Reviewed by John Hussey
It’s fair to say that I have a nasty habit of falling behind on the Arrowverse, for one reason or another, every year. I know I’m already a little bit behind this year but that’ll soon be rectified, starting with this review.
After the massive crossover event, “Invasion”, Supergirl readjusts to its usual scheduling, concentrating on Kara and her mission to protect National City. Having just helped Oliver, Barry, and the Legends, take on the Dominators, preventing simple robberies starts to become child’s play to Kara, which quickly leads into my massive gripe about this mid-season opener. Kara’s attitude is really bugging me of late. In Season One her character was more innocent and better well-balanced, but here in Season Two she has developed a cocky and arrogant behavioural pattern. And it’s getting on my nerves.
It’s almost like she has to be the centre of attention. The whole world has to look at her and think she’s amazing. Though it’s clear she has heart, and deep down performs her heroic acts for the greater good, but there are other times were it appears as if she only does these things for attention, like she wants to show off her powers to make herself look good. It shows with her attitude towards Mon-El in which she constantly pulls him down because he’s not like her and doesn’t use his powers to be a hero. Yes, I can slightly see where she’s coming from. As Uncle Ben once said, “With great powers comes great responsibility.”
So in that respect Mon-El is wasting his gifts, and does sometimes act like a selfish arse (but not in the worst way possible). He’s just a guy trying to live his life on a strange world after his own was destroyed. But to have Kara constantly breathing down his neck to be more like her is rather arrogant. Then comes her annoying attitude towards James Olsen and his crusade as Guardian. She really doesn’t like anyone stealing her thunder. Her attitude towards Guardian is really childlike, and honestly, extremely pathetic. Though it is rather amusing considering her tone towards vigilantes is derived from Superman’s experiences with one (which is an obvious reference to Batman).
I suppose I can kind of see where she’s coming from but at the end of the day Guardian is a hero (just like Supergirl) who is trying to save people. I know she doesn’t know it’s James underneath the helmet but would that really change her mind. She’d probably freak out even more and tell him off because he might get hurt and that he doesn’t have powers like her, therefore he’s not a proper hero. I can imagine it will be a rather insulting speech which will ultimately make her and James fall out for a time (until she learns that she’s being a major bitch and fixes their friendship).
Plus I would’ve thought that her attitude towards vigilantes may have changed after her encounter with Oliver. Yeah Oliver can be pretty extreme from time to time but fundamentally he does the right thing, proving that acting outside the law isn’t always a bad thing. Besides, if you want to play the hypocritical card, Kara and her cousin, Superman, are technically vigilantes. They both act outside the law to perform justice (although in Kara’s case she does work for a secret government organisation) but get away with it because they both have powers and get called heroes by the general public.
Luckily Kara’s character calms down as the narrative goes on, which certainly made it more enjoyable. I guess l liked her persistence in finding the lost girl but her attitude, again, felt rather annoying like it was her duty to perform this tasks. The world doesn’t revolve around her. But I suppose in the long run Kara proved that her motives were justified by selflessness to be a hero.
Despite the shaky relationship between Kara and Mon-El it has been rather enjoyable to watch and “Supergirl Lives” showcased why I think this. Mon-El is a really fun dynamic to have on the show and the way he interacts with Kara can sometimes be rather sweet. He’s still new to the world and Kara is constantly on a mission to keep him in check. But they clearly have a keen chemistry that finds moments to shine. It’s very clear that they have feelings for one another and it’s simply a matter of playing the waiting game until one of them manages to break the ice.
Mon-El decides to tag along with Kara as she investigates the missing persons case and end up discovering a twisted scheme going on within National City. Using a fake clinical trial as a cover-story the Maaldorians have been capturing humans and sending them to their home-world to be sold as slaves. It is also revealed that Roulette has returned, following her business of using aliens in an illegal fight club being destroyed by Kara in the first half of this season. This time she tries exploiting human trafficking by using actual humans, which really showcased just how twisted this villainess could be and how far she would be willing to go to obtain money. Also there was a nice nod to “Invasion” by having a cameo appearance from the Dominators.
Unfortunately the planet circles around a red sun, to which renders both Kara and Mon-El powerless. This adds a new dynamic to the episode as Kara has to act without her abilities, and surprisingly this doesn’t alter her determination. I actually admired her for that, making her stand out as a greater hero as she strode into the enemies stronghold as a mere mortal, still determined to rescue the innocent.
This developed some slight conflict between Kara and Mon-El as he quickly showcased his desire to run away rather than be the hero. It continued to showcase his lack of heroicness and thus piling on the reasons why Kara has been disappointed with him. But in some ways his cowardly thinking within this story was a means to keep Kara safe, coming to the conclusion that she deliberately goes around looking for trouble and he doesn’t want to see her addiction get her hurt.
We also got to see that he’s more than just the spoilt, party-boy he portrays himself to be as he admits that slavery was one of many elements to his home-world that he didn’t agree with. Mon-El began to see things through Kara’s eyes as he watched her determination lead her fearlessly into battle in order to save those she came to rescue. In a heroic act Kara stood before the Maaldorians as a statement to her cause. They then proceeded to stun her with electric bolts over and over again, each one causing her further pain but she kept on standing before them to showcase her honourable intentions.
I really loved how this act of sacrifice inspired the human slaves to rise up against the Maaldorians. In that moment it was shown how much Kara means to the people of National City and how her heroic deeds brings the best out of people. In many ways this episode really brought home the idea that you don’t need superpowers to be a hero. Mon-El is also inspired and begins to act more like a hero as he helped fight against the Maaldorians and protect the human slaves during their escape. In the process the Maaldorians are defeated, their operations halted, and Roulette was put in a cell where she belonged.
Meanwhile, Alex was dealing with her new life with Maggie. It’s actually really beautiful seeing her happy, reminding me of a giddy teenager experiencing their first crush. If anyone deserves happiness in Supergirl it’s certainly Alex. In the first half of this season developers Greg Berlanti, Ali Adler, and Andrew Kreisberg decided to make Alex gay, which added a really engaging (and truthful) depiction of a person coming out. Part of me questioned why Alex would feel ashamed, or scared, to admit her feelings to those around her but the problem is even now in the 21st Century things aren’t perfectly excepted by everyone.
I really loved how this storyline added to the show, and granted Alex with a lot of neat character development. The tragedy came with her struggle to come to terms with her feelings, and I really felt for her throughout this entire process and hoped everything worked out for her. Obviously things got bumpy when Maggie wasn’t too sure how to handle Alex’s sudden feelings towards her, despite being gay herself, which ultimately caused Alex further pain as she felt like she was being rejected, making her struggle to find herself even more confusing.
But in the end she found happiness when Maggie finally realised how much Alex meant to her, added by the bonus that both Kara and her mother, Eliza, were more than happy with her sexuality. However, things got complicated when Alex realised that her moment of happiness got in the way of work and Maggie was given the cold-shoulder. This really upset me because after seeing Alex struggle so hard to win over Maggie’s heart I really didn’t want it to be destroyed over commitment issues, especially if it meant her choosing between her duties to Maggie and her duties to Kara. Alex deserves her own life where she can just be happy.
Sadly, due to fact that the Maaldorians’ atmosphere is toxic to Martians, J’onn is forced to sit this fight out, instead leaving Alex to lead the troops into battle and help Kara get home. “Supergirl Lives” also saw Winn get some character development as he started to experience fear in helping Guardian defend the streets after being faced with a near death experience against a robber. This affects him badly, to the point where he throws in helping out James and his crusade. But Alex manages to snap him out of his moment of helplessness after she brings him along to save Kara. In the process he manages to defend himself from a Maaldorian and regains his confidence.
I also liked that at the end when Kara gives Snapper Carr her article about the human trafficking we get some insight into his character. Before it always seemed like he was a major arsehole, and was quite biaist with his opinions, especially at the beginning of this mid-season opener where he didn’t seem to care about the missing persons story, forcing Kara to go out of her way to discover the truth. It turns out that this was just his strange way of pushing Kara, turning her into the reporter he deep down believed she could become (though this isn’t admitted to Kara’s face).
There’s also the good news that Maggie is willing to give Alex another chance, with the warning that she won’t tolerate being blown off again by her commitments to work and Kara. It was good that Maggie figured out that Kara was in fact Supergirl, showing us how Maggie has come to understand Alex by piecing together the dots through Alex’s emotional traits. I just really hope this doesn’t backfire because I want these two characters to be together because they deserve to be a couple.
Then to end things off Mon-El goes over to Kara’s apartment and informs her that he wants to finally be a superhero. I also hope that this brings them closer together, because again they kind of deserve each other, and I really think they’d make a nice couple. Either-way, “Supergirl Lives” was a great way to bring Supergirl back to our screens and shows a lot of promise for the remaining eleven episodes. Characters are continuing to develop nicely, and the different dynamics between certain characters are also helping to evolve the narrative towards new and exciting adventures. And finally there’s the menacing aliens who are mysteriously searching for Mon-El!