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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Supergirl S2E1: The Adventures of Supergirl.


Supergirl
Series 2, Episode 1
The Adventures of Supergirl.



So, I'm given to understand that there was a degree of concern over Supergirl's move to the CW, mostly for reasons of a potentially lower budget affecting special effects scenes, and the possibility that the move from Los Angeles to Vancouver would affect the look and feel of the show. I was actually pretty delighted with the move, not least because it makes crossovers much easier (and much more likely, with Flashpoint quite possibly being used as an excuse to quietly merge the disparate worlds together) -- indeed, we already have one crossover between all four Arrowverse shows due to show up later this year.

As it happens, if the first episode is anything to go by, those fears were mostly unfounded. The special effects are less frequently used, but are also slightly better, and National City looks -- to my eyes -- basically the same as it always have, although it's always been functionally indistinguishable from Star City and Central City to me. Calista Flockhart, by far the highest paid actor on the team, doesn't seem to be going anywhere, although it looks like she might have a somewhat reduced role in the upcoming series.

Of course, the biggest thing that fans were looking forward to was Tyler Hoechlin's first appearance as Clark Kent, in what will presumably be a recurring role for the series. We'll get to that in a moment.

D'aww.

Picking up basically immediately after the first series, the new episode sees Kara intercept a Kryptonian pod containing a young man around her age, who is taken to the DEO where he remains in a coma. Other matters quickly distract Kara's attention, though: Cat has given her forty-eight hours to decide what job she wants; Jimmy wants answers about their relationship; and meanwhile Lena Luthor, Lex Luthor's sister, has just moved to National City and become involved in the case of an explosion on an orbital craft for the wealthy. As Kara's cousin, Clark, arrives to help out, the two of them attempt to unravel the case.

Most of this episode is really good, but I just have one quibble I want to touch on briefly: After nearly an entire series of setting up Jimmy and Kara entering a romantic relationship, the romance is basically stopped dead in one of this episode's subplots -- not even the main subplot -- which seems rather abrupt and bizarre as a writing choice. I have no idea why this is. My gut wants to say it's a race thing, as audiences and producers have a proven track record of getting very weird and nasty about romantic relationships between a black man and a white woman, but I honestly have no evidence to back that idea up. It could just as easily be because Mehcad Brooks is taking a smaller role in this series, or because the writers didn't think much of the chemistry between Brooks and Benoist, or even just because they want to string out a will-they-won't-they drama for a little longer.

Everyone is wearing eyewear of some kind in this episode, I swear to god.

Anyway, most of this episode is focused on introducing Clark and setting up the dynamic between him and Kara, and it works out really well. Hoechlin's Clark shares the same warm charisma as Benoist's Kara, and the result is that we've gotten a much warmer, much funner Superman than we've had in nearly any other adaptation -- or, for that matter, the comics -- recently, which is really how Superman should be. 

The relationship between him and Kara is also pretty fun to watch, with the two of them acting like similar-age siblings (which is fitting, given that they are both technically the older one) and having an easy affection and warmth to their interactions which is both very engaging and kind of adorable. Hoechlin never overshadows Benoist, luckily -- not only is Kara still indisputably the main character of the show, and Clark a side character, Benoist is also more than capable of holding her own in scenes with Hoechlin, which is perhaps not all that surprising when we consider that she spent all of last series holding her own against the much more forceful, bombastic Flockhart.

Lena Luthor, and stuff.

This episode also introduces us to Lena Luthor, initially set up to be a villain before eventually being revealed as a good guy and a future -- friend? To Kara. Question marks abound because, in all honesty, Katie McGrath's performance as Lena seemed to hew much closer to 'romantic' than 'friendly' in her interactions with Kara. I am entirely okay with this. Also, since I really like McGrath as an actor, I'm looking forward to seeing her in more episodes.

This was a really fun, enjoyable episode, and we even get a little bit of set-up for the show's future plotline, with our first glimpses into the interior of Cadmus. I'm also pretty glad to see that Clark is sticking around for a little, although whether that continues past next episode, who can say. If it doesn't, it's not like the show wasn't great without him, and he'll no doubt be back eventually.

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