Supergirl: 4.14 Stand and Deliver
Supergirl gives us a heavy handed and sloppy, yet heartfelt, episode that continues to hammer home their allegorical story.
One of the problems this season has had is that the allegories don’t quite have real world, relatable parallels. The season kicked off well but the deeper we get into the story the weaker the allegory gets. The aliens in this world don’t provide a strong one-to-one metaphor for real life oppressed groups, Kara often talks about normal aliens just living their lives but every alien we get to see has some kind of super power; there’s just no direct satisfying allegory to latch on to.
The episode pretty much revolves around a protest rally, organized by Brainy under a fake online name. Ben Lockwood is planning an anti alien protest and so Brainy's peaceful pro alien protest is organized in return. Throw into the mix Manchester Black and things get messy. When Black and his cohorts attack the protests things go south quickly but Supergirl saves the day, allowing for some anti alien protesters to re-think things a little. This is mainly shown through Quentin, a character who initially treats Supergirl with warmth and thanks, stating she’s not like those other aliens.
We then see him at the protest shouting anti alien rhetoric. This is a nice character moment to explore, the way the right (and people in general) justify their prejudice by choosing their own ambassadors; Quentin doesn’t think he hates aliens, he just hates those bad aliens. Of course its all a little trite and easy that, one rescue later, he actually starts to reconsider his whole belief system but hay, this is basically a kid's show and the heroes always prevail.
This really is a bit of a filler episode, it only serves to reiterate points that the show has been making all season without bringing anything new to the table. J’onn and his obsession with Manchester continues to fester while not going anywhere. When Black’s team are all captured and the attack on Lockwood’s protest fizzles out, J’onn just kind of lets Manchester run off vowing to get him next time. David Harewood is great and has really been good this season but I feel like there is a lot of forced narrative for his character and outside of his performance. I don’t find his current journey that believable or natural.
Nia continues to be irritating… I mean integrated, into the team this week. There are some fun moments of her going a bit Batman as she tried to find her feet as a super hero but I’m still finding her oh my gosh adorkableness irritating and irrelevant. There are some nice moments, Supergirl deciding to stand with the protesters at least has its heart in the right place but its all a bit been there done that. Things do get a bit naff when, during the chaos of the Manchester Black’s attack on both protests, Michael Andrews and Gary Jules’ cover of Mad World starts playing. This is a pretty over used song which just feels cheesy and cheap, though I guess it’s a sort of emotional short hand? Its probably felt more disingenuous to me having had a rather cringy use of Stuck in the Middle with You earlier in the episode. Its all a bit on the nose.
A weird little side story is Jaaaames decided to get back to his journalistic roots and head to the protest to take pictures. This jarred for a lot of reasons; the whole thing is very pretentious, with Jimbo harping on about great photo’s capturing the great moments of history – this has the effect of making Jimmy’s motivations a little muddled. While we get he’s perhaps trying to cleanse himself after, you know, breaking every ethical code he is supposed to live by when he suppressed a story about his girlfriend, you can’t help feeling that he only goes to take pictures that he thinks might be important or get famous. Why didn’t he let someone else, a newbie maybe, take the photos? Someone else who, perhaps, could do with taking a powerful image to help their career – Jimmy doesn’t need it. Also, his picture is rubbish.
This was a clunky and on the nose padding episode, even with its obvious good intentions, that does little to progress the main story or characters and serves to ever remind us that this show should have half as many episodes.
Oh, on the plus side, James gets shot at the end so… my fave episode so far this season?