Martin Carr reviews the fourteenth episode of Supergirl season 2…
And so we find ourselves coming full circle with the return of Dean Cain to Supergirl as Jeremiah Danvers. Slightly long in the tooth, a little more portly around the midriff, but nonetheless a face which relaunched Superman for me along with Teri Hatcher some time ago.
Glimpsed fleetingly in early episodes as a hostage of the illusive CADMUS, Cain has been nothing more than a father figure seen in flashback and impactful in narrative terms only until now. Welcomed back into the family unit like a hero after enforced isolation, Cain plays wholesome patriarch embracing one and all ingratiating himself in minutes. After one day he has free rein within the confines of the DEO and soon after things go pear-shaped.
You see the issue is not so much his arrival, rescue, whatever, it’s the sense that Jeremiah is playing with a loaded deck. These writers handle the initial ‘Homecoming’ well but within minutes Mon-El is suspicious, everyone gangs up on him and you just know he will be proved right. My point being that signposting these events is fine so long as there is a little subtlety involved.
Cain does subterfuge and ulterior motive well enough but things unravel quickly because his deviance is obvious. Irrespective of whether he is being forced into doing heinous things it all feels spoon fed. This is not to say that watching events unfold is not entertaining. Supergirl may have its faults but pacing and performance is not one of them. Alex and Maggie as a storyline still has plenty of mileage, while Mon-El and Kara may retain the attention of an audience for a while depending on where it gets taken. For the moment though petty relationship tiffs are not engrossing enough as segues to keep the attention. But when motivations get explored in-depth and braver territory is mined, we get to the meat and potatoes of what makes Supergirl tick.
Stolen files, sibling rivalry and emotional blackmail from parents is good if done with more purpose and less of a passing thought ethos. But once more we are tied to the bane of all television shows which boils down to running time. For there to be conflict and resolution within a thirty-five minute time frame something gets lost. What Supergirl does is done well and operates according to the perimeters of primetime television. Give them threat, give them disruption and a little emotional resonance then tie it off. There are some that do it better but not many. What unfortunately happens as a result is that things feel condensed and to a certain extent the programme suffers. This is not me turning on the show by the way, just pointing out how these things work from my understanding and why certain shows possess a finite lifespan. For the time being though Supergirl remains worth tuning in for.