Welcome back all you Supergirl fans. After last week’s poor writers’ decision to annul a two-day old marriage, we get some back to basics familial bonding in an episode that I hesitate to call good but, considering what this could’ve been, I’ll fall on that side of the coin. Ok, enough vagaries, let’s get down to business and as always, some spoilers are ahead.
1. Modern Day Minimalism
Going into this week, I wasn’t sure what type of story we’d be getting out of the show. Would it be a straight up flashback? Would it be all present-day problem solving or would it be some combination ala Arrow? We got the former and I think this was the best solution to the problems that the Danvers sisters were having. Any amount of modern day arguments would have come across as weak and hypocritical on Kara’s part while also being shallow.
Alex needs to grieve the end of her marriage over something extremely silly and fixable and…ok, I’ll stop. We’ve moved on. But the sentiment still stands. While by the end of the episode “all is fixed,” it’s apparent that Kara and Alex will continue to carry their scars forwards, even though they no longer need to keep them hidden.
Also, present-day Alex was totally correct when has her opening rant at Kara, though she was much meaner than she should have been. Kara is not better than she was six months ago, at least not to the extant that she pretends to be, so when Alex touches on that, she closes herself off and stops trying to help Alex. Kara tends to recess into herself whenever things get too hard emotionally and looks for an easy solution, she does have these superpowers after all.
It’s a good character moment while also pointing out the flaws that the writers of her seem to have; they refuse to let Kara grow as a person. She’s the same now than she was back in season one, only now she’s a little more confidant as Supergirl. But as Kara, she hasn’t really changed all that much and Alex knows that. Alex is lashing out, true, but that doesn’t mean that what she says is any less true.
2. Smallville, Supergirl Style
Is it bad that I wanted to have a Smallville style version of this show after watching this episode? Maybe it’s just because of Kara’s lack of legitimate growth but I really want to see more of teenage Kara and her learning to manage her powers and hiding them while also growing as a person and adjusting to life on Earth. This was a glimpse into that world and I think that could’ve been an interesting way to take the show.
Or they could’ve done it like the first couple seasons of Arrow or like how Psych used its cold open flashback to set up a central concept for each episode. These are just thoughts, not sure if any of them would have fit what the creators actually wanted but hey, it’s a fun thought experiment.
Quick thought, they really did an outstanding job of finding child actors that both looked like younger versions of Kara and Alex but also got the intonation and body language as them. Like, if you were to tell me they had motion captured the older actresses’ faces and used that to create these actually lifelike children, I would believe you. This doesn’t mean their performances were perfect though.
The scene where Kara breaks Kenny’s house while the police are in the middle of interrogating Mr. and Mrs. Lee, is probably the most wooden scene I’ve seen this season, and that’s counting episode one. I don’t know why but Kara’s actress just had no emotions at all in that scene, which was jarring as hell as she was just giving a pretty decent performance before that.
4. Stock Characters
While the main two child characters were great (and so was Kenny), the rest of the cast was a little flat in terms of characterization and acting. The bullies were stock football bullies (who acted in ways that we really have got to stop falling back on as default bully), the mean girls were your basic mean girls, your history teacher started as your basic, snarky TV teacher and then became a creepy reminder of how many young teachers fail to understand power dynamic (or understand them too well) and get into a relationship with a student. Yeah, that happens and it is something that is just kind of brushed over by the characters.Continued below
Granted, there was a murder but it still doesn’t sit well with me. While this episode of Supergirl might not be the right place to handle such a heavy topic, since it’s already so packed with narrative drive, it was glossed over too much.
Having gone to, unfortunately, a school where this happened, this is not at all how something like this would have shaken out. This could have been an opportunity for Supergirl to do some depth of storytelling and, if they wanted to, they could’ve made this a two-episode special. What happened to those? I miss those.
So, this might only be me but I had a very tough time actually placing the time period that this episode took place in. I assumed it was 2007, since it was ten years ago from today, but the age of the Danvers sisters as well as Alex’s friend Josie was very nebulous. Based on my napkin math, they should be 17, which places them as Juniors in high school but there was just something about the characters that felt too young for that. Their dialogue seemed too simple and, while they seemed mature, they didn’t feel older. Maybe I’m just way too used to seeing older actresses playing younger characters.
I was really only hit by this because of Josie line about how in 5 years she’ll be 17 and I hope to god I heard that wrong and she meant to say 5 weeks/days/months because otherwise that makes her 12 and that’s even more creepy for the plot of the episode. I think this was on me but it confused me the whole time.
Alright, it’s time for me to sign off for the week. Were there things I missed this week? Tell us in the comments and join me next time as we see the return of someone special from that weird, generic looking ship from a few episodes ago – Mon-El. Yuck.