By Josh Melo
‘Supergirl’ Review – S1 Ep.3 (Fight or Flight)
When a super-villain even Superman couldn’t defeat walks into town what’s a rookie hero like Kara supposed to do? Dip her hands in some lead and kick his ass that’s what! Fight or Flight may not add all that much to the overall story of the season but it’s a lot of fun and features a ton of solid character work. So far so good.
My one major issue with the pilot episode was the over emphasis on playing to the feminine fan base and it’s so-so villain set up. Last week’s episode went a long way in assuaging my fears of the series becoming a platform for feminist rallying but it still floundered a bit when it came to the villains, despite a showdown with the season villain.
Fight or Flight seems to have put that final fear to rest. Reactron (Chris Browning), a nuclear powered super villain that Supes has never been able to put away, has made his way to National City on a quest to destroy anything and everything Superman holds dear. That begins with Kara. The pair go at it multiple times throughout the episode and the action escalates with each subsequent encounter, one of which leaves Kara inches from death if it weren’t for Superman himself swooping (at the request of Olsen) in to save the day. And that is where the crux of this week’s emotional conflict comes into play.
Being a new superhero Kara has been tasked with making a name for herself. The fact that she wears a costume with an uncanny resemblance to the world’s most famous hero and shares a naming mechanic makes that a little difficult. Since the premiere Kara has been trying to separate herself from operating in Superman’s shadow and Fight or Flight brings that theme to the fore. After Kara and Reactron face off for the first time almost everyone comes to the conclusion that Supergirl is no match for an enemy of the Man of Steel, with the exception of Kara and Win.
The action scenes throughout the previous two episodes have been a highlight of the show for certain and they don’t disappoint here. The fights display a satisfying level of physical power from both Kara and Reactron as well as make good use of their respective abilities. Dunking her hand in molten lead so she could handle the nuclear core was pretty clever and cool to see.
The fact that Jimmy (Mehcad Brookes) loses his faith (momentarily) in Kara hits her especially hard, given the budding emotions between the two of them. Supergirl has tried to avoid throwing the Superman name around but here it goes all in on the concept, even bringing him into the show for the aforementioned cameo. While it will be difficult to avoid mentioning him at all I do think the writers should avoid using his name as a crutch. Like Kara keeps saying, she is her own hero. Superman shouldn’t have to fly by whenever the show gets in trouble. The constant name drops aren’t distracting to the point of annoyance but they can and will get there if used without restraint.
As for the sparks between Jimmy and Kara, I’m neutral on the idea. It’s an easy romance to buy into; the awkward but alarmingly attractive girl falls for the buff popular guy (I still find it weird attributing that to Jimmy Olsen). So far it’s standard TV relationship stuff. I’d much prefer to see Kara get with Win (who obviously loves her and would be a waaay better match) but hey, it hasn’t sunk to unbearable depths yet so I’ll wait and see how things play out.
I do like the writers bringing in Lucy Lane (sister to the famous Lois) as a former love interest of Olsen. It keeps the generic pairing of “Kolsen” from becoming a thing and leaves the door open for her to find a better match (read: Win) while Olsen is soring out his feelings.
Even Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) gets in on the Supergirl bashing by writing a nasty exposé on the fledgling city savior. Immediately clumping her in with the millennial generation, citing Supergirl as lazy and willing to let her supposed betters take on the responsibility when things get tough. Kara’s standoff with Cat was a nice scene but I feel like this confrontation, or rather Cat’s assumptions, came a bit too soon. Supergirl thus far has never backed away from a challenge. Failed to execute to perfection? Maybe. But hesitate at an obstacle, not yet. So I find it a little unfair for Cat to come out claiming that Supergirl will run and hide at the first sign of real danger. Though it does make for good print, so I can understand her from that perspective.
In closing of the review, a few random thoughts.
- Why would Win, Kara and Jimmy think that housing their super secret base down the hall in a vacant office would be a good idea? Even if someone died in there it is literally someone’s job to go in and at least check the room at night.
- The hints at Cyborg Superman continue! As for what side of the fence he lands on, still a mystery. But I love that the show is keeping this mystery relevant while dealing with the more prevalent alien threat (season 2 villain for sure!).
- Maxwell Lord was an interesting addition this week. He knowingly lied to the public in saying Superman saved him even though he acknowledges Supergirl as his saviour later in the episode. Does he have an agenda against Kara or was he just selling the bigger name for publicity?
Fight or Flight fixes a number of the issues the previous two episodes had and in doing so has me enjoying the show a lot more than I originally thought I would. This episode gets an 8/10.
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