Supergirl: 1.17 Manhunter
Supergirl, as a show, has alot of heart and that is embodied by the excellent central perfiormance of Melissa Benoist, who gives the best Super performance, I think, since Christopher Reeve (sorry Dean Cain). She and the show at large really encompasses the spirit and emotion of the cousins El. In this episode Supergirl almost takes a back seat while Kara deals with the ramifications of her Red Kryptonite induced behaviour last week. There's a very real feeling of sorrow and regret but perhaps most realistically, shame.
When looking at the current make up of DC tv shows, each one gets by on a mixture of quality and charm. None of them are perfect but I definitely think people are drawn to one or the other (or perhaps all of them) ultimately, because of the charm. The Flash has supportive relationships at its core, Legends of Tomorrow is unapologetically trashy, if you engage with the shows through their charm you make allowances for the odd short falling in visuals or a sloppy plot structure here and there, because ultimately these shows are about people and we want to like those people.
This episode from the outset feels like a direct comment on the Zack Snyder Superman movies (both this and last week's episode were broadcast in the US the weekend Batman V Superman came out), with constant references to the public losing faith in the symbol and how it now makes people afraid, which it shouldn’t.
This episode is also heavy on the flashbacks, all of which contain Kara’s Dad, Dean Cain. I find my relationship with Dean Cain has shifted dramatically over the years. Back when Cain was Superman, as much as I enjoyed the show and his friendly demeanour, he wasn’t a great Supes. But as the years have passed, he has matured not just as an actor but as a nostalgic memory and my honest appreciation of not just his performance but his take on the role has grown. Seeing him in this show is an exciting joy and the flashback scenes with him and J’onn are genuinely touching. The scenes between him and young Kara have warmth, compassion and pathos and the lead lined glasses to help her curb her powers was a nice and interesting touch.
The side plot of Lucy Lane being put in charge at the DEO feels a little forced and doesn’t quite add up, it feels a bit random that one week she’s working for an online gossip mag, the next she’s running a secret government organization investigating aliens but it all fits into the larger story, which is all about redemption: redemption for Supergirl, redemption for J'onn and redemption for Kara's Dad. The show does a great job of providing this, the latter two on a personal level of not publicly and it manages to move the story forward without completely re-setting the status-quo.
Someone who doesn't get redemption is Siobhan. After being fired by Cat she decides to sneak into her office and send a nasty email to Cat from Kara's email account. Not exactly Lex Luthor level criminal genius. After being caught (with help from Winn who just put a lid on that relationship!) she gets drunk, fights with her now ex Winn and falls off a building. This provides us with a genuinely fun, if predictable if you know your comics, cliffhanger ending.
This was a strong, emotional follow up to Falling that's makes the characters of this charming show even more likeable and endearing... Except Jaaaaaames.