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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Supergirl S2E2: The Last Children of Krypton.

Series 2, Episode 2
The Last Children of Krypton.

In the back of my head, somewhere, there's an editorial brewing about how comic book adaptations for television have changed over the years. Because it almost beggars belief that in such a short span of time, we could get from 'no tights, no flight' Smallville, an adaptation that did its best to distance itself from the comics it was adapting at every opportunity, to shows like Supergirl and The Flash, which eagerly embrace their comic book routes and do their best to hew fairly closely to the spirit of the comics.

It also serves as a pretty harsh rebuke to the people who claim that all comic book adaptations should be straight, unaltered, panel-to-screen adaptations of comic book storylines, and anything else is unfaithful -- because every panel-to-screen adaptation we've had in the past has been awful, and just hasn't worked, but then you have these two series, which forge new storylines for themselves while feeling fundamentally and essentially like comics storylines.

But that's a post for another time. This week, I continue to be excited about Tyler Hoechlin's Superman, and nervous about the changing state of affairs for this series, as this episode pushes a few more stark changes.

Clark and Hank, getting their argument rudely interrupted.

In this week's episode, Cadmus releases Corbin, now a kryptonite-powered cyborg called Metallo, onto the streets. As tensions between Clark and J'onn rise, Clark tells Kara he'll be returning to Metropolis, prompting Kara to consider whether she should go with him. Meanwhile, Kara meets her new boss, who refuses to acknowledge that she's been hired as a reporter, and learns that Cat will be taking a leave of absence. Things get worse when Cadmus releases a statement announcing their intention to destroy Supergirl and Superman, and create a second Metallo, sending him to terrorise Metropolis. 

One nice thing about this episode was that it acknowledged each character's flawed behaviour in a pretty honest and up-front way, with characters talking about how Clark effectively abandoned Kara by giving her the Danvers family, Winn calling Alex out on her 'you should be grateful and never leave me' antics, and Alex calling Kara out on being kind of flighty (heh) and changeable.

Change is actually the main theme of this episode, with Clark and Cat both leaving (although not permanently -- Tyler Hoechlin and Calista Flockhart are both still recurring cast members), Jimmy getting a promotion, and Kara taking a new job in a new office. 

Out of all of those, the change I'm most worried about is Cat leaving -- Flockhart and Cat are kind of this show's equivalent of The Flash's Cavanaugh and Wells, an actor and character who kind of made the show what it is and who capture the audience's attention every time they're in a scene. It's difficult to imagine Supergirl without Cat in it, and only time will tell if her sort-of-replacement (in that he seems to be taking the mentor role), grumpy news editor Snapper Carr, will be up to the task of filling her shoes.

And here's Kara and Alex watching said argument.

The change is a necessary one, however, partly due to the reduced budget -- Flockhart was by far the highest paid actor on the show, and the highest paid actor on any of DC's television shows, in fact -- and partly because production had moved from the relatively more expensive Los Angeles to the relatively cheaper Vancouver, where Arrow and The Flash are both also filmed, and Flockhart preferred to take on projects that were a bit closer to her home.

The episode's plot is a pretty solid one, seeing Kara and Clark come under attack from Metallo, while Cadmus announces their intention to repel the 'invaders' and prove humanity's worth. It was a less warm and affectionate episode than last time, instead more often focusing on the trials Kara and Clark were facing, and on Clark's enmity towards J'onn for having kryptonite. The storyline even has some impressively vicious scenes in it, like one of the Metallos attacking a park full of civilians, and a couple of pretty up close and personal beatdowns of Clark.

Byeee Cat.

The Metallos aren't that compelling as villains, so much as they are just obstacles and punchy-shooty-people, but they don't need to be, because the real villain of this episode is the scientist who created them, who maintains a constant presence in this episode and gets a chance to give Alex her own villain monologue. As an antagonist, I really like her, and there is a certain sinister element to her that was lacking from Astra and Non. Brenda Strong puts in an excellent performance which, for some reason, reminds me of Amanda Tapping.

Anyway, this is a fun, well put together episode, and while I'm kind of sad that Clark's going so soon (although it was pretty obvious he wasn't sticking around for long), and a little concerned that Cat is leaving, I'm interested to see where the series goes -- especially as Mon-El has apparently now woken up, so we'll get to see what's going on with him. That, at least, should be pretty interesting to watch.

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