Supergirl “We Can Be Heroes” 

Supergirl trapped by Livewire

The first half of season two has seen some of the strongest writing of the series. I had high hopes moving into the second half. While there are moments that still shine, I’m not so sure I’m on board with the direction the writers are taking some of the characters. Going against well-established character behaviors in order to create conflict is a bit disappointing.

The episode starts out with a lovely homage to Luke Skywalker’s initial lightsaber training on the Millenium Falcon in Star Wars. The flying laser ball is a bit more advanced as it shoots at Kara and Mon-El, but it’s still a fun throwback. Kara has always been a bit arrogant with Mon-El and this carries over in her training. On the one hand she tells him he’s ready to go out into the field. On the other, she chides him for allowing the cardboard cutout of a young girl to lose her head because he let down his guard for a second. She hammers into him the idea “Protect citizens above all else.” While he voices his agreement, this will come back to haunt him in the upcoming battle with…LIVEWIRE!

Just when you thought she was gone. Apparently Livewire has been upgraded to the role of Supergirl’s nemesis. As soon as Livewire tells her court appointed therapist what she’ll do to Supergirl once she’s released, a prison guard and fellow inmate taser the therapist. Maggie and Alex show up and make a bet about how fast Kara will push through the cops to get to the cell. Maggie bets a pint of vegan ice cream that it will take Kara at least ten seconds because she’s so polite. She loses the bet. This time.

Guardian and Winn are out on another mission. This one must have been past Winn’s bedtime, because he was asleep at the control panel in the van. James shows up with a bullet in his arm, triggering a typical Winn freakout. He insists that James tell Kara about his superhero identity. James agrees. Tomorrow.

Back at the DEO, M’gann has what appears to be a breakdown and falls into a coma. Alex does her best to help, but she isn’t able to find anything physically wrong. She suggests that J’onn perform the mind meld to figure out what is going on. J’onn is adamantly opposed since he would have to relive the memories of his wife and daughters dying. Alex stresses M’gann is hours away from brain death. He may be her only hope.

Kara, meanwhile, seems to be having her own breakdown over the fact that she is a superhero for a living. I would even categorize her behavior as a series of mini-tantrums. While Mon-El and Winn act like a couple of frat boys joking about Livewire, Supergirl begins whining about the fact that Livewire should have been locked in the DEO instead of a regular prison. She then breaks an expensive electrical panel. That moment was quite funny.

Kara continues her focused whining by bursting into James’ office. In typical Kara fashion, when James says he has something to tell her, she hijacks the moment, complaining about the stress of having a nemesis. James responds, “You’re not alone in this fight. You have friends. You have help. And you’re not the only hero in National City.” Instead of hearing what James is actually saying, Kara jumps to the conclusion that he is talking about Mon-El. This continues an odd streak of jealousy James seems to have suddenly developed for Mon-El which the writers are increasing in every episode. They aren’t just casually building it. They are hitting us over the head with it. It’s more than a bit annoying. All it did was give James a reason not to tell Kara about Guardian. It felt like a weak way to write them out of that scene.

This leads into the first fight with Livewire against the NCPD. Except…It wasn’t Livewire! (I’ll leave that little plot twist for you to discover on your own.) Not only do we get Supergirl, but also Mon-El AND Guardian. While the scene set up quite a nice superhero shot of the three of them back to back, it started to feel a bit ridiculous. How many heroes do we need on this show? ONE. A woman who doesn’t need two men to come to her rescue. Yes, there is a wonderful scene with Livewire that comes later that supports it, but this episode starting shooting off in a million different directions about who deserves to be a hero, who gets to be a hero, who decides what a hero is. Let’s just say it causes some major divisions by the end of the episode. They feel contrived. We need conflict to move the show forward, but not at the expense of established character motivations and personalities.

J’onn and M’gann have a wonderful scene during the mind meld. Powerful. Forgiveness. This leads into a major plot thread of the next episode.

Supergirl’s battle with Livewire shifts as she learns what really happened in that jail cell. How she reacts at the end is more like the Kara we know and love.

All in all, there were strong moments and pieces of the story that are moving in new directions. I’m not sure how they are going to progress, but I have faith in the writers. Sometimes the journey is a bit unpredictable but it has always been worth it in the end.

Micky Small is a graduate student in Digital Media and Performance at Arizona State University by day, and building a production company with original female superheroes by night. Follow her @femmepwrdprod

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