Supergirl: 4:04 Ahimsa
Last week was a bonafide, great episode of Supergirl. Of course not every episode can take the same format and approach as last week’s. As a viewer who was getting very bored with the show, last week was a welcome jump up in quality and this week was, almost inevitably, going to have trouble maintaining it.
This is a slightly boring episode to be honest. With the atmosphere saturated with Kryptonite, Supergirl is restricted to a protective suit while Lena and Braniac try to fix things. J’onn is off searching for his missing friend, Fiona, while Mercy, Agent Liberty and Otis are working on some kind of alien mind control device.
The most interesting development this week is the introduction of Manchester Black. Manchester Black is a fairly recent but popular addition to the Superman world. I’m not the biggest fan of the character, he suffers a little from being a very outdated American view of a Brit, all 80’s punk and dropped H’s. I can’t quite decide how I feel about him here. David Ajala seems likeable enough but the character doesn’t quite match up with the comic character (no purple hair, though he gets his Union Flag t-shirt by the episode end); this is obviously a bit of an origin story or sorts. His accent, though, is a weird mish-mash. David Ajala is British but here he has a slight London accent with an odd twinge of Manchester? He’s also been introduced as an ally to J’onn, which kind of made it obvious that things would go south and send him on a darker path.
Jaaaaames has a side story this week; he desperately wants to get back in his Guardian suit and get back on the street. This is the last thing I want to see, I hoped we’d put Guardian to bed for now. This plot has a slightly awkward moment when Jimbo has a heart to heart with Nia and James actually refers to himself as a hero. This was a pretty clunky scene, with Nia trying to talk James out of going back out as Guardian. It also starts to feel like we’ve got too many characters floating around now; Jaaaames and Nia don’t really add anything to the overall story.
Of course, when J’onn and Manchester track down the missing Fiona and the DEO head off to save her, Supergirl is called into action despite being confined to her suit and only able to use limited power. The actual finale is an odd sequence that’s sort of flat but quite dramatic and has a few good lines. Inevitably, Fiona gets fridged in order to develop Manchester, which is a bit disappointing from this show. Mercy and Otis also get killed which was a bit sudden and felt slightly wasted. Although Otis being taken out half way through saying “Welcome to Otisburg…” was a fun line.
Jimbo, of course, turns up at the last moment in his Guardian get up. The fall out from this is that he inadvertently becomes a poster boy for the anti-alien movement, which is an interesting angle to take the character down (since we aren’t offloading him). This is a slightly wishy-washy episode after last week's very strong entry and the show is suffering from too many characters and narratives slipping around each other. We’re only a few episodes in but I still feel like we should be tighter than this by now.
Pre-credits we get a glimpse of the Russian Supergirl (who was being protected from the Kryptonite atmosphere) getting back to her training once the atmosphere is clear again. I have to be honest, this isn’t a plot strand I’m especially engaged with. The strongest story element this week was Alex dealing with running the DEO and her insecurities at the failures she was suffering. Hers was the most interesting and relatable struggle and I hope the little pep talk from J’onn isn’t the last we’ll see of her dealing with the extra responsibility of he new job.
Not a bad episode but the show is still flailing its arms a bit…