Supergirl: 1.15 Solitude
I picked up my reviews of Supergirl after the mid season break and I think its worth noting that the show went through a bit of a change after that break. Superficially, with the production values on screen, it felt like there had been an injection of cash – I don’t know if this is the case or perhaps the show simply got better at using its resources, either way the difference between, say, the horrific realisation of Red Tornado versus the Martian Manhunter is huge. But the show has also come on leaps and bounds as a drama. It’s not perfect by a long shot though and this is a show that I really want to be perfect. I want this show to be the best it can be, it may not have been a perfect show straight off the bat but it did instantly win me over and I have been prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt. Post season break it has improved week by week, and while I still don’t feel like this is the best the show can be, it’s definitely getting better every week!
This week’s threat comes in the form of a blue Laura Vandervoort, playing Indigo (sort of Brainac). As a Smallville fan it’s nice to see a previous Supergirl rock up in this villainous role. The actors from previous incarnations thing was a big part of Smallville and it’s nice to see its successors embracing the same approach and incorporating some of Smallville’s actors as a continuation. While her look is a little cheesy – but nothing like Red Tornado, sheesh! – it’s quite nice that its fairly true to the comics and doesn’t shy away from the rather silly character look.
More exciting for me though was, if the title hadn’t given it away, the first appearance of The Fortress of Solitude! This is brilliantly designed and was obviously highly influenced by the Donner Fortress. I think its important not to be slavish to the Donner movies while at the same time acknowledging the fact they’ve been hugely influential in Superman on screen and in comics - and superhero movies and TV shows generally. What I think Supergirl does well is embody much of the essence of those films, films which in turn, at their core, embodied the true essence of what it is to be Super. The realisation of the Fortress in this episode is a wonderful combination of sources. It’s an instantly recognisable variant of the Donner look, with some of the more fun elements from the comics; the key, the robot. It is, in some ways, a shame that the show relies so heavily on Superman lore; perhaps a little too much of what they do each week is a spin on a Superman story.
What bogs this episode down, as it does in most episodes, is the love triangle. I have no real issue with the existence of a romantic subplot in Kara's life but this show is so by the numbers with it. This week, Lucy is becoming increasingly unhappy with Jimmy and Kara's relationship. Kara, for her part, seems to be genuinely backing off Jimmy but she accidentally (or subconsciously deliberately?) implies that she knows Jimbo better than Lucy, which doesn't go down well. To the show and characters credit, Lucy directs all her animosity towards Jimmy and not Kara and he deserve it because he's not a good boyfriend. Mehcad Brooks is so smooth I love him and its Jimmy Olson, so I really want to like him... But he's not the best guy in the world. Kara, you can do better!
Siobhan and Winn getting together, while kind of obvious, is a little more interesting at least and it’ll be entertaining to see where it goes (to a bad place I expect!).
The show has a good finale that feeds into the wider story arc and a fun, if oddly creepy when you think about it, ending. It also features a certain something from the Supergirl movie that was pretty cool to see!
This is one of the stronger episodes and the show keeps getting better, if they could back off the Dawson’s Creek wimpy romance stuff and concentrate on Hank, Alex, Cat and Kara even more then I’d find the show even closer to perfect!