So even at this late date, CBS hasn’t announced whether or not Supergirl has been renewed. That’s deeply, deeply unfortunate. While the naysayer could just write it off as yet another unfortunate reminder of Hollywood’s obsession with superheroes, to those who actually watched the show and paid attention, it’s obvious this show is serving a void.
Not only is it following in the footsteps of its sibling The Flash in proving that the default of superhero stories is fun, exciting and hopeful, it’s also for the moment the only female-led all ages superhero franchise (Jessica Jones is VERY Adults Only and who knows how the Wonder Woman film will turn out or who it will be aimed at) currently on air. And that’s no small feat.
Noel Murray, a freelance writer for Rolling Stone, AV Club and other outlets (and, it must be said, someone I consider a mentor and friend) said on Twitter yesterday that watching the show with his 11-year old daughter has been one of the highlights of his TV year. Jill Pantozzi, current proprietor of The Nerdy Bird and former Editor In Chief of The Mary Sue, wrote a lovely post back when the show was first unveiled.
I bring up these two examples not just because they’re heartwarming but they also prove what Supergirl can do. At its best, it shows to the girls of today that they can be the hero and gives the girls of yesterday something they’ve longed for all their lives: tangible proof that superheroes are for everyone. So on the low, low chance that anyone who works for CBS is in any way reading this–I know someone who’s a broadcast page for CBS This Morning; you know who you are–please pass the word around to corporate that this show needs to be renewed.
Anyway, tonight’s episode, “Better Angels,” (directed by Larry Teng and written by Robert Rovner & Jessica Queller) picks up instantly from “Myriad.” Supergirl is forced into a showdown with Alex, who’s in a Kryptonite-powered suit and mind-controlled by Non (Chris Vance) through mind control program Myriad.
Fortunately, when it seems like Kara is on the ropes, her foster mom Eliza (Helen Danvers) appears, mind shielded by J’onn J’onzz. She breaks Alex free of Myriad by appealing to her with love and hope. Good thing too as that’s the plan Kara, Cat and Max Lord were working on last time.
To try and break all of National City from Myriad, they plan to–using ancient TV equipment from Cat’s first station–have Supergirl broadcast a message of hope throughout the city. They pull it off–with a great performance by Melissa Benoist that’s a little hammy but in the best way–but they’re not out of the woods yet.
The ultimate battle involves Supergirl, J’onn, Non, Indigo (Laura Vandervoort, doing more fun villain work) and revealing the actual location of Fort Rozz on Earth. It’s an appropriate climax with the world at steak, akin to other long struggles like the “Freeza Arc” in Dragon Ball Z or “Secret Origins,” the pilot film of the DC Animated Universe Justice League cartoon.
Packed into it is a resonant story and a lot of emotional, uplifting acting. Aside from Benoist’s speech, Calista Flockhart reminds us all that Cat Grant was the secret MVP of the show, Alex gets to show her vulnerable side once again and even skeezy Maxwell Lord gets a moment of humanity.
Finally, there’s an unexpected cliffhanger which, as has been the case, I won’t spoil. I have one idea where it could go but I hope I’m wrong. Regardless, it’s a gripping end to a show that’s as been as essential and important to the television landscape–albeit in an entirely different way–as The People Vs. OJ Simpson. Here’s hoping CBS steps up and does the right thing. Supergirl would believe that they would. So do I.