The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

CBS will be airing a Supergirl series this fall from writer-producer Greg Berlanti, who also developed Arrow and The Flash for the CW. Supergirl doesn’t premiere until November, but due to high levels of interest in anything comic book-related, it’s not a huge surprise that the pilot has already leaked online. In fact, many suspect this “leak” was intentional, given the less than enthusiastic response to an earlier trailer, which had the great misfortune of being released right on the heels of SNL’s frighteningly similar parody trailer for a Black Widow chick-flick.

Well, I’ve seen the pilot, and it’s much better than you’d expect from the trailer, which appeared to be a concentrated distillation of every cliché featured in the episode. Overall, it’s not bad, but then again, I’m the chump who actually suggested we should be optimistic about Fox’s Gotham, which has turned out to be one of the most stupendously dumb shows on television—though I’m not actually sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

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Nevertheless, I’m rooting for Supergirl to succeed. A female-led superhero series would of course be a welcome change of pace, and it’d be nice to finally see the character redeemed after that 1984 atrocity of a feature film starring Helen Slater and Faye Dunaway. I’m sure Smallville did a respectable job with Laura Vandervoot as Supergirl (full disclosure: I’ve never seen Smallville, or even Arrow or The Flash for that matter; I don’t think I could tell you which channel airs the CW in my market if my life depended on it), but having Kara Zor-El as the central character in a successful series on America’s most watched network would be a whole different ballgame.

Most of all, though, it’d be great to see at least some aspects of the Superman mythos onscreen not weighted down by angst or failed attempts at achieving Christopher Nolan and/or Frank Miller levels of grimness.

Because that approach simply doesn’t fit the character. In the comics, Supergirl has never quite had the same baggage as Superman. Unlike Kal-El, who’s often tortured over the fact that his home planet was destroyed when he was a baby, his cousin Kara mostly takes it all in stride, generally displaying a bubbly, infectious personality. It seems counterintuitive that a character who actually grew up surrounded by Kryptonian culture would be much less traumatized over seeing it all wiped out, but that’s how Supergirl was written, and for the most part, it worked. (I’m talking of course about pre-Crisis Supergirl. Post-Crisis, the character of Supergirl has been a constantly revised and retconned mess.)

Thankfully, a more Silver Age-inspired Supergirl seems to be what we’re getting in this CBS show. The pilot is a light, upbeat tale about a young woman who, shock of shocks, actually wants to be a superhero. No, it’s not earth-shattering entertainment, but then again, it’s not exactly airing on a network known for its hard-hitting, groundbreaking dramas. Supergirl is obviously a show aimed at a wide audience who may or may not have ever heard of Supergirl before, with plenty of exposition and well-worn clichés on display in its pilot episode. But not every show on TV can be True Detective, and I’m fine with that.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

We kick things off with a flashback set on Krypton, narrated by Supergirl herself, as she describes her origins. Krypton is about to explode, and Kal-El’s “pod” is launched, and in this version, Kara Zor-El is to be launched just a few minutes behind him. As baby Kal-El rockets down a long tunnel, Kara’s voice explains that she’s also being sent to Earth to “protect him”. Which is already all kinds of confusing.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

In the Superman origin story most of us are familiar with, Kal-El wasn’t actually sent to Earth to be a superhero; he was sent there because Krypton was doomed and he was the only one with any chance of survival. Yes, Jor-El knew he would likely become a hero and made plans for that eventuality (apparently by sitting around for years on end making holographic recordings), but that was never the endgame.

But now we’re being told that Kara is going along with Kal-El to “protect” him, suggesting Kal-El is being sent to Earth for the express purpose of becoming a hero, and somehow the fact that Kara could just as easily become a hero on Earth is completely overlooked. It’s all very perplexing. I can understand this show not wanting to get into the whole convoluted thing about Argo City surviving the destruction of Krypton in an air bubble and floating in space until it was doomed by a meteor shower, but this rushed interpretation just raises more questions than it answers.

Tweener Kara says a tender farewell to her mother Alura (Laura Bernanti, seen mostly recently on Nashville), with both of them wearing clothes that bear a subtle version of the familiar S-logo. Oddly, Kara’s father Zor-El is mostly relegated to the background here (probably because, unlike Alura, we never see him after this), but you’d think he’d like to say goodbye to his daughter before getting blown up, too.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

After Alura gives Kara a necklace that never becomes important, Kara’s pod is launched. As she rockets away, Krypton almost immediately goes boom. Kara VOs that the explosion caused a “shockwave” which knocked her ship off course and “into the Phantom Zone”, which in this version seems to be a wormhole that you can accidentally fall into. She says, “I slept there for 24 years, until somehow, I got here!”

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

“Here” apparently means Earth, and by the time she “somehow” arrived, she was still a 13-year-old girl, but her cousin Kal-El was now a grown man and already operating as… “Superman! The most powerful man in the universe!” As you’d expect, we don’t see Superman’s face in these flashbacks, instead only getting shots of him in silhouette or from far away (I assume we won’t be seeing his face on this show at all, ever).

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Unlike in the comics, where Superman immediately dumped Kara off at an orphanage, here he personally entrusts her to a couple named the Danvers, who are “scientists who once helped him understand his own super-abilities!” And then the show pulls a total Smallville stunt cameo move here, because the Danvers are played by former Supergirl Helen Slater, and former Superman Dean Cain, who was luckily able to take time out from making movies about dogs saving Christmas and/or summer and Christian propaganda to film this wordless cameo.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Mrs. Danvers promises to take good care of Kara, and then we learn they already have a daughter named Alex. Kara VOs that since Superman was already an established hero, she “didn’t have a mission anymore”. And so, she decided to just “fit in”, because “Earth didn’t need another hero!”

Cut to present day, as adult Kara (Melissa Benoist, a regular on the later seasons of Glee) walks the busy city streets while carrying a latte and talking on her cell phone and scheduling appointments for her boss. And she’s obviously aping Christopher Reeve’s take on the Clark Kent/Superman dichotomy with glasses and a nerdy demeanor.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Her VO explains that she now works for “CatCo World Media”, which is owned by Cat Grant, who in this telling is not a gossip columnist for the Daily Planet/WGBS, but rather “the most powerful woman in National City!” And National City is a new locale for the DC Universe, though I’m not sure why they didn’t just say Los Angeles, since that’s obviously where most of this is filmed.

Kara gets to the office, where she’s greeted by her coworker who works in IT, who’s named “Winn Schott”. In the comics, Winslow Schott is the real name of Superman villain Toyman, but there’s no indication this guy is going to turn evil, and typing the name “Winn” makes me cringe, so I’ll just go with “IT Guy” for now. IT Guy asks her out to dinner, but she already has plans, because she’s trying out online dating. She goes into a dorky spiel about how it can improve a person’s chances of finding love, but IT Guy tells her that you can’t find love, it just has to hit you, like “puh-pow!”

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Kara’s super-hearing then detects Cat Grant coming up in the elevator, and it turns out she’s played by Calista Flockhart. After expressing horror that someone else used her “private elevator”, Cat takes a sip of the latte Kara brought her and immediately tosses it in the trash.

So clearly, she and Kara have a Devil Wears Prada-type relationship where Cat makes Kara’s life a living hell. And I think it says it all that the SNL Black Widow parody did the exact same thing as a joke. Why is “assistant to bitchy exec” always the go-to occupation for young women in movies and TV? (When they’re not being nurses or waitresses or teachers, of course.) Why couldn’t Kara be a reporter, or a writer? Why couldn’t she be the IT Guy?

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Also in this scene, we learn Kara is going by the name “Kara Danvers”. Not Linda Lee, or Linda Danvers like in the comics. Did they think viewers would be confused by a character with more than two names? And I’m a bit disappointed she never changes into a brunette to disguise her identity, which would have been a nice nod to the original character.

Cat wants Kara to send out termination letters to a list of employees at the National City Tribune. Kara protests this, noting that the Daily Planet doesn’t need to “downsize”. An irritated Cat points out that the Daily Planet is successful because they have a “superlative man” they can put on the front page every day. She foreshadowingly says, “Go find me a hero, Kara!”

But first, Kara has to pick up the “layouts” from the art director, and Kara gets all weak in the knees when she sees the new tall, handsome art director. Among his belongings, she spots a framed photo of Superman that she recognizes as having won the Pulitzer Prize. Eventually, it comes out that he’s the same guy who took the photo, and Kara figures out he’s Jimmy Olsen.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

“James, actually,” he replies, telling her “Jimmy” is now reserved for Superman and his mom. So I guess that much like the ’84 movie, they’ve tossed in Jimmy Olsen to provide a tenuous link back to Superman. And yes, they cast a black actor, but I’m more impressed that they’re giving us grownup, mature James Olsen instead of making him the usual overeager, awkward oaf. And it may seem like an unlikely coincidence that Olsen just happens to have ended up working for the same company as Kara, but that’s actually explained later.

James gets Kara all flustered and nervous, and as she’s leaving, she whispers to herself, “Puh-pow!” Hinting at a potential future romance between the two, perhaps? Let me guess: this show will eventually throw in Lucy Lane to set up the obligatory love triangle? I suppose they could give Kara a horse named Comet to set up a real love triangle, but I don’t think primetime TV is ready for that kind of love yet.

At home, Kara is trying to pick out a dress for her online date when she gets a visit from her older adoptive sister Alex (played by Chyler Leigh, best known for Grey’s Anatomy, but seen most recently in the hilariously stupid Taxi Brooklyn), who’s about to catch a flight to Geneva. Kara complains about her menial job, and thinks she should be doing more, since she has all the same powers as Superman. Alex tells her that her life isn’t so bad, and leaves after helping her pick out a dress: “Blue is your color.” Thud.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Next, we see Kara out on her online date, where the guy asks her exactly one question about where she’s from, then bails on the date and hits on the hostess on his way out. So, a lot of men are jerks, you say? This show has really opened my eyes.

Just then, Kara sees a news report about a flight to Geneva that’s currently circling the city due to “engine failure”. And yes, it’s Alex’s flight, because of course it is. Kara runs out into the street, where everyone is staring up at the flaming jet in the sky, and Kara uses her telescopic vision to confirm that yes, this is indeed Alex’s flight.

She whips off her glasses and runs down an alley attempting to fly. It takes her a moment to get the hang of it, but before you know it, her CGI version is chasing down the plane. Another one of its engines explodes, and I like how the people on the sidewalk continue to nonchalantly stand around while flames and debris are surely raining down upon them.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Eventually, Kara grabs a wing, and she’s immediately spotted by Alex. With some effort, Kara stabilizes the plane, only to realize they’re heading directly for a suspension bridge. She has to tilt the entire plane sideways to fit it through the support towers, and she’s screaming the whole way, and sparks fly as the tip of the wing scrapes the road.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

She gets the plane through the bridge and then just… dumps it in the water? Isn’t that where it would have ended up anyway?

Everyone on the plane cheers and claps instead of immediately getting out of their sinking metal coffin. Kara then decides to come up and stand on the wing for a while, just to make sure a whole bunch of people get pictures. Alex looks worried and finally Kara flies away, but again, I’d say all of these passengers are still in serious danger. Shouldn’t she be pulling them off the plane and flying them to safety?

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Regardless, the allusions here to Superman’s superheroing debuts in various incarnations should be obvious. If not, see: Superman: The Movie, Superman Returns, the pilot of Superman: The Animated Series, the series finale of Smallville, and so on.

Cut to Kara at home watching the news, ecstatic at reports about her daring heroics. Alex shows up at her door, but she’s not looking to celebrate. She turns into Pa Kent Costner and chastises her for exposing herself to the world. Kara thinks that maybe she was meant to be a hero, and “I didn’t travel two thousand light years to be an assistant!”

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Alex says if people find out who she is, she could be in great danger, but suspiciously refuses to elaborate. Eventually, a weepy Kara tells her to go.

The next day at work, all the TVs in the office are tuned to stories about the mystery heroine. There’s a funny moment where one guy is all, “Kara, you’re a lifesaver!” but it turns out he’s talking about something work-related.

Cat eventually gathers all her reporters in her office, along with Kara for some reason, and she orders them to find out more information about this woman. (Meanwhile, graphics on TV screens behind her show that the name of the suspension bridge is the “Otto Binder Bridge”, after one of Supergirl’s co-creators.) James suddenly teleports into the room, and I guess Cat wants to pick James’ brain for Superman-related info, but as far as he knows, this girl isn’t connected to his super-pal, but he has a feeling she’s a hero anyway.

Cat declares that she’s going to “blow her up!”, but in a good way, and she immediately sends everyone out with marching orders to get videos, photos, interviews, anything they can. Except for Kara, who she tells to go get her a “lettuce wrap”.

As they head out, James tells Kara, “Funny, that’s the same thing he did.” Get someone a lettuce wrap? “Save a plane, I mean.” Oh right. Yeah, that makes more sense.

Kara then decides she really needs someone to be happy for her, so she tells IT Guy to meet her up on the roof. Cut to one of those useless helipads that all L.A. skyscrapers were required to have, where Kara starts to tell IT Guy that she’s decided to come clean about who she really is. IT Guy briefly thinks she’s a lesbian. “That’s why you’re not into me!”

But she finally clarifies: “I’m her!” And to prove it, she falls backwards off a ledge and then the CGI version of her comes shooting back up. IT Guy is suitably stunned.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

And now it’s time to meet this episode’s villain, a trucker sitting in a diner and digging his nails into the counter as he watches news reports about Kara. He then climbs inside the tanker of his truck, which contains nothing but a futuristic viewscreen. He also takes off his trucker hat, revealing Klingon-like skull ridges.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

A man appears on the viewscreen, and the IMDb identifies this character as “the Commander”, and that’s good enough for me (he’s played by Faran Tahir, who you may recall from Iron Man and his brief role as the captain of the Kelvin in the Star Trek reboot).

The Commander addresses the trucker as “Vartox”, and in the ensuing conversation, we find out the plane crash was an intentional act of sabotage meant to kill a “DEO agent”. Somehow, Vartox already knows that it’s “Alura’s daughter” who saved the plane. More exposition reveals that the two men belong to a group that’s been lying in wait for 12 years, but now “the General’s arrival is imminent”, and they can’t allow anything to interfere. And no, the “General” is not Zod, so just put that thought out of your mind.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Vartox is ordered to get rid of Kara, so he picks up a big high-tech axe and declares that Kara will “pay her mother’s debts, and so will her city!”

The character of Vartox comes from the comics, where he’s an alien hero described as a “Hyper-man” with “Hyper-powers”. And the most notable thing about Vartox is that when he debuted in 1974, he was clearly modeled after Sean Connery’s look in Zardoz, a fact which was played for laughs in Power Girl’s current title, where he’s even shown riding around in a giant head. In comparison, this show’s Vartox is sadly quite bland.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Over at Kara’s apartment, we get a “trying on clothes” montage, as IT Guy helps Kara put together a superhero costume. And true to most “trying on clothes” montages, it’s set to an upbeat pop song, in this case, Carl Carlton’s “She’s a Bad Mama Jama (She’s Built, She’s Stacked)” (I swear, that’s really the title of the song).

She completely hates the first costume she tries on, which is made up of a headband and hot pants, which I’d like to think is a jab at some of the more dated outfits Supergirl wore in the comics.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Finally, she settles on the outfit already seen in promo pictures, only without the S shield, and also without a cape, because IT Guy thinks capes are lame. She takes off her glasses, and it’s only now that IT Guy notices that she’s pretty. Because a half-naked girl in skintight hot pants might as well be a dude if she’s wearing glasses.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

IT Guy tells her he’s “hacked into the NCPD”, and he’s able to track crimes in progress. And now this turns into a big “fighting crime” montage, as she first tries to stop a high-speed car chase. Instead, she flies into a big pile of dirt (I think? This bit isn’t very clear). IT Guy says maybe she does need a cape after all, to be more “aerodynamic”. Next, she takes on a bank robbery, which mostly just confirms that she’s indeed bulletproof.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Cut to IT Guy throwing her bullet-riddled cape in the trash while she puts on a new one. He then notices she now has an S-shield on her chest, and he assumes it stands for “super”, just like her cousin.

“It’s not an S,” Kara replies, and I brace myself for a horrible line about hope. Instead, she simply looks in a mirror and says, “It’s my family’s coat of arms. The House of El!” Which is still pretty silly, but this whole thing where the S is actually a Kryptonian symbol has been accepted Superman lore for 35 years now, so who am I to argue?

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Her next mission is to save people from a building on fire, but when she flies there, she suddenly finds herself getting hit with glowing green tranquilizer darts. She falls to the ground unconscious, and when she wakes up, she’s in an underground base, and a man is telling her she was hit with “low grade Kryptonite”, which “weakens you”.

He introduces himself as Hank Henshaw, better known as the Cyborg Superman in the comics. Hank then introduces “Agent Danvers”, who turns out to be Alex. Henshaw and Alex are both working for a secret government organization called the “DEO”, which stands for the “Department of Extra-Normal Operations” (why not DENO?). With Alex’s help, they’ve been keeping track of Kara, and it turns out they even have the pod she came to Earth in.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

She and Henshaw have a bit of a circuitous conversation where it’s explained that Superman’s initial appearance let the government know they needed to create the DEO, but it wasn’t until Kara landed that they were actually motivated to follow through on the concept. So, that was what, a good ten years of sitting on their asses?

Henshaw then reveals that when Kara landed, she unintentionally brought “Fort Rozz” along with her. Fort Rozz, first seen in the comics, is a maximum security Kryptonian prison that’s accidentally transported into the Phantom Zone, though here there’s no explanation for why it’s in the Zone. But when Kara’s ship left the Zone (and no, we still don’t know how that happened, either), she pulled all of Fort Rozz with her.

A quick flashback shows that Fort Rozz landed on Earth, and now extremely dangerous Kryptonian convicts are running around on Earth. Supposedly, they’ve been chilling out for the last 12 years, but now it seems they’re planning something. Kara then briefly becomes psychic when she figures out the plane crash was no accident, and actually an attempt to kill Alex.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Kara wants to help stop the criminals, but Henshaw points out that she couldn’t even stop the DEO from capturing her. He tells her to “go back to getting someone’s coffee”. And that’s the end of the conversation. So, they sedated a superhero and brought her here just to tell her that they don’t need her help to deal with a threat she didn’t even know existed until they told her about it? Makes perfect sense.

Kara then suggests that Alex was only recruited by the DEO because she grew up with a Kryptonian sister. Alex gets defensive, saying she was hired because she’s an expert in “alien physiology”, but then concedes, “It helps that I shared a bathroom with one!” Yikes. That’s the line they went with?

Kara storms out. Wasn’t she unconscious when she was brought here? How does she know the way out? I realize she can probably figure it out with her x-ray vision, but it’s odd. After she’s gone, Henshaw warns Alex that Kara is dangerous.

Back at the office, Kara learns that Cat has named the new hero “Supergirl”, complete with a hashtag.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Kara’s not a big fan of the name, it seems. “Shouldn’t she be called Super… woman?” She also thinks the name might make them seem “anti-feminist”. But Cat doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the word “girl”, because Cat is a “girl” and also “powerful, and rich, and hot, and smart!”

There’s certainly an argument to be made that “girl” is somewhat demeaning in this context. If a 24-year-old man saved a plane, I doubt the press would dub him “Superboy”. On the other hand, if “girl” is anti-feminist, what to make of slogans like “girl power”? But still, this whole spiel feels like a half-hearted attempt by the producers to head off any feminist criticism about the character’s name, in the hopes that they’ll never have to deal with the issue again. Which is made all the more ironic by the lines being delivered by an actress who once made the cover of Time as evidence for feminism being dead.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Abruptly, Cat is on the verge of firing Kara, just because, but then James pops in and pretends like Kara got a great scoop, and was able to score a high-res photo of Supergirl. We only see the picture for half a second, but wouldn’t a high-res photo immediately give away that Supergirl is Kara? Instead, Cat is only impressed by this “clean image” and tells Kara, “Mazel tov! You bought yourself another day!”

As they’re heading out, we get this show’s most blatant lift from Superman: The Movie yet, when Supergirl picks up a message from Vartox on a frequency that only she can hear, where he calls her “Daughter of Alura” and tells her to come and fight him or he’ll kill innocent people. Though, this doesn’t seem nearly as clever when you realize Superman would probably be able to hear this message, too.

Kara rips open her shirt to reveal the S logo, and she’s instantly blasting through the clouds. She tracks Vartox down to a random industrial area, where he suddenly leaps out of nowhere and starts smacking her around.

As they fight, he tells her that Alura is the reason he was locked up in Fort Rozz, because she was “our judge, and jailer!” Just like Jor-El, imagine that. Finally, he pulls out his axe and slashes her arm, which draws blood. That’s when a DEO helicopter shows up, and fires a grenade or something that drives Vartox away. Yeah, the girl who can lift a jumbo jet with her bare hands, I can handle, but a chopper? I’m outta here!

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

An agent rappels down from the helicopter, and naturally, it’s Alex. They soon bring Kara back to DEO HQ, where they remove a shard of metal from her arm and analyze it. Kara asks Alex if she knew about her mother being the one who locked up all those criminals. Alex admits she knew all along, and the reason she never wanted Kara to reveal herself was because she knew those criminals would come after her, as a way to have their revenge on Alura. Okay, so why didn’t Alex just explain this to her in the first place?

A thoroughly demoralized Kara wanders off, saying with tears in her eyes that “You’re right, the world doesn’t need me!”

And now we come to the final act, where Kara continues to sulk in her apartment. But Alex shows up to say that yes, the world does need her, and to prove it, she’s brought along a Kryptonian device from Kara’s pod that contains a Jor-El-esque holographic recording from Alura. And why wouldn’t this have been shared with Kara before now?

Alura’s holographic pep talk of course contains no actual specific advice, and simply says that there’s “no correct path in life”, but Alura knows she’ll “find a way back to the brave girl you always were”. Thankfully, these vague platitudes are all Kara needs to get back in the groove.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

She and Alex return to DEO HQ, where they tell Henshaw that Kara is the only one who can defeat Vartox. They’ve located him heading to National City, apparently to commit mass murder, and Kara pleads with Henshaw to let her stop him.

Cut to Vartox’s truck on a highway outside the city, and in an admittedly cool moment, Supergirl rams the truck with her body, causing it to explode and Vartox to come flying out (along with his axe, of course). And now it’s time for the rematch, with the DEO folks monitoring the fight this time. Henshaw doesn’t think she’s strong enough to beat Vartox, and Alex responds, “Why? Because she’s just a girl?” Yeah, Hank, what are you, anti-feminist?

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

Eventually, Kara reveals a new trick, which is using her heat vision on Vartox’s axe. It seems the DEO determined the axe has some sort of power source that can overheat, so Kara blasts it with her heat vision, and luckily, Vartox doesn’t just let go of the damn thing.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

It explodes, leaving him defeated. But he won’t be taken prisoner. Vartox says, “You have no idea what’s coming!” He then stabs himself with a shard of the axe, committing suicide.

Back at DEO HQ, everyone celebrates. A guy just killed himself, break out the champagne! And now it’s time for Alex to address what’s really important: Was she in fact hired just because of her sister? Henshaw admits that yes, that is the reason they hired her, but Alex herself is “why you get to stay”. Gee, thanks, daddy.

Cut to Kara returning to work with a new spring in her step. IT Guy is already talking about internet reports of Supergirl battling a super-powered trucker in the desert. Kara then runs into James, who finally lets on that he knows she’s Supergirl.

They meet up on the roof, where James says it’s no coincidence that he’s come to work for CatCo. In fact, Superman sent him here to look out for his cousin. Which in retrospect is like, duh. Jimmy Olsen is one of Superman’s closest friends; why wouldn’t he already know about Superman’s cousin?

According to him, Superman wanted Kara to become a superhero, but also wanted her to decide for herself. And now that she has, he presents a gift: a new, indestructible cape made from the blanket Kal-El was wrapped in when he was sent to Earth. James then tells her she has a city she should be protecting, so she better get going. “You know, up, up, and away?” Wait, didn’t she just get to work a few minutes ago?

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

And so, Supergirl goes soaring through the city, flying past Cat Grant’s window, while Kara’s VO declares that Earth now has another superhero. “Now, it has Supergirl!”

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

In the stinger, we see the Commander meet with the General, who’s only shot from behind, but who turns out to be female. The General is informed of the death of Vartox at the hands of Alura’s daughter, and she says, “My dear little niece!” The General’s ultimate goal is to become ruler of Earth, of course, but for that to happen, Kara must die. Finally, the camera comes around to reveal the General is also played by Laura Bernanti, meaning she must be Alura’s evil twin sister. The end.

The leaked Supergirl pilot: a detailed look

So that’s a pretty underwhelming twist. Normally, I wouldn’t suggest another Superman-related story reuse the villains from Superman II yet again, but why couldn’t the General be Ursa? And then have some other actress play Alura, or even make it a big name, one-off cameo like Mia Farrow in the movie?

Okay, so the main villain is a bit disappointing, and a few of the scenes are pretty clumsily written, but it’s still a promising start. Melissa Benoist is quite an appealing lead, and I’m not just saying that because she’s built (she’s stacked). And Supergirl has a clearly defined mission (working with the DEO to take down the escaped Kryptonian convicts) that’s strong enough to drive a whole season’s worth of stories, but open-ended enough to provide a wide variety of enemies for her to face, while still allowing other running subplots to unfold.

But then again, I thought all of the same things about Marvel’s Agent Carter after watching the first two episodes, and that show pretty quickly lost its way. Hopefully, Supergirl will concentrate on the task at hand and not get caught up in building some larger, nonsensical mythology.

Also, I hope the show doesn’t bother jumping through hoops explaining why Superman never appears on the show. As long as they stick to the general concept that Superman wants Supergirl to learn how to be a superhero all on her own, that’s all the explanation we really need.

But for the first time in a long time, we have a character in blue tights and a red cape who saves people and is happy about it. This will take some getting used to.

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  • Gallen_Dugall

    I’ve decided to be optimistic about this.
    Why not.
    It certainly couldn’t be more focused on shallow interpersonal who’s-sleeping-with-who BS than Arrow or Flash which I had reduced to weekly eight minutes of viewing by fast forwarding through the crap before giving up on the shows.

    • Wizkamridr

      I stopped watching the Flash when it turned into sex in the city.

  • Jonathan Campbell

    “Also in this scene, we learn Kara is going by the name “Kara Danvers”. Not Linda Lee, or Linda Danvers like in the comics. Did they think viewers would be confused by a character with more than two names?”

    So..They are basically ripping off Carol “Captain Marvel” Danvers.

    • Thomas Stockel

      Oooooh, good point. I wonder if that was a deliberate dick move on the part of WB execs to spike the Captain Marvel movie.

  • silverwheel

    Wait, wait, Vartox was modeled after Connery’s Zardoz look? That is just too weird for me. Supergirl wanting to bang a horse? Fine. Superman playing a sadistic practical joke on Batman? Sure. Cellophane “S”? Eh, I guess so. Zardoz influencing a Superman character? Now that’s crazy.

    • Wizkamridr

      “Superman playing a sadistic practical joke on Batman?”
      Crossing my fingers he pulls pranks on Batsy in the new movie. =)

      • silverwheel

        If the upcoming Batman v Superman turns out to be a feature-length adaptation of World’s Finest Comics #155, I will be very happy.

    • MichaelANovelli

      Well, DC has never *explicitly* said that the penis is evil, so there’s that!

    • Thomas Stockel

      Amanda Connor’s Power Girl had a lot of fun bringing Vartox into the modern DCU, with his receding hairline and head shaped ship, coming to Earth because he wants to breed with Power Girl. And that goes about as well for him as expected. 🙂

  • Wizkamridr

    I only like the Supergirl movie because of nostalgia. I know it isn’t that good of a movie. I hope this show does well. I hope this turns out to be nothing like Lois and Clark or Smallville.

    • Thomas Stockel

      I will always have a soft spot for Lois & Clark.

  • Greenhornet

    Are the “dead parent guiding spirit” scenes REALLY necessary? I know, they did it in ALL OF THOSE OTHER Superman movies, but it makes the characters seem WEAK MINDED in that they “need” a mystical guide to tell them how to live their lives.
    “Oh, woe is me! Should I save the Earth?”
    “Superman, I am your father. Listen as I tell you the obvious!”
    This NEVER happened in the comics and besides, Krypton (In the comics) had a super-scientific society where “magic” was non-existent. (Which is why Superman and Supergirl are so vulnerable to magic)
    And don’t give me that “any science advanced enough…” stuff; it’s over-used.

    • windleopard

      In MoS it was an a.i made created from Jor-El’s mind. This just seems to be a recording of Kara’s mom.

      • KHarn

        Still boring. Still the “same kind of animal”. Even “Supergirl” had Peter O’Tool as her spirit guide. Let Supergirl be a SUPER girl and show some initiative. Doesn’t she have living friends she can consult?
        Another thing, the silver age, for all it’s faults, had the heroes and heroines having FUN. I hope they people at DC don’t insist that they go the “let’s copy Marvel” route as they did in the comics and make Kara a whiney, problem-plagued, basket case.

        • KHarn

          PS: Yes, I’m a bitter old man.

        • windleopard

          She chose to save the plane all by herself and made it clear that she didn’t care what the DEO thought of her. If there’s one fault I might have with Kara is that she doesn’t take her job seriously enough.

  • Derek Johns

    I can’t speak fro the other professions but I think I have a good idea as to why she’s not an IT girl. They already have one of those in Arrow and she actually looks a lot like Kara in disguise and any fan of Arrow knows we don’t need another Felicity Smoak.

  • MichaelANovelli

    This looks like it has potential!

  • KLLRFRST

    It’s funny that they didn’t have Kara work in IT, since Power Girl, her Earth 2 counterpart, built her fortune on the IT business.

    • Thomas Stockel

      Perhaps they’ll introduce Power Girl in the course of the series. Alternate Earth’s is always an enjoyable trope and this Supergirl meeting a slightly older, more confident, more successful version of herself might be interesting.

  • Alexa

    How exactly did Agent Carter lose its way? Just feels like Mr. O’Boogie is kind of wet blanket, especially since Agent Carter kept my interest the entire time. And yes this show is not perfect and he does make a point about why Kara should be the assistant. Will tune in cause I got more warmth and actual feelings of hope here, than the whole of Man of Steel, which was ironically lacking any trace of hope.

  • NameWithheldByRequest

    It’s always nice to see my low regard for Gotham is shared by at least one other person on the planet. And not just “stupendously dumb” but “stupendously dull,” which is much, much worse. I could tolerate a dumb show, if it was at least fun to watch.

    I saw the Supergirl pilot, and didn’t think it was bad. I don’t think I’ll be watching it, though, because it seems to be targeted to a younger female audience. I could be wrong about this, but that was my impression. I didn’t see anything in the pilot that appealed to me or piqued my interest enough to continue watching.

  • WelshPirate

    I’m sorry, but I simply cannot believe that this show will turn out to be remotely watchable. Not only have I already been burned twice by “talent, what’s talent?” shows like “Arrow” and “Flash”, but there is simply no way any scenes can be so well written that they overshadow the complete genocide of Taste and Competence we were shown in the trailers.

    As much as I’ve love to see some female superhero shows and/or movies that were good, I just don’t believe that Warner Bros are physically capable of letting such a thing happen. Mark my words, this show will be “Birds of Prey” all over again.

  • Adam Bomb 1701

    Wasn’t Taylor Swift attached to this at some point? Or was that for a “Supergirl” movie that never got off the ground?