written by Dayna Abel, Jason Froikin and Cara Russell
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
I have tried with all my strength to avoid nitpicking, because this is comics (well it is) and there will sometimes be things that destroy suspension of disbelief. I’m looking at you, Flash, with your BS “frozen laser beams.” But this…I just…I can’t. Guys. I don’t care what kind of technologically marvelous MacGuffin you’ve devised, if you attach it to a computer MONITOR that is separate from THE COMPUTER TOWER ITSELF IT IS NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO HACK THE PC BECAUSE ARE YOU @#$%ING KIDDING ME I AM OFFENDED ON BEHALF OF ALL OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AND it’s okay, I’m fine, I’m cool, I’m breathing…puffy white clouds, calm blue ocean…
Egregious defiance of logic aside, I loved this episode. I’ll never get tired of the amazing visual effects – Astra vs. Supergirl fighting mid-air throughout National City was an absolute treat for the eyes, flawlessly blending live-action and CGI. My favorite bit, however, was the confrontation between Kara and holo-Alura when Kara learns that her mother rejected Astra’s “help,” possibly dooming Krypton to its fate. “You left me alone! You sent me to die!” This is a fantastic companion bit to episode 6, when Kara realizes how much rage she’s carrying around because of her parents’ decision. I love this because it’s a psychological facet of Kara we simply haven’t seen – yes, I’m aware of the Red Lantern Supergirl storyline from the comics, but this is rage specifically directed towards Zor-El and Alura. It makes sense. It makes it feel like Kara, for all her assimilation into Earth culture, has never, ever really sat down and addressed what being put in that ship meant to her. She’s buried it for years, and it’s coming out now. It’s gripping material.
It also grants Astra a nice moral ambiguity. Do the ends always justify the means? Can people do wrong things for the right reasons? Astra loves Kara, that much is clear. But in wanting to save her and all of Krypton, Astra committed crimes that Alura found unforgivable. Astra did blow up buildings and kill people. Of course I side with Alura on this, but I still managed a touch of compassion for Astra, so well done, story team. I won’t waste many words on Winn’s feelings for Kara because THEY ARE STILL CREEPY AND YOU SKEEVE ME THE HELL OUT, WINN, UGH. And, of course, well done Cat Grant for figuring out Kara’s secret. I knew you weren’t stupid. Maybe you’ll start pronouncing her name right for a change. Looking forward to the conclusion of the cliffhanger ending in January!
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I’m short one usual paragraph this week because one of the topics I’ve been speculating about in most of my previous reviews has been uncovered: Cat Grant knows. And that’s not particularly a scary thing, as far as the series goes, because a) Cat can keep a secret, probably better than Jimmy and Winn have so far; and b) I feel like Cat wouldn’t want to take advantage of Kara because she feels like she’s helping, and is too independent to to lean on Kara as a crutch. Then again, we’ll see how far that goes when the chips are really down.
The scenario with Kara’s aunt is different from what I expected, and I’m impressed that the writers were able to fool me by positioning her as the evil leader. It makes me ready to be fooled again, because there’s the distinct possibility that she wants her husband killed or captured so she can seize control. There are a lot of facets to this plot line, and now I understand the reason it started so early in the season.
Summarizing everything else: Max Lord turned out to be a loudmouthed showoff with expensive toys – all bravado, no skill. But that may change now that he’s been beaten, because I have a feeling he won’t take it so well. And I’m not completely sure why, but the more lovestruck Winn becomes, the more creepy he behaves. It’s starting to scare me now. Then again, after what I noted in the paragraph above about surprises, maybe that’s the point.
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This week in Supergirl, stakes are ratcheted up a notch, as the house of El proves to be built on a foundation of lies, secrets and subterfuge. Just in time for a “winter hiatus”, proving once again that TV scheduling is determined by supervillains. Who else could devise such evil as two “finales” within a single season? No one who is on the side of all that is good in the world, that is who.
This week’s theme seems to be choice and the lack thereof. Supergirl manages to capture Astra, and while held by the DEO, Astra reveals her motivations (to save Earth, which is dying from overuse of natural resources Just Like Krypton) and in a series of flashbacks, Alura’s betrayal and use of a tiny Kara to trap Astra. Present-Kara, now able to use the hologram of her mother, is able to verify the facts of the encounter, if not the intent. I do wonder if there’s an additional spin on the retelling, to manipulate Kara further. Either way, it seems to be incredibly effective – Kara’s emotions run high, and she becomes hyper-aware of being used as bait by the DEO to capture Astra a second time. Meanwhile, Cat Grant’s email history is leaked to the press, causing scandal and circuses. This gives Kara a productive outlet in first finding possible ammunition before other outlets do, uncovering the source of the leaks within CatCo itself, and then saving Cat from abdicating as CEO. This leads to Cat linking Kara to her other identity in a very tense confrontation before Supergirl is called off to defend Max Lord against a cadre of Phantom Zone villains, and a very abrupt end to this episode as she arrives to clash with her uncle (Astra’s husband) Non.
It’s really interesting to see “choice” as a theme, and the examples that while all persons (women or not) should have a choice in their actions, not everyone may agree with those choices or even support them. However in the choice itself, there is a reasoning and a method to the determination of action – that none of these are done on a whim, and the absence of choice in participation is framed as something vile. This has become a huge controversy within recent schools of feminism – the ability to choose how to present oneself or act without conforming to today’s popular Feminist Ideals (also seen as “Being A Good Feminist™”) without being judged, or subjected to peer pressure to conform or be ostracized completely. It’s framed so delicately in this episode that I think the lesson won’t be apparent to many, but I feel like the idea will be stuck in viewers’ minds for quite a while. I’m eager to see how this plays out on January 4th, when Supergirl returns to the air.
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