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TV Review: Supergirl - Season 2, Episode 4 - "Survivors"

11.01.2016
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EPISODE 4: SURVIVORS

SYNOPSIS: Thrilled to have found another Martian, Hank is determined to get to know M'Gann better; Kara and Alex take notice of an alien fight club run by Roulette while investigating an unregistered alien's murder; and Supergirl starts training Mon-El, whom she has taken under her wing.

REVIEW: 

Happy Halloween, everybody! I trust that you all enjoyed yourselves during this year’s Samhain celebration. With any luck, had a reason to get all dressed up and attend a killer party. If not, maybe you simply stayed in, and watched scary movies while periodically distributing candy to groupings of doe-eyed trick ‘r treaters. Either way, I do hope that you caught this week’s episode of SUPERGIRL, because it was a damn good one. Drama ran high tonight as Kara, Mon-El, J’onn, M’gann, and Alex were forced into situations that would cause them to question the very nature of who they really are. Be it Kara’s hesitance toward Mon-El, J’onn’s aggressively misguided approach to reconnect with his people,or Alex’s blossoming attraction to Maggie Sawyer, this episode was most certainly one that served to build our main characters.

Tonight started off with a bang! Well, several of them, really. As debris rained down on the doomed planet of Daxam, we got to catch up with Mon-El, and witness the means of his escape. While brief, I thought this was a cool way to open this week’s episode. Mon-El has been around for awhile now, and if we don’t start learning more about him soon, he might as well not be there at all. Amidst the more-than-apt special effects, was a scene in which I got to see Mon-El connecting with a member of his home planet. Here, Mon-El was compassionate, not cocky. These moments served to paint him in a different light for me, by lending a heavy dose of personal tragedy to his origin. It would be nice if, going forward, we get a more balanced display of Mon-El’s emotions as he settles into National City.

Ah, and then there’s J’onn. His was the most interesting story thread for me, this evening. I was starting to wonder whether or not J’onn’s character would be taking a backseat, as a way of making room for story beats involving other cast members. Instead, M’gann’s reveal has sent Martian Manhunter on a new path. A prominent theme for the season is very much one of displaced people. With that, we see Mon-El having to make peace with the loss of his native Daxam, Kara continuing to cope with the circumstances of her promise to help the people of Earth, and the ongoing adversity between human and alien kind - I find it comforting that J’onn is being given the opportunity to rediscover a part of himself that he believed had been lost forever.

I also want to make a point of mentioning what a great job I think writers Paula Yoo and Eric Carrasco did with Miss Martian, this episode. This is not the M’gann that I know from the comics, or from YOUNG JUSTICE - and that’s okay. I’m finding that, rather than feeling the need to complain that the character isn’t behaving in a way that I’m accustomed to, this fresh and mysterious approach to M’gann is far more interesting than if her actions were predictable and “on-model”. Case in point, did you see that jaw-dropping transformation of M’gann’s at the close of this week’s chapter? What’s up with that? Is she a White Martian shape-shifting into a Green Martian’s body? Or perhaps a Green Martian shape-shifting into a White Martian’s body? I have so many questions!

Let’s talk about Alex and Maggie for a bit, shall we? For starters, can we all agree that there is some major on-screen chemistry happening between Chyler Leigh and Floriana Lima? In just two episodes, Maggie has clearly had a profound effect on Alex. For me, I see a restored vigor in Alex’s job performance, not to mention that she’s developed an extra spring in her step while simultaneously developing a more obvious sense of humor. Of course, there’s also matters of the heart to consider. By the end of this episode, it becomes quite clear that Alex has become sexually attracted to Maggie. Not only would I love to see these two characters become an item, I also believe that their getting together would provide some interesting drama should Kate Kane (Batwoman) be added to the cast (at some time down the road). Who’s Kate Kane, you say? Perhaps you’d know her by her other name, Batwoman. There’s no confirmation yet, but I have heard rumblings of both Kate Kane and Barbara Gordon possibly joining the cast of SUPERGIRL. If that’s the case, a no-name blonde won’t be the only person standing in Alex’s way into Maggie’s … heart.

Okay, let’s take our minds away from the possibilities of Alex and Maggie’s blossoming relationship, and talk about some of the more underwhelming aspects of this episode. Yeah, I’ve got to say, I think that the strength of tonight’s show lands squarely on the shoulders of our main characters, and not the Roulette/Alien Fight Club angle. I just wasn’t feeling any of it. As an actor, Dichen Lacham always brings this exotic, commanding presence to her characters. The camera loves her, and I, as a fan of her work on MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., can’t help but stare as she moves about the sound stage with an effortless grace. That said, I found her Roulette character to be a bit ho-hum.

In truth, damn near the entirety of the Alien Fight Club thread felt very much like filler to me. In my estimation, the choreography during the first fight was uninspired to say the least. And yeah, even the scuffle between our two martians struck me as a fine recipe for some very weak sauce. I can accept that it was meant to create an added friction toward J’onn and M’gann finding common ground, though little more than the impressive alien makeup effects has stuck with me at the time of my writing this review. Perhaps if Roulette plans on sticking around for a while, we’ll get to see her wield the daggers that she keeps hidden inside that tightly woven bun atop her elegant skull. That would sweet. I just want her to be about more than hypnotic eye-candy for the camera.

Of course, there’s no getting through a review of SUPERGIRL without talking about the perpetually adorable Melissa Benoist. Kara is now living in a post-Cat Grant world, and the motherly-media-mogul’s absence has clearly taken its toll on our hero’s confidence. With Cat out of the picture, Kara is no longer able to use her charms and heartfelt meddling to get what she wants out of her big bad boss. No, instead she now has to deal with Snapper Carr, a man who expects better from Kara - maybe even more so than Cat. Hmm, perhaps “more” isn’t the right word. From what I can tell, Snapper is hard, but fair. Much like Cat, I think Snapper sees a suppressed potential in his new reporter - it’s just that his version of tough love comes off far grumpier than that of Ms. Grant’s. At any rate, I’m quite enjoying the slow-burn progression of Kara’s chosen profession.

Additionally, there were plenty of tender moments, tonight, as Kara began coming around to the DEO’s newest alien refugee, Mon-El. While accepting that Kara was conditioned from birth to think the Daxans a loathsome people, I have felt that her stance on her Kryptonian neighbor’s arrival has been quite hypocritical until the latter end of this episode. Now that Kara has agreed to being responsible for Mon-El’s actions outside of the DEO, I’m quite interested to see how she’ll react to sharing the spotlight. Remember, this is not Superman we’re talking about here, but a member of an alien race that she was taught to hate. I suppose that only time will tell - and that’s not even taking into consideration that there’s the potential for Kara and Mon-El to fall for one another. After all, they’ve got more in common with each other than I think either of them would care to admit at this stage of the game. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.

That’ll about do it for this week’s SUPERGIRL review. This episode definitely felt like we’d pumped the brakes on there being a truly engaging subplot, though the character development of this season continues to be as strong as ever - and for me, that’s what really places this show above the rest of comics televised best.

SCORE:

STINGER: Episode 5: Crossfire Supergirl faces a new challenge from a ruthless gang who are armed and dangerous with cutting-edge alien technology; at the same time, Kara gets Mon-El an internship at CatCo; James comes to an important decision; and Lena puts Kara's name on the guest list for one of her fund-raisers.

Extra Tidbit: Just because Roulette doesn't have any powers, that doesn't mean that she isn't dangerous. Her ability to calculate and predict gambling outcomes makes her a villainess worth having in your corner if you're aiming to gather cash for your next nefarious plan.
Source: joblo.com

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6:15AM on 11/01/2016

wondering what type of martian she is?

refer to young justice. Btw, Young justice season 3! if you want it, just watch it on netflix whenever you have nothing else. Or just put it on while you fall asleep to get the views up. We can do this!
refer to young justice. Btw, Young justice season 3! if you want it, just watch it on netflix whenever you have nothing else. Or just put it on while you fall asleep to get the views up. We can do this!
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2:21AM on 11/01/2016

Solid episode....

But am I the only one already getting sick of how every alien on the show knows every alien from another galaxy? Kara was a pre-teen when she left Krypton, but she knows a dozen alien species including their behavioral traits, then Mon-El just happens to know Draaga, including his hidden injury? It's like the writers decided that the best way to shortcut all knew aliens was by exposition from cast members who should have no way of knowing it. Maybe try cramming less stuff in the episode so
But am I the only one already getting sick of how every alien on the show knows every alien from another galaxy? Kara was a pre-teen when she left Krypton, but she knows a dozen alien species including their behavioral traits, then Mon-El just happens to know Draaga, including his hidden injury? It's like the writers decided that the best way to shortcut all knew aliens was by exposition from cast members who should have no way of knowing it. Maybe try cramming less stuff in the episode so it can flow more naturally.

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