The Girl of Steel returns in an entertaining, if uneven, midseason premiere…
Fan favourite director Kevin Smith’s previous two stints in the Arrowverse – The Flash‘s ‘The Runaway Dinosaur’ and ‘Killer Frost’ – were two of its best episodes last year. While ‘Supergirl Lives!’ definitely doesn’t match the height of those episodes, there is still a lot of charm and entertainment to be found in Supergirl‘s midseason premiere.
First of all, the trailers promised a more dramatic episode than what we got – Kara stranded on another planet under a red sun, and having to save the day without her powers. In fact, overthrowing the bad guys turned out to be ridiculously easy in a weak climax. In particular, it seemed a waste to get Agents of SHIELD‘s Dichen Lachman back as Roulette but then not have her do anything. The return of the Dominators was more interesting: was it just a cost-cutting measure to save creating a new CGI alien or will they be of further importance down the line?
While the main plot might have disappointed, then, the show was saved by its character-based subplots. Winn losing his confidence after getting beaten by a thug while helping Guardian felt slightly contrived – he’s faced a lot in the past two seasons – but it resulted in Jeremy Jordan getting some more meaty material to work with for a change.
More in character was Alex nearly wrecking her nascent relationship with Maggie because she thinks she can’t be a good sister to Kara and be happy. Supergirl has been at its most adept with Alex’s storyline this season, in particular her popular romance with Maggie, which has left has as the strongest supporting character the show has.
One Supergirl romance that isn’t so popular with fans is that of Kara and Mon. Myself, I think Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood have a lot better romantic chemistry than Benoist and Mechad Brooks did in the first season. Mon-El’s journey from slacker to superhero is also a fun one and, after this episode, he looks to be about to finally suit up. Also, those black-clad aliens from the midseason finale are still after him. It is pretty transparent by now that Mon-El is really the prince of Daxam and not the lowly servant he claims to be.
All in all, this was a perfectly solid episode of Supergirl, but the potential of the story suggested it could have been a great one. There were some niggles, but largely the show looks to continue its second season with the same quality as the first half.
- J’onn couldn’t go to Slaver’s Moon to rescue Kara because the planet’s air was toxic to him. Well… That’s convenient. Presumably David Harewood had a scheduling conflict?
- The episode’s title is a reference to Kevin Smith’s unmade 90s Superman movie Superman Lives! There is also a brief mention of a “Thanagarian Snare Beast”, a creature created for that movie.
- Speaking of Kevin Smith, his daughter Harley Quinn Smith (I wonder who she’s named after?) appeared in the role of missing teen Izzie Williams.