Friday, 4 March 2016

Review - Supergirl: 1x15 - "Solitude"

Episode 1x15 - "Solitude"


When a sentient computer virus begins to attack National City, threatening to a launch a nuclear attack on humanity, Kara must rely on her own means to tackle the alien threat, having ceased working for the DEO following Hank's "involvement" in Astra’s death.


The escalating tension between Supergirl and Hank Henshaw hit breaking point in this episode as Supergirl formally quit the DEO, unable to work with the man/alien who she believed killed her Aunt Astra. Of course, we all know that it was Alex who dealt the deadly blow with a Kryptonian Blade to the chest, but poor Kara remains in the dark, which created some delicious dramatic tension as Alex battled with her guilty conscience. While the bulk of the episode revolved around Kara attempting to go it alone without the help of Hank or the DEO, it was immensely satisfying when they reconciled at the end. One of the things that Supergirl has improved greatly upon is the emotional performances of its actors and the scene where Alex broke down and confessed her role in Astra’s death was fantastic, as was Kara’s understated response. I was convinced that the revelation would drive them further apart, but the writer’s subverted expectations and strengthened the bond of this make-shift family, evidenced by Kara holding out her hand to get ahold of Hank/J’onzz as he attempted to leave.

The main threat of this episode was a double-barrelled blast of Superman continuity – firstly, the character Indigo (aka Brainiac-8) has ties to one of Superman’s greatest adversaries, Brainiac. Clearly, the character has some past relationship with Non and I wonder if she’ll replace Astra in the female antagonist role, given the fact Non intends to rebuild her to work alongside him. Secondly, the actress playing the character, Laura Vandervoort, has ties to Superman herself as she played Kara/Supergirl in Smallville alongside Tom Welling. It’s great that Supergirl is willing to embrace actors with history in the Superman world, such as Dean Cain and Helen Slater, who played both Superman and Supergirl in the past, and are now cast as Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers. Vandervoort does a great job as the Mystique-alike Indigo, managing to exude a deadly panther-like poise to her movements. The special effects and make-up are absolutely brilliant, ensuring that Indigo appears more alien than some of the recent threats to National City’s safety. In fact, the scenes where Supergirl chased down the nuclear missile heading towards the city were some of the most impressive sequences from the series yet, creating real tension around the climactic moments.

Despite the focus on action in this episode, it wouldn’t be Supergirl without some emotional drama and this episode concentrated on the relationship between James and Lucy as he attempted to convince Kara that he needed to share her true identity in order to establish trust in their relationship. If I didn’t dislike James before, I certainly do now – considering he clearly loves Kara, something he realised himself a few episodes ago, he seems intent on salvaging the mess of a relationship he has with Lucy – a character who might as well have the words “cock-block” stamped on her forehead, since she seems to exist purely to keep James and Kara apart. The fact he was willing to tell this second-place girlfriend one of the biggest secrets in the world just shows how much of a brain-dead moron he really is – I mean, their relationship is on the rocks so he’ll entrust her with one of the biggest secrets he knows. Luckily it never happens, because Lucy is astute enough to realise that there’s a stronger bond between him and Kara – in fact, there’s probably a stronger bond between him and Winn. Now that the door is wide-open for James and Kara to hook up, I suspect that she may develop feelings for Winn, especially since he seems to be romantically involved with her latest rival, Siobhan Smythe. It’s funny how Supergirl can do the more emotional drama elements well, but completely mangles the romantic sub-plots.

Overall, this was a strong episode that appeared to follow the standalone “monster of the week” format, but instead developed and resolved some long-running plot-lines. It was very cathartic to see Kara forgive her sister for killing Astra, and although we’ve not seen the full extent of their relationship afterwards, it seems as if the three of them will be able to put this behind them going forward. Interestingly, the series put an end to the James/Lucy/Kara love triangle – perhaps realising that there isn’t much chemistry between the three of them. Given how Winn and Siobhan have hooked up, I wouldn’t be surprised if the writers instead shifted to a Winn/Siobhan/Kara love triangle instead, considering that Jeremy Jordan is a better actor and has some genuine chemistry with both actresses. With more elements of Superman mythology being thrown into the mix and definite movement on the over-arching plot thread involving Project Myriad; it seems that Supergirl is in a great position as it heads towards its final five episodes of the season.

Score - 9.3 out of 10

Next Episode - "Falling"
Red Kryptonite makes Kara malicious and dangerous while Cat appears on The Talk to discuss Supergirl.

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