Nov 1, 2016
Supergirl: Witty title blah blah, who cares, nothing matters
Previously on Supergirl: Mon-El arrived on Earth after escaping the devastation of Krypton’s sister planet Daxam. He’s the sole survivor of his homeworld and he’s all alone here on Earth, so it’s up to Supergirl to watch out for him. Meanwhile, a deep, dark chasm opened up in the center of the country and swallowed up nearly a decade’s worth of progress, as well as all hope for the future, and there was no cheerful, cape-wearing superhero to swoop in to save the day, because Supergirl is just a fictional character and we are living in the cold, hard reality where the former host of The Celebrity Apprentice is months away from becoming the most powerful human being on the planet.
I must admit, after Tuesday’s election results, about the last thing I feel like talking about is another episode of a mediocre superhero show. Frankly, I might just quit doing Supergirl recaps altogether. Even before the election, it was already getting difficult to come up with anything interesting to say about a show this bland, and now I’m not sure why I even bother. And given the near total lack of comments on these recaps, I’m guessing most readers wouldn’t miss them if they went away, anyway. However, I already wrote most of this week’s recap before the vote, so I might as well just carry on and see how far I get before ennui and/or depression overwhelm me.
The article continues after these advertisements...
First, let’s delve into what’s rapidly becoming the weakest part of this show: the A-plot. Alien weaponry falling into the hands of the bad guys is now suddenly a major nationwide concern. It seems that Project Cadmus and Dr. Brenda Strong are trying to further their anti-alien, anti-amnesty agenda by smuggling alien weapons to criminals, some of whom use them to rob banks and take down Supergirl when she tries to stop them.
Supergirl, oddly enough, doesn’t seem that concerned with catching these criminals, and in fact spends most of the episode helping Mon-El secure an internship at CatCo (more on that later). Lena Luthor then pays a personal visit to Kara’s apartment to invite her to a big gala event. She also invites Supergirl to the gala for protection, because it’s sure to be a target for those same criminals with the alien ray guns. This of course is a big ruh-roh moment for Kara, because how can both Kara and Supergirl attend the same event?
At the gala, we get so-so comedy as Kara rapidly changes back and forth between Kara and Supergirl to fool Lena, in what must certainly be a shout-out to Superman/Clark having a double date with Lois and Mariel Hemingway in Superman IV (after they borrowed the peanut-flicking bit from III, I’ll just assume every episode of this show contains a tribute to at least one terrible Superman movie).
The gala event is of course attacked by the robbers with the alien laser guns, and Supergirl is there to fight them, but unbeknownst to her, this was really a trap laid by Lena, and she’s invented some kind of EMP pulse-generating device that destroys all the alien weaponry. The robbers are taken into custody, but before they can talk, Dr. Brenda Strong remotely activates a device in their brains that causes them to instantly drop dead.
The capper to this plot happens when Dr. Strong shows up at L-Corp (formerly LexCorp) and seems to be well-acquainted with Lena. In a line you can see coming from around the block and three counties away, Lena asks her, “So what can I do for you… Mom?” Yes, it seems that the Project Cadmus head honcho is really Lex and Lena’s mother.
That about does it for the bland main plot, so let’s dig into the one subplot that’s probably going to get the most attention this week (relatively speaking, of course): Alex starting to realize that she might be into girls. Specifically, that she might be into Maggie Sawyer. Honestly, it starts out well enough, with surprisingly subtle hints about Alex’s feelings, and I thought for a brief, shining moment that this show might actually be able to pull this off. But then we get ham-fisted lines where Maggie flat-out accuses Alex of being gay, and Alex denies being gay, and Maggie’s all, “You’d be surprised how many gay women I’ve heard that from.”
Later on, Alex goes to Maggie and confesses that her whole life, she’s tried hard to be perfect (except for those few years when she was a slutty boozehound, I guess), but the one thing that’s never been perfect for her is her dating life. She admits she’s never liked being “intimate” with men, and maybe there’s some truth to what Maggie said.
So Alex has basically come out as gay, and apparently her dating life has never worked out because she’s not into dudes, and her obvious attraction to Maxwell Lord from the previous season should be completely ignored. And everything I dreaded as soon as I knew they were going to have Alex get involved with Maggie Sawyer has come true. Again, I have no problems with a same-sex relationship on this show and I’m certainly not against these two characters hooking up (I mean… look at them), but the way they’re going about it is just so awkward. The idea of a woman making it to her mid-thirties without having at least some inkling that she’s attracted to other women just feels, I don’t know, more like a cliché from movies set in the 1960s. Does this type of thing really still happen in 2016? At the very least, they could have taken their time and thrown in some more hints here and there about Alex’s orientation. But instead, we instantly get, “hey, she’s gay now”, and it’s not great writing.
In another plot, our boy James Olsen is all growns up and he’s all growns up and deciding to become a hero in his own right. In the opening scene, he leaps into action to stop that bank robbery, and ends up not only getting his ass kicked, but also seeing his camera crushed under the wheels of the suspects’ fleeing SUV. This, you may recall, is the same camera given to him by his dad who died in the first Gulf War.
So he delivers a big dramatic speech to Winn about how he’s tired of being a sidekick, and he’s sick of being on the sidelines and having to watch as all of his friends with capes deal with crime. He suits up with a hoodie and a ski mask and a baseball bat and attempts to take on the alien weapon-wielding criminals himself. Winn warns James that he’s going to get himself killed, but James is determined to become an actual superhero, and so Winn agrees to go along with this and help James build some sort of super-suit. And of course they’re not going to tell Kara, for no reason whatsoever.
And then there’s the comedy subplot (though honestly, this episode is so lighthearted I think all the subplots qualify as comedy subplots) where Kara helps Mon-El get a job. Specifically, she arranges the civilian identity of “Mike Matthews” for him, and gets him a bow-tie and an internship at CatCo. Unfortunately, “Mike” ends up mostly blowing off work, and hooking up with Miss Teschmacher in the storeroom. Which I assume is the same storeroom where Siobahn went down on Winn. If these walls could talk… we’d all be sick.
And yes, this show’s version of Miss Teschmacher is still working at CatCo, and we find out her first name is Eve, so apparently this is some sort of rebooted version of the original character from Superman II, and not a relative.
Finally, Kara realizes that she shouldn’t be trying to make Mon-El into the male version of herself, and she leaves it up to him to find a job. She makes this realization after Alex talks about how, when they were kids, Alex tried to make Kara into the younger version of herself. Which, again, doesn’t jibe with the flashbacks from last season where we learned Alex was completely embarrassed by Kara and didn’t even want her around. Do the Supergirl writers even watch their own show?
So, all in all, this was a pretty entertaining but lightweight episode. It wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t great, and other than the coming out storyline, nobody’s going to remember much of this by the time the end of the season rolls around. In other words, a typical episode of Supergirl!
Next week: I don’t know, will there be a next week? For these recaps, this show, or this country? It’s up to you, America.