Robert Turnbull catches up on this week’s episode.
This week’s episode sees Supergirl, Alex and Lena on the trail of Eve Teschmacher while J’onn comes to terms with killing Manchester Black.
While I’d hoped for something of an exploration of Eve’s character and a look at who she was and is, the episode doesn’t actually do much in terms of developing her. Our heroes, who are really looking for Lex, try to trace her via some family members and assertion she’s regarded as a good, helpful person by her family. But other than paying lip service to a few background details, we really don’t get much insight into Eve at all. It’s a shame as I’d like to see – and think the show is capable of delivering – a stand-alone episode showing us Eve’s path from childhood, high school and collage all the way through to Lena and Lex.
My regular complaint about Supergirl is that the seasons are too long, a few more of the backstory episodes like the ones dedicated to Ben Lockwood and Lex Luthor or the Danver Girls at school flashback episode, might prove to be an engaging way to keep the pace of the show moving as well as improving on the format a little?
We get to see J’onn question his recent actions via the manifestation of his father in a sort of ghost/memory/projection scenario. It’s sort of all in his head but sort of really his dad as well. It’s great to see Carl Lumbly back and the scenes between him and David Harewood are great but J’onn’s whole journey this season has been disjointed and a bit messy. Maybe this episode manages to redress that slightly. It felt like J’onn was presented with some quite sudden conflicts and his struggle against violence has never quite rung true. I feel like we might be getting towards a far more zen Manhunter now and, as much as I really liked the show’s introduction and interpretation of the character, I’m happy to see him slowly inching closer to his comics counterpart.
The bad guys are still being bad, with Lex on the run staying one step ahead of everyone. The first phase of his plan comes to fruition when his Supergirl-clone smashes up the White House, framing the real Supergirl. Human/alien relations being as strained as they are, people are far more willing to turn on poor old Kara.
The Ben Lockwood storyline which was this season’s initial strength seems to be getting lost in the mix now. There is a lot going on this season; Lockwood, Manchester Black, Russian Supergirl and Lex are all vying for bad guy attention, not to mention the corrupt President and Colonel Haley. While Lex has been shown to have been pulling some strings from the start it feels like the focus has been jumping between Lockwood, Manchester and Lex and it hasn’t always provided a satisfying story arc, though episode by episode have been stronger in general.
After a strong Lex focused previous episode, this week unfortunately felt like another time filler that only pushed very small elements of the story and character development forward. There is a nice moment in a scene between Supergirl and Lena, after the former discovers the latter made the Huren-el which gave Lex powers both women call each other out over their behavior and Supergirl opens up about the burden and fears she feels looking after a Supermanless world. This seems to (petty quickly) resolve a lot of their resentments towards each other and allows for some decent character work with both.
While The Flash is very much a team adventure show, Legends of Tomorrow a goofy fantasy and Arrow the angsty one, Supergirl has tried to set itself up as both fun, inspiring AND politically minded. In some ways Supergirl has made a rod for its own back by pursuing these heavier social issues, not because they shouldn’t be tackled but because too often the writing hasn’t been strong enough to carry the themes over without coming off as cheesy or even at times a little juvenile in its simplicity. It should be lauded for tackling these subjects in a kid friendly forum where it can help educate but it too often does it in a weak, muddled way so that at times the message isn’t always clear. When it gets it right though, it really gets it right.
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