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TV Review: Supergirl - Season 1 Episode 4 "Livewire"

11.16.2015

EPISODE 4: "Livewire"

SYNOPSIS: It's Thanksgiving in National City, but there isn't much celebrating. Kara and Alex are anticipating major Supergirl-related drama when their "mother" Eliza comes into town. And not only that, a fluke occurs during one of Supergirl's rescue missions, which turns a disgruntled CatCo employee into a supervillain!

REVIEW:

In light of the terrorist attacks in Paris this weekend, the previously scheduled episode of SUPERGIRL has been switched for another. The original episode, “How Does She Do It”, involved Kara trying to save National City from multiple bombings planned to go off at the same time. Tonight’s episode, “Livewire”, is a conveniently filmed Thanksgiving episode, focusing mostly on the relationship between Alex, Kara, and their “mother” Eliza Danvers (played by Helen Slater, who played Supergirl in the 1984 film).

What is most interesting about this episode switch is that it shows how self-contained each episode of SUPERGIRL has been so far. As opposed to ARROW or THE FLASH, which would have a more difficult time switching episodes out due to continuity, had there not been an announcement we may not have even noticed SUPERGIRL’s change. Perhaps this is one reason why I haven’t been able to get as excited about the show as I have its predecessors. Although I enjoy the girl power elements, the awesome soundtrack, and Melissa’s adorkable performance as Kara, SUPERGIRL seems to be lacking an interesting through-line that carries from episode to episode. But hey, we are still only a few episodes in (I feel like I say this every week). I am still willing to give it more time to develop the characters and story. And with the DEO and Henshaw reveal at the end of this episode, there is promise for interesting plotlines to come. However, we can’t wait around forever.

Thanksgiving is coming up next week, so it’s no surprise that we get to delve into Kara’s Earth family drama… I mean backstory. We are shown a few flashbacks, which help explain the dynamic between Kara, Alex and Eliza Danvers. The relationship between mothers and daughters is dynamic, and tonight’s episode shows even Supergirl can’t escape it.

"Livewire" gives a brief glimpse at the atmosphere in the Danvers household as the two girls grew up. While Kara has always felt she was in her cousin’s shadow, Alex has felt as though she was in her sister’s shadow. Ever since she was a child, the Danvers made Alex feel responsible for her little sister. She was "the protector" and the one that should know better than to get involved in sticky situations. And it was mostly because of this pressure that Alex went on to join the DEO. It was a way for her to look out for her sister by using the best resources she and the government can provide. But even after dedicating so much of her life to making sure Kara was okay, Alex always felt that nothing she did made her mother proud.

So, when Eliza makes a special visit to see her girls for Thanksgiving, Alex knows this won’t be a friendly visit. Mama Danvers is actually coming to town to talk Supergirl. While she tells Kara that she is proud of her for her heroics, she turns around and chastises Alex for allowing Kara to risk her life. Even when Alex spills the beans that she is a DEO agent, thinking that will show her mother that she has been caring for Kara this whole time, Eliza is still unimpressed. But it isn’t until later on in the episode that we find out why…

Cut to Livewire, the villain in tonight’s episode, who is neither menacing nor particularly exciting. I mean come on… she is supposedly able to kill Kara using her electrical charges, but is easily subdued when doused with water a la THE WIZARD OF OZ’s Wicked Witch. I think it would have been interesting to introduce her Supergirl-hating shock jock alter-ego, Leslie Willis, as an agitator for Kara over a few episodes. THEN have her transition into Livewire. Her appearance is too underwhelming for the episode, and while the threat of Livewire does bring Cat and Kara closer, that was about the only positive.

Speaking of agitators, what the hell is going on with the cell phone interruptions during the episode? One use of this poorly contrived plot device is enough to make me crazy, but important scenes are interrupted THREE TIMES by a cell phone call. The first instance occurrs during "Friendsgiving", when Wynn is about to tell Kara he is thankful for her. The second comes a few minutes later when Kara interrupts her mother’s deep conversation to take Cat’s call for tech support. And the third happens when Eliza is about to tell Alex an important secret about the DEO. I would say this HAS to be a statement about how distracted/connected we are as a society. But, unfortunately, I think it was just poor choices in the writers’ room. I don’t know about you, but if someone is about to tell me a serious secret, I press the ignore button.

So, at the end of the episode we find out why Eliza was so hostile to her daughter after finding out she works for the DEO. Years ago, when Kara first arrived on Earth, she took Alex flying. Apparently the DEO was watching and Hank Henshaw came knocking. He demanded to take Kara with him since Superman wouldn’t let the DEO study him. However, Jeremiah (Dean Cain) refused to let her go and told them to take him instead. After all, he worked with Superman for years, which is why Superman felt comfortable leaving Kara with him and his wife. He promised to give them information about Superman’s abilities as long as they let Kara live in peace. Allegedly Jeremiah died while working for the DEO, but I can’t imagine the show won’t bring him back in some capacity. Surely he won’t just be shown in flashbacks. I think perhaps he is the one that gave Henshaw his mysterious powers.

With this new information, Kara and Alex know that the DEO and especially Henshaw cannot be trusted. At the end of the episode, the girls act like everything is fine at DEO HQ, but now they have a new goal – finding out what happened to Jeremiah. Since I have already seen next week’s episode, I can assure you that although the episodes are out of order, the events of next week will only lead to more suspicions about Henshaw.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

  • Can Kara stop being such a jerk to Wynn and treat him with a little respect?! I feel bad for the guy…
  • Which brings me to that mention of Wynn’s dad being in prison. Surely that is going to come up again. Toyman?
  • Kara can do awesome party tricks... like cooking a turkey with her heat vision.
  • Loved the references to THE X-FILES (Agent Mulder), GHOSTBUSTERS, and finding out that Kara and Wynn are also fans of ORPHAN BLACK! One of us!
  • Ellie Goulding’s cover of “Take Me To Church” was so good it distracted me from the scene.
  • It’s probably nothing, but I find it interesting that Cat told Kara to run and get help while she stayed behind to distract Livewire. This, along with her newfound interest in Kara’s background, is certainly a way to round out the character and show Cat is capable of compassion. But I think it would be interesting if she has a little idea that Kara is Supergirl and wanted to give her the chance to save the day. Absolutely no further clues point to this, but it would be a cool twist.

 

FINAL VERDICT:

Source: Joblo.com

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