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TV Review: Supergirl - Season 1 Episode 20 "Better Angels"

04.18.2016

EPISODE 20: "Better Angels"

SYNOPSIS: When Non and Indigo use the Myriad device to turn up the pressure (literally) in National City, Kara faces her most dangerous challenge yet.

REVIEW:

Admittedly, I have been hard on SUPERGIRL, especially in the beginning. But after some early hiccups, the show really seemed to hit its stride after the mid-season finale. The writing escalated, the heart at the center of the show made the cheesiness slightly less cringe-worthy (or maybe I just got used to it), and the actors' chemistry, particularly between Melissa Benoist, Chyler Leigh, and Calista Flockhart anchored each episode. So much so, I am sad that this 20 episode journey has ended, especially since CBS has yet to order Season 2. But with such a cliffhanger ending - cue Brad Pitt saying, "What's in the box [errr.. pod]?!" - I think there is a good chance we will be seeing a lot more from Kara and friends next year.

Although tonight's season finale was by no means the best episode of the season, what the writers really excelled at was playing to the show's strengths, its emotional center. Defeating Non and Indigo/saving the world are just the means to wrap up the season and a way to add some action to the story. Instead, what I have found most interesting since the very beginning of the show is Kara's relationships with the other characters. Melissa Benoist's earnest portrayal of Kara is one of my favorite breakout performances of the past year, and I love that the show has allowed her to flex her acting muscles. Not to mention, her scenes with Chyler Leigh and Calista Flockhart are the backbone of the show, and the reason I keep tuning in each week (well that, and this whole JoBlo gig).

"Better Angels" picks up after last week's "to be continued..." with Myriad-controlled Alex (in her Kryptonite suit and sword) fighting it out against Kara. As hard as Kara tries, she is unable to get through to Alex and make her stop fighting. It isn't until J'onn shows up on the scene with their mom Eliza Danvers that Alex finally comes back to her senses. Apparently the injuries J'onn sustained last week weren't bad enough to prevent him from flying to Midvale.

As it turns out, Eliza's words of hope to Alex are what finally broke Myriad's control, so it is up to Supergirl to broadcast a similar message to all of National City. Using an old broadcast station, and Maxwell Lord's technical skills, Kara as Supergirl sits behind a news desk and sends a motivational message of hope to all of National City. Where's Coach Taylor when you need him? Kara thanks everyone for accepting her and helping her be who she was meant to be; now it is their turn to be heroes themselves - "fight back and thrive." Surprisingly (or not surprisingly since this is SUPERGIRL) this is all that Kara needed to do to wake the city from its Myriad-controlled state of mind.

But, unfortunately, National City isn't out of the woods yet. Analysts at the DEO discover Non has amplified Myriad's signal to an even stronger level, which is causing major headaches to permeate throughout the human populace. The signal will eventually be so strong, it will cause deadly cranial pressure. As Non says, if he can't control humanity, he will kill them.

Because J'onn is injured from his fight with Indigo (and still incarcerated by the DEO) and Superman is in a plot-convenient coma, Kara realizes she will have to fight Indigo and Non by herself. After all, she's the only able-bodied alien left who is not adversely affected by the Myriad's signal. But everyone, even Maxwell Lord, acknowledges this is a suicide mission. Even if Kara is able to defeat Non and Indigo, how will she stop the Myriad device?

Knowing her situation is looking pretty dire, Kara sets off on a goodbye tour, sending her best wishes to her loved ones - something she didn't have time to do on Krypton. To Winn, Kara again puts him squarely in the friend zone by reinforcing how much she has valued his friendship over the years. To James, she laments the fact that she can't be with him and hopes that he will find someone who deserves him. To Cat, Kara thanks her for being such a good friend, role model, and mentor. And finally, Kara talks to J'onn. She tells him she is at peace knowing she was never meant to live a normal life on Earth, with a family and house with a white picket fence; Kara was sent here to protect her cousin and now she wants to use her powers to save the world.

Luckily for Kara, the DEO and military leadership know where the Kryptonians have fled... Nevada. And no, they aren't getting one last look at the Britney Spears' "Piece of Me" show. Fort Rozz crash landed in the Nevada desert and based on its overwhelming size, the government decided to leave it there, using its stealth technology to conceal it. To the public, they claimed the site was a nuclear testing site. So Kara, along with an injured but freed J'onn J'onzz, has six minutes to destroy the former prison ship, which is powering the Myriad, before the signal reaches maximum amplification and the humans' heads explode.


Thankfully, the Kryptonian army is already asleep... that is, except for Non and Indigo. I guess Non doesn't see a reason to wake them up and instead decides to fight Kara himself; Indigo pairs off against J'onn. At first, the fight seems to be going in the villains' favor. However, when Non and Kara's heat vision tug of war distracts Indigo, J'onn uses the momentary distraction to rip his opponent in half. Kara also gets a burst of momentum and critically injures Non, or at least that's how it seems.

But although the bad guys are "dead", Fort Rozz is still powering the Myriad device. The only way Kara can stop its brutal effects is by sacrificing her life in order to take it into space. Alex knows Kara won't be able to survive this mission so she takes it upon herself to ensure Kara gets back to Earth safely. After Kara hurls Fort Rozz outside of Earth's gravitational field, she is unable to get the power necessary to get back home. Just as the situation appears hopeless, Alex shows up in Kara's Kryptonian spaceship to rescue her sister. [Question: since when can Supergirl not fly in space? Before Superman was under Myriad's control last week, didn't someone say he was "off-Earth"? That should mean he can fly in space, right?]

:Sigh: Yes, the defeat of Non, Indigo, and the Myriad device was cheesy and a lazy solution to a problem the show has been setting up for several weeks. But as I alluded to earlier, no matter how the show finally sets up the villains' defeat, it's no surprise that Kara is going to win in the end. That's why I have been more interested in the way the show focused on furthering the characters' relationships with one another. No, I am not talking about any of the romances; I am talking about the sisterhood. For Kara and Alex, both sisters risked their lives to save the other. The whole season, Alex has battled with being the "weaker" sister. But tonight, she showed just how "badass" she can be when she bravely hijacked Kara's spacecraft and saved Kara from the depths of space. Then, Kara's other important relationship with Cat reached another level when Cat finally :gasp: called her Kara (instead of Keira) and promoted her! Things are looking up, literally.

Now that the world is safe and Kara is saved, everything seems to be going really well. The President (who is rumored to be played by Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter, if there is a Season 2) pardoned J'onn and reinstated him to the head of the DEO. Also, Kara and James kiss (for real this time) during a family dinner at Kara's. But, of course, the show can't end on a happy note and instead ends on a cliffhanger. Another Kryptonian space ship that looks exactly like the one that brought Kara to Earth as a child lands on Earth and inside is... guess we will just have to wait for Season 2. 

If Season 2 can build on the successes we saw in the latter half of Season 1, I think we have a lot to look forward to. What did you think of tonight's season finale and who/what do you think is in that pod? Could it be a third Laura Benanti? Kara as a young girl? Krypto the Superdog? Let me hear your guesses below!

 

FINAL VERDICT:

Source: JoBlo.com

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+1
11:12PM on 04/20/2016

I hate to say it.....

But I hated this episode. After an entire season of build-up, she saves everyone with.....a speech??? Seriously? Also, they've NEVER shown her to have the kind of strength to pick up Fort Rozz, but that's far less of a problem than the painful final boss fights. I couldn't even believe that someone thought those would pass for a climax of the entire season's arc.

I agree with you that when they focus on the relationships, the show is really enjoyable. Much like The Flash, Supergirl
But I hated this episode. After an entire season of build-up, she saves everyone with.....a speech??? Seriously? Also, they've NEVER shown her to have the kind of strength to pick up Fort Rozz, but that's far less of a problem than the painful final boss fights. I couldn't even believe that someone thought those would pass for a climax of the entire season's arc.

I agree with you that when they focus on the relationships, the show is really enjoyable. Much like The Flash, Supergirl works because it's star is SO likeable and has great chemistry with virtually everyone who appears on the show. Whether it's her sister, Max Lorde (who had a pretty shaky arc himself), her aunt, Cat, or both the guys in her life, Benoist just kills it with her vulnerability and earnestness. You WANT to like her.

I hope they get another season and that they can get back to what worked so great for most of the season.
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3:18PM on 04/19/2016
This was a good episode until the very end and the whole save her in space thing. That made no sense. And even if for some reason she needed to be saved in space, how in the hell did Alex get there so damn fast and wouldn't her head have exploded from being so close to Myriad? Why wouldn't have Martian Manhunter gone to save her? That part was just frustrating. This show takes two steps forward and one step back all the time. Also - can we change the inflection in her voice during the open when
This was a good episode until the very end and the whole save her in space thing. That made no sense. And even if for some reason she needed to be saved in space, how in the hell did Alex get there so damn fast and wouldn't her head have exploded from being so close to Myriad? Why wouldn't have Martian Manhunter gone to save her? That part was just frustrating. This show takes two steps forward and one step back all the time. Also - can we change the inflection in her voice during the open when she says Superman? It's so damn cheesy and sounds awful. One last thing to note in general about Supergirl ... in the open of the show it shows her as a child in her pod no ears pierced. How as an adult did she get her ears pierced? Her skin cannot be penetrated. It's a minor detail, but just damn annoying to me each week for some reason.
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9:03AM on 04/19/2016

Ace38

Show really became good over time, especially after the weak previews. Good ep, but not great....I too had an issue with the "flying in space" bit, and knew as she was lifting Ft. Rozz that Alex would show up in the pod. Fully expecting that pod to have child Kara in it when/if we get season 2 (midseason replacement I bet you). Looking forward to the show though, give us S2 CBS!.
Show really became good over time, especially after the weak previews. Good ep, but not great....I too had an issue with the "flying in space" bit, and knew as she was lifting Ft. Rozz that Alex would show up in the pod. Fully expecting that pod to have child Kara in it when/if we get season 2 (midseason replacement I bet you). Looking forward to the show though, give us S2 CBS!.
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1:27PM on 04/19/2016
My problem with the Flying in Space bit is it has been canon forever that superman can fly in space. He goes there sometimes to recharge in the sun's light. He went there in the movies decades ago to turn back time. So is this the one way in which supergirl is unlike/weaker superman? It was just a lame excuse for her sister to save her instead.
My problem with the Flying in Space bit is it has been canon forever that superman can fly in space. He goes there sometimes to recharge in the sun's light. He went there in the movies decades ago to turn back time. So is this the one way in which supergirl is unlike/weaker superman? It was just a lame excuse for her sister to save her instead.
2:11AM on 04/19/2016
A tale of two cities. Thats basically this show. This show was absolutely aneurysm inducing horrific for the first 6-8 episodes. It was downright offensive to men since it spent a good 5-10 minutes per episode doing everything it could to put down men in general every other line out of any female characters mouth. The writers form of girl power wasn't equality early on, it was straight up amazonian level female supremacy. In all honesty if main stream shows existed today that spoke about
A tale of two cities. Thats basically this show. This show was absolutely aneurysm inducing horrific for the first 6-8 episodes. It was downright offensive to men since it spent a good 5-10 minutes per episode doing everything it could to put down men in general every other line out of any female characters mouth. The writers form of girl power wasn't equality early on, it was straight up amazonian level female supremacy. In all honesty if main stream shows existed today that spoke about females (in a serious non villain manner), the way this did males, it would be all over the media how misogynistic and evil they were. Thankfully after the reviews started rolling in they realized that turning off literally half of your viewer base was probably a bad idea, especially since men are the majority of comic audience still. There are still instances of men being weak, like portraying Superman to be an inept physical and mental weakling as much if not more so than a normal human, but its more subtle sort of. God is a she, the president is a woman etc.

That being said thankfully it fell more into the Flash formula and started focusing a little more seriously on the character relationships. Superman/Supergirl can ALWAYS win so there is really no drama in it. Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, even Wonderwoman can all lose and do so regularly. When you're literally a god with every superpower imagined, they REALLY have to stretch it to make you lose or even set you back. And since Supergirl is just a female version of Superman, she is just as godlike. Though this show would have you believe she is even more godlike. Once the episode rolled around that introduced J'onn J'onzz in his true glory, I felt the writing and the excitement level of the show as a whole turned around. Martian manhunter has always been one of my favorite DC characters so to see him done pretty damn good justice makes me happy. He deserves his own show frankly because he is a Justice League member and deserves to be more than second fiddle on a show, but I digress. His experience is the perfect balance to Kara's inexperience. He is the mentor to her, basically taking the place of Superman in Kara's life on this show since they can't ever truly show Superman in action. I felt they gave Kara a good journey from complete noobie to full fledged mostly confident hero. Same goes mostly for all the characters. Maxwell Lord went from a seemingly total slimy douchebag, to actually being shown as a greyish area good guy. Just wanting to protect the world in the only way he could think to do it, but reasonable as well, more than willing to work with our heroes late game. I actually feel his arc in this was one of the best because of that grey line he walks. Its hard to hate him by the end of the season, but I don't totally trust he won't do something bad in his vision of doing something good for humanity. I actually felt her sister was one of the weakest characters. I like Chyler Leigh but she felt so cardboard cutout and wooden in this. Nothing of substance to her. I also wish, and maybe I'm spoiled by the awesomeness of the Flash, but I was hoping for more twists and surprises. Yeah great to hear Superma...I mean Dean Cain, is still alive but I was hoping for much more "oh wow" moments.

All in all the show was went from painful and horrible to an ok show I'll probably watch next year. I gave it a second chance, after I gave up on it, when I heard the Flash was crossing over with it. I'm, glad I did. Its not gonna win any awards, and its definitely no Flash but its entertaining most weeks. Thats more than I can say for Legends of Tomorrow.
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