Supergirl: 4.12 Menagerie
Unfortunately, Supergirl is falling back into bad habits with another messy episode.
A big problem this season (and I think has often been the show’s issue in the past) is the sacrifice of character for season arc. While we get a few fun character moments tied into the Valentines day theme, the episode drifts around its season long stories while floundering in a very weak monster of the week A plot.
This week, J’onn is establishing his detective business, which whilst a nice evolve into a more familiar Martian Manhunter doesn’t yet feel like its going anywhere. We’re reminded that Alex hates Valentine’s Day which couples quite nicely with Brainy trying to research the celebration. Unfortunately we also have endure the Brainy/Nia awkward flirty thing full on. I don’t find this relationship cute or interesting – I did at first but its just a little bit forced now. And while Brainy has been slowly growing on me, I still find Nia bland and uninteresting.
The villain this week is Menagerie, evil space snakes that attach themselves to a petty criminal. This feels very Smallville season one and the actress playing Menagerie is a little underwhelming, especially disappointing as it looks like she’ll be sticking around… This is also one of those B-list monsters that seems to be able to somehow beat Supergirl – the snakes almost defeat her at one point calling into question just how super she actually is? This is another example of the often sloppy writing on this show.
Our core characters are all seeming a bit stagnant at the moment. While the ideas of Alex’s personality changing because of losing her memory of Kara/Supergirl is interesting, some of those changes – she’s basically a bigot now – don’t ring true or even make sense. We have Agent Liberty, now free from prison and working with the government, showing vague motivations. Its not entirely clear if he believed he could actually work within the system or had sold out or was just acting wishy-washy because the episode needed it? I also find the way his wife and son have gone full on murder-bigot a bit empty and robs them of any depth.
We send some more time with Nia this week, with her eventually donning a costume to help Supergirl in the finale. This is one of the worst costumes they’ve produced on the show. Its ugly, boxy and over sized. It looks clumpy and awkward and Nia looks starchy and cheap in it, which is a shame. The costumes are such a mixed bag on this show. I’m also finding Nia’s room mate is bordering on offensive – at the very least she’s an unsubtle stereotype whose only purpose is to say Guuuuuuurl! when Nia is feeling down.
The Lena & Jimmy relationship hits yet anther rocky patch,hopefully for good now. Even if you’re a fan of Jaaaaames (which I’m not. At all.) the Lena/James relationship has always been hard to get behind. They’ve been flip-flopping recently between moral high and low ground which has been slow and inconstant. When they finally break up, the scene is slow and emotionless and I found it impossible to get behind. To be honest, after James presented Lena with a creepy portrait of her sleeping I’m not surprised she broke up with him (seriously dude, chill out!).
The second part of this season feels very much like the strands are unraveling and I just hope they can be tied back together in a satisfying way.