By Josh Melo
‘Supergirl’ Review – S1 Ep.14 (Truth, Justice and the American Way)
Days have passed since Astra’s end. Feeling guilt at having lost her only real family, Kara hides herself in her work at the DEO. Faced with a new rival at CatCo and a revelation from her friends, Kara must decide what kind of hero she wants to be moving forward. One that does what it takes to save the world, or a hero that let’s homicidal maniacs run free (she chooses the latter).
There was a lot I liked about the episode. The opening scene of Astra’s makeshift funeral was a great one, showcasing a side of Kryptonian culture fans didn’t know existed while enforcing the bond between Kara and her aunt. The Master Jailer was probably the coolest villain the show has ever had and the introduction of Siobhan Smythe is sure to provide a ton of fun down the line. But mixed in with all of these cool developments and events was some of the most erratic writing I’ve ever seen. Almost every character had a major moment of character confliction. Cat is a spiteful witch, Jimmy suddenly cares about the villains, Kara holds on to grudges with little reason and Lucy is jealous (again). So let’s start with Jimmy Olsen.
Jimmy Olsen’s internal struggle between maintaining loyalty to his friends or staying true to his journalistic duties was a fantastic storyline that went a long way in making him feel like something more than a potential love interest for Kara. His scene with Supergirl in the DEO was emotional and expertly acted. My only gripe with the arc has to do with the way he chose to explain his reasoning. I get wanting to keep a sense of morality when it comes to super heroics, but using Maxwell Lord as the basis of your argument undermines it a bit. Wrongful imprisonment or imprisonment without due procedure is bad. But when you know for a fact that the man is a homicidal genius with a background in kidnapping, I think you can make an exception. If all Lord ever did was speak out against Supergirl, leave him be. But because he actively tried to murder her, along with actually killing hundreds of others in the process, lock that bastard up!
The fact that Kara and the DEO let him go in the end has me even more dumbfounded. The entire episode juxtaposed Kara’s new apparent lack of humanity with the actual lack of humanity of the Master Jailer. Supergirl and the DEO have exclusively imprisoned murderers and psychopaths. The Master Jailer on the other hand, has hunted down and executed any and all criminals of Fort Rozz. The difference being that MJ became a criminal himself in the process while Kara has never shown any shades of grey. If the only thing upsetting the public about Lord’s disappearance is the fact that he didn’t get a trial beforehand I say boohoo. If someone kidnapped Jack the Ripper during his peak I’m sure nobody would have minded.
That being said, Master Jailer was the coolest villain Supergirl has seen. His fight against Kara was fast paced and hard hitting, the choreography was unique and the effects were great. In an episode riddled with inconsistencies, Master Jailer was the one true standout.
I also thought that Lucy suddenly getting upset at Olsen came out of nowhere. She hasn’t been seen in weeks and the first thing she does when she gets back is fill the role of petty girlfriend. The same goes for Cat Grant. I understand being upset at your son’s poor dating record. But you’re the head of a massive media empire; show some maturity (they only knew each other for a couple of days!). Everything from hiring a new assistant to assigning Kara a number reeked of pettiness. Siobhan Smythe (Italia Ricci) as a character was a fun addition to the cast (and her eventual turn to super villainy will be fun to watch) but her reasons for being there just don’t sit well with me.
In addition to her inconsistencies on the Maxwell Lord front, her dealings with Martian Manhunter also hit a nerve with me. Yes, he confessed to killing Astra. But does the fact that she was about to kill him not carry any weight? Does the fact that she was a murderous villain with plans of world domination not mean anything to Kara? I mean, give the man a break, he was protecting your beloved foster sister. Supergirl is a show about aliens and mad geniuses and techno-jailers, so I understand things not making complete sense. However, if the characters that inhabit the nonsense world you’ve created start behaving like completely different people, it’s annoying.
Everything happening on screen was portrayed well; I only take issue with about ninety percent of what was said. On an action front Supergirl has rarely been better and the villain was dark, layered and looked like a badass. Italia Ricci makes for a fantastic foil for Kara’s mundane exploits and will eventually make for a cool foil against Supergirl. Even Cat’s scene with Jimmy on the balcony played really well. The visceral goings on of the episode were fun. But, once again, the writing and character decisions played so poorly for me that it ruined everything else that would have made the episode great.
Overall, Truth, Justice and the American Way gets a 5/10.