[Review] Supergirl Episode 3×01: “Girl Of Steel”

written by Dayna Abel, Jason Froikin and Cara Russell

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

Welcome back to a new season of Supergirl, where I am delighted to finally have a season free of the curse of Mon-El and–

–OH GODDAMMIT I COULDN’T HAVE ONE MINUTE? ONE?

*pinches bridge of nose* This is gonna be a long season.

“Girl Of Steel” is actually not that bad a premiere. It follows very heavily in the footsteps of Buffy‘s Seasons Two and Three premieres, as a mixture of both – both Buffy and Kara had to sacrifice the men they loved for the greater good, and tried to throw away their identities as a result. And like Buffy did in “When She Was Bad”, Kara started acting completely opposite of who she is at her core, even being cruel at times.

I honestly do know what Kara’s going through – I’ve done worse things after horrible breakups, without the added benefit of throwing my ex into space. Kara went in a more closed-off direction than I did, however. The first sign of honest emotion we get from her is on the roof with J’onn – possibly the only one she’s close to who could relate – and her voice cracks as she says “I can’t help people if I’m broken.” Kara tried to be a girl of steel both inside and out, and it only ended up hurting herself and others.

On a cathartic note, I literally sat in front of the television blowing kisses at my flawless queen Cat Grant as the writers’ room took the most glorious of potshots at our “President”. Can you marry a fictional character? Asking for a me. Between that, the corporate warfare between Lena Luthor and Morgan Edge, and the sheer weirdness of Kara’s dream cliffhanger, it’s safe to say that this season now has all of my attention.

-Dayna

* * *

This first episode of Season Three had a deep twinge of sadness to it, and not because of the plot. I realized that it felt somewhat complete, almost final. It looks like it was made to serve a dual purpose – in case Supergirl would have faced cancellation – and I feel like I got a little taste of what could have happened. I’m glad the show was renewed, though, and this is an opening rather than a closing.

Season Three opens with a nice balance of internal and external conflict for its its title character. Last season, we nearly lost Supergirl entirely in the shuffle of subplots to support all of those extra characters who all clamored for a starring role. But now the focus has narrowed again, and with it, the ability to tell a complete story with each episode has returned.

I hope the rest of the season continues with the same focus and balance. I’m still going to miss having Cat Grant as a regular, though. Her commentary is always a show of its own.

-Jason

* * *

The Season Three premiere of Supergirl wastes no time in showing us what it has always been – a reflection of a better world, free of the moorings that hold ours in place, able to keep moving forward while ours may be slipping backward. A vision of what could be scratched permanently into the material that makes up our culture, in the stories of the heroes we create to stave off the long darks. A world where Press Secretary Cat Grant spends her mornings debunking rumors and gossip, affronted that such absurd rumors existed in the first place – and a world where big gay lesbian weddings involve adopted alien dads and Kevlar body armor.

Kara hasn’t fully recovered from the loss of Mon-El, using the pain as an excuse to try and lay Kara Danvers to rest, along with all of her feelings. She throws herself into heroing, sacrificing her job at CatCo as well as relationships (and free potstickers!!) and her own self-care. It even results in a fight with Alex, who asserts that she has been saved by Kara Danvers more often than by Supergirl. It isn’t until Lena Luthor – who purchases CatCo in a coup against a corporate rival intent on using the media arm to spread propaganda in his favor – begs Kara to return to work to help run her shiny new media empire that Kara starts digging herself out of her hole. She may just be going through the motions of playing Kara Danvers again, to “save” Lena in a way Supergirl can’t, but sometimes that’s the first step towards being okay again.

Whether you’re onboard with the cause of Kara’s demeanor at the start of the episode, I hope my fellow viewers can at least accept that her feelings are genuine. Sending Mon-El away wasn’t a choice she got to make on her own, but rather one forced upon her in the moment. Whether he’s actually dead or not, the loss of choice alone is worthy of mourning.

All in all, this is a solid start to a new season, and establishes the new corporate jerk, Morgan Edge (played by Adrian Pasdar), as well as a more supernatural mystery. I hope it keeps up the momentum after spending a requisite period of time in mourning for Season Two.

-Cara

Supergirl airs Monday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Dayna can be reached on Twitter @queenanthai, Jason at @Mangacool, and Cara at @virtualcara.

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