After a fairly self-contained return last week, Supergirl focuses back on the main story of Season 2 this week. Namely, having too many story threads going on per episode that it barely feels like story progression is being made and undercuts the emotional beats of the episode. There’s a lot going on in this episode and not all of it is great, so we’ll have some stuff to talk about.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into our Five Thoughts on Supergirl‘s ‘We Can Be Heroes’. Obviously, there will be spoilers down below.
1. Mon-El Steps Up, And Needs A New Tailor
After running around in circles with what to do with Mon-El (will he become a hero and be Supergirl’s partner? will he try to live a normal life on Earth as a bartender? will he try and screw anything on two legs? will he do any combination of these things depending on what the plot of the episode needs?) it seems like the show is finally focused on having Mon-El train to be a hero under Kara’s guidance. You know, exactly where we were like five episodes!
I just need this show to pick a direction for Mon-El and stick with it for a whole episode. Even this episode, his choice to really stick to his superhero training was undercut by the revelation that he’s only doing it to get in Kara’s pants. Because, you know, it’s not like every other male supporting character (other than J’onn) spent the entire first season trying that exact thing. Jeez, it’s just so frustrating.
Either have Mon-El want to be a hero and have to go through the trials and tribulations that Kara went through which will showcase genuine development for Mon-El and show how much Kara has grown since the beginning of the show or do your dumb CW romance plot. Because I know you want to do this dumb romance and it makes no sense because Mon-El has zero personality and there’s no reason Kara should be into him other than looking like a Hollister model. But this is a superhero show. Do the superhero plot.
And, seriously? Give Mon-El a better suit. I know this isn’t NBC and you need things to feel grittier and realistic because you’re rubbing shoulders with Arrow, but there is nothing wrong with Mon-El’s post-“Infinite Crisis” outfit and it looks way better than J’onn’s hand-me-downs and a pair of Gunnar glasses. Oy.
2. Return Of Livewire?
Meanwhile, in what was supposed to be the main plot of the episode, the show for some reason decided that instead of having an episode about Supergirl’s ongoing rivalry with Livewire, it would use Livewire to introduce a nameless, villainous doctor to be the Real Bad Guy for the episode. This episode already has like a hundred different plotlines going on and this Livewire plot was supposed to both be the catalyst for Supergirl, Mon-El and Guardian finally teaming up together as well as, for some reason, put Supergirl and Livewire in almost friendly terms? Because I guess they want Supergirl to have its own version of Flash and Captain Cold’s relationship?
This was utter nonsense. From Kara losing her mind over Livewire’s escape (which I’ll get to), to the replacement Livewires and the introduction of the doctor guy (who, by the way, was not credited so I don’t know who the fuck he was supposed to be) to Supergirl’s sort of truce with Livewire, it felt like this was the original plot of the episode before they tacked on everyone else’s stories and the episode turned into an overcrowded elevator. I have no idea why they went with this direction.
They tried to build up Livewire as Supergirl’s nemesis out of nowhere only to undercut her by having her be held captive by the nameless villain of the episode and then Supergirl decides to let Livewire go in order to save said nameless villain’s life? When she was losing her mind earlier in the episode over how much death and destruction she would cause? The change of heart was neither earned nor really conveyed in a manner that justified it. And just ended the episode on a real flaccid note.Continued below
3. Y’All Are Running At An 11 And I Need You At An 8
I have no idea why, but everyone seems to be bordering on hysterics this episode. From Kara almost losing it in a panic in Livewire’s cell and ripping the corner of a monitor to Winn announcing Livewire to the DEO like it’s a PPV main event to high fiving Mon-El, everyone was either jumping for joy or breaking down in sobs from one minute to the next. James turns his confession to Kara about being Guardian into a fit over Kara trusting Mon-El over a complete stranger as far as she’s concerned. Kara throws her own fit over James being Guardian once she finds out and confronts Mon-El over the fact that he now only wants to be a superhero to get her to bang him.
It was, in a word, exhausting.
I know this is a superhero show on the CW and exaggerated emotion is kind of the name of the game, but something about this episode felt really unearned. Maybe it’s because Livewire breaking out never really felt like a big deal (she can’t just… lift her feet out of the bath?) or at least not big enough for everyone, especially Kara, to react so wildly. It just felt so cartoonish for these characters to react in such an exaggerated fashion for no real reason when this show has otherwise been really good at grounding the fantastical elements of the show with well realised and realistic characters.
4. Guardian: Because Supergirl Needed A Batman
We finally get an episode about Guardian that doesn’t involve him going on a side story into an episode of Arrow and Olsen ruins it because he still wants to bang Kara. I’ve seen places I otherwise respect for the reviews of Supergirl praise this episode for putting the men of the show front and centre and I have to disagree on multiple points. Not only do I think putting the men of the show front and centre of this episode show the disparity of the cast (sure, Kara is the main character, but the majority of the cast overall are men), but it highlights the fact that every man in this show, other than J’onn, wants the same thing: to bang Kara.
James claimed that he became Guardian because he doesn’t want to live in Superman’s shadow, which a) he wasn’t, because he was a highly successful photojournalist and his move to National City proved that and b) how does doing exactly what Superman does remove James from his shadow? But I digress, my point is that if that was really James’ motive, why does he get so defensive when he suggests that Supergirl doesn’t have to work alone to fight Livewire and Kara immediately thinks of Mon-El and not the masked stranger that she has never met?
Because he wants Kara to think of Guardian so he can reveal that he’s Guardian in a grand sweeping gesture that will impress Kara so much that she will fall in love with him and will finally returns the feelings he’s had for her since last season that pretty much tanked his relationship with Lucy. Instead, he gets pissy and defensive because he’s jealous of Mon-El and Kara finds out by accident and gets pissed of at James which he deserves.
But that’s not even getting into the bullshit that was Kara’s response to finding out James is Guardian because apparently Kara wants to be a symbol for everyone that they can change the world, but not in the way that she does it because only aliens and people with superpowers can be heroes now? Despite actively fighting with regular humans against an alien invasion because I guess Kara’s more of a do as I say not as I do kind of hero now? Oh my god, there’s so much shit in this episode I am losing my mind.
5. The Plot This Episode Should Have Focused On
Okay, deep breaths. The bad writing can’t hurt you here, Alice. Even if the rest of the episode wasn’t a jumbled mess, I think this would have been a highlight. It showcases what I think is the show’s secret weapon that it refuses to utilise: David Harewood’s innate sense of empathy. Martian Manhunter is a character built on tragedy and I feel like Harewood is able to tap into that pain and hurt that the character carries with him to really shine and this storyline gave him some of his best moments.Continued below
From the rage he harbours at having his life saved by someone who eradicated his family and his people to the survivor’s guilt that forces him to forgive himself and M’gann and leads to him bringing her back “home”. Sure, what was actually happening to M’gann was ill defined at best and mostly served as an inciting incident to have J’onn reach out to her and mend that bond, but it doesn’t matter when it leads to such a well crafted moment. This is what the rest of the episode was missing: the beginning can be messy and ill defined if it leads to a solid, well conveyed resolution that allows for closure. The rest of the episode ended all its other story threads, of which there were two too many, sloppily and only lead to more conflict. More J’onn, less of… whatever the hell was happening outside of his scenes.