Supergirl’s latest episode ‘Falling’ used the idea of red kryptonite turning our hero bad to give us one of its best episodes yet and another example of why this show isn’t getting enough credit.
On ‘Smallville’, we saw young Clark Kent turn evil a few times under the influence of red kryptonite, but after Kara is accidentally infected, she doesn’t turn evil, she is just acting on every negative thought and impulse. The sort of stuff a lot of us might think watching the show! Why be nice to the scheming other secretary? Cat Grant is cocky, give her a scare! Your sister probably DOES feel jealous of you. Why not pursue hunky James Olson? Those pesky humans, always getting into trouble! Let’s ditch the granny clothes and show off my hotness! Yes, Kara does all this – and it has consequences. In one episode, National City has turned against her and Kara’s relationship with the people in her life has been altered. Ruined? Still TBD.
Holding this show together is the lovely Melissa Benoist, an actress I did not like at all on ‘Glee’ as she epitomized the new kids on that beloved show – supposedly underdogs like Rachel, Kurt and Mercedes, but really, pretty pretty young things that were terminally bland. While, she has definitely got a great singing voice, she didn’t convince me as an actress much. However, Supergirl shows I was wrong. Week after week, Benoist is the best thing on the show. She captures the joy and innocence of Kara, but also convinces as someone wanting to do good yet being super strong too. She can also play awkward and tentative Kara, while not being classic bumbling Clark Kent. Kara’s relationship with Cat Grant has been of the most enjoyable aspects of the show, along with the increasingly strong bond we’ve seen between her and her sister Alex. Yes, most of the main roles are women.
In ‘Falling’, Benoist got to strut about and be badass and it was fun but just…wrong! Like Barry Allen on ‘The Flash’ (another Glee alum Grant Gustin) the latest wave of DC superheroes are light and fun. No brooding Batman or Superman here – yeah, take that Zack Synder with your totally terrible Man of Steel! (Am not that optimistic about ‘Batman v Superman’ with Snyder in charge!)
Kara and Barry lead shows that feature young superheroes who revel in their powers and enjoy doing good. They have challenges and setbacks but their world view is a more positive one than the darker(and older) Oliver Queen on ‘Arrow’. Seeing Kara be mean and conniving, seeing her hurt her sister and almost destroy innocent people was faintly disturbing. Yes, we knew it wasn’t going to last but Kara’s genuine distress on waking up from her ‘red’ spell and dissolving into tears was quite affecting. Benoist was great in this scene, and you get the feeling it isn’t just going to be back to the frothy fun with Alex, James, Cat and the people of National City.
Her actions also caused Hank (Brit David Harewood) to out himself as J’ohn J’onze (no idea if I got those ridiculous apostrophes right! Just call him John Jones for goodness sake!) which will certainly have repercussions for the department they work for. There is also the damage to her relationship with James – one of the weakest aspects of the show for me. I’m not a fan of Kara’s puppy love for the hunky Mehcad Brooks’ James Olson. He might have split with Lucy Lane (a very poorly developed character who really should have been a lot more memorable. Lois Lane is probably one of my all time favourite characters in comics) but I hope they NEVER put Kara and James together. I’m not a fan of their dynamic at all. After being all aggressive and pretty rude to James, and almost confessing her feelings, we see James is aware of her affections but is not receptive to them. Guess Kara knows how Winn feels now. Jeremy Jordan is much more appealing IMO (and another great singer!)
Anyway, in this age of peak tv, Supergirl remains one of my first picks to watch each week. Yes, some of the villains are poorly developed – but then that was definitely the case on ‘Smallville’, and is still sometimes true on ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash’ too. In Melissa Benoist, Supergirl has a great leading lady and is a highly appealing and under rated show.