‘Supergirl’ Gets a New Nemesis — and a New Super Suit

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SUPERGIRL: 5.01 “Event Horizon”

Supergirl is back. And while this season’s opening episode featured a new villain that truly tested Supergirl and her team, it wasn’t really the big bad that had me drawn in. (In fact, if I’m being honest, I was a little lost as to what the alien was doing and how it was stopped.)

Instead, it was the more interpersonal stuff that grabbed my attention. Still scorned from discovering Supergirl’s true identity, Lena decided that she wanted revenge. First, she sold the paper—the paper that Kara adores—to someone who basically wants to bring down its sophistication into clickbait nonsense. Then she was going to expose her secret on said site.

Meanwhile, Kara was feeling terrible that Lena didn’t know her secret yet (for the life of me, I can’t recall if anything in the finale made her realize she should tell her or if this was just a convenient plot to counter Lena’s), so she was desperate to find a time to tell her. Of course, this came right before Kara was supposed to accept a Pulitzer (I won’t even go into how that would never happen), bringing both Lena and Kara to tears.

It appeared that Lena had forgiven her, but no. As she told her Alexa-like robo-friend, she wants to hurt Kara as much as she was hurt.

I’m personally glad that Lena is still on this vendetta. At first, I thought she really had forgiven Kara, which would have made last season’s cliffhanger rather useless. At the same time, though, I would’ve like to see more of how Lena was so hurt. Sure, I get that she felt betrayed, but I feel like Lena would have understood why keeping her identity a secret was important. Really digging into why would’ve helped here. Was it because she looked like a fool—just as her mother had made her feel like a fool her entire life? Was it because she was a Luthor and it was signalling that Kara never really trusted her because of her name? Was it because she felt left out since everyone else seemed to know but she didn’t? Is it simply that Lena struggles with emotion and rather than letting herself experience hurt, she’s going with anger?

Going into any of this into more detail would be great, and it would have also offered an opportunity to spiral Lena a little more. Make her look more like a Luthor, rather than simply leaning on “she’s a Luthor” as an excuse for why she’s take the crueler way out. Right now, she’s becoming Supergirl and  Kara’s secret nemesis, but I want to see a bit more evil.

Beyond Lena’s turn, there was another significan reveal in the episode–and no, I’m not talking about J’onn’s brother. It was the new super suit!

Supergirl’s new suit had been announced over the summer, so I wasn’t surprised to see it in this episode. But I was curious to see how they’d introduce it. For The Flash, they make brief comments about improvements, but that’s about it. This would be the first change in five years, so there must be a reason.

And to be honest: It was a pretty lame reason. Her cape got ripped in a fight. Now, personally, with all the hype that the skirt was gone, I would’ve thought that her skirt would have been messed up in the fight. Or maybe her shoulder would get ripped. Something that would indicate that she needed a different suite. But instead, they chose her cape. Why is this a problem? Well, the cape was the only thing that Kara wore that was from Krypton. If I recall, Clark gave it to her, indicating that it was special material. And yet, that’s the piece that ripped and needed replacing—not the rest of it, which was manmade by Winn in the first season.

So wouldn’t Kara have been more than a little upset that this piece of Krypton was ruined and that it needed to be replaced? And while, sure, Brainy could argue that once he did the cape, he wanted to redesign the whole thing, that just didn’t make much sense, no matter how neat the effect was of it covering her body after whipping off her glasses.

What’s more, her suit wasn’t even all that distinctive. It looked a lot like Superman’s—so much so that it seemed like just another version of that, rather than something that would distinguish her from him. (Note: I’m specifically pointing to the Superman as he has appeared in this iteration of Supergirl, not comics, movies, or other TV shows.) I’m not saying that she should wear a skirt; I’m sure there are all kinds of debates all over the internet about whether Supergirl should’ve kept the skirt or whether pants are a refreshing change. But other than a gold belt, there’s very little difference between her suit and Superman’s, right down to how the cape is attached to her shoulders. There’s a lot more that could’ve been done to her suit to make it feel unique to her.

(Also, just as a side note, had Kara never thought to ask for a new suit in the past? The way she said, “Pants,” like it was a brilliant discovery—I mean, she could’ve easily asked for a new suit with pants long ago. And remember, this is a girl who just won a Pulitzer.)

Anyway, I suppose it was a solid season opener. Nothing much to write home about. Except, apparently, her new nemesis and super suit.

A few other thoughts:

  • Alex’s comment, “How do you guys get changed so fast?” had me laughing out loud. That was great. Best line in five seasons.
  • Why did Kara wear a pink cocktail dress to the office, but a more casual (and work-appropriate) blue dress to get her award? I honestly thought she was dressed for the ceremony and was headed there from the office until I saw she had a different dress and hair at the event.
  • I wonder what speed she has to take her glasses off to trigger the super suit, since we saw her take her glasses off with no effect once and with full effect another time. Brainy didn’t specify.
  • I assume this is not the last we’re seeing of James—at least not yet. I know that Mehcad Brooks is leaving the show sometime in the first half of the season, but given how long he’s been on, I imagine he will get a little more of a send-off.

Photo by Dean Buscher/The CW

 

What’s Lacking in Supergirl? Friendships.

Far From the Tree
Photo by Dean Buscher/The CW

When Supergirl first premiered on CBS, I didn’t watch it live. I binge-watched the show last summer, and despite the criticism the show seemed to get when it aired (if I recall correctly), I enjoyed it. I knew when I was watching that it was moving to the CW, so I watched it as if it were a CW show. And it fit. It was a CW show. And sure, some episodes were better or weaker than others, but I enjoyed it. Kara Danvers was adorable, awkward, and simply engaging. She had close friendships and a sweet relationship with her family. It was close, loving, and nice. And, of course, it had Cat Grant.

The move to the CW severely hurt the show. The most obvious part was losing Cat Grant and, with it, a lot of the strong female empowerment. But I’m not going to dwell on that. A lot of people have already discussed that, and there’s no reason I need to rehash it here.

But the part that I missed the most was Kara’s friendships. Somehow, the shift to the CW caused Kara’s close relationships to fade into the background. The parts that made Kara the most fun, endearing, and relatable — considering she’s a super-strong alien that was sent to Earth when she was 12 — seemed to disappear. Winn shifted his job to the DEO, and Kara no longer interacted him unless it was on a case. In fact, his major role in the show seems to be spouting facts about bad guys and trading banter with Alex when she was trying to get information out of him. And despite being promoted, James’ role was somehow minimized in the office. He focused his efforts on being Guardian, which he kept hidden from Kara and later caused friction. They made up, but even then, their relationship was essentially separate with each of them focusing on their own crime fighting. They’re more distanced than I’ve ever seen them.

True, Kara still had her relationship with Alex, but it wasn’t quite the same. Most of Alex’s storylines were focused on her relationship with Maggie — a plot point that was a strength of the season — and left little time for gabbing over pizza and sister TV time. They did cover this in the show and how they weren’t spending the same amount of time together, if I recall, but it just wasn’t the same.

Overall, Kara’s time was just not spent with friends. Gone were the days of potstickers and hanging out at the apartment. Even when they would have a drink at the weird alien bar, usually it was for a mere few moments right before one person was dragged away to have a conversation with someone else or go fight a villain. It just wasn’t the same.

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