Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “Supergirl.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
“You don’t get to be a real person, you’re a superhero. You get to represent all the goodness in the world.”
Did anyone else think this was a “call Superman” type of moment? Beyond that, I found “Falling” to be an immensely powerful hour of television. It played with its hokey nature, sure, and there were some evil Supergirl moments that didn’t land as well as others, but overall this was a worthwhile installment of the series, one that refused to let anyone off the hook.
Here were the three biggest highlights from this week’s episode.
Melissa Benoist killed it.
Benoist, from the start, has been a perfect fit for Kara’s sunnier disposition, easily playing into Supergirl’s kindhearted role, someone who strives to be the very best she could be. However, despite all that pure goodness we’ve also gotten to see her angrier side such as her riveting final showdown with the Red Tornado, and “Falling” makes excellent usage of that untapped rage. Benoist gets to play all angles of the character this week, from the moment she swoops in to simply save a little girl’s day from the hands of bullies to when she threatens Cat Grant’s life in a breathless sequence to when she awakens from it all heartbroken at the idea she can’t save it, sobbing under the cold and medical lights, wires strapped to her forehead. It’s an episode that we see her at her utmost powerful and imposing and then at her most vulnerable, her most human.
The idea that her personality gets altered due to red kryptonite is a broad storyline and at first I was dubious at how well the storyline would play out because there’s a tendency to play these storylines a little too cartoonish. Her maniacal laughter at burning her clothes was a bit much, but elsewhere she played with just the right level of bite. The scene where she tries to seduce James on the dance floor was packed with chemistry but also terrible to watch as she dismantled everything that made her so lovable in one swoop, criticizing Lucy while being too rough with James, using her strength to keep him from running away.
And then there’s her quiet heartbreak at the end where she realizes that not all can be fixed just because the poisonous matter has exited her body. There’s a whole lot of damage control needed not only for her relationship with her friends and family but the city as well.
Martian Manhunter makes an entrance.
Maybe this was just naive of me but I definitely would count myself among the camp that thought J’onn J’onzz would keep his identity a secret for the remainder of the season. Instead in the episode’s highlight, he throws away his secret identity as Hank and takes his true form all in order to save the Danvers sisters. The CGI is strong in the sequence, and the entire fight scene between him and Supergirl gives the episode a cinematic scope, seeing these two titans battle it out.
We’ll have to wait and see what will happen noq that his secret has been exposed, but it will open up a lot of interesting opportunities.
The consequences are real.
A problem, not uncommon with these type of narratives, is how easily it’s all forgotten by the end of the episode, but the wounds the red kryptonite has left are very real and come out in a number of ways. J’onn J’onzz is locked up, and Alex tells Kara that not everything she said while under the influence was wrong but it’s going to need another discussion. The worst though (aside from the lack of trust from the city itself) is the damage it’s caused to James and Kara. Kara makes sure to tell James that he doesn’t hate Lucy but just that she was jealous and she’d be jealous of anyone James loved. It was a raw, honest moment for the character, which makes his momentary rejection sting all the more, but it gives the show a weightier atmosphere, where ramifications are real and damaging.
This is a common theme throughout the episode, highlighted by Cat’s need to film a broadcast to warn the citizens of Supergirl’s turning, even if it means going against what she’s built for the hero. There final conversation as Kara apologizes and Cat accepts her apology once again highlights the best dynamic the show has to offer as Cat tells her she can win back everyone’s trust, but it will be hard work. Cat doesn’t believe in failure if the person knocked down can stand back up again.
As Kara takes in the city around her from Cat’s ledge, both women breathing the night in, it’s reassuring to see the hero knocked down but not out, ready to step back into the hero business if her city should let her.
Lovely episode, overall.