Supergirl: 2.20 City of Lost Children
Oh no. It’s a Jimmy episode.
I’ve been feeling the strain on this show in the past few weeks and perhaps it’s just me but a Jimmy centered episode, especially one concerned with his hurt feelings at not being taken seriously as a super hero, doesn’t seem like the best move right now.
After saving a woman who is just as scared of him as she is her attacker, Jaaaames sulks off and decides not to do anymore hero work that evening. Not saving other people because he doesn’t get the recognition from the woman he saves? The show is running dangerously close to allegory here, touching on all the issues the character has. Though Jimmy’s later discussion with Winn about people being scared of him does lead to Jimmy saying he feels “Just like Clark’s friend” and Winn replying “Oh you mean… I feel they’re more like frienemies?” I love this reference but James, dude, you are no Batman.
There is a cringy scene between Lena and Kara, discussing NSYNC. Its nice to want to show these woman bonding over something other than saving/destroying the world but it’s a clunky scene that feels like a middle aged man’s idea of what young women talk about.
The main plotline revolves around an alien woman having a telekinetic melt down in the middle of town and the DEO racing to find her so she can’t do anymore damage. James, in his Guardian guise, manages to find the woman’s son. The boy seems mute and will only respond to the man who saved him, Guardian aka our Jimbo. This is a tried and tested narrative; important but emotionally closed off child will only respond to one character, Star Trek: The Next Generation did it, Smallville did it and a dozen other TV shows have done it. At its best, it can allow a character to explore their own perceptions of the world or what it is to be isolated and afraid, at its most bland it can show you how good an aunt or uncle your main hero can be.
The effectiveness of this narrative trope comes down to the characters and the story its used to tell, unfortunately this episode is pretty un-engaging. Its soon realised that Lena and Mom-El are experimenting with a stargate device - which is huge, on the edge of town and was built really quickly… like… unbelievably quickly, how did they even get the planning permission in place so quickly? Genuinely this makes very little sense and the Lena/Mom-El story would have had a lot more weight had it been cultivated over months rather than a week.
Having figured out the cause of the alien woman’s outburst and realising she’s dangerous but not deliberately, so the DEO need her son’s help to find her but by this point , Jaaames doesn’t want to help anymore. James turning his back on the kid is ridiculous and infuriating. He sulks, again, because he didn’t feel like he was getting through to the kid and needs to be pep talked by J’onn, telling him he’s a real hero, before he would help again. Come on Jimmy, even Booster Gold isn’t that vain and self serving!
This was, for me, a very substandard episode. Its real goal is to set up a cliffhanger for the finale arc but even that feels a little underwhelming as the villain feels very underdeveloped and rushed. I really do dislike the James character and having scenes of him looking upset that Supergirl is getting praise for saving people does nothing to improve how I feel about him. I do wonder if the show makers are aware of how audiences feel about Jimmy and how his actions come across, I don’t think I’m the only one who feels the character and his actions drip with toxic masculinity and male entitlement. This episode oozes with everything that is wrong with the Jimmy character; sulking at the lack or recognition for his ‘hero’ work, an inability to see what he is and isn’t capable of dealing with and walking away from things he’s been asked to help with because they lack the perceived hero level importance that he craves so much. Come on Jaaames, think of the greater good, helping people, saving the kid Marcus, is more important than your ego. What are the writers doing with this character!!!
The episode has some good moments; I’m really liking Mon-El and I’m surprised how much he’s grown on me. There are some good references to Superman and I like Lex being referred to as the man who was supposed to save the world. James suddenly asking if “its because I’m black?” felt a bit left field and the sudden civil rights movement, immigration allegory thrown in at the end felt like a good idea that should have been seeded from the start.
The last couple of episodes of Supergirl have left me pretty cold, lets hope they can get me back on side now we’re hitting the final lap!