Supergirl: 4:22 The Quest for Peace
So here we are, the Supergirl season finale! And it’s a bit of a mixed bag, just like the season itself.
This episode moves at pretty breakneck speed. It opens with the USA hailing Lex a great hero of the people after he saved them from the Kaznian attack. This is shown with a series of flashbacks from the previous 24 hours showing his plan fall into place. The sequence of attack and Lex’s triumph ends up being set to My Way and while this is pretty on the nose, it starts out cheesy but reaches an appropriate level of bombast. This Lex is far more crazy eyed than any we’ve seen before. It works fine for this show/universe but I’m not sure how sustainable it is.
We get an eventual showdown between Lex and Supergirl; he obviously has his fake super powers but also his mech suit, while Lena sets Supergirl up with her own mech suit. But while this allows some nice nods to the conics, once they go head to head it’s all a little underwhelming. I think the biggest issue the finale has, apart lack of narrative cohesion, is a weakness in how it’s directed.
James and Lockwood also go head to head in this in the finale which was kind of a disappointing end for Lockwood - this season started so well with such a strong villain with a warped sense of righteousness, Lockwood’s decent into villainy was tragic and believable and even highlighted how the left can too often ignore the plight of the right, leading to people pushing further and further into right wing extremes. There was a lot going on a lot to like but the show couldn’t help but slip into predictable and unsubtle allegory, especially after it’s mid season break, shifting focus first to Manchester Black who was oddly realised and poorly used, before making its full focus on Lex Luthor. Ben Lockwood got shifted to the sidelines and here in the finale he ends up little more than a sidekick fighting a sidekick.
The idea that both Jimbo and Lockwood inject each other with the cure at the same time is goofy but I guess it works in resetting the status quo and it leaves Lockwood to brood for a few months and try again next season. Sam Witwer has been as asset to the show so I hope they bring him back and utilise him a little more.
With Lena now knowing Kara’s secret it looks like they may finally be about to shift Lena into villain role. I really hope they don’t and that the integrity of her character and performance is allowed to remain. Friend turned foe is an over used trope and the idea of Lena becoming the big bad (unable to fight her family’s legacy) would be boring and uninspiring. I’m hoping for a period of resentment followed by a reconciliation and understanding.
We finally see Alex get together with Jimmy’s weird sister, another relationship I’m not especially on board with. I do feel like the show has a trend to really push relationships together, the only time they created what felt like a true, natural and engaging relationship was Alex and Maggie. I find myself harking back to the approach and sensibilities of the first two seasons a lot.
The Brainy turns evil plot line was wasted when he basically became good again thanks to his love for Nia. We could have explored an amoral Brainy plotline in a far more interesting way than a 'Lena goes bad she’s a Luthor' plotline. His return to normal is dealt with so quickly, we don’t get any chance for the bad Brainy persona and actions to soak in.
Red Daughter has been one of the mildest, most vanilla parts of the season. Some potential for exploring the nature of Supergirl and her role in America and the American ideal was hinted at but it just fizzled as a light good v bad but she’s not really bad she was just lied to by bad people plotline. Her dying at Lex’s hand to save Supergirl then being absorbed by Kara was a bit weird. You can see where the show is coming from but it wasn’t as touching or spiritual as they’d hoped.
We’re left with one of the shows trademark, cringey everyone hanging out scenes (at least they don’t all hang out at that damn bar anymore) where we see Lena joining them and apparently playing nice. We also have a montage of on the nose moment with each characters to set up the next season. We know the Arrowverse is doing Crisis next season but I’m not as excited as I thought I might be.
I find that this show repeatedly fluffs the landing with its finales. After a solid start to the season I was liking the direction things took, but it just lurched off in another direction, especially with almost pointless Manchester Black and the distracting Lex Luthor plot lines. This season kept bubbling with potential but quickly went off the boil and I’ll be honest, I don’t know if it’s the best idea to evoke the title of what was the worst of the Reeve Superman films but whatever guys.
I keep coming back to the same criticism/suggestion: shorter seasons. Less Jimmy. And bring back Cat.