Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Supergirl: Rest Stop or Journey's End?

Wow! Two blog posts in one day? 

Yeah, I know. Try to contain your excitement. 

Since today is Wednesday which is, according to the Holy scriptures, New Comic Book Day, I like to do comic book themed posts. And in addition to the regular Oddball Super Heroes feature I tend to run in this place, I thought I would also take a moment or three to share some thoughts on Supergirl. 

The CBS TV series had its season finale a week and a half ago. My family sat down this past weekend to catch up on that and the previous week's episode which brought a denouement to a seaon's worth of plots, more or less. 

The first of those two episodes dealt with the Kryptonian thingy of evil called Myriad which is basically a mass mind control whatchamacallit that Non has unleashed against the good citizens of National City. And apparently that also includes the hard working folks at the DEO who are about to open up all the cells on their alien detainees.  

Supergirl shuts down the alien power princess known as Maxima (from the planet Nissan?) and stops the DEO from releasing more aliens but only after taking a Kryptonite bullet in the arm. (Which Supergirl digs out with her own fingers. Bad ass moment!)  

At Catco, Supergirl finds James, Winn...well, hell, everybody all lobotomized and working for the Kryptonian man, tapping away furiously on their computers in Kryptonian code. (And yes, that's the plot of Doctor Who's School Reunion episode. Don't worry, I've got another Doctor Who plot comparison coming up shortly.) 

Not under control of Myriad is Cat Grant because she such a hard ass bitch and nobody's gonna control her....oh, she's got anti-mind control earrings that Max Lord gave her and yes, that bastard shows up too with his own mind control resisting tech. 

Oh, by the way, things are so bad that Superman is coming to help. Except as soon as he flies over the city...zap! He's mind controlled too! Max thinks Superman has been living on Earth too long so he's under Myriad's thrall.  

Also showing up is Non who uses Myriad to make James, Winn and Kelly to jump off the top of the building. Hey, who's Kelly? Well, Supergirl is fast but only has two arms so let's answer that with "dead"

Supergirl is so pissed off about this she's willing to go along with Max's plan to blow up the Kryptonians with a Kryptonite bomb which will also kill 1/8 of National City's non-Krypotonian population. But Cat Grant convinces Supergirl to look for a different way. 

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the script, Hank Henshaw, aka J'onn J'onzz, Manhunter from Mars, has gotten his ass kicked by Indigo who snatches Alex Danvers and takes her to Non where they come up with a really evil idea. 

And we pick back up with Supergirl being called out by Myriad controlled Alex all Transformered up in a green glowing battle suit complete with Kryptonite sword. And it is on.  

Which leads us into the next episode where green glowing mind controlled Alex is about to kill Supergirl until Hank shows up with Eliza Danvers, the girls' mother, who uses the power of hope to stop Alex from killing Supergirl. 


Oh, but we're not done with that.

The big plan that does not involve a big bomb is to send a TV signal with a message from Supergirl reminding everyone not to give up hope. And the camera closes in on her chest which is where the big red "S" is, you pervert! 

And it works. Really! Everyone's free of the mind control. 

And yes, that's how the Master got beat in Last of the Time Lords in Doctor Who Series 3.  Everybody thought "Doctor" at one time and voila, stuff happens. 

Anyway, everybody's fine now. Except for Superman who's still knocked out at the DEO.  Well, his boots are. (Seriously, all we see are his boots.)  

Well, this really pisses of Non who cranks Myriad up to 11 and says to hell with mind control, let's go with brain exploding! So Max Lord does computer stuff to find out where Myriad is but warns Supergirl the odds are not in her favor. Thinking this next mission will be her last, Supergirl gets her Kara Danvers on to go tell everyone (even Cat!) that she loves them. Well, except James. She breaks up with James. Can't have the poor bastard moping around for the girlfriend he almost but did not quite have. 

After she sucks Hanks' brains out of his, kisses him on the forehead, Supergirl is ready to go do whatever to save Earth cause everybody's coming down with a serious migraine and it's got "brain gonna explode" written all over it. 

Supergirl with an almost back to fighting strength Martian Manhunter along for back up takes on Non and Indigo. (Where are the other Kryptonians? In sleep pods. Why? Because, er, plot?) J'onn rips Indigo in half and Supergirl fries Non an extra crispy. But Myriad is still about to blow up everyone's skulls so Supergirl lifts the whole big hulking mass that is Fort R'ozz and flies it into space where Myriad cannot do so much the exploding of skulls. Now, for some reason this puts Supergirl's life in jeopardy because... apparently, now we're going to invoke science. Thankfully, Alex learns how to pilot Kara's Krpytonian space pod in 3 seconds and saves the day. 

Back on Earth, Clark Kent gives Kara Danvers a thumbs up text while Cat Grant gives Kara a promotion to do... whatever. (Literally. Cat leaves it up to Kara to figure that out. How can I get THAT job?) 

And all the gang is gathered at Kara's apartment where James and Kara are all good, okay, and everyone's ready to sit down to dinner when suddenly, an object streaks across the sky. 

Supergirl and J'onn go to investigate and it turns out to be a Kryptonian space pod. And inside the pod is....

And we go to commercial. And that end's Supergirl's first season. 

You might judge from some of the snarkiness above that I regarded the last two episodes of Supergirl as a bit of a hot mess. And yes, you would be right about that. But a few things to consider: 

These episodes were still true to its core principles as established at the beginning of the series. The importance of family, faith and hope, the value of inspiration and the strength that comes from working together. The title of episode two, Stronger Together, is invoked in the season finale. 

Most everyone was true to their character development. The Supergirl who flies Fort R'ozz into space in episode 20 is not the same person who saved that airplane from crashing in episode 1. Kara has grown over the course of this season in an arc of progression that wasn't always smooth or easy. And right behind Supergirl in term of character development is Cat Grant. Here was someone who could've remained a cartoon version of the evil boss from The Devil Wears Prada and while she still had that persona on the outside, we got to know more about what was going on underneath that exterior. 

To that end, a lot of credit goes to Melissa Benoist and Calista Flockhart for bringing depth to characters who could've been relegated to being flat and boring.   

But what does the future hold for Supergirl. As I write this, there has been no formal word as to the series renewal by CBS. On one hand, the ratings have not been that bad but they haven't been amazing either. After its spectacular debut last fall, the show has experienced a precipitous decline in viewers and has come in behind DC Comics' other show at the same time, Gotham over on Fox.  And for a costly show depending on special effects, the numbers have to be more than just OK.  

Still, Supergirl represents a lot of positives for CBS. It's a toehold in the seemingly unstoppable flood of super hero derived entertainment. It's a show with a strong appeal to young females. Its a very uplifting show with positive values.

The producers began seeding potential storylines for Season 2 with the revelation that Jeremiah Danvers might still be alive and the mysterious organization known as Cadmus. And that cliffhanger tag on the end of the season finale? The people behind Supergirl would seem to feel confident about renewal. 

That being said, I would look for some changes going into Season 2 starting with a trimmed cast to save on the budget. I would expect that the actors playing Winn, James or Alex might want to update their resumes. Or Calista Flockhart and Dorian Harewood who provided such outstanding work are probably higher ticket actors whose ouster would free up some space in the budget.  

Budget cuts would become even more necessary if the CW has to save the show from limbo if CBS does not renew it.  

Overall, I've enjoyed this season of Supergirl and I sincerely hope they get a chance to keep showing us more of what this young woman is capable of. 

Another post coming up tomorrow. Politics, probably. Sorry. 

Until then, remember to be good to one another.  

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