Supergirl: A Rant

Supergirl poster.jpgSeason 1 was cheesy but interesting enough to watch.

Season 2 built on relationships and I didn’t mind it.

Season 3 started to waver for me, especially when they randomly split up Alex and Maggie for a lame reason.  Why didn’t they talk about children before they were engaged?  How could you not have that conversation?  It was a lazy fix after the actress who played Maggie decided to move on from the role.

But I kept watching.  I enjoyed Melissa Benoist playing the dual role of Kara Danvers and Supergirl and her struggle to be a hero and separate herself from her famous cousin.  I liked that they finally brought her character in the Arrowverse crossover instead of the poor attempt the previous season.  I really wanted to like the series as much as I like The Flash.*

But, season 4, what can I say?

I did like the thin metaphor of Ben Lockwood as an Alex Jones-type who is jingoistic.  But then he’s put on the backburner for the grand villain, Lex Luthor, and I couldn’t take it.  I’ve seen most of Smallville and I get Luthor’s dynamic with the Man of Steel.  It’s like Batman and the Joker.  But revealing that Lex was behind everything and making Lockwood a cog in his system undermined that metaphor in my opinion.  You find out that his “Agent Liberty” persona was his only contribution to the plan.  This organic story of a man who is changed by the world around him and grows fearful of aliens lost all of its punch and made Lockwood into a henchman.  And I get to Lex in a minute, but I want to talk positives…

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I like Nia’s character and that no one really blinked when she said she was a transwoman, as it should be.  Big props to that casting and that character.  She pulled me through watching some of the more terrible story arcs.  My only fault with Nia is that Dreamer, her hero persona, was too quick a study when it came to her powers.  I would have liked a mentor relationship with Supergirl, teaching her how to be a hero and how to master her powers.  Nia has powers and then—bam—she’s a ninja with them.  I just felt that it could have grown more naturally over a longer period of time.  That said, I really love her chemistry with Brainy and that relationship.  Lately, I’ve realized that I tune into a show not for the action, but for the characters and their relationships with one another.  Which brings me to my next point: Alex’s memory wipe.

I legitimately yelled at my screen when J’onn erased her knowledge that Kara is Supergirl.  Their relationship is the key of the show.  It’s the reason Kara became Supergirl in the first place.  The wipe was dumb because you knew Alex would remember somehow by the end of the season.  Her tie with Kara shapes the show at a fundamental level.  You can’t take that away and have the same show.

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Let’s talk about Alex.  I didn’t have any feeling towards Alex during the first season.  She grew on me as she evolved and became her true self.  I loved her romance with Maggie, and the way the show handled it just like a hetero romance.  Good job, writers’ room.  But her seemingly sudden need to be a mom irked me.  Again, I understand that the show writers had to cover their asses after a cast member left.  I don’t know how I would have handled it, but it didn’t feel genuine to me as a viewer.  Then, the show introduces Jimmy’s sister, Kelly Olsen (I just finished the season finale and I could not remember the character’s name, so there’s that), on the back half of season four and smashes her together with Alex like two puzzle pieces that don’t fit.  I knew when she mentioned that her former lover was a woman that they would pair them up.  It was the same formula as Maggie and Alex, as the only queer characters introduced in the show, but it was too easy of a hookup.  They gave them one intense moment to struggle through and then they are together.  As well as they handled Nia and Brainy, they dropped it for Alex and Kelly.  It was lazy writing.

Final point before we get to Lex but its related.  Red Daughter.  I was pumped for this story to unfold and it sat in the background and I nearly forgot about it.  I have never read a Superman comic, but through cultural osmosis, I know that Red Dawn was a “What If” comic about Superman going up in the Soviet Union.  So I was ready for this season to work in something about a soviet country and add that to the Lockwood/Agent Liberty storyline.  I didn’t care for Melissa’s accent, but the two facing off was a fun idea.  I was interested.  And then along comes Lex Luthor, puppet master supreme.

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We find out that Lex was behind pretty much everything and that Eve Teschmacher working for Lex.  Eve has been around for a least a season, because I remember the phrase “Miss Teschmacher!” being shouted.  I’ve only seen reviews of Superman the movie, but I know that’s where the character comes from.  I like how they turned her into a scientist to assist Lena on her project.  That was a good move for her character.  And the stinger at the end made me curious about next season.  But I can’t take it with Lex.

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Okay, I want to talk about Lex’s discount Iron Man suit.  As far as I understand, this is something form the comics.  But it looks silly.  I couldn’t help but see a knockoff Tony Stark.  CW, hey you, don’t link your Lex Luthor to Marvel’s most popular character.  It doesn’t do you any favors.  The only time I endured Lex on screen was when he verbally sparred with his family.  But come on, Mama Luthor and Lena are great together, sniping and quipping up a storm.  Any character you add to the mix will not dilute the formula.

I didn’t know until watching a Chris Stuckmann review that Jon Cryer has previous ties to Superman, in Superman: The Quest for Peace.  He was Gene Hackman’s Lex’s nephew in that dud of a film.

One last thing, and then I’ll wrap up. What the f&*k was that scene were Supergirl is dying, practically dead, and she pulls the sunlight from the plants around here??!?!?  I just… that’s dumb.  I know she just fought her equal and she’s dying, but it looked like something from a stupid cartoon.  I reminded me of what I struggled with in the first season: the power of hope.  I know Supergirl/Kara is an optimist sort of person and that’s what the Supers are all about—Truth, Justice, and the America Way—but it verges on ridiculous most of the time and just plain cheesy at some points.  It doesn’t work with the America of 2019, even on Earth 36.

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So I don’t know if I’ll continue watching Supergirl when it returns in the fall.  It has tested my patience and I have been beaten down by it too many times.  But maybe my interest in the Arrowverse is my kryptonite.  I do want to check out the crossover episodes.  Only time will tell.

 

*Side note: A little background info for the reader.  I have watched every season of The Flash, it’s when I jumped onboard the Arrowverse.  I began season 1 of Arrow but lost interest around the halfway mark.  I love Legends of Tomorrow and really enjoy watching how that has evolved as a show.

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