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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Supergirl S2E18: Ace Reporter

Series 2, Episode 18
Ace Reporter.

The trailer for this episode honestly led me to believe that this episode would be about Lena hiring an evil reporter to uncover Supergirl's identity: The trailer juxtaposed sinister-sounding dialogue from a character giving an interview with one of this episode's antagonists looking menacing, played with the theme of good and bad journalism throughout, and even ended with a shot of Kara looking panicked as her 'S' emblem is revealed under her clothes.

As it is, this episode is still about journalism, but not in the way I thought: Instead, the focus is on Kara as a journalist, and her learning what makes good and bad journalism, and also on Lena, and her dealing with finding and then losing love. It's odd, this is, what, the fourth time the show has tried to tease Lena being or going evil, only to reveal that she was actually good all along, and I still fall for it every time.

(Dear Supergirl writers: Don't make Lena evil. Honestly, if for no other reason, don't make Katie McGrath play another villainous character.)

This episode revolves around an old friend of Lena's, Jack Spheer, unveiling Biomax, a nanotechnology cloud that had, once upon a time, been a shared project of theirs. As Lena's interest in Biomax leads to her and Jack rekindling their relationship, Kara begins investigating Jack and Biomax, after a source tells her that it's dangerous. Meanwhile, Lyra tries to get involved with Jimmy and Winn's vigilante activities.

Kara and Lena.

So, the twist of this episode is that Jack -- who has become a nanite-cloud-control-thing -- is actually not evil at all, but being controlled by that one woman from Timeless, forcing Lena to kill him to save Kara. It's not a very good twist, not least because when it happened, I had to take a moment to remember who the puppetmaster character even was, since we'd only seen her a few times over the episode.

Still, if they're going to make Lena turn evil, this is a good stepping stone for it: The show manages to sell her and Jack as old lovers who are falling for each other again, and so it's easy to see how the decision to kill him is particularly harrowing for her. The episode ends with Mon-El's mother arriving to make a 'business proposition' for her, which is almost certainly going to mean trying to manipulate her.

Kara's journalism plotline is also handled really well, actually. There's a sense of genuine character development here, and it makes the ending -- her getting her job under Snapper back, as we all knew she would sooner or later -- feel earned. Mon-El's involvement in this plotline is a little grating, but he's at his least irritating this week, so I almost managed to cope with him.

He's going all Steve Jobs.

In general, I feel like the series should have more storylines like this, that it should sometimes ease off the 'Kara as Supergirl' stories and lean a little more heavily on 'Kara as a Catco reporter' stories. The Catco drama was one of the most compelling parts of the first series, with Kara's tutelage by Cat being in turn entertaining, heartwarming, and even sometimes thought-provoking -- Cat may not be a part of the series anymore, but Snapper has all the qualities that would make him an excellent mentor character, similar enough to Cat to keep the momentum going, but different enough that it wouldn't feel like more of the same. Instead, it feels like the show has dropped that plot thread entirely.

Mon-El: Not as irritating as he could have been.

Which leaves our B-plot. We're four episodes from the end of the series, and I'm still utterly confused by what the point of Jimmy being the Guardian is -- it doesn't contribute to the story in any meaningful way, and his occasional B-plots are never especially interesting or compelling. This storyline -- which bored me so much I had trouble following it -- is the weakest part of the episode by a large margin.

Next week, it looks like somebody is going to be kidnapping Alex, so that should all be some good, clean fun.

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