Supergirl: 5.05 Dangerous Liaisons
We open with a TV advert of Andrea giving a speech for her new VR tech. A perfectly fine way to introduce us to the ideas and let us know the device is launching worldwide but the budget of the show doesn’t allow for a very interesting VR world. Andrea stood in a field with a few extras in stock costumes doesn’t really sell a world of wonder, not when I can put a VR headset on now and fly round the globe in Google Maps, fight a dragon or literally be Batman.
Kara now wants to help William in his mission to uncover Andrea’s plans. The jump from office douche antagonist to investigative partner and potential love interest has been a speedy jump even for this show. Staz Nair is likeable enough but William is so bland there’s nothing much to get from him. It’s like a Hollyoaks character has wondered on set and just started joining in.
A new villain turns up causing havoc, Rip Roar. It turns out that Rip Roar killed William’s best mate and now William wants justice! There is a scene where Kara and William are snooping around Andreas office looking for clues, Kara uses her x-ray vision to search the office and finds a secret safe with some handy and convenient clues inside. When William quizzes her on how she found it she just says she got lucky but she could have said Lena or Jimmy used to have a bunch of secret cupboards or something? It really annoyed me that she had a better, believable cover story available and didn’t use it. I’m not sure by the end of the episode if William is on an undercover assignment for THE TIMES OF LONDON (as they all call it) or if he's gone rogue on a mission of revenge? I think maybe it’s a bit of both?
Rip Roar and the mysterious Old Lady we keep seeing have hatched a plan to melt some icecaps and cause a world wide tsunami but Supergirl and J’onn manage to mostly stop it leaving just a little bit of Tsunami headed for where Kelly is having lunch. Kelly and Alex are having some kind of anniversary, I honestly couldn’t make out what they kept calling it, a date-iversery or month-iversery or I don’t know? Not a real one, a silly, cutsey marking small milestones one. While I'm a cynic in life who disapproves of anniversaries that aren’t actual anniversaries, it does show that Kelly and Alex are on the same page, romantically, that they’re both into cutesy rubbish. I imagine Kelly will embrace Valentines day in a way Maggie never did. That’s if they last that long. When Kelly snaps put of her VR state to casually see Alex saving people from a tsunami, it triggers her into thinking about her previous girlfriend who died during active service. I suspect a little down the line the danger of Alex’s job may become too much for Kelly?
I don’t really enjoy Alex in her relationship with Kelly. While I’m not a fan of Kelly as a character, this is less about anti-shipping and more to do with how she acts in this relationship. When Alex got together with Maggie we were presented with a lot of really interesting ideas. Someone new to a same sex relationship, someone new to being cared about properly plus the dynamic of Alex being uber-romantic and Maggie being the opposite. There was a lot of interesting stuff and it was fun to watch Alex change and adapt. With Kelly she just feels quite simpering, almost a little possessive. Everything is about how great Kelly is, how much she wants to protect her and look after her. I can’t tell if there is a depth to be explored in this portrayal, a readjustment or if it’s just how she’s written now? I just want Alex to be happy; she needs to find a nice Sara Lance type to settle down with!
Part of the conceit is that people are so distracted by their VR contact lenses they aren’t aware of the world and dangers around them. While I get this is full of allegory and the lenses will be part of some nefarious plot down the line I’m sure, this is yet another stretch too far. Contemporary home VR systems have safety measures in place to stop you punching walls or wondering out into the road and I don’t believe that a system as apparently advanced as this one wouldn’t have a fail safe to protect people.
Dreamer is instrumental in stopping the tsunami, I’m still a little unclear on Dreamer's power set but it seems to do the job here. Her relationship with Brainy isn’t as on the rocks as it looked last week, they’re just trying to figure stuff out I guess. I don’t think the show can take too many break ups otherwise none of the core cast will be talking to each other by the season finale!
Through their investigations, Kara and William discover that William's best mate who was also Andrea’s ex, wasn’t killed but is, in fact, Rip Roar. During some flashback scenes and a moment where J’onn searches Rip Roar’s disserted flat, I found it hard to tell where they were meant to be; William and his mate are English and we see them in a pub drinking pints but the flat is clearly American, with US style sockets and light switches. A Union Flag on the wall doesn’t hide the fact.
Lena continues her plan to neutralise all the world's violent thoughts this week by conducting further tests on Malefic. He agrees to help her in return for her unlocking the part of his brain that makes it impossible for him to murder his brother. She agrees but reneges on the deal once she’d got what she needs form him. In fairness, as she points out, he was pretty dumb if he thought she’d help him kill someone since her work is entirely based on eradicating people’s ability to kill. I feel like they’re now pushing too hard on Lena’s bad actions, good motive strand. I’m sure things will all go wrong and she’ll be forgiven while Kara also asks to be forgiven for driving her to such actions but its all a bit thick and listless and I still find what she’s done to Eve/Hope horrific.
I suspect the main plots might get put on hold soon to make way for Crisis on Infinite Earths, which is looming fast. I do like that unlike the other Arrow shows this season, Supergirl and its characters are absolutely unaware of the impending Crisis. In the meantime, we’ve been given another slow episode with no clearly defines characters and uninteresting mystery. Supergirl really needs to pull its boots up!