Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “Supergirl.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
After the lineup of the episodes got a bit jumbled in the past two weeks, the show has corrected course but one thing that remains clear is that Supergirl is still figuring out what show it wants to be.
“Red Faced” overall is a largely inoffensive episode of television, with some truly great character moments, but the tone continues to change course with every scene. One moment the show is a bit of cheesy, colorful fun, the other moment, a very real platform to talk about sexism in the workplace, and another where all of a sudden things get serious and we’re supposed to buy in on Kara’s sudden anger. The truth is, a show can work with all of this going on and it certainly doesn’t have to settle for just one mode. Even “Red Face” in large part works through all of it’s tonal whiplash to provide another entertaining episode of television, but it needs to bridge these different tones in ways that offer a bit of stability, rather than expecting the audience to just go with it. Supergirl has the ability to be a remarkable series, one that I continue to watch because I’m hopeful that when the series nails down exactly what it’s trying to accomplish, it will be on par with The Flash in terms of being a satisfyingly emotional and action packed superhero show.
But let’s just focus on what I liked about this episode (and I can assure you, it definitely wasn’t the silly design of the Red Tornado.)
- If you were to tell me in the first episode, that one of the most integral and interesting storylines of the series was going to be the one developing between Kara and Cat, I wouldn’t have believed you because nothing about it was set up in the first episode. Cat, in my mind, would primarily be a sort of antagonist to Kara and instead, she’s turning more and more into a role model for Kara to respect, and even someone who offers care and advice to her. Take the fight with Livewire when Cat told Kara to run away from the danger, or even this week when Cat defends her from her mom. This is a developed, begrudging, friendship between the two and it grows more and more interesting each week. Cat taking Kara out for drinks after she lets some of her rage out at her was perfectly in character and well scripted.
- While the James and Kara relationship has taken a bit of backseat now that Lucy is in the picture, we get a nice return to form this week when they create their own little club where they can beat the shit out of punching bags (for James) and cars (for Kara) to reign in their anger. James is mad at Lucy’s father (Kara is too), while Kara has a whole mess of emotions she is currently trekking through. She comes to the sudden realization that her anger is due to how displaced she’s felt ever since she’s come to earth, and it allows more insight into the character who is so often positive and optimistic that it’s sobering to see her so grounded (more on that in a second). It also gives us the fantastic exchange between the two when Kara speaks about how being a woman keeps her from being allowed to loose her cool at work, and James agrees, saying that it’s not like black men are encouraged to be angry in public either. Cheers to you Supergirl.
- Anger is the big picture this week and, most importantly, how Supergirl deals with said anger, and while she spends most of the episode keeping her head down and out of the way, she’s unleashes in her final fight with the Red Tornado, in the most powerful sequence the show has done yet in it’s short amount of time on air. The shot of Supergirl using her using her heat vision, with no sound just the score, as she screams, is some riveting stuff and stylish in a way the show hasn’t always been.
If the show keeps on focusing on the dynamics between characters, and keeps on allowing their episodes as much personality as their leading lady, the show could easily find it’s footing.