Martin Carr reviews the twelfth episode of Supergirl…
Who cares what the tailoring’s like? Sharp suited or slovenly, dishevelled or dynamic. As someone once said those clothes don’t make the man. If you’re bat shit crazy with the mentality of a man-child it’s gonna end in tears. No discussion. Add an inflated ego and intellectual delusions of grandeur into this heady mix and there is trouble ahead. If you punched those adjectives into a dictionary definitions search right now Maxwell Lord might just come up.
Certified genius with a jawline which should carry a health warning. Lord is spawning into a whole heap of trouble for those in the Supergirl universe. Peter Facinelli has instilled Lord with such smarmy self-assurance, that he is able to literally raise the dead and still be likeable. Not since Gene Hackman’s old skool Lex Luthor has the combination been so identifiable or effortless.
Elsewhere the easy charm of this cast offsets the more lightweight plot threads. Adam and Kara’s inevitable break up, James Olsen and his emotional realisation or Cat Grant’s fluctuating mood swings are forgiven. Benoist and Jenner play on their obvious chemistry, while even Facinelli and Leigh spark off each other in the few scenes they share. But further plaudits must go to Benoist for her portrayal of both Supergirl and man-made Maxwell Lord clone ‘Bizarro’.
Strapped to a chair whilst electric shocks are administered, Benoist watches images of herself on-screen caught in news footage. There is a frailty portrayed which illustrates all too well the regressive mental state of this would be Supergirl. Lord stalks the room repeating a mantra designed to instill destructive urges, while this duplicate looks lost. Her ability to hint at this indecision, both in fight scenes with herself and opposite Facinelli are commendable.
‘Bizarro’ may be a rehash of the genetics cloning debate, addressed elsewhere in numerous films with more bang for your buck. But what these writers have done is concern themselves with the bigger theological arguments. Which in itself leads to the idea of what it is that makes a person unique. And if you able to replicate someone how much of that sense of self remains. They fail to take it further and get into the moral question of right or wrong. Even though Lord is found to have stolen brain-dead subjects to create prototypes. These darker threads are merely touched on rather than examined in-depth. But no matter.
For me Supergirl has done what it continues to do. Which is entertain whist questioning. Drawing characters of depth and emotional honesty without going too far one way or the other. I will continue to champion this programme well into the second season which is almost assured. Perhaps more so now than ever with the announcement of a Flash crossover coming soon. With that sort of backing and this level of quality it seems right now the sky has no limits.