Supergirl: 3.09 Reign
Supergirl enters its mid season break with an all action packed episode.
After a strong episode contributing to the Crisis on Earth X event, Supergirl is back to its own storyline - and it's unfortunately filled with much of what I've found clunky and awkward about this season. Its frustrating that no real reference is made to last weeks adventure. I know Kara is on a different Earth to the other Arrowverse but she seems extremely detached from the experience of fighting an evil Nazi version of herself and doesn’t seem to give a second thought to the Earth still struggling under Nazi rule!?
There have been a lot of scenes so far this season of people hanging out, generally Kara, Lena and Sam, which I’ve found awkwardly cringe-worthy. Scenes of these women bonding and being friends is exactly what I want from this show but there is something about the way they’ve been written, staged and performed that feels terriby forced. The on screen talent in Supergirl is genuinly high but sometimes the acting can come over really bad. We’re treated to a clunking, awkward scene of Kara’s Christmas party, where J’onn unnaturally declares Empire Strikes Back the greatest movie sequel of all time and Kara tells Sam and Lena they are her bestest friends 4 eva.
These scenes are so inorganic I find they bring the episodes to a standstill. We also have to deal with the forced Lena/Jimmy relationship starting to blossom. I want to switch off every time they give each other a lingering glance. As for their kiss under the mistletoe? I honestly think it’s a bad move and doesn’t serve the characters at all. Unless Jaaaaames dies to help further Lena’s development, than it will be okay.
We’re treated to some scenes of Mon-El and Imra early on. These are solid enough for establishing the Mon-El/Imra relationship especially with Mon-El taking her for ribs just as Kara did with him but now Mon-El has been to the future and got married, he’s kind of a bore. Not much has been done yet to flesh out Imra and I’m sure she’ll be built up but at the moment she feels kind of surplus. I did wonder why she sounded like she had a bit of a Geordie accent then realised the actress is from the Isle of Man. I wonder if everyone from the future sounds a bit Geordie? What I’m not sure I buy is that someone from so far in the future would so happily eat ribs. Surely a civilisation as advanced as that would be entirely vegan?
The finale fight sequence is good. It's well staged and performed, the dialogue is a little on the nose but that’s okay – this is a cheesy, fun show, after all. Setting the fight to Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree is a touch that I really appreciate an it helps balance the sequence. The FX hold up pretty well but there are a few elements that don’t ring true; Reign’s costume is terrible. Her comic book outfit is usually little more than a bra and leather trousers so I have no qualms with her being redesigned but its an ugly, cheap look costume. The mask doesn’t feel true to the character and the whole thing is like a superhero costumes from a non-superhero show doing a one off superhero episode - she just looks silly. As well, Kara just last week took on her own super doppelganger – with help, yes but still... To have seen Kara defeat a super so recently and now being defeated herself so easily doesn’t quite work for me. I could have done with a few weeks between stories.
The show suffers, as it inevitably and always does, with Avengers syndrome; when anything huge happens in Marvel TV shows you’re always left thinking “Where are the Avengers?”. I’d hate to see Superman or Flash simply swoop in and save Kara but sometimes you wonder why no-one is lending a helping hand? There are a few nice moents with J'onn and his Dad and a sub-plot of Morgan Edge again trying to kill Lena, as well as framing Supergirl for some of Reign's destruction.
I'll be interested to see how the show moves forward with its villains. Reign seems to have peaked too soon but Edge might have the potential for some slow burn. This show is very poor with its baddies, throwing everything into the ring too soon and with a bit too much moustache twiddling. While everyone is distracted by Reign, Edge might actually get a narrative edge (pun intended).
The episode ends on a cliffhanger but not one with any real tension. “Will they survive?” cliffhangers work better when it's not a title character and we know Reign won’t reign for long. I’ve found this whole season to be one where nothing much happens, on the surface; a lot happens this week but I still don’t feel especially satisfied. I’ve not been able to engage with the Sam/Reign storyline and the dramatic beats leading to its season end conclusion are incredibly predictable. Supergirl’s previous seasons have tended to be games of two halves and I really hope that when the show returns in the new year it can crank things up and get me back on side.