Supergirl: 3.11 Fort Rozz
I hate to say it but Supergirl is a real struggle for me now. I had hoped the season break would reinvigorate my love of the show but not so far...
This week, for plot reasons, Supergirl has to go Fort Rozz to speak face to face with some inmate about the World Killers. J’onn won’t let her do this alone because he’s her boss and she works for the DEO? Really, I wish Kara would distance herself from the DEO a little. Also, what’s the deal with the DEO staff? Do they all know that Kara is Supergirl, because she walks around as both having pretty open conversations and that place is busy! I think as my tolerance for the flaws in this show wanes, ideas like Supergirl working so closely with the DEO bother me more. Over the years in comic books, stories involving Superman (and at times Supergirl) working closely with the US government are usually used to show that said hero has lost their way. I know the DEO setting makes the show easier to formulate but I think Supergirl has lost her way.
This episode is, unfortunately, filled with really crumby, cheap looking character make up and costumes. Livewire looks cheap. Braniac looks cheap. Smallville first hit our screens 17 years ago with better realised character design, heck, even Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman had better realised character design.
So Supergirl, Livewire, Star Girl and Psi head off to Fort Rozz because the whole prison is female only and toxic to males. I’m not sure if this was ever mentioned before but it smacks of lazy writing just to limit which super powered characters can go along to help her. I’m glad Star Girl is doing something but she has yet another bland, blacki-ish, leathery costume. The Berlanti shows have been so good at creating their main hero costumes but their supporting characters are so very, very dull in the wardrobe department.
There is a side story where Sam leaves her goofy daughter Ruby with Alex. Ruby is really annoying but Alex, of course, wants to be a mum so jumps at the chance to babysit. It also feels like they’re really pushing a bond between Alex and Ruby as a segway for a romance with Sam. I could be reaching but that’s the vibe I get and after all, this is the show that has coupled James 'Toxic Masculinity' Olson with Lena 'Feminist Badass' Luthor.
While babysitting, Alex learns that Ruby is being bullied by a cooler girl at school (blonde rich girl cliché) so she goes to the girl's house to teach her a lesson by threatening her with federal prison. I don’t know how I feel about Alex picking on Ruby’s school bully? It was clearly meant to be a cool bonding moment between Alex and Ruby but apart from being an illegal use of her authority, I feel that the compassion and understanding that Supergirl would use in the same situation should be the overall message the show projects. Alex’s way is a funny scene but the bully doesn’t learn to be better.
This is one of the single most boring episodes of Supergirl to date. A group of characters I don’t really know or care about very much go on a mission I don’t care about and fight a villain I’m not bothered about. For some reason, they take Psi on the mission but its really not clear why. She’s angry that they take her and she’s not allowed to use her powers but… she has a point?
Hyperbole aside, this episode really dragged. Livewire starts to get tedious, the writers have overloaded her with too much personality – she speaks in a meaningless stream of pop culture references and at one point she teleports herself into space along with some bad guys then back onto the ship but its so poorly constructed as a sequence its not entirely clear what’s going on until after its happened. I feel, as well, like they’ve missed a point with Braniac. He and Winn spend the episode arguing because Braniac finds Winn’s modern (to us) technology archaic. But he’s so clumsily written, instead of seeming so intellectually advanced that he can’t think within the confines of our time he just seems like a dick – which doesn’t endear him to the audience.
Inevitably, Livewire learns about friendship and to be good and dies pointlessly when Reign shows up and spouts some angry nonsense before being vanquished by Psi. It was, though, very exciting to see Sarah Douglas (Ursa to Reeve’s Superman) as the Fort Rozz contact!
Overall, I feel like very little happened this week; yes, Supergirl learns there are more people like Reign and we see an end scene that sets us up for the next World Killer on the horizon but I’m finding it hard to engage with the big bad, despite the shows best efforts. I feel, for the first time, activly irritated by the show and just keep hoping that its going to pep up but I suspect we won't see a proper return to its fun but thoughtful early days until a season four overhaul. Fingers crossed!