Martin Carr reviews the fourth episode of Supergirl…
Now we get that missing episode you start seeing how Supergirl has turned things round. There are motives aplenty, minimal saccharine soaked lovefests. While episode four does everything its bland predecessor fudged up in such fashion. Managing to give us intrigue, character beats and supply a long-term villain.
Max Lord is the Lex Luthor of this equation. Giving Supergirl its much-needed shot in the arm. We get reasons, rationale and someone with a large grudge against the powers that be. David Harewood’s Hank Henshaw again pulls off some glowing eye shenanigans and raises suspicions. While Cat Grant’s son throws a teenage crush into the mix, which conveniently turns him from shy pubescent to rejuvenated public school nerd by episode end. Yes you can see it coming. Yes these things are signposted larger than a 747 but strangely they work.
Without pointing out the obvious it succeeds because Cat Grant now comes across as humane. No longer the career driven raptor wrapped in Gucci, Flockhart has brought heart to an initially one-dimensional role. Producers have inadvertently pulled a metaphorical rabbit from the hat doing things in this order. Our prior knowledge of Grant’s relationship with her mother from episode five, provides the missing jigsaw pieces. For this reason the audience have an idea of Carter’s home life. Without that element his involvement may have had a different impact. While elsewhere the mild flirting which goes on between Alex and Max Lord has added an interesting angle.
Assigned to protect him, there are moments between these two which suggest a shared bond. Both feel the need to help people yet come at things from different perspectives. Peter Facinelli, best known for his role in the Twilight franchise, adds a reality to Lord allowing a certain level of investment. While Chyler Leigh from Grey’s Anatomy fame gives Alex comparable gravitas as conflicted sibling Alex.
It is through these actors that Supergirl has been able to circumvent those comic book elements. Benoist who I have championed from the get go, continues to strike a good balance between perky or assertive depending upon persona. While even Mehcad Brooks as James Olsen seems to come out smelling of roses, despite being landed with a story arc which is currently treading water. His is a thankless task which seems to offer no emotional dividends. Brooks is clearly a decent actor but his supporting role as love interest slash eye candy, needs robust expansion rather than acting as a conduit for moral life lessons. Both James and Winn suffer from a lack of development, however both are redeemable and fail to affect the overall tone of an impressive show.
With episode six on the horizon and an over reliance on poorly defined villains just a bad memory. It would be right to say that Supergirl has turned a corner. With the exception of a few niggles, we now have a programme which is quickly eradicating all prior transgressions against this much maligned DC property.