Martin Carr reviews the fourth episode of Gotham season 2…
Sub-text in Supergirl has taken a step up this week with ‘Survivors’. Having always had one eye on the idea of difference and social expectations these themes are explored more sensitively but no more effectively in episode four. Hank tackles some personal issues, Kara learns tolerance and Winn gets himself a new best friend. What they seem to have done here for one week is turn it from a superhero, life lesson sort of gig into one kick ass police procedural drama with a side order of journalistic angst.
Most of this crime investigation stuff comes from the team up which is quickly becoming much more in Alex and Maggie Sawyer. Having already expressed her preferences last week there is quickly becoming a bond between these two, which is guaranteed to get tongues wagging in the following weeks. Floriana Lima has come in and owned her character from the opening scene and continues to do so with a confidence not exhibited since Hoechlin’s Superman interpretation.
Drawing on Fincher’s Fight Club in a very literal sense further expands the DC universe making things somehow more tangible. Interplay between the Daxamite servant and Kara is also developing along the same lines as Alex and Maggie. Meaning that very soon, aside from the life lessons and soft music, James Olsen will soon have a rival for her affections. Throw into the mix those conflicting viewpoints eloquently expressed by both surviving Martians concerning emotional closure and we have another good episode.
Of course the underlying theme is one of acceptance concerning others and a need to look beyond mere superficial aspects, but still it is done subtly and without preaching. Whether that is through the inclusion of a masked ball or personal epiphanies, at no point do you sense the ball has been dropped. And then of course once everything is sown up, which Supergirl does so efficiently within those forty minutes we get the customary last act sting.
There are no surprises for guessing that there are more than a few agendas working in conjunction with each other to bring about this doozy of a cliff hanger. Despite the reveal it neither feels forced nor somehow unexpected, but instead cues up next week nicely. What we have here then are a number of threads which are ensuring that Supergirl continues delivering the entertainment without simplifying the ambition behind it. Themes of persecution, slavery, mass genocide and human trafficking mix with same sex relationship drama and the occasional moment of superhero shenanigans. In other words just another day at the office for show runner supreme Greg Berlanti.