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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.00007328

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.

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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.

TV Show: Supergirl

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  • JSG

    tl;dr;smr (too long, didn’t read, slit my wrists)

  • Greenhornet

    “…swallowed up nearly a decade’s worth of progress…”
    And just what “progress” would that be?

    • Chris Palmer

      8 years under a biracial president, complete with a gay marriage domino effect and increased efforts towards equal rights and transgender acceptance? Squandered by electing a guy who needed to repudiate his supporters more?

      • Greenhornet

        Name one “right” that straights have that gays don’t.
        Gay marriage. Big deal. Show me where the Constitution says that the government has any say in marriage. Are you happy that the federal government can make decisions about marriage?
        Bi-racial president. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?.
        Did Obama distance himself from his communist friends?

        • Chris Palmer

          “Show me where the Constitution says that the government has any say in marriage.”

          Do you even read what you write?

          “Are you happy that the federal government can make decisions about marriage?”

          It reduces the amount of needless headaches in the world.

          Also, Trump is Citrus Hitler. He might say he’s not, but the core of his support base is a bunch of Nazis. And, well, a gay man and a man with a Jewish wife.

          • Greenhornet

            Did you ever read the US Constitution?
            Are you REALLY OK with the federal government having unlimited powers? Even with “citrus hitler” in charge?

          • Chris Palmer

            I haven’t even read my own country’s constitution, but the specific decision was that laws banning gay marriage were unconstitutional.

          • Greenhornet

            Sorry for replying late, I’m not avoiding you, I just don’t check posts very often.
            The Tenth Amendment to the US constitution says that anything not allowed to the federal government and not forbidden to the states or the citizens is to be taken care of by THE STATES or THE PEOPLE. (Paraphrased)
            That means that the people can VOTE for or against gay marriage, or the individual states can pass a law OKing or forbidding gay marriage. BUT the federal government has no say in the matter since marriage OF ANY KIND is not mentioned in the US Constitution.
            Perhaps you heard of “Proposition 8” in California a few years ago. The majority of the people voted against gay marriage, but A SINGLE JUDGE overturned the vote. THAT was unconstitutional.

  • Greenhornet

    “…her obvious attraction to Maxwell Lord from the previous season should be completely ignored.”
    I’m sure that there’s no “gay rule” that says they can’t LIKE the opposite sex and even date them. I wouldn’t know. I agree with all you’ve said and just want to add that people who treat gayness as a political movement makes me want to puke.

  • I didn’t know comments were how you judged what to keep recapping, so here’s a comment – I always read these recaps. I just usually don’t have anything to add to what you already poked fun at or complimented.

    • Winston O’Boogie

      Comments aren’t the only thing I look at, but they’re a big part of it. That’s basically the reason I gave up on doing movie recaps after Skidoo and Ishtar. There was literally just one guy commenting on those.

      • danbreunig

        If it means anything, I want to track down a copy of Skidoo just because of your recap of it.

      • Chris Palmer

        When you were looking for contributors, I tried my hand at a series on where Barbie actually had something with feminist appeal. I got as far as “about 30 minutes in to Three Musketeers”, going pretty much on “it’s the only film in the series where Barbie engages in combat with the villain” (a record still unbroken. Spy Squad does have action and a bit of combat, but the villain takes the Prince Hans route to illogical extremes, while Princess Power has a bit of a chase, but the villain is done in by trickery and the main focus in the climax is around a volcano).

        https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rmcVfK5vo7lVuafG6P1yP1-QWuYk8nY6EaB_Szp69W0/mobilebasic should show you how far I got…

        • Winston O’Boogie

          Hey, I just saw this. I’m not so sure our readers would be interested in Barbie movies, but we’re always looking for more contributors. If you’re interested in writing for the site you should drop us a line through the contact form, you’ll get a quicker response that way: http://www.agonybooth.com/contact

  • TarTrek

    Oh FFS, would you man up you little drama queen? How did you make it this far in life if your reaction to bad times is to curl up and sob? I know Trump is bad, but acting like all hope is gone and doom is inevitable is blowing things out of proportion. If you’re really convinced of that then just kill yourself and go out with quiet dignity rather than doing the equivalent of shrieking in the streets “We’re all gonna die!!!”. Have some self-respect.

    • Greenhornet

      Lighten up! The doctor can express himself any way he wants.
      PS: I didn’t vote for ANY of those idiots. I voted for Florida to secede.

  • Bookspine2

    I’m more than happy to lend my voice to the others below and let you know that love these recaps – I’ve read them faithfully every week and will keep doing so for as long as you’re willing to write them. Which I do sincerely hope will be for a good while longer, because they’re excellent. Is Supergirl a perfect show? Of course not. You can (and have) written whole articles detailing its many, many flaws. All valid criticism, definitely. But I enjoy the show, warts and all, because of the escapism it provides and the idealism it espouses. There’s a dearth of light hearted scripted fare on our airwaves – you have comedies, but a sci-fi drama that isn’t particularly cynical? A rare thing that is. There are others of course, but you can’t deny that Supergirl stands out for just how absurdly earnest it is. And yes, believe me, I hate that there is no caped hero in reality who is going to fly down and sunnily fix our problems. That’s going to be a lot harder because it is going to be done by real people who have no superpowers. But isn’t that just it – because no such hero is going to arrive in reality, isn’t it more important than ever to be inspired by that kind of example in fiction? Don’t get me wrong – I’m definitely not elevating Supergirl to gospel status, or, in a much nerdier example, the original Star Trek series or Twilight Zone or something. It’s hardly a classic of the genre and honestly won’t ever be remembered in the pantheon of great sci fi. But our media reflects, at least in part, some of the values that we deem important enough to be a part of our society and our public discourse. In these challenging times ahead, I would rather live in a world that has a show like Supergirl that live in one without it. I appreciate the idealism and the optimism, and I appreciate your reviews for the honest look that they take at the show without trashing it – you’re clearly at least somewhat invested in the material, and I appreciate your efforts and your hard work. Thank you.

    • Winston O’Boogie

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I’ll probably stick with writing about the show, but I doubt I’ll be doing detailed recaps like before. It’s clear that interest in recaps is declining these days (seems like people would rather read listicles, thinkpieces, rants, etc.) so it makes more sense for me to come up with a different approach that doesn’t require as much time or energy.

  • JamSanJose

    Sorry I haven’t made any comments, but I really enjoy your recaps. I hope you keep doing them.

  • Cro

    I’ve been following this site for well over a decade now, ever since I was drawn in by the lengthy, hilarious and well-deserved take down of Armageddon. Since then I’ve faithfully followed the site, even when the detailed and witty text recaps seemed to be in danger of being swept aside in favor of the video articles with their greater focus on referencing clip after clip and mugging for the camera.

    In particular I’ve always enjoyed your articles for the way they blend valid critique with wit and humor sprinkled throughout. While I may not comment, I will sincerely say that your recaps and articles are a great source of enjoyment for me, one that I’ve visited and revisited numerous times. I’m deeply thankful for that, and I hope you’ll continue to do such great work in the near and continuing future

    The one last piece of advice I’ll give, unwelcome as it may be, is to try and not despair too much over current events. Time will tell exactly what kind of result, positive or negative, will occur. But thinking or fearing that it’ll be the end of the world and everything’s doomed and over with won’t help. As you yourself said in your recap of DC 9/11: Time of Crisis…

    “But in my mind, there was never much sense in morbidly dwelling on it
    all. I took the time to mourn the tragedy, and then I got on with life.”

    I hope you’ll be able to do that again with regards to this election.