Supergirl S01:E20

Episode Title: Better Angels

Original Airdate: 4-18-2016

If the previous episode of Supergirl, “Myriad”, was one of the first season’s true high points, then the season finale, “Better Angels”, is something of a let-down. In fact, it’s thoroughly disappointing. Off the back of one of the season’s best cliffhangers – in which Kara and Alex were set for a Kryptonite-infused, Non-mind-controlled throwdown with the fate of both at stake – the resolution to this jaw-dropper is…well, thoroughly meh.  The Myriad program, controlled by fellow Kryptonian (and season-long nemesis) Non (Chris Vance) and his cohort Indigo (Laura Laura Vandervoort) is set to turn every human on Earth into a drone, before the series uses one of the worst possible Macguffins to dispose of the threat entirely.

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Supergirl S01:E19

Episode Title: Myriad

Original Airdate: 4-11-2016

The climax of a season’s worth of Supergirl plot-building comes to a head in “Myriad”, the show’s best End-Of-The-World scenario to-date and possibly the most impactful of all the episodes in Season 1. Grand, season-long arcs have become a staple of modern television, and Supergirl is no exception with Non, widower to Kara’s Aunt Astra (Laura Benanti), unleashing his Kryptonian world-ending Myriad program to devastating effect on National City. With the entire population under his thrall, National City becomes a virtual petri-dish of utopian perfection with which Non can plan the takeover of the entire world.

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Supergirl S01:E18

Episode Title: World’s Finest

Original Airdate: 03-28-2016

Otherwise known as The One Where The Flash Guest Stars. If it’s possible for two shows to poke meta-referential fun at each other, “World’s Finest” does the job well. It has to be remembered that at one point a crossover between CW’s The Flash and CBS’s Supergirl was never even on the table: producer Greg Berlanti stated that bringing either hero into each other’s respective universes was a pretty big long shot, and yet here we are, 18 episodes into Supergirl’s first season (and a dozen or more into Flash’s 2nd) and both Barry Allen and Kara Danvers trade interdimensional references and powers in one of the “fun” episodes of the series’ run thus far.

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Supergirl S01E17

Episode Title: Manhunt

Original Airdate: 3-21-2016

If you’ve been waiting for some answers to the genesis of J’onn J’onzz’ backstory on Earth, this is the episode for you. If you’ve been waiting for some answers to Kara’s past, from her childhood on Earth and how her destiny was always linked to that of both Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), this is the episode for you. If you’ve been waiting to see how Kara handles her sister being dragged off to a clandestine, sinister Government laboratory in an act of rendition, this is most definitely the episode for you.

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Supergirl S01:E16

Episode Title: Falling

Original Airdate: 03-14-2016

Yet another piece of the Super-mythology arrives in Supergirl this episode, with the appearance of Red Kryptonite. Traditionally, Kryptonite causes significant weakness, and even death, to Kryptonians, and for the longest time in the original DC universe there was only one kind – green – that Superman and his family had to avoid. Eventually, writers had to come up with different varieties of Kryptonite to affect Superman in different ways – blue, yellow, red, hell the entire rainbow of Kryptonite variants at some point gave both the Man of Steel and his cousin, Supergirl, problems.

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Supergirl S01:E15

Episode Title: Solitude

Original Airdate: 03-01-2016

Blue Braniac Rises? Okay, so one of Superman’s greatest nemesis arrives in National City, under the pseudonym Indigo, personified by previous Supergirl incumbent, Laura Vandervoot (from Smallville), and proceeds to make life hell on Earth. Oh, and we’re finally given the privilege of seeing the television version of the Fortress of Solitude (hence the episode’s title), Superman’s home-away-from-home that becomes something of a jaw-dropping Easter egg exercise from the franchise’s mythos. Cross-cutting Kara’s resignation from the DEO following the events of the previous episode’s dramatic turn, with Indigo’s insertion into the world’s communication network, the episode plays out with nuclear tension and one hell of a dramatic payoff.

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Supergirl S01:E14

Episode Title: Truth, Justice & The American Way

Original Airdate: 02-22-16

There’s echoes of familiarity with Supergirl’s 14th televised episode, not of itself but of the wider DC mythology, as well as vague head-nods to pop-culture iconography. Amid the hurly-burly of this episode’s action sequences, the idea of what Supergirl stands for is tackled by both the writers and director Lexi Alexander, better known for her helming of Marvel’s awesomely brutal Punisher: War Zone opus, to a degree I felt underutilised the medium but succeeded in spite of its television budget.

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Supergirl S01:E13

Episode Title: For The Girl Who Has Everything

Original Airdate: 2-8-2015

For DC fans, there are comic stories, and then there are iconic comic stories. In 1985, DC published an Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons story entitled “For The Man Who Has Everything”, which – spoilers – had Superman being mind-controlled by a parasitic entity which made him comatose but fantasising about all his greatest dreams coming true. The crux of the story was that it was a plan by Mongul, one of Superman’s powerful arch-nemesis, to remove the Man of Steel from one of his plans, a plan thwarted by Batman and Wonder Woman. If you’re counting the top five Superman stories in comics of all time, this Annual issue of Superman would rank as a top 3 contender, easily.

For fledgeling series Supergirl, barely half-way through its début season, to take this idea and morph it into the series’ own ongoing mythology is both compelling and hugely risky. The original Superman story remains iconic for a reason, and it was always a dangerous prospect that a network television show would be able to pull off an echo of Moore’s incredibly moving story with a similar degree of finesse. So has it? Has Supergirl earned itself a place in the DC pantheon by actually succeeding in appropriating this legendary story, or has it succumbed to the also-rans of fanboy baiting and half-assed lip-service to a once-great idea?

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Supergirl S01:E12

Episode Title:  Bizarro

Original Airdate: 2-1-2016

Who do you trust? Maxwell Lord’s plans to rid Earth of Supergirl take a twist this episode, as he unleashes a doppelgänger version of the Girl Of Steel into the skies of National City. Bizarro, a villain from the Superman comics, is a fractured, mirror-Superman in classic lore, and Supergirl’s take on it is pretty similar – albeit a Maxwell Lord creation this time out. Truthfully, I never really found Bizarro a villain I could “get” into, more of a cartoon character with limited appeal – every time Superman needed some comedy relief, the writer usually brought in Bizarro or (gulp) Mxyyzptlk, with Superman having to use his intellect to defeat them rather than his strength. So what of the new take on the classic character in Supergirl? The show has been building the reveal for a while now, with a comatose Jane Doe hidden in Maxwell Lord’s research facility being a feature of Hank Henshaw’s mission to get a smoking gun on Lord a few episodes ago, but now that she’s out in the open, what do the writers make of Bizarrogirl?

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Supergirl S01:E11

Episode Title: Strange Visitor From Another Planet

Original Airdate: 25-1-2016

Martians. Although our real-world explorations of our nearest planetary neighbour have not – as yet – uncovered any proof of alien life, the comic book medium allows us to venture to far off galaxies and their associated worlds to explore the gamut of alien life that brings with it. Traditionally, DC has used Mars as the source of one of its most popular secondary characters, J’onn J’onzz (considered one of the Big Seven members of the Justice League), aka the Martian Manhunter, who assumes humanoid form on Earth but is actually a green martian from Mars. In DC lore, the Greens weren’t the only species of Martian on Mars; white, red and blue Martians also abounded, typically analogous to contemporary human frictions with all the anger, hate and sense of justified war that comes with it. With his reveal a few episodes ago, J’onzz, who has appropriated the form of Hank Henshaw (David Harewood) here on Earth, somewhat ironically in charge of the DEO, has become a bona-fide source of story success for Supergirl in her first season on television. Now we get to see DC unveil the Martian mythology to its fullest, in “Strange Visitor From Another Planet”, an episode title that might initially seem focused on the show’s star, but resonates hardest with its – until now – least accessible character.

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