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TV Review: Supergirl - Season 2, Episode 3 - "Welcome to Earth"

10.25.2016

EPISODE 3: WELCOME TO EARTH

SYNOPSIS: Kara fears the recently escaped Mon-El is behind an attack on the president, who Supergirl and the DEO have been assigned to protect; at the same time, the hot-button issue of aliens vs. human rights divides National City.

REVIEW:

It’s official, my friends. This season of Supergirl is rising to the top of my CW Superhero list faster than a speeding bullet as the show continues to impress me by leaps and bounds! Tonight’s episode, “Welcome to Earth” was jam-packed with action, social commentary, and proper introductions to some some of this season’s most highly anticipated additions to the cast. Before we start breaking it all down, allow me to put those of you who were concerned about Superman’s departure at ease - SUPERGIRL is as confident about its lead character than it’s ever been, and the good times continue to roll on!

Alright, let’s dig into the events, character reveals, and notable quotables from tonight’s episode. Last week, we left the program just as Kara had come under attack, after Mon-El, fresh from his Kryptonian pod cat nap, became alarmingly cognizant. After a brief exchange of powers, a startled Supergirl allowed Mon-El to make a break for the city streets. Side Note: I can’t be the only one who was amazed by how easy it was for him to escape, right? I mean, the dude just up and walked through a pair of sliding glass doors and then peaced out. Shouldn’t those doors have like, a biometric scanner built into them or something? I’m just saying, this might be something that Winn should look into.

Okay, let’s make a list! In tonight’s episode alone there have been the following major events and additions to SUPERGIRL:

We got our first proper introduction to Mon-El (Chris Wood) - an alien refugee from the planet Daxam. A sister planet of Krypton, Daxam is the home of a rather xenophobic race known as Daxamites. As Kara puts it, “Hundreds of years ago, Krypton and Daxam fought a bloody war to a stalemate. Thousands of lives were lost on both sides, because of a pointless war Daxam started. Krypton was a democracy - a world of explorers, philosophers, scientists. Daxam was a monarchy, with kings and queens who ruled a population of hoodlums.” The more you know! Even though we spent limited time with the rather dashing interstellar deportee, I truly loved the moment in which Mon-El was given the sad news about his home planet's demise. Sometimes, an actor can do more with a look than a bit of dialogue. This was one of those moments.

Then, we have the lovely and legendary Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter, stepping into the role of President Olivia Marsdin. Looking to pass a new bill that would grant alien visitors from other planets citizenry within the United States borders, we soon discover that President Marsdin herself might soon fail Lena Luthor’s new fingerprint scanning device - a bit of tech that would help humans identify and mark visitors from “out of town”.

And while we’re on the topic of Ms. Luthor (Katie McGrath), can we all agree that her opposing views to that of her adoptive brother, Lex, are a welcomed breath of fresh air? I’m really enjoying that, so far, Lena looks to a straight shooter. I can see the seeds of nefariousness growing out of her alien-registration apparatus, but I’m not about to jump to conclusions just yet. Instead, I’ll just enjoy that we finally have a captivating, capable, and clever Luthor on screen - for however long as her being on the side of good will last.

Oh, we’re not done yet. Not by a long shot. Put your hands in the air for one of DC Comic’s greatest female detectives, Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima) making the scene! Granted, she looks quite different from her comic book counterpart, but at a first glance she’s got the smarts, sass, and sleuthiness that helped make her such an enjoyable character in series like GOTHAM CENTRAL and BATWOMAN. I don’t know about you, but I simply delighted in the chemistry between Maggie and Alex, this episode. Alex is often the lone wolf when it comes to her DEO duties - regardless of the fact that she heads up entire teams of kevlar-clad super villain fodder - so it’s quite nice to see her have a Frick to her Frack. Oh sure, she and Hank have shared some great moments in the past, however, he tends to hang back a lot - allowing Alex to shoulder much of the action when in the field. If my predictions are correct, we’ll be seeing plenty of shared scenes between Alex and Maggie going forward, and that would be mighty fine indeed.

We’re almost done going through the list, but admit it, this is fun! Okay, so we didn’t get much from Winn this episode. That’s okay. He cracked a couple of jokes and got to flex his triangulation muscles a bit, but otherwise we left him to continue geeking out over his new position with the DEO. Nonetheless, we were treated to what was possibly the best James Olsen moment since the show began. If you’re like me, you were scratching your head a bit when you found out that Cat Grant left James in charge of Cat Co.. I know that Ms. Grant has always had a certain level of respect for James, but to bequeath him her entire company? Regardless, James certainly stepped up to the plate this episode, after an inspiring conversation with Kara gave him the confidence boost he needed to put on his big boy pants. His character has always worked best for me when he’s calm and calculated, and that scene of him putting Snapper Carr in his place was just tops. I want to see more of James taking charge, rather than be shoe-horned into another romantic triangle situation.

And last, but certainly not least, we got to meet M’gann M’orzz AKA Miss Martian! Okay Steve, remember your breathing exercises. Just calm down, and tell everyone why you’re so excited. Alright, here’s the score. I am a very big Miss Martian fan! Have you ever seen the Cartoon Network show YOUNG JUSTICE? You have? Well then, you already know, Miss Martian’s character slays in that animated series. Also, her character has the potential to give Hank something that he’s in desperate need of - a friend who can truly remind him of home. If you’ve been following the show since the beginning, you’d know that a lost sense of self is one of Martian Manhunter’s defining characteristics. If his character is to grow this season, who better to help him do it than the last daughter of Mars?

Right on. So there you have it. Oh, but we’re not done yet. Tying everything together this episode is a very poignant - and some would say all-too-familiar - plot thread of permitting aliens to enter the United States borders, unimpeded. No, I’m not about to get all political on you and start spitting rhetoric about The Misogynist and The Smiling Dragon. Suffice it to say though that SUPERGIRL very handily introduced a highly relatable bit of business this episode, what with the abolishment of interstellar divides as well as the introduction of Luthor’s alien registration tech. It’s just enough to make you go, “I see what you did there, SUPERGIRL.”; but I’m not rolling my eyes about it. Instead, I’m interested to see how this plays out, and if the writing staff can continue to address these sensitive themes without getting on a metaphorical soapbox about them.

No, in my opinion, I think it makes perfect sense for the show to be exploring these themes. Now that Earth has had a chance to witness how alien protection and tech can be to it’s benefit, it’s only natural that they’d want to know how the other half lives. It’s a muddy topic for sure, but this is a work of fiction, so at the very least we can relax knowing that National City’s actions are of no consequence to our real-world troubles.

A few more thoughts before we get out of here. I miss Cat Grant, already. I do accept that her departure from the show was almost necessary to having Kara learn and grow without the benefit of her emotional safety net always being within arms reach, but dammit, I miss Cat’s steely gaze and cut-throat quips. Despite him being a crabby so-and-so, I am enjoying the pissy pants, all-business grump of Snapper Carr. Carr is a decent foil to Kara’s forever-positive attitude, and I like that he’s challenging her in ways that are different than when Ms. Grant was running the show. Additionally, it was interesting to see Carr’s attitude get nerfed, once James had conjured the wherewithal to own his newly-appointed-position. Perhaps Carr will become somewhat more of a Ben Urich to Kara’s Karen Page as time marches on.

I’ll wrap this up with a few quick-fire thoughts and then we can all go back to complaining about The Walking Dead season premiere or whatever. First, did we even get the name of tonight’s fire-flinging villainess? Despite being the antagonist of tonight’s episode, I think it would have been cool to get a little more information about our magenta-haired hot head. I say this because I think it would have served the show well to hear yet another alien echo the concerns of our hesitant Hank Henshaw - if only to reinforce the fact that it’s important to hear both sides of the argument.

Other than that, Melissa Benoist delivered yet another endearing and commanding performance as both Kara Danvers and Supergirl. There are real strides being made for both of her personas just in these first three episodes and I can’t wait to see what heights she rises to as we continue through the season. With so many new players on the board, SUPERGIRL now has many toys that are out of the box, and I have a damn good feeling that the fun is just beginning!

SCORE:

STINGER: When Kara and Alex investigate the murder of an unregistered alien, the trail leads to an alien fight club run by Roulette, the ringmaster who commands aliens to fight in mortal combat for the entertainment of rich humans. While trying to stop the fighting, Supergirl and Martian Manhunter find themselves up against a surprising opponent. Meanwhile, Hank is thrilled to have found another Martian and tries to get to know M'Gann better. Supergirl takes Mon-El under her wing and begins to train him.

Extra Tidbit: Tonight's episode was shot by Rachel Talalay, director of such films as FREDDY'S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE and TANK GIRL!
Source: joblo.com

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9:59PM on 10/25/2016

I had the opposite reaction.....

I agree with some of the characters and the action (the scene of Kara getting slammed into the flight tower by the fireball was particularly well done), but two parts of this were very bothersome. First, the politics was PAINFULLY in your face and ham-handed. This has always been a wildly tilting uber-Liberal show, but after a first season of nothing but fighting evil alien villains, suddenly Kara believes that all aliens have good intentions unless someone can prove otherwise and that Luthor
I agree with some of the characters and the action (the scene of Kara getting slammed into the flight tower by the fireball was particularly well done), but two parts of this were very bothersome. First, the politics was PAINFULLY in your face and ham-handed. This has always been a wildly tilting uber-Liberal show, but after a first season of nothing but fighting evil alien villains, suddenly Kara believes that all aliens have good intentions unless someone can prove otherwise and that Luthor is bad (borderline evil) because she thinks there needs to be a device to detect aliens? Seriously, that was handled with all the finesse of a Neil Blomkamp movie. I'm hoping this isn't a trend, because the fastest way to make me turn the channel is having a superhero show preach to me about how terrible a human being I am because I want our country to have the same laws as Mexico and Canada.

Second, did Linda Carter have a stroke? She was TERRIBLE. Her speech pattern was halting and outright bizarre. Not sure if she's okay or if that was some kind of affectation, but it was completely distracting and kind of painful to watch.

On the bright side, Mon-El was wonderful, as was Maggie. She was possibly the most real-feeling character on the show. As for Mon-El, I think we're about to find out that Kryptonians weren't as kind, loving, and scientific as we've been led to believe they were. He definitely is under the impression that they were the aggressors in their war. So overall it was a good episode, but with some troubling signs that worry me about the direction this is going. I can go to Church on Sunday if I want to be preached to. On Monday I want a fun, action-filled superhero show that doesn't think it has the moral high ground to lecture me.
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