Unquestionably pleased last spring at the prospect of Supergirl jumping the CBS ship over to the CW, I was more than ready to see what the newest season had in store. Season one was largely confident, if not narratively dull at times, but had a super charismatic leading lady in Melissa Benoist and a supporting turn by Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant that gave the series a sense of warmth that it would have missed without her. The CW gives the series a chance to break out from the procedural stagnate nature of it’s episodic narrative and into something a little more epic in scale. After the first episode it’s no question that the budget for the special effects are lessened than season one but it also offers up a season two premiere that has honed in on both the strengths and weaknesses of it’s first year. It understands the character of Kara/Supergirl and not once does Superman’s entrance (highly publicized) overshadow her. If this is indicative of what the remainder of season two is going to be like fans should be pleased.
Here’s a run down of the four elements that excelled in the season premiere and the one thing that almost brought it crumbling down in a single line.
*Tyler Hoechlin is an excellent Superman/Clark Kent, bringing both a sense of earnestness and stoicism to the former and the gee whiz, truth seeker of the latter. As a fan of the DC world and all who reside in it, one of the greatest injustices of the Zach Snyder films has been his unfavorable take on the “Man of Steel”, depicting him in such an apathetic manner that it makes the audience believe that the director never like the character to begin with. Hoechlin meanwhile soars in with just as much bubbling energy as his cousin Supergirl but he has wisdom and confidence where she’s still often a mess of nerves. Sticking with the series for at least another episode he’s a welcome addition to the series. Speaking of…
*Katie McGrath as Lena Luther is both excellent casting, utilizing the actresses natural charm and effortless wicked grin and also delivers a Smallville esq dynamic between her and Kara. Of course we’ll be left to wonder for the entire series if she will in face live up to her namesake and become a super villain for Kara to face off with but until then she provides yet another interesting female character is a position of character who should bring new life into the series after last seasons relatively bland antagonists.
*The overall message of women being powerful is still the heart and soul of the film and it remains unabashed in it’s depiction. A big fear going into season two on a channel that is very much interested in a “boys club” mentality regarding what superheros it picks to showcase and then how they treat them. Even in the promotion it was Clark Kent that was taking spotlight, trying to convince male viewers that they too will enjoy a show called Supergirl. However, “The Adventures of Supergirl” greatly respects it’s leading lady and understands that she is the star of her own show and no one can take that for her. Similarly, Lena, Cat and Alex all play greatly into the narrative and most of Kara’s significant scenes are with one of them. The women of Supergirl and their relationships to one another were one of the defining aspects of season one and the writers haven’t lost sight of this.
*Benoist still shines as Supergirl, so much so that any scene without her is lacking (something that should probably be worked on in latter episodes). She’s bubbly and enthusiastic when she needs to be and a serious ass kicker in the next. She understands the nuance of straddling the line between camp and subtlety when it comes to playing a superhero. Her chemistry with Hoechlin and especially Flockhart is joyous, both reminding viewers of how the character has developed over the last year.
And then the one thing that shook the foundation.
The decoupling of James and Kara wasn’t just oddly timed but it was also jarringly abrupt. After spending all of season one building up to them being the main romantic pairing Kara ends up declaring them friends with barely a shrug of the shoulders. It’s the one time where the series obviously felt like it was trying to redirect what path it wanted to take. While I never was all too invested in the two as a romantic pairing as I was more interested in Kara’s relationship with the women in her life it does seem like too casual a throwaway of a story line with so much build up.
Regardless it was a strong welcome back for the series that hit some awkward bumps in it’s first year out and has only seemed to grow in confidence. Let’s see what The CW can do now that it has its hands on it.