Martin Carr reviews the fourteenth episode of Supergirl…
All the best comic book fables have a moral tale at their centre. Whether you consider adages such as ‘with great power, comes great responsibility’, ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’ or my personal favourite ‘dead or alive you’re coming with me’. They imply when done well that super powers are not the things which make these characters ‘super’. It is in most cases when ordinary individuals have greatness thrust upon them, that heroes become heroic. But as someone once said heroes are borne not made.
Here then is the Supergirl homage to just such an ideal. An episode in which the underlying themes of human rights violations, illegal alien status and moral codes are explored. Where Kara suffers a psychological conundrum, James comes unstuck over relationships and Henshaw runs into a road block of his own making. While Cat Grant gets little air time as the continued slighting of Kara is lamely escalated through the hiring of an opposite number.
In giving Kara some competition the writers were clearly thinking of drawing out a storyline which is running out of legs. Although it makes for a smattering of comic moments, there is never a time when Benoist looks threatened. While villain of the week The Master Jailer reminded me of the protagonist from Dead Space. All full body armour and a propensity for guillotines lending them some theatricality but nothing more. And as usual they were easily dispatched through one adoptive sister and DEO connection. Elsewhere however Maxwell Lord continued waxing lyrical and adding spice from within his plate-glass prison cell.
What he continues bringing to the table is an assurance and confidence which belies his current situation. Never to be wholly trusted Lord remains a necessary evil, both in terms of his usefulness and ability to keep the show buoyant. However beyond Lord’s pontificating and Kara’s character development, it is a family feud which provides us with substance this week.
Kara’s grieving uncle Non is straight out of Shakespeare. Punishing his niece for an imagined slight, while her sister secretly commits murder severing the only link back to a mother she never knew. This Jacobean high drama writ large played out in red thigh boots, billowing capes and high calibre machine guns. Demonstrating once again that Supergirl is hiding the detail beneath broad storylines told on a comic book scale.