Supergirl s1 ep 1

Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) works as an assistant to Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), CEO of media giant CatCo. She’s also an alien with superhuman powers; as someone who generally doesn’t care for comic books, and who really doesn’t care about origin stories, I’m pleased to say that the reason for her journey to Earth is dealt with briskly. She’s been hiding her powers, but busts them out when a plane on which her adoptive sister is flying is about to crash.

To start with, Kara is endearingly excited, as anyone would be in that situation: she gets to save people, and she can fly. (Honestly, if she’d been angsty at this point I’d have switched off there and then.) Her sister deflates her mood a little by pointing out that there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle, and that she’s going to be in danger. Sure enough, she’s seized by the Department of Extra-Normal Operations, of which the Director is Hank Henshaw (David Harewood – who, quite rightly, plays the role in exactly the same way as when he was Director of the CIA’s counterterrorism operations in Homeland). He tells Kara that, by means of made-up science which need not detain us, she also brought a prison ship full of the worst criminals in the galaxy to Earth. By way of illustration, she will in due course do battle with Rigsby out of The Mentalist, having persuaded a sceptical Henshaw – “Nothing says covert operation like a flying woman in a red skirt” – that she’s up to it. He doesn’t trust aliens, you see, which is probably fair enough, given that he’s dedicated his career to hunting down some particularly nasty ones.

Anyway, I have no idea whether I’m the target audience, but I quite liked this. Benoist, as she showed in Glee, is an engaging and likeable screen presence; there are a couple of potential romantic interests, although I’m not yet on either #TeamKarwinn or #TeamKarjames; and the show seems to have an astute appreciation of its ridiculousness and its sexual politics – there’s a lengthy debate about why Kara is known as Supergirl rather than Superwoman. “Doesn’t that make us guilty of being anti-feminist?” she demands. I wasn’t bowled over, but I might keep watching.


8 thoughts on “Supergirl s1 ep 1

  1. Tim November 1, 2015 / 12:45 am

    I liked this more than I was expecting and thought the writers did a good job laying out the characters, backstory and format for us (and giving us a decent Villain of the Week sub-plot to boot) in a standard-length episode.

    Benoist is great – like with The Flash, I liked that Kara enjoys being a hero rather than getting all angsty about it. I already like Jeremy Jordan’s Winn about ten gazillion times more than I did his Jimmy in Smash. And, yes, definitely a good thing not to get weighed down with the origin story. (I mean, “she’s Superman’s female cousin” should be more than enough for anyone, right?)

  2. CJ Cregg November 2, 2015 / 6:37 pm

    I didn’t expect to be but I was charmed. The whole thing was so enthusiastic and smiley! But not in an annoying way, which is a tricky line to walk. I liked Kara herself a lot, and I loved how the show embraced the history of both Superman himself and previous Super adaptations – Dean Cain and Helen Slater as her adoptive parents! – while still trying to do something new and fun with her.

    Winn is ok (and I agree with Tim, infinitely better than Jimmy from Smash) but I am totally Team Karjames. James is cool. And hot. But he’s also buddies with her uncle so I have a hunch they’re going to turn the Karjames friendship into some big brother/little sister type scenario and I am going to be disappointed.

    A few probs, though: the robot ship thing made no sense at all, nor did the idea these uber-villains would just hang out for all those years since the pod crashed till Kara woke up from suspended animation (24 years!) and then grew up (another bunch of years!) and *then* suddenly decide “oh yeah, NOW we take over the planet.” What were they doing before? Learning to bowl?

    The villains themselves were cheesy as. Poor Rigsby was just there to growl and then be defeated too easily. And I love Sadie Stone but literally making her Kara’s dead mum’s Evil Twin? Come on, now.

    Also, I don’t think Cat’s “I’m a girl, I’m aces, you’re the anti-feminist” speech made any sense at all as an in-universe justification for not calling her “Superwoman”. Of course the show wants to use “Supergirl” as a title, given its history, and fair play for trying to diffuse the obvious issue with the name but that wasn’t the way to do it. Cat’s a media magnate whose business is selling news, so why could she not say something to suggest the choice was brand-related? Like “Supergirl is snappier!” or “I don’t want people to think she’s married to Superman” or “It’ll look better in the headline” or something. It might have been mince, but it would still have sounded better than the explanation they actually gave us.

  3. Jed Bartlet November 3, 2015 / 1:23 pm

    I’m not sure there’s any in-universe answer they could come up with to the Supergirl question, since the actual answer is “that’s her name and always has been”. I think they deserve credit for at least trying.

    • Tim November 3, 2015 / 2:12 pm

      I’m inclined to agree. They acknowledged the issue. They gave an answer that keeps the Supergirl name, consistent with the DC universe. Move along now. Nothing to see here. It did amuse me that they gave the ill-fated headband and bare midriff outfit short shrift though.

      • CJ Cregg November 3, 2015 / 9:32 pm

        Hm. I think if they were going to try to deal with the “girl” point (which I agree they should), dealing with it by criticising the *audience* for questioning it in the first place – by essentially saying “you’re all wrong, using ‘girl’ is perfectly feminist and anyone who suggests otherwise is the real misogynist” – really wasn’t the way to go.

        • Jed Bartlet November 3, 2015 / 9:33 pm

          Is Cat’s position the show’s position, though? She’s hardly the most sympathetic character.

          • CJ Cregg November 3, 2015 / 9:40 pm

            Seems like that’s the one they’re going with. Kara raised it, Cat kicked her round the room, James had to come rescue her and change the subject….

  4. Kay20 November 4, 2015 / 2:15 am

    I really liked this one too. Finally watched and I’m going to give it a go. I’ve been really enjoying The Flash for similar reasons – great analogy.

    I would like Benoit to stop using the same “firm jaw” expression when she’s “determined” though. I suspect as she eases into the role she’ll get a little less stiff.

    Agreed in Winn. Thank god he’s not angsty and is instead piney (I love unrequited romance!).

    Made me smile, and I was surprisingly invested in the characters. Even the older sister whose envy of her younger sister must have sucked the big one growing up. Clark never had a sibling, and she gives a unique perspective on being the sibling of a superfriend.

    Made my Tivo season pass list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s