I. Love. Supergirl. So. Frickin. Much. No, the show isn’t perfect. The pacing can be a bit too quick at times, some emotional scenes are heavy-handed and the more cynical critics out there will probably argue that there aren’t really any original plotlines. “It’s just Supergirl given Superman’s stories,” they say.
The thing about an adaptation, though, is that the best ones can stand on their own without the need of knowing all that there is to know about the source material. What makes Supergirl work is the emotional drive that’s within every episode and all the dynamic, endearing characters. I’ve waxed poetic on how I felt about the characters in a previous post, so since the first season has ended, I’m gonna list off my Top 5 favorite episodes of Supergirl.
WARNING: SPOILERS ENSUE
5. Strange Visitor From Another Planet
When I think back to when I knew this show was starting to get off the ground, I think about this episode. It centers on J’onn J’onzz as he not only has to deal with anti-alien Senator Miranda Crane and the possibility of General Lane taking over the DEO, but he also has to confront the White Martian, an extraterrestrial species from Mars that killed all the Green Martians except for J’onn. What’s scary about the White Martian is that it can take the form of any person. In this case, it takes the form on Senator Crane, on a mission to destroy the last Son of Mars once and for all.
My friend Cordelia lovingly refers to Martian Manhunter as a “telepathic marshmallow” in the sense that underneath the rough exterior, J’onn is a real softie. While we don’t get to see much of J’onn’s soft side, a crucial part of his backstory gets revealed in this episode. The reason why he’s so willing to protect Alex and Kara is because he had two daughters of his own on Mars.
But the best parts of the episode center on Supergirl. Not only was she able to rescue the real Senator Crane, but she was able to stop Martian Manhunter from killing the White Martian. And both of them were done without her using her powers. Instead, she appeals to the better nature of both Crane and J’onzz. Supergirl’s resolve to do the right thing without resorting to violence softens Senator Crane’s heart and gets the DEO another prisoner. The best thing about the episode, though, is that the bond between J’onn, Alex, and Kara became stronger than ever.
There’s always going to be at least one episode in a series where the protagonist goes evil for a day. Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Season 2 opener “When She Was Bad” showed Buffy acting like a b-i-t-c-h because of her unresolved issues that lingered from defeating the Master in Season 1. In Smallville, Clark would fall under the influence of Red Kryptonite, which would cause him to act in the most selfish manner possible. Unfortunately, the same would come for Supergirl in this episode
While saving a team of firefighters, Kara gets infected from Red Kryptonite that was stuck on the roof of the burning building. Like in Smallville, Kara’s most selfish instincts come to the surface. She acts like a petulant teenager and dresses up for work like she’s gonna walk onto a runway instead of the very preppy, sweet looks that Kara is normally associated with. I have to give the wardrobe department points for not dressing Kara up like a Playboy Bunny. Just because you act like a skank doesn’t mean you dress like one!
One good thing that came from Kara’s bad girl attitude is that the equally bratty Siobhan Smythe gets fired for trying to sell a story undermining Supergirl to the Daily Planet. But other than that, Kara’s bad girl attitude completely destroys everyone’s faith in Supergirl, especially towards the end when Supergirl essentially turns into her Aunt Astra. I hated seeing her act out against Cat, cause chaos in National City, and forcing J’onn to expose himself as Martian Manhunter. It hurt me more that National City stopped lauding Supergirl as their hero (from the girl throwing away her homemade costume to the firemen taking down their sign).
But what makes this episode different from the other two shows is that Kara’s actions aren’t easily forgiven. She is held accountable by Cat and the people of National City. In Buffy and Smallville, the heroics of the main characters are always done in secret. Buffy’s bad actions are easily forgiven by her friends and Clark’s actions under the influence of Red K are swept under the rug. The characters, as heroic as they are, aren’t forced to deal with the fallout caused by their mistakes. Kara, on the other hand, spends a few episode picking up the pieces and I like that for a while, she has to atone and make things right again. It feels a lot more realistic.
3. World’s Finest
Somebody in Heaven must have connections with the show’s creators because as soon as I heard that there would be a Supergirl/Flash crossover, I was immediately hyped up. Watching the crossover after Superman vs Batman felt like a big sigh of relief because Supergirl and the Flash got along as soon as they met and they worked well together as a team, even if they had a bit of a rough start in battling Livewire and Silver Banshee. (And yes, I totally ship Kara/Barry and want some kind of infinite crisis to happen so that these two adorable baby dorks can be together again. Shut up!)
The pacing in this episode is a bit too fast and there wasn’t enough scenes of Kara as Supergirl and Barry as the Flash actually doing well in a fight together. If anything, this should’ve been a two-parter. But for what it’s worth, it’s still an emotionally compelling crossover.
One reason why I loved it is because the more experienced Barry is the only one who understands Supergirl’s issues. Supergirl is desperate to redeem herself after the Red K incident, but Barry knows that finding forgiveness takes time. So it’s majorly heartwarming when, after Supergirl gets zapped unconscious while saving a helicopter from Livewire, that the people of National City rally to protect Supergirl. Then, as an added bonus, the firemen that Supergirl saved earlier hose Livewire down. If I had it my way, it would’ve been a cool Han Solo kind of moment so that Flash and Supergirl can make the finishing move, but again, this episode had major pacing issues.
In spite of the episode’s flaws, “World’s Finest” is just a lot of fun to watch. It’s awesome that CBS and the CW were willing to work with each other to allow this to happen. The chemistry that Barry has with everyone is just perfect and I hope that there will be more opportunities for the Girl of Steel to meet the Scarlet Speedster again.
(Seriously, you two. JUST KISS ALREADY!)
2. Better Angels
The finale of this show was SO CLOSE to perfect. The reason why I put this episode at number 2 is that I really had to suspend my disbelief for a few things. While it’s understandable that Superman can’t overshadow his cousin, it would’ve made sense to have at least seen his face once, especially since Kara needed all the help she could get in destroying Fort Rozz. Also, how was Alex able to fly Kara’s pod?
But that’s neither here nor there. Overall, this episode is the perfect example of what I look for in a TV show. As I’ve said before, the reason I love Supergirl so much is because it promotes hope. I am tired of post-apocalyptic dystopias like The 100 Divergent Bone Maze Games. I am tired of heroes who isolate themselves in the name of keeping everyone safe. Supergirl shows that having friends does not make you weak or put those you love in certain peril. As Kara said “Love bonds us all.”
I knew that this show had stolen my heart the minute Supergirl said this speech to National City:
People of National City. This is Supergirl and I hope you can hear me. We have been attacked. Mothers and fathers, friends and neighbors, children, everyone, suddenly stopped by a force of evil as great as this world has ever known. Your attacker has sought to take your free will, your individuality, your spirit. Everything that makes you who you are. When facing an attack like this, it’s easy to feel hopeless. We retreat, we lose our strength, lose our self. I know. I lost everything when I was young. When I first landed on this planet, I was sad and alone. But I found out that there is so much love in this world out there for the taking, and you, the people of National City, you helped me. You let me be who I’m meant to be. You gave me back to myself. You made me stronger than I ever thought possible, and I love you for that. Now, in each and every one of you, there is a light, a spirit, that cannot be snuffed out. That won’t give up. I need your help again. I need you to hope.
Hope. That you can remember that you can all be heroes. Hope. That when faced with an enemy determined to destroy your spirit, you will fight back and thrive. Hope. That those who once may have shunned you will, in a moment of crisis, come to your aid. Hope. That you will see the faces of those you love and perhaps those you lost.
The rest of the episode was suspenseful. I felt like I was watching Buffy’s “Prophecy Girl” again because both episodes center on a blonde protagonist going on a suicide mission to take down the ultimate Big Bad only to not end up dead. But as I said before, Supergirl never really has to fight alone.
Other awesome things to note are the epic fight, Kara lifting Fort Rozz into space all by herself, Alex saving her adoptive sister, Kara’s promotion, and the adorableness that is J’onn J’onzz in an apron.
But since the renewal for Season 2 is still up in the air, the finale had to go and sequel hook. For crying out loud, can you not writers?!
1.For the Girl Who Has Everything
This is my favorite episode of the season for a lot of reasons. One, it’s a standalone episode with a clean ending and no cliffhangers. Secondly, it’s one of the few adaptations of one of the most famous Superman comic storylines “For the Man Who Has Everything” by Alan Moore. But the reason I love this episode the most is because of the emotional stakes. Kara is literally given everything she ever wanted, deluded by the Black Mercy into thinking she’s still on Krypton and that her family (including Aunt Astra and a young Kal-El) are all with her.
It’s up to Alex to save her sister from the Black Mercy. And the way that it all goes down is heartbreaking and yet resonates as so true. Life is painful and yet, when we work past the pain, we can find happiness that goes beyond just getting whatever we want on a silver platter.
The biggest thing, though, was that this episode inspired me to write. Any episode where I want to write something as good as what I saw (as opposed to “I can write better than that”) is definitely doing its job.
So. CBS. Renew Supergirl already. If not, CW, get Supergirl on and get her back with Flash ASAP!
I have no idea how I’m gonna handle this summer without this show. *sigh* Back to Netflix!