Supergirl: 1.18 Worlds Finest
One of Supergirl's best qualities as a show is its willingness, even its all out desire, to embrace its comic book roots. There's no excessive attempts to make costumes and characters took grounded or real, no replacing powers with technology. Just blue computer women and green Martians with red Xs across their chests and this episode showcases its comic book roots beautifully on multiple levels.
Straight up let's just say, I loved this episode. This is the episode, it seems, the audience and fans have been calling out for since the Supergirl pilot leaked online.
With Siobhan having now embraced her supernatural supervillain heritage, she does what everyone except the title character does in these shows when presented with powers and heads off to kill someone. Across all the current superhero TV shows and going back to Smallville, it's always been a narrative niggle that people turn bad so quickly once powered up. In her rage, Siobhan screams Kara off the top of the CatCo building but before Kara has a chance or need to do any awkwardly revealing Supergirling, she's is caught and carried safely to the desert by a red and yellow flash of light.
What follows is joyful, exciting and so much fun! With Barry Allen on the scene, Kara is excited to have another superpowered person to chat with and almost the first thing they do is go for ice cream. And that, right there, is why this show and The Flash are so great. The first thing these guys do is go for ice cream. Wonderful.
Jimmy's flustered jealousy at Kara's new super friend, while obviously intended to be cute just adds another layer to the Jaaaaaames as possessive douche and his almost passive aggressive attitude towards Barry is un-endearing. Jimmy does a lot of his patented, 'arms crossed, disapproving, patronising stare down' at things. As much as I want to get on board, I feel the character and motivations of this Sexy Jimmy Olson are the biggest misstep of the show and it falls down too often when he’s central to the plot. It’s not the fault of the actor, who gives a charming performance of an un-charming man.
The main plot of this episode involves Siobhan, now Silver Banshee, recruiting Livewire and trying to kill Kara and Cat and anyone else it seems. If Livewire in this show represents the classic TV version of a comic book character - jeans and t-shirts in the colour scheme, funky hair but nothing close to the spandex of the comics - then silver Banshee is the complete opposite. This show goes full comic book with Silver Banshee and it's fantastic, especially since it seems Siobhan has literally just smeared her face with make-up as opposed to transforming in some way. I love the willingness to embrace the silliness of the villain's look.
In their plot for revenge, Silver Banshee and Livewire kidnap Cat and this leads to some genuinely touching and surprisingly vulnerable moments from her as she tries to reason with them to spare her life for the sake of her sons. I think that Cat might secretly be the true heart of this show. There is a nice, if clichéd, ‘citizens protect Supergirl’ moment and while it may have been over done and done better elsewhere, here it feels very earned.
Of course, the real event in this episode is the Supergirl/Flash team up. This crossover works so well for various reasons, in part because the two shows are so fresh and breezy yet with enough weight that these events don’t feel silly or forced. The tones compliment each other well - imagine if Oliver Queen turned up, moping about and skulking. The energy of both Benoist and Gustin as Kara and Barry is not only high and on point, it’s infectious.
The programme overall has been getting steadily better and the past couple of episodes, linked with this one, have been some of the best this show has been. It may have taken a while to get to this point but it feels like we’re in a good place to get ready to launch into the second season.
Winn has some nice moments this week and I’m warming to him a little more. Lucy gets some weird, slightly abrupt closure from the Jimmy relationship which seems to try and just awkwardly wipe the slate clean.
Of course, eventually united heroes prove more powerful than united villains because the villains are never truly working together, always having their own agendas and Barry and Kara defeat the bad guys and save the day.
Like a lot of superhero shows, this suffered from the finale being restricted by time and money so things seem to get resolved quite quickly. The same goes for Supergirl helping The Flash to travel across the Multiverse again, it needed maybe a smidgen more build up and to take longer than a couple of seconds but it was a great moment; to see the two racing just at the end.
After the dust (literally) settles we ruin this episode with a loud crash. Jimmy turns up at Kara’s apartment, all angry and confused because seeing her hang out with another guy has made him feel some feelings (this Jimmy is so boring and unpleasant) and then Kara gets swept up and kisses him! I do not care. Then Jimmy gets mind controlled and walks off. I do not care. While I get the cliffhanger for the next week, it really stunted what was a great episode and ended us on a clunky, tonal shift.
I said at the start, I loved this episode, the most likable of likable leads, interacting and showcasing the joy of the DC characters. THIS was the DC superhero team up event of 2016 and I think everyone knows that.