier that Ruby thinks Alex is the toughest person she knows.

When Ruby confesses that she is being cyberbullied, wondering if her life will ever be normal again, Alex takes matters into her hands. She confronts the girl, flashing an FBI badge, and threatening to arrest the mean girl. Thus endeth the bullying.

I was confused when Ruby then mentioned a girl who bullied her in kindergarten living nearby. Didn't Sam and Ruby just move to National City?

And Alex's multiuse badge hasn't been seen since Season One!

In space, Reign arrives at Rozz ratcheting up the action even more.

Finally, after some minor skirmishes, Kara makes it to Jindah Rozz, played by Superman alum Sarah Douglas!  Rozz tells Supergirl that Kara will be defeated by her own uncertainty. There is darkness in all souls. And the other World Killers, Purity and Pestilence will rise as well, fighting for Reign.

Supergirl doesn't buy it, trying to say there is good in everyone. And that line about uncertainty is interesting given the internal emotional struggle Kara has been having this season.

But the debate is short. Reign comes and kills her own priestess. What a great shot here. And what a way to cement home that Reign is unhinged. This is the priestess, someone who worships Reign. But get in her way and you're toast. And Reign having powers proves that maybe she isn't fully Kryptonian. After all, she described herself as a bio-engineered weapon. Maybe she is like a wraith sent to Earth?

Still, two more World Killers exist!

Livewire shows up and she and Reign brawl. Surprisingly, Livewire is able to hold her own briefly. It is a very slick brawl.

Winn figures out a way to get a message through, perhaps putting Brainy in his place a bit. Imra and Brainy can now work together to save the ship. Psi is released from her dampener and heads into the prison to find Reign.

In the end, Livewire is defeated. Supergirl tries to reach Reign's human side and fails. But before Reign can land the killing blast on Kara, Livewire dives in the way, sacrificing herself.

You have to admit, Livewire as a character has grown on this show from episode to episode, finally being redeemed.

And then Psi arrives, putting the psychic whammy on Reign to see what is going on underneath that dark, dark shell!' I hope we see more Psi. Grobglas just slays!

That fear attack shows what Reign fears most ... it is losing Ruby. It is such a devastating attack that Reign snaps back into Ruby mode momentarily, ultimately running away. Perhaps there is some inner turmoil happening, something which can be exploited. Odette Annable really sells this split personality. Great stuff there.

Of course, Supergirl reaching Reign's humanity has to be the key to defeating her in the end. I have to assume Ruby plays a part in that.

There is nothing left but the wrapup back on Earth.

Psi, back in her dampener, sympathizes with Supergirl for the loss of her friend Livewire. Supergirl in turn asks that Psi get a better cell. Perhaps there is a future ally there.

Mon-El talks to Kara about the perils of being a leader and heading into battle. How loss can occur. He speaks with personal knowledge, perhaps there is some Legion story we will hear about. But he also tells Kara how she helped Leslie, how inspirational she was. This is a more mature Mon-El.

Sam picks up Ruby only to realize she has lost a day to a blackout. She missed the LCorp meeting. Something is wrong.

And we get a sneak peek of Purity.

Okay. The 'male killing' blue sun seems like a silly way to force an all-female team to form but I'll allow it. Brainy being a jerk is off-putting but I suppose a bit in character. And Alex talking to a middle schooler about her failed romance seemed just a little weird.

But those are really background noise when I think of the Rozz storyline, the great continuity, and the superb acting we saw. I love how Livewire became a hero in the end. I love how Supergirl is relying on her humanity and her reaching out to Reign to win the day. And I loved Psi.

This season keeps rolling along1


Anonymous said...

For me this episode belonged fully to Livewire and Brit Morgan. She had an amazing role and acted it to perfection. The subplot with Alex and Ruby was funny, but I didn't care much for Psi at all.

But I have reviews where some people think that the Lena or Maggie part was the best thing.

Maybe the Supergirl writers are truly great that way. Balancing the episodes so there is something that everyone enjoys.

Anonymous said...

I found the below explanation on a blog for some people who were saying that:
A) apparently the blue sun is supposed to increase kara's powers
B) That the blue sun is deadly to males:

"I’m an actual engineer and out of the many, many stupid science fails on Supergirl that have literally made me pause and go “what”, this past episode was not one of them! In fact, it’s one of the more weirdly plausible science plot-points they’ve done.

“nos, what the fuck?”

So! To tackle the first criticism, that of solar radiation. Given what we know about Krypton, it orbited a red sun and no one there normally had powers and we know that the yellow sun of Earth does let Kryptonians have powers.

This is the electro-magnetic spectrum. See the band of visible light (the rainbow bands right in the middle)? That’s what we perceive as colors. Let’s blow that up:

Thanks, Wikipedia. Now those numbers that you see at the top? Those are the wavelengths, in nanometers. If you care to notice, the yellow band is actually really narrow! One hypothesis that’s actually got some backing in the show is that Kryptonians only gain powers in a very narrow band of EM radiation, that being between 570-590nm give or take.

(This actually makes it work sorta like chlorophyll in plants, because that absorbs light in the blue and red ranges of the spectrum, which is why we see it as green. A plant can’t survive if you stick in in a dark box with only x-rays.)

The idea that blue light would make Kara get stronger is actually completely unsupported. Kara doesn’t seem to get more powerful under blacklight (which is UV, although we’ve never seen this tested) OR in the prescence of radioactive material. The latter is the important bit, because radioactive material gives off gamma rays, which as you can see from the chart, is waaaaay at the top of the scale. If Kara were to get stronger under shorter wavelengths and faster frequencies of light/EM radiation, then she’d get more powerful when struck by lighting (which is a natural terrestrial gamma source). Since Livewire could tell us this is obviously not the case.

So Kara losing her powers near a blue star is actually very much in keeping with the data presented over the course of the series thus far.

(There’s an argument to be made that Kryptonians are really limited only to the yellow band, since kryptonite is traditionally shown as bright glowing green and that saps their powers.)

That brings me to the other point of contention: blue light being lethal to the Y chromosome. WEIRDLY ENOUGH, with some comic book handwaving, this is actually plausible.


Welcome to the weird world of optogenetics.

Right now, today, this is done by genetically modifying neurons (currently in lab animals in the embryonic state) with a virus that integrates a specific protein into the neuron. That protein, which comes from algae, activates when exposed to blue light, and when it’s tied to a neuron, that means that neuron activates when exposed to blue light.

This leads to wild mad science, like driving mice around like race cars because of the mind-control blue lights.

So for this to be plausible in-universe, all it needs is some bacteria, virus, or parasite that targets something on the Y-chromosome. And then for that vector to have a protein similar to the one in algae that activates in blue light. And by doing that, you have a disease or parasite that targets ONLY the Y-chromosome.

Weirder shit has happened, such as rising temperatures activating a normally-harmless bacteria to cause thousands of saiga to suddenly drop dead.

tl;dr: science is really weird and wonderful, and the writers actually got something so plausible it looks ridiculous."

The tumblr blog is ultranos

I am really loving this season with all my heart and I especially loved how this episode cemented the core of the Supergirl mythos: hope help and compassion

Anonymous said...

"the writers actually got something so plausible it looks ridiculous"

Wow. Now it sounds less ridiculous.

Anyway, the effects of blue sunlight vary depending on the writer. Sometimes it empowers them; but in "Last Daughter of Krypton", it had no effect on Kara.

Good episode, although I agree the Rubi subplot was a tad out-of-place. But the Fort Rozz scenes were real good. And Sarah Douglas!

Regarding Brainy, I don't care for the way Querl has been flanderized throughout the decades. At the beginning he "might" be a tad overbearing, but he wasn't an asshole. I hope the writers keep his portrayal balanced.

Anonymous said...

To me, the episode works because at long last Supergirl's abundant compassion and faith in our collective better nature FINALLY overwhelmed the darkness within a nominal Rogue and affected the reformation of said villainess.
Thats what works about Supergirl she will always take that extra step...alas it cost poor Livewire her life (thus the show loses a potentially interesting supporting character)...maybe just maybe Our Girl can keep Lena on the side of the righteous as well.
Given that Reign can still be jacked teleapthically & retention of her powers under an non yellow sun I'm intensely curious as to her precise origin, I'm aso resgned that said origin will end up being badly bungled technobabble.
Given all that does Ruby have latent kryptonian abilities? Does Reign's downfall start with Ruby taking a shot at her chiseled chin?
Idly curious I remain...


Anonymous said...

The science handwavium was DEFINITELY the biggest stinker for me for this ep :

a) Supergirl pushed Fort Rozz into Earth orbit originally, and in less than 2 years (roughly) it ended up outside
of the solar system around another star?!

b) blue light's stated effects on the Y chromosome.

c) Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 just conveniently can be used to bounce a signal to the Legion ship... never mind the
limits of current earth tech in getting anything to exceed the speed of light?

d) 5mins countdown to falling into a star.

What sold me on this ep was the acting, and ESPECIALLY Brit Morgan and her 1liner zingers. REALLY love the Livewire
character and how memorable she's made herself within the series as a Supergirl rogue, and hoped she'd be back for
more but I guess in the grand scheme of things having her die saving Supergirl and redeeming herself works better

Psi was less memorable for me this ep, but do agree with you Anj it sets up a nice bit with Supergirl extending the
same hand to her, and the possibility of Psi being in when Reign is taken down. As for Winn/Brainiac, well I will
give it that for once Winn being nice to someone doesn't end up with him being taken advantage of -- ie. Mon-El and
the alien girlfriend.

The Alex and Ruby scenes were a nice touch, and in line with some of the established inuniverse, like Alex wanting
kids, and the Christmas scene where Alex takes Ruby off Samantha's hands so Samantha can catch a breather. As for
the FBI badge, I dread the call the local FBI office may get about there being no such law and agent abuse of a minor,
but on the other hand, funny as HECK! Especially when the girl just crumbles at the ramifications of what she's done.

And Sarah Douglas(!) as the priestess! BRILLIANT!

Final thoughts
- the shot of Imra, Supergirl, Psi and Livewire? BRILLIANT!!

- Looking at the architecture of For Rozz, was going to say it also has echos of the Donner-verse El living quarters,
and nice callback to New 52 Supergirl and the blue sun.

- FINALLY a sensible explanation on Reign's powerset with the specific mention that Reign doesn't rely on a yellow

- intro of the next worldkiller, but just HOW many pods got shot off Krypton on the day it died? And agree with you
Anj just what is the dividing line between the "Samantha" personality and the "Reign" personality?

> That brings me to the other point of contention: blue light being lethal to the Y chromosome. WEIRDLY ENOUGH, with
> some comic book handwaving, this is actually plausible.

Thanks for that Anon. I'll have to look up that blog.


KET said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KET said...

"And just what is the dividing line between the "Samantha" personality and the "Reign" personality?"

Well, that's the big question that Kara needs to figure out....but of course, she first needs to discover that Sam and Reign are the same person, which may be where Alex fits in next week's episode. However, once discovered, Kara's next ethical dilemma will be "Can Sam actually be saved, if she's also a Worldkiller?" Ruby's growing relationship with Alex will also complicate matters.

"At the beginning he "might" be a tad overbearing, but he wasn't an asshole."

Well, Brainy sometimes goes over the top with his 12th level intelligence shtick, which made for a fun bit where Winn proves that one doesn't really need that to become useful with today's technology. I enjoyed the geeky competition between them in this episode.


Uncle Screensaver said...

What bugged me the most, originally, was the blue star. While I realize that real world physics don't apply to super hero universes, in the comics it was always the younger, hotter, and brighter the star (such as blue) gave a Kryptonian or Daxamite more power, the older and darker a star the less power. I don't remember which exact one, but in a story of "Dial 'H' for HERO" in the 1980's saw the reveal that normal humans receive powers under a certain colour star.

However, I think that this episode was designed to show that Supergirl without her super powers is still Supergirl, and that her true power lies in her empathy, hope, and ability to reach even the "worst" of humanity.

I loved Livewire's banter with Supergirl, and wish we had more of that dynamic. I liked that she redeemed herself, but I do hope that they don't bring the character back later (due to her being living energy) as a villain.

Psi was amazing! I loved her quirky personality, and found her a step up from the comic book versions. I like that she was also shown to be affected by Supergirl's passion and empathy. I hope we see her again, but I'd rather she not be a villain.

Imra "Don't Call Her Saturn Girl" Ardeen is strong in personality like her comic book counterpart but that kind of ends there. I did wonder if her encounter with Psi will lead to her gaining telepathic abilities. I hope if we are getting "Valor" (I don't like the name because that era wiped away Lar Gand's connection to Superboy) and his costume, if we might see a brighter one for Imra.

Aside from how Fort Rozz appeared light years away, what ended up bugging me was that the heroes didn't try to rescue the other prisoners and allowed them to die. I suppose there may not have been enough time ...

Aside from some fans, I did enjoy the Alex/ Ruby time, but I do hope, as those other fans fear, that Ruby won't be adopted by Alex if Sam dies at the end of the season or is put away.

Uncle Screensaver said...

Oh, yeah, some people are upset that they didn't have J'Onn morph to a female, but then tha would have required another actor to be hired. Also, do you think "Roseanne" was based on Roseanne Barr's time on her show when she worked for a diner and acted in a similar manner?

Scrimmage said...

The show's recurring theme of female empowerment via male bashing was on full display in this estrogen-filled epic, but once you can get past all the ridiculous contrivances, and the predictable plot, it all boiled down to a fairly decent, if flawed, space opera.

This episode's promising premise – a depowered Supergirl confronting a prison full of women who despise her – fizzled out in unspectacular fashion. Kara didn't even break so much as a fingernail, or even a sweat. Where's the drama in that? The whole “falling into the sun” subplot was a bit much, and what was the point of having a female-centric show if in the end, they needed on the “guys” back on Earth to “save the day” by telling Imra how to fix the ship's engines? That's the 30th Century equivalent to a girl standing helplessly by a car with a flat tire until a guy comes along to change it for her.

It wasn't made clear if Brainy's remote fix of the engines was able to save Fort Rozz (and the remaining survivors/prisoners?), or just the Legion Cruiser, but maybe I missed something. In any event, a space prison full of female Kryptonian outlaws has way too much potential for providing Supergirl with enemies in the future to be so casually discarded, and that's part of the problem I have with this whole “World Killers” scenario.

Another poster asked “...just HOW many pods got shot off Krypton on the day it died?” It's beginning to look like Kal-El and Kara aren't NEARLY as unique as we'd like to think. It truly diminishes their status if they can no longer be considered the “Last Son and Daughter of Krypton,” and lately, it's been getting to the point where you can't swing Streaky the Cat by the tail without hitting a Kryptonian!

At times, Supergirl's relentless optimism regarding the good in her enemies, while admirable, is at best annoying, and at worst a potentially deadly case of denial. There IS evil in the Universe, especially among those with the power to impose their wills on others, which is a lesson I thought Supergirl learned a long time ago. It's one thing for Kara to defend the good in humanity as a whole, despite our often self-destructive tendencies, but for her to think that there's even the SLIGHTEST chance that a killer – a WORLD Killer – like Reign could be “redeemed” simply by giving her a good talking to, is dangerously naïve, and more of a risk than Kara should be willing to take. WE know that there's another, less homicidal side to Reign/Sam, but there's no reason why Kara would think that Reign was anything but a stone cold, unrepentant, remorseless killer, with no regard for “inferior” human beings. Kara's willful blindness, and her willingness to give her enemies the benefit of the doubt, will someday lead to one of them sticking a kryptonite knife in her back, probably while she's hugging them.

Saturn Girl is supposed to be a powerful telepath, but in the last episode, it was Brainiac 5 who used future tech to contact Kara mentally, and this week, they bring in Psi as mental muscle, instead of someone with ACTUAL muscle – like Winn's forgotten alien girlfriend, or Ms Martian. The result is, all Imra is left to do is stand there looking supernaturally HAWT, while occasionally “gesturing telekinetically,” and in this episode, she didn't even get to do much of THAT, since she was relegated to fixing the ship. I find her character's lack of development as anything other than Mon-El's wife (and Kara's competition?) rather puzzling. Imra need to be portrayed as Kara's equal, and a superhero in her OWN right!

Scrimmage said...

Livewire was the star of the episode, with her smart mouth, and her spot-on personal observations about Kara, "Matilda," "Cosplay," and Reign. She's the most entertaining of ALL of Supergirl's villains, so naturally they killed her off. WHY??

peaking of puzzling...

Ruby? Ugh! Why is this talentless child still on my TV screen? The idea of her babysitter, Alex flashing an FBI badge to intimidate a grade schooler was creepy, and completely inappropriate.

As for Alex, a broken leg shouldn't keep her away from work, especially if she's healthy enough to go running around town scaring little kids. Don't you think the Legion would have some 30th Century bone healing gizmo on their ship that could've spared Alex six weeks on crutches?

And on a shallow note, just what's going on with Alex's hair? I know it's a show about aliens, but I don't think that hair color occurs in nature on ANY planet in the “28 Known Galaxies.”

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments. A lot to chew on, especially about the science aspect.

I think so much of this season is about humanity and inner good. So the death of Livewire definitely fits that theme. Yes, it’s a loss of a recurring character. But it shows the sacrifice a hero sometimes has to make. I also think that’s why Ms Martian and Lyra weren’t used. We get to see Livewire change. We see a glimmer in Psi. Those others are already heroes.

Scrimmage, I’m not sure if you like the show. You’re pretty relentless. I’m surprised you watch.

Anonymous said...

> However, I think that this episode was designed to show that Supergirl without her super powers is still Supergirl, and that her true
> power lies in her empathy, hope, and ability to reach even the "worst" of humanity.

+9000 to that :)

Clunky as the writing can get on this show, THAT is is my Supergirl! 'Nuff Seid!


Anonymous said...

By the way, all this palaver about the physics of a blue sun, my eyes glaze over...just glaze over. Whether its the show's technobabble or the after the fact critique all I need is enough info to suspend disbelief, my complaint so far is, the show runners could do a better job of it.

Apropos of nothing but back in the 1970's I often thought that Supergirl and Batgirl should (both proudly unaffiliated female crimefighters at the time with no team allegiances) start their own all female squad glad see Berlanti et al are catching up to my idle musings circa 1979....:)


Anonymous said...

> Apropos of nothing but back in the 1970's I often thought that Supergirl and Batgirl should (both
> proudly unaffiliated female crimefighters at the time with no team allegiances) start their own
> all female squad

Seeing a Supergirl / Batgirl teamup on this series remains my alltime #1 wish to see before the series
ends. Even better would be an adaption of Batman: The Animated Series' "Girls Night Out" plotline.


Scrimmage said...

Ang wrote: “I also think that’s why Ms Martian and Lyra weren’t used. We get to see Livewire change. We see a glimmer in Psi. Those others are already heroes.”

Which is EXACTLY why they should've been Supergirl's first choice. I'm not saying that having Kara team up with her former enemies isn't an interesting plot device, but I would've preferred a better explanation for her decision, when other options were available to her. The writers could've lifted the plot to “The Dirty Dozen” (1967), a story about a rebellious World War II U.S. Army Major who is assigned a dozen of the Army's worst convicts and murderers to train, and turn them into commandos, and then to lead them on a virtual suicide mission, a mass assassination of key German officers. The convicts were told that in exchange for “volunteering” for this mission, those who survived would be pardoned, and returned to active duty at their former ranks.

It would've been very dramatic if Livewire and Psi had been chosen for this suicide mission to protect Supergirl from a prison full of killers who were locked up by Kara's mother because they were considered expendable! Then, they could've made a deal to be set free and pardoned if they somehow managed to survive.

Scrimmage said...

Ang also wrote: “Scrimmage, I’m not sure if you like the show. You’re pretty relentless. I’m surprised you watch.”

I don't know how “relentless” I am, but I DO like the show. The incredibly talented Melissa Benoist is a revelation as both Supergirl and Kara Danvers each and every week, and her supporting cast of characters, especially Winn, are consistently very entertaining. I also like J'onn, Mon-El, Lena, and this season's new additions, Sam/Reign, and Imra, who have all had their moments to shine, along with guest stars, like Chad Lowe, Sarah Douglas, and Helen Slater. I also think the production elements of this sci-fi centric show are excellent, considering the budget restraints of a network television series, compared to a three hour theatrical production by a major movie studio.

Unfortunately, more often than not, this strong, talented cast has to overcome the mediocre writing, and make the most out of a lot of clichéd characterizations, boring soapy melodrama, and contrived plot devices. If you'll notice, the vast majority of my criticism of the show is about the writing, usually the ham-fisted, one-sided political posturing, but also inconsistent characterizations, including often ludicrous, or illogical behavior by the principles just to drive a particular plot. I'm also not a fan of the writers' over reliance on “deus ex machina” contrivances, like Winn's seemingly boundless resourcefulness, or some never-before-mentioned DEO tech (J'onn's spaceship/car) to resolve tricky problems, usually at the last possible second. I know those kinds of things are inevitable in this genre, they just need to be written better so that they at least APPEAR to be plausible, and hopefully with a little more subtlety than Batman whipping out a can of “Bat-Shark Repellant” when a Great White has his leg in its mouth.

Basically, I enjoy the show overall, it's just that I don't think it's living up to its enormous potential. It's come close on a few, rare occasions, but they just haven't quite put it all together so far. In my opinion, the show is at it's best when the focus is on Supergirl, and not a bunch of superfluous side stories, completely unrelated to the main plot. For example, if the pointless filler subplot of Alex babysitting Ruby had been left on the cutting room floor to make time for some more interaction between Supergirl and Psi, or perhaps Imra, this latest episode would've been MUCH better.

If they want to do a show about what these characters do on their days off, that's fine, but personally, I'd rather look in on J'onn and his father, to see how they're getting along, or see Mon-El taking Imra on a 21st Century double-date with Winn and Lyra, than listen to Alex whining about Maggie for the millionth time. These subplots should be used either for setting up future episodes, or for comic relief. They shouldn't be depressing, and CERTAINLY not as boring as that babysitting business was.

It would be easy to gush about how great the show is, and make excuses for the enormous plot holes, and the convoluted logic in some of these stories, and it would be even EASIER to launch into a weekly rant, criticizing every little detail, and pointing out every minor flaw in the stories, and their presentation, without offering any CONSTRUCTIVE criticisms, but I prefer to share what I consider to be an honest critique of the show, along with a few ideas of how it could be improved, just to put it out there. I'm not trying to convince anyone about anything, and I seriously doubt if TPTB will even be aware of my suggestions, much less act on them. I'm just trying to add a slightly different perspective to this discussion of a show we ALL enjoy, or else we wouldn't be here.

Anonymous said...

I didn't want to comment so soon actually and was planning to comment after ep 3×13 so that when the show goes on hiatus then I can bring out my hoard of meta and subtext stuff which I have noticed the show to be building on and then we can discuss all the stuff in details, but since people here are harping on about 'mediocre writing' of the show so this is my passive aggressive reply to that comment. Okay, then, here we go:

The show doesn't have mediocre or bad writing, it you who lacks critical thinking skills to adequately recognize the subtext given. Here is a short list of the subtext I have noticed till now:

1. The wicked of Oz subtext: each season seems to be based on a musical on a subtextual level and this season it's regarding wicked. How? This is actually the movie which Alex and Kara watch more frequently and was also the movie they were watching at the end of s3ep1 (or was it ep2?). How does it all connect? There are 4 women characters and their journey is similar to the 4 main female characters of the show. Think about it like this: Kara is the witch, Lena is her best friend, Alex is nessarosa and Sam is Dorothy (I also suspect that it is coville who is the wizard, but I will wait a bit more for the signification of his role and regarding Lillian luthor too). In the story Dorothy (Sam) kills nessarosa (Alex) which leads to the witch (Kara) being locked in a conflict with Dorothy (Sam). This is what I presume the legion is also here to prevent- they want to alter the timeline to prevent a grave 'Injustice' and their presence has already done so, it has fast-forwarded the events leading to the cataclysm.

In addition, wicked is an anti hero story and you know what the title is for one of the episodes?- 'for good'. 'For good' is something one says when everything is done and dusted and there is nothing left to save except some consolation. Also, mark my words, according to the story (if the show goes through with it fully): Lena is going to side with Sam at the end if it all (we all knew a rift is about to occur in the friendship of Kara, Sam and Lena with how it's been set up and the only contending person who has to make a choice is Lena).

2. Faith and belief: Another major theme running through this season and which is present in each and every episode unfailingly, also the text from which wicked is based upon features these themes in abundance. So, one thing is abundantly clear: Kara is the Messiah (albeit not a willing one) Jesus Christ figure and Sam is the anti Christ who has come to punish the sinners, by all biblical accounts, Kara as the Christ figure should sacrifice herself to atone for mankind's sins. But it's not quite that easy or that one dimensional when God herself is actually a lost and stumbling person who is struggling with an existential crisis of her own with a weight of the world on her shoulders (think of the visual imageries in ep1 with Kara rising from beneath the ocean with a submarine and how it is a direct contrast to the pilot ep where she descended from the sky as a god to save the day and also where coville developed this Messiah obsession regarding her.) But, the show also subscribes to some jewish philosophies as well, especially of Tikkun Olam, which is el mayarah (stronger together) in the show. I am not quite clear as to how these supposedly contrasting ideologies will merge but I will elaborate more as the episodes progress.

Anonymous said...


3. The alex-ruby-sam dilemma: so the show has hinted on the fact that Alex can adopt Ruby, to which I will say that it works thematically, cause Alex adopting Ruby (who should be some parts kryptonian) from a mother who will inevitably sacrifice herself in the end to save her child reminds me of the cycle which began when Eliza adopted Kara when alura sacrificed herself to save her child (I am sure that alura ties into the plot as well as the unifying element between Kara and Sam, I have theories with how she was a judge and created an weapon to dispense black and white, binary Justice to all, but I will leave this for when we get more information. If the problem is with the actor of Ruby, I agree, she is weak in her scenes and that's why most of the blocking of scenes focus on her scene partners and she is given minimal dialogue, so that during post production they can manipulate those scenes for maximum emotional content. This also shows that the TPTB have realizes the problem with the actor and will either resolve her storyline altogether or if they will choose to bring her in s4, then she will most likely be recast.

There are plenty more meta texts with Harry Potter reference occurring a dime a dozen in the show especially regarding how everything is a choice. All the above overlap with each other to create a glorious thematic subtext. Also, each and every episode has much more nuanced versions of these themes but if I write everything down then this will be a thesis paper.

Is there any actual verbal basis for these claims? No, but subtext is more hard to ignore when it's been there in each and every episode till now. Sure everything can change and probably will but I would much rather have fun with these than think about absolutely pointless stuff like whether the blue star gives or takes away powers of a Kryptonian.

TL;DR: critical thinking is a skill everyone should acquire

Scrimmage said...

So let me get this straight. If I criticize the mediocre writing of “Supergirl,” it's only because I lack the mental capacity to understand the brilliant subtext used by the writers to reference “The Wizard Of Oz,” “The Bible,” and “Harry Potter”???


First of all, this isn't about ME. If you disagree with my opinions, that's fine, but there's no need to make it personal. Insulting my intelligence, or making assumptions about someone you know nothing about ISN'T simply “passive aggressive.” It's just rude, and it certainly doesn't help make your argument any more convincing. Those kinds of ad hominem attacks amount to nothing more than childish name calling, and they contribute nothing positive to the debate.

“Personal insults are the last refuge of the intellectual coward.” ~ Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

Secondly, if someone has to be intimately familiar with “Harry Potter” to understand what the writers of “Supergirl” are trying to say, then those writers are certainly aiming for a very narrow audience. Fortunately, that DOESN'T seem to be the case. MANY of the stories in literature about the “Heroic Archetype” have striking similarities, and make use of certain, familiar “tropes,” but I seriously doubt that the writers of a weekly network television series are deliberately putting in “secret messages” and “hidden meanings” that only a few “critical thinkers” can discern and appreciate. That sounds to me like they would have to be a bit obsessive-compulsive, if not outright schizophrenic, but who am I to judge? I don't know these writers.

If someone wants to believe that the show has much deeper meaning than is apparent on the surface, more power to them, but personally, I don't think it's NEARLY as complicated or as ambitious as that. I think the show is simply pure, escapist entertainment, with a decidedly feminist point of view, which is hardly surprising, given that the title character is named “Supergirl.” It's just a TV show based on a comic book character, not a pop culture manifesto worthy of a “thesis.”

Anonymous said...

Sure, you want to believe that this season lacks depth then I guess...what can I do except call you stupid for endlessly criticizing the show and yet refusing to admit that viewers can see (and as is there) subtextual stuff which the writers themselves have answered as well as liked a bunch of stuff relating to all that said above.

As for HP, I agree that the writers are catering to a small faction cause people like you are apparently the norm nowadays.

Also let me make something clear, yeah you are stupid, plainly so and a troll too cause whenever you are here there's no actual criticism, it's just hate nitpicking. You admit that there's mediocre writing but refuse to see that something more *can* be there. There have been connecting plot and thematic developments tied in with Kara's and others character development but sure, see the surface level stuff cause really what can I say.

Yeah, this message this absolutely childish but I am tired of seeing this guy do nothing but nitpick a show.

(Anj if you feel this message violates any norm then do delete it if you please)

Martin Gray said...

Well Scrimmage, given how many times you’ve been horrible about the actress playing Ruby (Slippers?), surely you can’t take a bit right back atcha?

Anj, great review. I think it was mentioned that there were two priestesses in Fort Rozz; I’m assuming the other one is the Fortress of Spikes biddy. But I’m behind you lot so you know whether I’m wrong!

Unknown said...

fandango - Why do I watch the show? I thought it was about superheroes and super villains. But no, I'm not sure what it is about anymore. This show continues to go downhill. The plot lines are simple and easy to determine within a couple minutes of the start of the show. I find myself shaking my head at the ridiculousness of the story line. The show has become all about relationship interactions that are on again and off again within a matter of minutes. The show used to be funny but now has turned into a lame drama. I don't usually write reviews but I have been very disappointed about where the show has gone. I don't think I'll be watching anymore.
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