Martin Carr reviews the eleventh episode of Supergirl…
Aside from the double-edged sword which is this week’s tagline. Supergirl manages to sneak in something far deeper than Melissa Benoist’s husband Blake Jenner. Not that his contribution fails to bring substance to the episode or Cat Grant’s adopted son Adam Foster.
To be honest I had never heard of him. And in my ignorance I expected some sand blasted Glee clone with chiselled features, dynamite dentistry and the acting talent of an autopilot Zak Efron. What Jenner serves up instead is understated and no worse for it. In truth there was a little 90210 about him, but beyond that it never felt like stunt casting. Jenner brought an honesty to the scenes between himself and Benoist. While Flockhart was able to forge a different dynamic without going overboard on saccharine.
Meanwhile Maxwell Lord was conspicuously absent, but never really missed due to the arrival of Miranda Crane. A state appointed official portrayed by Tawny Cypress with an aversion to alien visitors. Putting her at immediate loggerheads with Hank Henshaw, himself in denial over his true purpose and alter ego. If anything the arrival of a Martian threat supposedly drawn here by Henshaw’s actions in episode ten serve as linchpin. Revealing a back history peppered with death camp references and Third Reich overtones. For me this is where Supergirl got dark. Hordes of White Martian invaders forcing their Red counterparts into fenced off areas before incineration, gave this episode backbone. That flirtation, parental reconciliation and girl in thigh high red boots all had their volume turned down a moment.
What it also did was demonstrate the true nature of cause and effect. Whether you look at Henshaw’s actions and believe they are responsible for risking the lives of others. Or that Kara’s completion of a letter is solely at fault for making Cat face up to her biggest regret. It’s fair to say Supergirl has more going on than a pretty face and ‘girl next door’ perkiness. Beyond an established formula which conveniently sees the cynical Congresswoman change her stance on aliens among us. These show runners are also trying to broaden the colour palette of this genre a touch.
Sure there are those who switched off after the pilot. Convinced that this level of entertainment offered nothing creatively challenging. But I would ask them to look again. And realise that just because something has bright lights, bold colours and the potential for merchandise does not make it instantly inaccessible to an adult market. For those willing to get beyond the window dressing and millennial bonding. Supergirl offers up a universal truth or two on something others have referred to as the ‘human condition’.