Supergirl: 3.01 Girl of Steel
Supergirl is back for her third season and it’s a pretty dour start to proceedings.
For anyone who needs a catch up, there is an extensive previously on highlighting the main points you need to know; Mon-El had to leave Earth to save the world and Kara is bummed about it. I wasn’t a big fan of the season two finale, or the whole back portion of the series. After the great work in the first half of the season things took a bit of a nose dive, with predictable and avoidable emotional conflicts and, especially in the finale, some very sloppy plotting. I even started to find the initially infectious, optimistic central performance of Melisa Benoist irritating and cheesy. I’d like to say the new season washes all those issues away but, unfortunately, this opening episode doesn’t come near. However, I do still have a level of faith in the show as a whole and I’m hopeful that things can switch around over the next few weeks.
The opening rescue sequence was nicely constructed with a good combination of visuals and creative directing. I do think Supergirl not stopping for autographs anymore does make her a little sulky, which has perhaps been a problem under the surface of the character for a while. Obviously we’re getting a little dark before the light here but I don’t know how long I can take it. Last season, Kara was a bit of a self-righteous arse at times, with no significant changing of ways or lessons learned from it. Kara is so unrelentingly gloomy and stroppy here that I actually found myself not caring about her and trying to focus on her support characters. Even while Kara is moping around and grumping and pissing on everyone trying to help her, you know as an audience, inevitably, she’s going to have a triumphant return to the brightness.
The inevitability of this return coupled with how belligerent she’s being makes the moment a little less exciting – but it is still a triumphant moment when she goes full Supergirl and (spoiler) saves the day at the end of the episode.
As we establish the new status quo for Season 3 we see Cat Grant is now the White House press secretary which allows for a series of so on the nose they almost stop being funny and just become awkward side swipes at Trump and we’re casually told that Snapper is on sabbatical, so this seems to have left Jimmy in charge of everything, maybe? Yes, Jimmy is still here and as if to remind us just how awful he is, he uses the emergency Super Watch beacon to summon Kara to the office to tell her off for not meeting a story deadline. This is in no way acceptable behaviour. Its obviously meant to show that Kara is being so unreasonable that ts the only way her good, caring friends ca get hold of her but, as this show keeps managing to do, it just reiterates Jimmy as entitled, manipulative and unable to respect Kara’s boundaries.
Another inevitable story arc is Alex and Maggie. The feeling that something is going to go wrong with their relationship is so overwhelming it’s almost set up a barrier to enjoying their storyline anymore. I predict at least one scene of Alex, curled up in the corner of her apartment crying by the midseason finale.
We also have a new baddie on the scene, Morgan Edge, in this iteration played by Adrian Pasdar. After a power play to buy CatCo. which really makes no sense, he sets his sights on taking down Lena Luther.
I kind of wish I’d enjoyed this episode more than I did. Some of the set up dialogue, especially near the start of the episode, is terrible but the cast is always great and I have enjoyed these characters, more or less, over the past couple of seasons but I want a bit of a kick and a boom for the first ep of a new season. Over all this first new episode back lacked spectacle or bombast. Apart from setting up a mysterious single mum with apparent super strength this episode didn’t feel as though it achieved a great deal other than to set out the playing pieces. Even Supergirl’s hero sequence at the end of the episode felt downbeat and lacked the majesty of previous episode rescues.
I can't not mention Erica Durance, appearing in a couple of dream sequences. It may not have intrigued me that much narratively but I’m excited to see my favourite Lois Lane joining the show.
Fingers crossed Kara can fly out of the doldrums and inject a little of the fun and likability of the first season!