Supergirl: 4.06 Call to Action
I feel like this series is proving to be solid, well written and with far more compelling character dynamics going on. A lot of his season’s strength comes from Sam Witwer’s performance. He is without doubt the best villain this series has produced. Generally speaking, Supergirl has lacked relatable or even grounded villains. Screaming, megalomaniacal evil-doers have been the antagonist of choice so far and they have, frankly, been boring. Last season attempted to create some relatability and interest with the duality/split personality angle but lacked (for this viewer at least) interesting enough characters to get invested in.
In essence, Agent Liberty is re-treading the fundamental plot points of the Cadmus season, only with a far more realistic, grounded variation on the theme. This isn’t the crazy mother of a crazy villain, these are ordinary mothers and sons and sisters and fathers. I’m no fan of Jaaaames but I feel as if, finally, they’ve found a plot angle that works with the Guardian aspect. The idea of him, somewhat naively, thinking he can change their views by embracing them is interesting and has the potential to take Jimbo down a dark if well intentioned path.
I especially liked the Agent of Liberty follower he meets with this week. There is something honest and righteous about the young man, who genuinely thinks he’s doing the best thing to protect his family and community. The parallels with the current state of America aren’t exactly subtle but it’s well executed and sits on the shoulders of Witwer’s strong performance.
This week Jaaaames and Lena have a good old falling out and Jimmy’s toxic masculinity reared its ugly heard again. He is a character who has frequently spoken on behalf of others and insists on tagging along to dangerous situations uninvited but he gets near aggressive and confrontational when someone does similar to him. Lena sets him up with a TV round table interview so he can renounce the Agent of Liberty. Fair enough, he isn’t happy that she did this without asking but it feels as if this is used as fuel to simply not do the thing he doesn’t want to do.
He then allows Kara to take his place while he meets with the Agents of Liberty. This is a full blown douche-bag move across the board; as Lena’s boyfriend he knows how she feels, as Lena’s employee (she pulls rank when he acts like a spoiled brat about it) he’s not doing his job, as Kara’s boss and friend he’s passing the buck and also with regards his own safety its just stupid and macho. Basically, Jimmy is a dick this week.
Kara, obviously, doesn’t do too well on the round table. In fairness, she does okay but Ben manages to throw her touchy feely call to remember what Thanksgiving is all about back at her in the last moments of the interview by pointing out Thanksgiving celebrates the near genocide of an indigenous people by ‘aliens’. I was glad to see the show make these points about Thanksgiving, which is a problematic holiday when observed by an outsider; on the surface a great secular celebration of family and home, built on the top of terrible human atrocity.
I also really liked the Thanksgiving scene itself. I’m not a fan of the forced feeling, chintzy party scenes this show does but with everyone sat round Kara’s table (including Manchester Black who is there as J’onn’s guest so he’s not alone on Thanksgiving which as a Brit he really wouldn’t care about) talk organically turns to Agent Liberty and his Agents of Liberty. This conversational pooling of information leads to everyone having a eureka moment and everyone then leaves dinner to follow their new leads. This was a really cool variation on the usual dinner party scenes. Plus Helen Slater was in the scene. Big issue for me this week, Supergirl literally taking orders from the DEO big boss and apologising with a yes, ma’am, no, ma’am. Final proof that Supergirl is a US government sanctioned agent under American Military control. Yuck.
Also, there is a dragon this week for basically no reason. I still can’t decide if it was narrativly stupid or really comic booky (maybe a little 50/50).
The show is definitely better and I feel like this has been the most consistent in terms of quality the show has ever been. Characters are bedded in and while this isn’t the show I had hoped it would be back in the pilot its found its place.