Last week I said I’d either write about Incredibles 2 or Supergirl next. Well the coin landed scarred side up! Is your body ready to be utterly disappointed by spoilers down, down, & away?
Odette Annable is great at making Samantha Arias & Reign feel like distinct characters. She’s a compelling victim/villainess. LCorp CEO Sam is likable enough that I wasn’t completely rooting for her illness allegory to win. Reign was underwhelming as just another evil Kryptonian until she absorbed the additional powers of the other Worldkillers, yet her deeds still felt small scale compared to her purpose. Where’s the international rampages? She is undercut by being a tool of Selena instead of having full agency. Sometimes she has has a moral code against killing innocents? The problem with her arc, much like The Flash’s Killer Frost’s, is that any momentum was thwarted by repeatedly turning Reign off & on again. Otherwise she’s exactly what Supergirl’s rogues gallery sorely lacks: an intimidating supervillainess with a snazzy costume. Her authoritarian streak brings to mind a dominatrix, which makes it ironic that Sam masochistically submits to electroshocks trying to get rid of her. (Would these two hit it off if they weren’t vying for the same lifeforce?)
Reign is the rare villain who’s proven herself to be a legitimutant threat to Supergirl, yet oddly the series doesn’t capitalize on this. After their initial epic slobberknocker, Supergirl treats her like a glorified freak of the week. It doesn’t help that Reign’s goals were so ill-defined that they don’t contrast Kara’s character more than the average Kryptonian conqueror. Sam & Lena spend the most time interacting with Reign so it feels like she’s actually their arch-nemesis instead of the title character’s. Kara should not be more preoccupied with a love triangle than someone whose job title is Worldkiller.
Worldkiller worldbuilding is inconsistent. Reign is magically genetically modified Kryptonian whose pregnancy caused her powers to be dormant. There’s no explanation why Purity’s & Pestilence’s powers manifested so late (or why the DEO missed all three pods). Shouldn’t Ruby Arias have alien hybrid powers? It’s underwhelming none of the Worldkillers resemble monsters. Lena says Samantha’s & Reign’s DNA gets shunted into another dimension along with their personality when the other takes over, but Sam was bulletproof before the Reign persona emerged. Humans could be turned into Worldkillers with a Kryptonitan space rock? Once the same rock is used to cleave Sam & Reign, Reign can be reconstituted separately but requiring the other Worldkiller’s blood despite having already absorbed their essences? Rather than literally live up to their name, Worldkillers are supposed to terraform Earth for Kryptonians (even though it’s already extremely habitable) by stabbing the planet’s core with a sword? If they didn’t know Argo would survive Krypton’s destruction, why didn’t they send the magic sword in one of the Worldkiller’s pods? Was the witches’ masterplan different before they found out Argo would survive? Many of these plotholes could be related to
having too many episodes & not enough planning or budget production issues that clearly weren’t resolved while Legends of Tomorrow took over its time slot.
This is the only CW DC series that has supervillainess Big Bads, which is sexist. The baddies are High Priestess Selena (an homage to the Supergirl movie?) & her fellow Witches of Juru. (After discussing how Selena’s house must have a secret back entrance, Kara instantly opens it by pressing the giant doorbell on the front.) We don’t learn anything about their religion except that they’re persecuted for worshiping Juru & making convoluted schemes. Aside from the incomprehensible Valley of Juru dimension, their magic was both inconsequential & underused. Why not make them acolytes of Cythonna, the eternal enemy of Rao who resembles Killer Frost? Krypton got dibs on her instead? (Some people tell me the political allegory is good, but I’d prefer to see it in a Hawkworld series where it’d feel more appropriate. I also don’t give a pair of dingo’s kidneys about Krypton before it exploded.)
Mon-El’s got the most generic powers of the Legion of Superheroes, so of course he’s the one they focus on. In overcompensating for his chauvinism last season, they’ve made him even duller. Any goodwill this might’ve engendered is undermined when he realizes making everything Kara does about him is selfish but does so anyway. The bigamist is so sad he had a second arranged marriage to another wonderful woman. At least Mon-El has his LOSH costume finally. With the missing shield, it looks like Superman’s suit turned inside out in the wash. I resent him teaching Kara cape tricks since she’s been proficient with her cape previously & could ask her cousin for pointers. Hurrah for him departing the show.
Although he resembles a teal Christopher Lambert (redesign that makeup instead of eschewing it), Brainiac 5 is my favorite of the limited supply of Legionnaires. (We really need to talk to The CW about what qualifies as a legion.) He’s massively smug about his intellect, yet Jesse Rath manages to make him charming. Of course with Winn & Lena already being the show’s resident geniuses (who should get more scenes to commiserate over having evil parents, of which this series has plenty), his supposed super-genius doesn’t stand out that much. Winn even invents the forcefield belt Brainiac 5 is known for. They’re swapping him for Winn next season due to the machinations of implied Brainiac 1.0, but I wager Pulsar Stargrave is responsible because of of DC ‘s odd embargoes & his pretty great name.
Since she killed a bunch of White Martian this season, Supergirl is such a hypocrite about Saturn Girl wanting to kill Pestilence to spare the lives of millions in the future. (Did Pestilence scratch all those pigeons?) I expected killing Pestilence would be what causes The Blight that ravages the future. When Reign absorbs her powers, however, Brainiac 5 says The Blight’s threat has been totally neutralized? Saturn Girl deserves better than to have to put up with Mon-El as a husband. (She’s supposed to be married to Lightning Lad anyway.)
Lena & Kara drama is contrived. Supergirl was Lena’s staunchest defender so it’s unbelievable she suddenly doesn’t trust her with Kryptonite. I can understand the show not doing Supercorp, but flushing two seasons of awesome friendship down the drain is no way to make the dull romances they picked endearing. It’s absurd that Kara refuses to tell Lena her secret identity when the whole DEO knows. At least Lena got to call out her hypocrisy in an elevator. The finale tries to foreshadow Lena turning evil because she’s experimenting with space rocks, which is preposterous since she’s continuously subverted negative Luthor preconceptions with her altruistic nobility. Give us The Bachelorette: Lena Luthor edition instead!
The Winn/James & Lena/Sam scenes in “Of Two Minds” were way more passionate than any James/Lena scene. I don’t understand how this show makes friendships so romantic & actual romances so flat. Out of all the possibilities, they somehow only paired up the actors with the least chemistry together.
The Supergirl worshiping cult was a cool idea with lousy execution. It’s common knowledge the she’s weakened by Kryptonite, so why would they disband when they observe she’ll bleed under its influence? Since the cult was about gratitude for Supergirl saving lives, why would they switch devotion to Reign who has the same weakness & only murders? Why does the hologram Selena want Thomas Coville around when she knows Krypton’s ancient religions firsthand? I was expecting he’d be undermining Reign’s outfit from the inside to pay Supergirl back, but nope.
Revealing Argo City survived Krypton’s destruction should’ve been a momentous occurrence, but the show felt bored by its own twist. Recasting Supergirl’s mom with Erica Durance doesn’t work (she’s only a decade older than Benoist), especially if Argo City didn’t spend decades within the Phantom Zone like Kara’s pod did. (Or do Kryptonians not age even when not exposed to our sun?) Argo itself is a desaturated Renaissance faire with flying robots. Even Alura & Kara don’t seem as overjoyed by the reunion as expected. Kara neglected tell her cousin about it. Argo either needed to be introduced much earlier or preferably not at all.
Kara being overjoyed about getting to be herself on Argo would have more impact if her Kara Danvers persona was more distinct than her Supergirl one. Showing us more CatCo scenes would’ve helped, but this show doesn’t care about CatCo anymore. Even CatCo secretary Eve Tessmacher is now a genius scientist working LCorp. I’m fine with ditching CatCo but they need to have have Kara quit to work full time at the DEO so it’s no longer a background distraction. James is the only vestige of a connection to CatCo left, & he’s been spending more time at the DEO too. (I wish we had Steel, either John Henry Irons or Natasha Irons, instead of Guardian.) It doesn’t need to be a cover version of Superman’s status quo.
Carl Lumbly, former voice of Martian Manhunter, is great as J’onn’s dad, M’yrnn J’onzz. His Martian Alzheimer’s plot gives him & David Harewood plenty of bittersweet scenes but it also feels a bit of a distraction to keep Martian Manhunter from overshadowing Kara. (That’s Mon-El’s job!) It doesn’t help that they barely appear in their natural alien forms. Zook should’ve been real too.
After J’onn’s stance against guns & Kara’s against Kryptonite, pragmatic Alex disrespectfully busts out the Kryptonite bullets. Sadly she didn’t get the honor of shooting Reign with Kryptonite from a Gatling gun after she strolled through an homage to Superman’s deleted gauntlet scene at the Luthor mansion. Her inner Buffy was keen to harvest giant wooden stakes in the Valley of Juru. Did they outsource Cosmic Boy’s role to Alex’s spiffy magnetic suit?
Maglex Sanvers wedding was cancelled due to Alex’s sudden desire to have kids. It was telegraphed so hard since the season’s start that she’d be adopting Ruby after Sam dies that I still hear the dot-dashes, yet none of that transpires? Alex & Sam seemed to get along well in their limited scenes together, so why not have them raise Ruby as a couple? J’onn tricked her into taking on his responsibly as head of the DEO (Whither Lucy Lane?), so she’s never going to have time to date or adopt. It’s unclear whether Sam & Ruby will return next season or never be mentioned again.
After multiple Reign delays this year, the finale barely serves up any spectacle. When Reign finally gets to
worldkilling terraforming, it’s easily kiboshed before the first commercial break. M’yrnn thwarted her inside Earth’s core, & they showed none of it! Apparently National City is the antipodes of Madagascar. Which part of Madagascar? ALL OF IT! So National City is a landmass larger than California located halfway between Mexico and Hawaii? We don’t even get to see Superman save the CW budget equivalent of Madagascar! We get one frozen tidal wave, then lots of dull denouement about how the status quo will temporarily change. Olsen outing himself as Guardian was especially anticlimactic.
Despite having killed frequently without remorse, Supergirl suddenly agonizes over having to kill Reign before she & Sam slay her. In her death throes, Reign kills Mon-El, the witches, Alura, & possibly Sam. Those characters served their purposes, so offing them was a fine if predictable consequence. Instead Kara flies into a time disruption in space so she can come back & have Sam safely poison Reign in the mystic Valley of Juru instead. (Do not ask me how any of that worked.) Those characters are still departing the series, so it’s not like the outcome changed much. Only M’yrnn died permanently to save the Earth. She should’ve time traveled back to save Livewire! The moral isn’t that murdering enemies is wrong so much as not predicting collateral damage is wrong. Even if Sam’s cells are fully human now, shouldn’t she still be magically empowered by the Fountain of Lilith?
How is Supergirl this nonsensical yet still so boring? It’s not that it has too much going on; it’s that it can’t muster enough enthusiasm or ingenuity for anything it limply drops into the narrative. Gotham had just as many plotlines running this season & managed to make all of them feel relatively exciting. It doesn’t help that Legion called its lead “the World Killer” this season to hammer home how far this show falls short.
The stinger shows that another Kara has popped up in Siberia who may be a space rock time remnant. It looks like we’re finally getting Power Girl by way of Bombshells. It’s implied she’ll be next year’s foe, but at least there’s no pods involved this time. I can’t wait to see how they drop the ball on Red Son Power Girl! It’s going to be asking for too much to get just one episode set in 30th century, isn’t it?
Last year’s War of the Wicked Mothers-In-Law was a more satisfying wrap-up. The sad thing is is, this season had been decent for the first 2/3. It made enough blunders to keep it from being superlative, but the wheels completely fell off once Argo was reintroduced. I was promised a Worldkiller & got filler! They had the potential to do something epic with Reign & squandered it on bland mediocrity! At least it was still a better season than Arrow season six. (This will be my new go to phrase for damning with faint praise.) Congratulations on being the second worst CW DC series this season, Supergirl!