TV Review: Supergirl - Season 2, Episode 5 - "Crossfire"


SYNOPSIS: 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.


Halloween has come and gone, though it appears as if this week’s episode of SUPERGIRL has no shortage of mixed bags that have been filled with treats for its audience. The question now is, what manner of assortment are we to expect? Are we talking full-sized candy bars or just a sad handful of candy corn? Alright, enough with the candy analogies. Let’s talk business. For me, “Crossfire” was very much a “move the pieces into position” episode. By this, I mean that if you broke the events of tonight’s adventure up into pieces, you’d see that the sum of its parts are working like the cogs of a much larger machine. And no, this is not me making excuses for a lackluster episode. It simply means that we’re going to need to break things down a little.

Alright, so this week’s episode started off with a cheesy “steppin’ out” montage, as Kara helped Mon-El prepare for his outside-the-D.E.O. debut. As much as I would love to go on about how corny this was, I’m not going to. With all the death, despair, and brooding going on within the CW’s pantheon of super shows, I’m not about to begrudge or belittle SUPERGIRL for having a bit of harmless fun with itself. We can all endure it for a few moments and survive, unscathed. Instead, let’s talk for a moment about how woefully unprepared Mon-El is for this sort of thing.

First, he’s got the wrong attitude. You’d think that by now he’d have some idea as to the way things work for when Kara engages with humans, and perhaps a bit of an appreciation for how important it is for him to also keep a low profile. But nah, he just wants to put his feet up, treat his co-worker like Swell treated Kathy in DON’T TELL MOM THE BABYSITTER’S DEAD, and eat Twizzlers until it’s time to clock out.

Mon-El uses the excuse that he’s not accustomed to the ways of the working human world, but my feeling is that he can at least try to be a little bit less of a child about making the effort. The reasons I’m even bringing any of this up is, because I still feel as if Mon-El’s character (so far) is wasting our time by being on this show. It’s been very much a slow burn getting him acclimated to the group, and I’m not sure how much longer I’m willing to wait for him to become a contributing member. While I appreciate that he’s serving as a mirror for Kara’s former inexperience, I feel as if that angle of storytelling is unnecessary, here. We’ve already seen both Kara and Supergirl pay their dues, so why bother to retread old ground and remind us of our hero’s growing pains? It just feels redundant. Give me a character to be excited about, one who is eager to learn and do his best to make a difference - not this cock-of-the-walk douche-nozzle we have in Mon-El. In closing (for now), up your Daxian refugee game, CW. Shit is weak.

Meh. Okay, so I think we need to address the leather-jacketed and scum-stached elephant in the room. Yes, I’m talking about tonight’s eye-roll inducing lead thug, Chet Miner (Alexander Cendese). Honestly, the “villains” of this episode were so boring that they might as well have not been in it at all. Furthermore, while I can appreciate that the criminal group featured in tonight’s episode are merely Thugs-For-Hire, I feel as if their being gainfully employed by Cadmus undermines the intelligence and intent of this season’s “big bad”. Even if the goal was simply for Cadmus to do little more than to cause unrest within the the city, you’d think they’d be able to find henchmen who are better suited to the job. It’s a damn good thing that some of the show’s other characters were busy building their solid story arcs, or this episode would have been a real let down.

Let’s take Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) for example. I’m really enjoying this season’s exploration of her character’s sexuality. I like that even though Alex is clearly smitten with Maggie Sawyer, that the writers are (so far) treating the matter with a level of delicacy that I can respect. I appreciate that rather than Alex coming across as bothered by her sexual curiosity, she appears to be delighting in it. That’s not always the way that blossoming same-sex attractions are handled on television - let alone on a comic book-related program. Typically, networks see story beats like this as an opportunity to create what can best be described as “exaggerated drama”. It’s my opinion that Alex’s exploration has been nothing short of sweet and playful. Which is in no small part thanks to the tremendous on-screen chemistry between Chyler Leigh and Floriana Lima.

Speaking of ladies with agency, can I get a round of enthusiastic applause for Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), this episode? First of all, hot damn this woman is smoking hot! I’m not joking around, McGrath has got this 1950’s “vintage beauty” going on for her that I have always been very attracted to. Her piercing glacial-blue eyes and polished ivory skin aside, Lena is bringing a sort of “subdued sinister” to this season of SUPERGIRL. And was it just me, or did you feel like Ms.Luthor was deliberately angling for both Kara and Supergirl to attend her little soiree, this evening? She acts like she’s all for cuddling with puppies and kittens, but something tells me that sooner or later we’re going to see her true colors come shining through. Between you and me, I like that I’m not one hundred percent of what her deal is. Of course, at the close of “Crossfire”, we find out that the lounge lizard-looking leader of Cadmus is Lena’s mother, but could it be possible that at least one apple of the Luthor family has managed to fall far from the knotted and twisted tree? We’ll just have to keep watching and find out.

Moving right on down the line, let’s focus for a moment on James Olsen (Mechad Brooks) and Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan) - who spent most of this evening’s episode haggling over whether or not it’s a good idea for James to suit up - thereby becoming National City’s very own vigilante super hero. You see, James is feeling pretty inadequate, right about now. Between having two crime-fighting alien best friends, watching Winn fight the good fight while working for the D.E.O. and Alex continuing to round up threats throughout the city, little Jimmy black belt is finding that he wants in on the action. While admirable, you’re a black belt in what exactly, Jimmy? Additionally, I get it. You’re feeling lost in your new job, and you’ve grown tired of standing idly by while your friends protect the city from alien threats and (this week) a poor man’s Ron Perlman. However, haven’t you learned anything in your dealings with your super friends? You can’t just go rushing into these things, man. You’re smarter than that.

All that being said, not only did James’ ambition to become a crime fighter provide him with some long overdue screen time, it also lent to Winn delivering some of the best comedic relief of the season thus far. For what it’s worth, I think Jeremy Jordan comes off as a genuinely funny and charismatic dude. If what it takes for those qualities in his character to shine through is for James to voice his interest in dipping his toes into the superhero biz than so be it. Last  season, I complained to my fiancé a lot about James not having enough to do on the show. I suppose that now we’ll just have to wait and see how this new angle of his character pans out. I don’t blame the writers for wanting to take James in this direction. For me, it feels like a surprisingly logical step in Olsen’s evolution - particularly if the show isn’t looking to follow too closely in the footsteps of the caucasian photophile character from the comic book page. Then again, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if somewhere in Jimmy’s history is a story where he gains powers and fights beside the Man of Steel for an arc or two.

It’s funny, for a show that’s called SUPERGIRL, this is twice that I haven’t spoken of Melissa Benoist until the latter end of the review. Just to be clear, my commenting on her contribution to the show so late in my review is not to slight her character or performance. What it really boils down to is that I haven’t found her to be the focal point of these past two episodes. Truthfully, what we’re really talking about here is a continued excellence on behalf of Ms. Benoist, and her ability to play both Kara and Supergirl with an unprecedented level of charm that I find both endearing and hypnotic. Tonight, Benoist turned Kara’s comedic charm up to eleven as she pushed her way through the growing pains of playing mentor to Mon-El. I thought that moment when Kara discovered her alien compatriot, Mon-El, fixing to probe their mutual co-worker was a laugh riot. Benoist’s ability to play up Kara’s awkward innocence is part of what makes her such a joy to watch on this program. Add to that the way she takes command as Supergirl and you’ve got a perfect casting choice and an actor who brings the goods to both characters week in and week out. She is the heart and soul of this show, and fans will be talking about her portrayal of the character for years to come, you’ll see.

Overall, I thought this week’s episode was alright, though SUPERGIRL is going to have to start to turn up the heat real soon if they want to keep audience members engaged. We’re getting a little too close to the “office comedy” vibe that plagued the show during its first season, and with the exception of Metallo, the villains have been lacking in both interest and threat level. I’m hoping that by the end of the next episode we make some serious headway in both the shaping Mon-El’s character as well as the delicate friendship of J’onn and M’gann. Until next Monday, stay super everybody!


STINGER: Episode 6: Changing  - The Guardian makes his debut in National City to lend a hand after a parasite alien drains Supergirl of her power; at the same time, Mon-El considers a less-than-desirable career change; and Alex struggles with a new reality.

Extra Tidbit: Do you know what else Supergirl is a fan of besides truth, justice, and kicking some alien ass? Voting! Don't forget to get out there and have your voice heard in what is surely one of the most important elections in American history.
Source: joblo.com



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