Friday, May 7, 2021

Supergirl Show 606: Prom Again


Supergirl episode #606 came out this week, ending a two-part Midvale flashback story which straightens out the post-Crisis Supergirl history while pushing forward the present day storyline with a Maguffin of Kara DNA.

I loved it.

As I said in last week's review, the key here is the acting. Izabela Vidovic, Olivia Nikkanen, and Eliza  Helm eerily channel Melissa Benoist, Chyler Leigh, and Calista Flockhart here. Almost too well. I honestly felt like I was watching younger versions of the actors. And Jesse Rath and Nicole Maines also contribute some fun scenes here, overacting just enough to keep this light and fun.

Just as importantly, given that this is a new timeline, I wanted this episode to fit into continuity. We need to understand why Kara is working for Cat Grant and not using her powers in the pilot. And why would she be doing that if she is already 'supering' here in high school. For the most part, I think this episode provides that link in the chain.

But most importantly is that every character in these episodes has an arc and grows in some way. Given we are talking about 6 characters, that means it is extremely well written. 

Kara understands that her future isn't set in stone. She has decisions to make and a life to live. 
Alex knows that while she still needs to protect her sister, Kara can hold her own and doesn't need smothering.
Brainy learns that emotions can be tough to deal with but also important. You need to endure and embrace them.
Nia learns that she is powerful and that her knowledge of her powers will continue to grow as she does.
Cat Grant learns she needs to be free of the cage of drivel Perry White has locked her in and needs to find her destiny.
And heck, even Kenny Li learns that he is just a human. And while Kara inspires him, he needs to shy away from danger now and then.

That's a lot of plot to revolve around a prom!

The bottom line is I am sad because this is probably the final time we will see Vidovic and Nikkanen as these characters. Unless the CW does something smart like put out a 'Young Kara' movie event next year.

On to the show!

Last episode ended with Brainy and Nia captured by the evil intergalactic circus owner Naxim Tork. I love how Tork says the addition of a Coluan and Naltorian will add a 'kitsch factor' to his menagerie.

Luckily, Kara is overhearing and springs into action.

This certainly isn't Tom Welling's Blur in action. Kara is right out in the open, flying and using heat vision to free Brainy and Nia. 

Brainy handcuffs the two aliens and locks them in their own ship. Crisis averted.

Unfortunately, Cat Grant sees the whole thing on a drone and knows she has a Pulitzer in the making.
Power dampeners.

 Back in the barn, the group debriefs.

Brainy tells Nia that he has secretly set Tork's ship to fly to Uruguay and decloak. This will lead to the DEO discovering the aliens, resetting the timeline.

Nia has another dream of a cage, this time empty. The pink cougar is gone.

But the best part of this scene is the heart to heart that young Kara has with Nia. Despite the supering and her love of her family and life, Kara has always felt alone on Earth. The idea of 'supering in space', the support of another alien with powers in her life, is comforting.

I have to assume that this means that the show will end with Kara heading into the future to join the Legion, therefore being with other powered aliens and being an intergalactic hero.

Honestly though. Squint and that is a young Melissa Benoist.

 With the alien threat in theory behind them, Kara preps for the prom. Alex drops her off at the school.

Here is Alex's moment. Kara apologizes for all the supering she has been doing and how that has impacted Alex's life.

We get this earnest speech from Alex. Jeremiah had put the burden of Kara's safety squarely on Alex's shoulders. That weight consumed her. Alex thought she would need to give up aspects of her own life to fulfill that role of protector. But after seeing what Kara did against Tork, Alex saw how Kara handled herself and the villains.

She tells Kara that she should be proud. 

Amazing. And wonderful.

Brainy and Nia need to look the part to eventually gather up the bloody meteor specimen that has Kara's DNA. All dressed up for a prom that they aren't going to, the two have a slow dance in the ship.

I really like these two. 

I'll miss them when this show goes away.

Little do they know however that in search for a story, Cat Grant unwittingly frees Tork from the ship, getting captured herself.

 Before the prom, Kara and Kenny have a quiet moment as 'regular teens', exchanging corsages and calling each other pet names.

You can see that maybe a quiet life of non-supering might be something Kara might like. 

But then the meteor enters the atmosphere.

 In a fun shot, you see just how huge the meteor is. That is a teeny Kara there on the left.

But this is a green K laden meteor. This is Kara's first exposure the Green K. I do find it interesting that she seems puzzled by whatever this 'green stuff' is. Superman is an active hero in this world. I guess the existence of Green K isn't well known? Or at the very least Superman hasn't told her about it?

 While recovering, a hologram of Tork appears above the school.

Unless 'the Kryptonian' shows themselves, he will kill everyone in the school. A cascade of lasers starts to crisscross the school.

Kara is still glowing green and incapacitated. So in a huge brave moment, Kenny yells he is the Kryptonian and gets teleported onto the ship. It is clear he is just a human. But it also means he will be good bait.

When Kara says she is going to save Kenny, she is locked in a room in the school by Nia and Brainy. Kara cannot be captured. They go off to try and rescue Kenny themselves.

 On board the ship, we see Cat (still calling herself CJ Grant) recording her article about her abduction. I love that Naxim is such a narcissist that he has his own posters hanging in his ship.

Kenny gets tossed in the cell and realizes he is just a weak human, a nothing.

But Cat talks him up, pointing out his bravery and his brains. (I love that she gets his name wrong, calling him Kendall the entire time.) But we have heard Cat give speeches like this before. She inspires Kenny to be better. No wonder she is the icon and inspiration for Kara.

 When Kara grows frustrated about being the cause of Kenny's capture and her own weakness, Alex helps out.

Using the corsage pin, she picks the lock. She says she learned it 'in college'.

We know that Alex had a wild phase. Guess it started early.

Weirdly, Kara regains all her powers in 'natural light'. It is nighttime. She is in moonlight. I guess there is enough ambient yellow sun rays reflected there to re-power her? That was weird.

 Heading to the ship, Brainy says his calculations say they have a 20% chance of success.

I love that Nia points out that means they have a failure rate of 80%.

I love their interactions.

 En route, Nia once again has a dream of the empty cage, the pink cougar stalking Nia from the outside.

Within the dream state, she holds the cougar in a force bubble and sees the cage is initialed 'PW'. Thus this is the cage Perry White has been keeping Cat in.

But then we get a new Dreamer power. She now has 'lucid dreaming'. Because she is able to take that pink cougar she captured and manifest it in the real world. It chases Tork and his crony away from the ship.

Seriously, I like Dreamer. But she has way way way too many powers.

Inside the ship, Nia sees it is Cat Grant who has been captured. Now it all makes sense.

Tork and his sidekick return and seem ready to throw everyone in the brig when a recovered Kara flies in and pushes them aside with superstrength.

The attack unfortunately opens all the cages on the ship. Plutonian land sharks spill out into Midvale. Realizing they aren't going to win her, Tork and his mate fly away in an escape pod.

And just then the Midvale police show up.

This is not quietly time traveling!

 With arms raised, Kenny and Kara leave the ship to get put into police custody.

And then Cat gives her best line of the two shows (and she has had a bunch of good lines). "Everyone in the world is going to know that name Keera.' 

Remember, in the early seasons, Cat called Kara Keera all the time! Hysterical.

But everything is all pear-shaped. Luckily Nia realizes that she and Brainy have a time machine. They can go back a couple of hours. If they stop Cat from seeing everything with the drone, she won't release Tor and all will be well.

Ahhh ... wibbly wobbly timey-wimey.

But nothing goes entirely right for Brainy.

Kara hears the two talk about resetting the timeline and stows away on their ship.

In another wonderful character speech, Kara says that seeing herself in front of the police, she saw her whole future written out. And she has so much to do. She can't drive. She has only done laundry. She doesn't know how to cook rice. All these tiny things she still needs to experience and do. 

Cooking rice?? That is awesome.

That is pure Kara. And it is pure Melissa Benoist.

And Vidovic's expressions even look like Benoist's.

 But the mission remains the same. Stop Cat. And try not to run into other versions of yourself.

Alas, Alex and Kenny come running to the field. This is when Kara flew off to help Nia and Brainy earlier.

This might be my favorite moment. When Brainy tries to sweet talk Alex, feeding her a line of bull, she won't hear it. She slaps his arm away and demands the truth.

And looking rather intimidated, he spills the beans.

I love that moment. It is pure Alex. I wonder if that was in the script or an ad lib by Nikkanen. But she channels it all right here.

How about we get a 'Young Alex Danvers' show, a sort of DEO procedural with Nikkanen starring.

 Nia does her bit, destroying the drone before it can see anything.

She then runs into CJ and gives Cat a similar to speech to what Cat gave Kenny.

No one can cage her. She is an inspiration. She should start a media empire. And then Nia calls her Cat instead of CJ. 

Just like that Cat is set on her own path to her destiny.

 We see it manifest on a cocktail napkin later. 

Ahhhh ... the pink cat!

Captured as he was earlier, Tork's ship heads to Uruguay to be picked up by the DEO.

 Nothing left but some denouement.

Kara and Kenny have a heart to heart.

While they love each other, they both need to step outside of this life they have made for themselves here.

She will go to National City U. She needs to decide if she wants to keep supering. She needs to make more choices to figure out who she is. Of course, this dovetails nicely into the 'Cat Grant's assistant' mode she was in way back in season 1.

And Kenny knows that while Kara has inspired him to be stronger and braver, he needs to take care of himself first. He needs to live his life before he can live a life together with her.

Will we see an adult Kenny in the back end of this season? I am betting yes.

 With the bloody Kara DNA rock in hand and everything aligned, Brainy and Nia head back to the future.

But they have a nice discussion about using emotions the right way. Hard emotional episodes make the sweeter ones that much sweeter. He gives Nia a kiss.

Awwwww ...

So overall a very solid and fun episode. Great acting and strong character arcs.

One thing I noted was that Brainy and Nia are in glasses every time they interact with the young characters. So the reason why Kara and Alex don't remember meeting them in the past is because the glasses are an adequate disguise! It fits with Clark and Kara! I love that small detail.

I wish we got more Midvale episodes. And I will be sad to see the show end.


KET said...

"Just as importantly, given that this is a new timeline, I wanted this episode to fit into continuity. We need to understand why Kara is working for Cat Grant and not using her powers in the pilot. And why would she be doing that if she is already 'supering' here in high school."

Well, since Earth-38 got erased post-Crisis, timeline events may still not line up in Earth-1 exactly as they originally did in the series. We'll probably know more for certain next episode.

"All dressed up for a prom that they aren't going to, the two have a slow dance in the ship."

A purely old-fashioned romantic moment. The mood lighting was near perfect for that scene.


Scrimmage said...

Aside from being yet ANOTHER episode where Supergirl – the titular STAR of the show – is either de-powered, or doesn't appear at all, I enjoyed the performances of all the players involved, with the notable exception of the two, cartoonish aliens whose presence I felt was totally unnecessary, and detracted from the show.

The admittedly contrived, but very dramatic threat of Midvale High school being ground zero for a giant, Kryptonite-laced meteor (on Prom Night, no less), was the only conflict needed to drive the action in this story. I could see Cat Grant on the scene to cover the story for the Daily Planet, while Kara and the Super-Friends deal with the effect of smaller impacts, before she is forced to face the Big One, using her powers in a way she never has before, which could cost Kara her life! Meanwhile, Brainy and Nia could've been worried that their presence may have altered a “fixed point” in the original, historical timeline where Kara barely survived her collision with the meteor. This subplot was given far less attention than it deserved, especially over a two-episode arc.

It reminded me of my favorite episode of the original “Adventures of Superman” TV series, starring George Reeves, “Panic In The Sky,” where...

“Superman rams a giant asteroid on a collision course with Earth. The impact causes the asteroid to now orbit the planet. However, Superman is staggered as he returns to Earth. He manages to change back to Clark Kent (apparently a reflex action) but doesn't remember who he is. Meanwhile, the orbiting asteroid still presents hazards for Earth. Only Superman can place an explosive device that will demolish the asteroid -- and no one, including Clark, knows where Superman is.”
- Wikipedia List of AoS episodes

It was one of the few episodes in that series that dealt with a real “end of the World” level of threat, a true challenge worthy of Superman, and a huge risk for him to take, which is what makes him a Hero. As such, it was easily one of the most suspenseful, dramatic, and compelling Superman stories ever told on television. The same could've been true for this episode of Supergirl, where she could've literally “saved the World” for the first time, and perhaps realized that she has a more global destiny to fulfill than hanging around Midvale, “supering” with Kenny (who, like his South Park namesake, always comes back after being killed). It's another in a long list of missed opportunities for the Writers on this show, but as usual, the superb cast was able to rise above the limitations of the script they were given.


I agree that Dreamer's ever-changing powers are getting ridiculous. Now, she's like a cross between the Scarlet Witch, the Invisible Woman, and Phoenix. Between that, and Alex's “Universal Weapon,” the Writers have given themselves an easy way out of any plot corners they paint their characters into. It's like they've just given up.


I need to see Supergirl “supering” on the show that bears her name PDQ!!!

Anonymous said...

It was berserk from start to finish, a ten gauge shotgun blast of plot holes, about four different warp speed storylines (any one of which couldn't sustained the ep) and yet still I loved it...Mostly for the slightly wistful notion that when all this is over (and it will be all too soon) we're gonna feel like Isabela Vidovic was the "super girl who got away". Has anyone checked her DNA? She HAS to be related to MB the resemblance and performance levels are uncanny! I loved the entirely ridiculous list of life events Kara had not yet experienced as her excuse to cease supering ("I don't know how to make rice" they could hear me guffawing in Manchester New Hampshire). Olivia Nikkanen (sp) also deserves kudos for the thankless task of channeling Alex's abrupt swerve from bully to buddy over the course of a single episode. Thankfully as crazy as this ep was, I think it also quietly buries the notion of a "Midvale" based spinoff which is good, as much as I love Vidovic & Nikkanen as actors they'd only end up replicating the toxic "Supergirl, Alex Danver's Sidekick from Krypton"dynamic that been undermining the show periodically since the pilot.
On the other hand Jesse Rath & Nicole Maines are the comedy team I never knew I needed until now, granted Dreamer's powers are completely out of control from a writing POV but that is neatly counterbalanced by the very real chemistry between the two performers. Its a shame it only has fourteen or so episodes to go, those two are always fun to watch, I wish they could be spun off into "DC Legends of Tomorrow" or maybe get jobs at Smallville High or something.