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Supergirl Review - When Spots Become Stripes

Written by  Published October 25, 2016 11:12
It has been a glorious start to the second season of Supergirl. With the big bang two-part premiere over and Superman back to Metropolis, it is time to lay the flesh on the skeleton created the previous two weeks. While episode 3 is still clearly setting up the new season it is here, more than the premiere the real seeds for what is to come are sown. Last week, we established the overall theme of this season to be change and the consequences of gaining your own voice and we said goodbye to Cat Grant. This week we delve into a plethora of Easter Eggs, new characters - beloved and well-known - as well as explore the themes and content of Welcome To Earth.

Did Supergirl stand up straighter after her cousin’s visit? Did the creative team take the launch and make it special or did the third episode fall flat? How does Kara find a voice as strong as Supergirl? How does each character reflect the changes they are going through and where are they taking us on this journey – simple theme driven sci-fi or political metaphor or both?

That’s why we are here,

So, let’s get this monkey smoking…

 

***********SPOILERS GALORE**** LIKE RAISINS IN BROWNIES****SPOILERS GALORE****

 

THE SYNOPSIS from TVGuide.com
Season 2, Episode 3
October 24, 2016
Welcome to Earth

Kara fears the recently escaped Mon-El is behind an attack on the president, who Supergirl and the DEO have been assigned to protect; at the same time, the hot-button issue of aliens vs. human rights divides National City.

What They Didn’t Tell You

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First of all, this episode debuts a ton of famous comics’ characters and they start with Detective Maggie Sawyer, eases into several cameos in the alien bar and ends with Mon-El and Ms. Martian but it is the way they are introduced as catalysts of change that complete this episode. With J’onn J’onzz the Martian Manhunter he finds that he is not the last living Martian and this will change everything he thought he knew of himself and of the Earth. Ms. Martian is also the ex-lover of Maggie Sawyer who has become what appears to be a new love interest in Alex Danvers, who allows Maggie to show her the softer side of the alien immigrants in National City. They then work together to track and take down Red Hot. Meanwhile the president, played by Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, works to make tolerance and acceptance of aliens to be the new normal, but Kara cannot see her own prejudice in the form of her treatment of the Daxamite, Mon-El (whom readers of the comics know as a member of the Legion of Superheroes) and her subsequent distrust of his species.

However, when he is cleared then the hero Kara really is inside coming out and she makes a new friend. Snapper Carr is an insufferable jerk, but he is a perfect newsman for Kara to learn under – if he could stop walking all over the new boss’ toes. The new boss – Jimmy Olsen is looking for his voice and uses Kara to help him find it by showing how inspiring she is without trying. This leads Jimmy to put Snapper in his place. Lena Luthor invents a device to test aliens among the population much to Kara’s loathing.

THE BREAKDOWN

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If the thematic direction of Supergirl is change and these new characters serve as the catalysts, it stands to reason that the second season is hoping to payoff from the growth it creates. If this is indeed the aim of the creative team from producer to catering is off to a phenomenal measure of accomplishing it already. Embracing the change to cast and network has been fully embraced.

Once change is embraced it becomes powerful in its application and more than anything else embracing change removes the fear. It allows stories to grow in ways not so chained y preplanning and reason. This harkens well for Supergirl because while writing without fear can lead to rabbit holes and absurdity, with this show it makes the world interesting. It seems now that they are on CW the cast and crew of Supergirl have dived right into classic comic book tropes unapologetically much like her Flash and Legends counterparts on the other nights of the week.

So like with last season, the theme stays the same and each character experiences the theme simultaneously in parallel but unique ways. But the secondary theme for this week was prejudice. In fact, Supergirl crossed into a realm few superhero shows used to venture into and fewer still have done as well – politics. The female president-elect (dressed like Mrs. Clinton and all), the “Alien Amnesty Act” and the cultural themes of racism, elitism and empathy are all explored in a clear metaphor for today’s political landscape. This includes a scathing indictment on the current American “news industry” in the form of Snapper Carr screaming about bias in Kara’s article on Lena.

But this isn’t preachy and it isn’t choosing specific political sides. It is all about perspective in this episode. It is about empathy with Alex, it is about fear to the aliens and it is about prejudice in our flagship hero who must learn to let go of the hate in order to serve out of love. The presidential narrative aside we see a real attempt to make Supergirl relevant in a world of super powered people and they are doing it on a human level. Supergirl has found her voice and Kara is hot on her heels.

THE VERDICT

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Supergirl has added a layer of depth to both the story narrative and to the characters themselves since launching on the CW. There is real artistic meat inside the flying and punching. The story itself is more intricate and thematically sophisticated than last year and is worthy of praise. With the appearance of Ms. Martian and Mon-El, hope for a Young Justice or Legion episode in the future looms llike a carrot ready to drop at any time and this is the least of the hope that goes to the viewer of this show.

It seems the long rumored character to be announced as gay will be Alex and that Maggie may be her love interest. There is also great expectation in the form of Lena Luthor who will turn out to be the series greatest villain.

Tell the monkey to crush his butt…

Steve DAMM

DAMM is the proud father of two beautiful daughters. As one of ENR's founders and passionate comics' lover, he is committed to bringing you fair but passionate reviews as well as breaking news without the overreaction. A Colorado born curmudgeon, comic purist and pop culture crusader, he's on a mission to make new readers aware of the legends who came before in an in-depth way, how they changed comics and why the Silver Age is the most important era to modern American art (comic, commercial & fine). His opinionated style and audacious boldness making him a must read. As a reviewer, opinion columnist and con reporter his objective is the acquisition of truth, justice and the American comic book way, though he's been known to pursue foreign comics voraciously too. A champion for the creator-owned, a proponent for Indies and intolerant of towing corporate lines DAMM brings praise to those who deserve it and lays out the bad news without pretention.

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