[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Director: Glen Winter
Writer: Jessica Queller
Stars: Melissa Benoist, Mechad Brooks & Chyler Leigh
Supergirl and Superman team up to stop an emerging threat in National City.
Tonally, this is everything I wanted it to be. I was smiling ear to ear the entire time. The affection for this material and these characters just shines through. It is an exciting hour of television.
Tyler Hoechlin guest stars as Superman and does a great job. His performance is a nice blend of George Reeves and Christopher Reeve. He has a bit of the awkward charm that Reeve perfected along with Reeve’s easy going charm but he can be really stern and determined which very much reminds me of Reeves. He has great chemistry with Melissa Benoist which is essential. The hard part is to not make it seem like they’re meeting each other for the first time and they don’t. They do feel like family which is nice; their banter is really cute and fun. Neither acts even remotely petty as superheroes working together often do (Arrow and Flash). There’s a wonderful moment in which the two both x-ray a room together without even saying a word to the other about it. Both characters just do it instinctively; I love that so much. This is the Superman I want. He’s kind, caring and carries all of the wonder of Superman. But he can be angry, stern and funny. He’s a human being. Being relatable is not moping around your apartment because people are mean on TV. Humanity is what I relate to and Hoechlin is great at showing Clark’s humanity as is Benoist with Kara’s.
The production values are still excellent. The shuttle rescue looks just as good if not better than the one in Superman Returns. That scene from that film is one of my favorite Superman moments and this new shuttle rescue is up there as well. It is a thrilling scene and the effects all throughout the episode are well integrated. Most of the sets have been rebuilt almost exactly as they were except for the DEO which is now a completely different set. The episode looks great.
Kara’s main conflict in this episode is being on the edge of adult responsibilities and expectations and she is almost paralyzed by it. Everyone goes through this especially at Kara’s age. Anyone in college or just out of college can tell you how intimidating the world can be. There’s this idea that people need to have their entire life figured out by the time that they’re barely old enough to drink. That pressure can be insanely stressful and I like how this episode handles it. Granted, it is probably the epitome of first world problems but I related to it.
The big surprise for me was Lena Luthor played by Katie McGrath. I simply expected her to be a villain because her name is Luthor. It’s not a huge stretch. However, the writers work that expectation into the script. Clark and Kara automatically assume she’s evil and she’s not. She is genuinely trying to make the world a better place as well as make a name for herself outside of her familial association. It’s a nice parallel to Kara and McGrath plays it nicely.
There’s an interesting moral conflict between Superman and Martian Manhunter. And it’s not over-dramatic or stupid. It makes a lot of sense from both sides. It’s kind of sad because, as viewers, we want these two to be best friends, and it sucks that they’re not. But it’s presented well.
The pacing feels off. I think some scenes were cut because there is information missing. The main villain is John Corben, played by Frederick Schmidt, and the heroes mysteriously find that out. The D.E.O. knows who to look for and there is no explanation how. It also has a feeling of the writers wanting to do as much as possible since they may only have a limited time with Clark.
Kara and Jimmy break up for no reason. The writers spent so much of season one setting this relationship up and to end it just before it’s about to starts feels awkward. Kara declares her love and then two days later decides she just wants to be friends before they even have a date? What sense does that make? There are only two things I can figure. Either Mechad Brooks is leaving the show or the writers want Kara to have a romance with the man in the pod. Either way, the writers could have done this more naturally. If the two went on a date and simply did not click romantically, I could go with that. But this just felt random, weird and like my time has been wasted for a lot of last season.
Kara spells out the mission statements for both reasons rather unnaturally. I don’t like it when writers spell out their themes and ideas so blatantly. I promise I’m not an idiot; none of your viewers are. Give us some credit. We can figure this out without it being spoon fed to us.
The explanation for the new DEO set is weak. The new set has been there the whole time; Martian Manhunter and Alex simply never told her about it. I get that it’s a joke but it’s weird. Why did they never tell her? Why did they use a crappy cave? I understand the real world context but there is no “in universe” explanation.
Overall, this episode is a blast. As a fan of both Superman and Supergirl, this is exactly what I wanted. It’s fun, enthusiastic and genuine. It’s impossible not to feel happy while watching this. If you love excitement, endearing superheroes and hope, you will enjoy this episode.
The title of the episode, “The Adventures of Supergirl,” is the title of a recent mini-series written by Sterling Gates that was set in the continuity of the show. The Adventures of Superman was also the name of the show in which Reeves played Superman. It has also been the name of several other Superman projects.
John Corben is the supervillain Metallo which is confirmed in the final scene of the episode. It’s interesting that we’re getting an origin story for Metallo considering most of the major Superman villains have already been established. The final scene also shows us a piece of Cadmus which has been mentioned before.
Many references are made to Richard Donner’s 1978 film Superman. Winn references Lex Luthor’s earthquake plot. And Lena quotes the line, “flying is still the safest way to travel” only to have to be rescued from a crashing helicopter. Cat Grant’s new assistant is Miss Teschmacher who was Lex’s main hechwoman in Superman and Superman II.
A citizen name drops Gotham. I think this is the first time that city has been mentioned in any of these shows.
Lena Luthor is a character from the comics and first appeared in 1961. While she is mainly Lex’s sister, there was a point in which she was Lex’s daughter. She also apparently had psychic powers at one point.