SUPERGIRL Mid-Season Recap: Season 2

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So, with
2016 in the books and 2017 off to an incredible start it’s time to discuss the
sophomore season of Supergirl.  If you’ll recall I wrote the recap of the
first half of season one and was pretty positive about the show to that
point.  To set the table, I thought they
did a damn good job of following up on the first half of Season One despite a
few episodes feeling a bit odd down the stretch.
Season Two
picks almost literally when they left off, with Kara and J’onn inspecting the
pod that crashed to earth.  It turns out
our new friend was a Daxamite named, Mon-El. 
(Chris Wood formerly of The
Vampire Diaries
.)  They take him to
the Downtown headquarters for the DEO (presumably because they can no longer
head out to the deserts outside LA) where Winn now works and we meet
Mon-El.  Despite the name, Mon-El isn’t
of the House of El and doesn’t exactly share in Kara lawful good
alignment.  He’s more of the scruffy-Han
Solo type.
There’s even
more changes in store for the citizens of National City, Luthor Corp has come
to town.  In charge is Lex’s adopted
sister, Lena. (Katie McGrath of Jurassic
World
fame.)  She’s taken control of
the company after Lex has gone to Jail for life.  She promises a kinder, gentler Luthor
Corp.  She even goes so far as to change
the company’s name to L-Corp.  However,
you can’t have a Luthor in town for too long without Clark Kent coming to town
so it’s time for Superman to come to town!

No, not him
kids. Sorry.

Superman is
played by Teen Wolf’s Tyler Hoechlin
and we’ll get back to him later since really Superman’s arrival is more to help
set up Kara’s season two arch of becoming a reporter.  Kara was offered any job in CatCo she wanted
last season by Cat herself and after some soul-searching she decides to follow
in Cat and Clark’s footsteps.  Kara’s
soul-searching leads to Cat taking stock herself and going on a leave of absence. 
But that’s
okay, with Kara’s mentor bowing out there’s now room for Lena’s mentor and
mother, Lillian (Brenda Strong of Desperate
Housewives
) to step in.  Good news,
everyone! She’s evil and even better she’s in charge of anti-alien Terrorist
group, Project Cadmus.  She’s come to National
City to get rid of all the aliens and she’s going to do it Mad Scientist
style.  First turning mercenary John
Corbin into the Kryptonite-powered Metallo. 
Then she gives a group of criminals alien weapons.  She brings back the human Hank Henshaw and
turns him into Cyborg Superman to take out Kara and J’onn. 
Then for her
magnum opus she has Hank break into the Fortress of Solitude and steal the
plans for a chemical weapon that she uses to try and kill every alien in
National City.  I gotta say, that one is definitely
worthy of the name, Luthor.
Of course,
while all this is going on there are other things happening in the lives.  Kara’s becoming a reporter gets off to a
rocky start when her new boss, Snapper Carr. 
(Ian Gomez, Norm, Cougar Town)  Carr is reimagined as an experience and
grizzled veteran reporter who’s devoted to making sure his reporters are
getting their stories right.  Meanwhile,
Jimmy finds himself with quite a journey first stepping into Cat’s shoes to run
CatCo in her absence and then stepping into the other side of Kara’s world as
the armored-vigilante, Guardian.
Meanwhile J’onn
meets a fellow Martian named Megan.  She
works as a bartender that has become our characters’ favored hangout and J’onn
learns after Megan gave him a blood transfusion that she is, in fact, a White
Martian that fled Mars in shame over her part in the extermination of the
Greens.
Lastly, but
by no means least we meet Maggie Sawyer. 
The NCPD Detective is introduced as the leader of a police taskforce
called the “Science Police” who oversee the strange cases occurring in National
City.  This puts her in contact with Alex
and the two hit it off but their friendship soon has Alex in turmoil when Maggie
reveals she’s a lesbian with a taste for Redheads that dress up like Bats
and assumes Alex has a thing for her. 
Alex spends the next few episodes thinking over her romantic past and
realizes she’s long harbored feelings for other women and by the end of the
mid-season finale she and Maggie decide to explore a relationship together.
Let’s start
with the positives.  Melissa Benoist is
still the big beating heart of this series. 
Not simply because she’s the title character but because she has enough
heart and charisma to keep you hooked. 
She has maintained or strengthened the chemistry she built last season
with each of the returning members of the cast and works well with McGrath,
Gomez and Wood.  Like I said last year,
this show’s continued success will start with her.
Chyler Leigh
and Mehcad Brooks have stepped up their games this seasons, primarily because
both have been given more to do.  Which
leaves me feeling a little bad for Jeremy Jordan since he’s still relegated to
being the computer guy/teller of geek jokes. 
The overall
story has been good, not great, but good. 
But judging by the scene in the last episode that implies there was more
to Mon-El’s escape from Daxam with some sort of fleet chasing after him I think
the second half of the season could pick up pretty fast.
I have to
say this, when the show’s move to the CW was announced I had been concerned
that the show would not only look cheaper but feel smaller.  I think they’ve done a good job of avoiding
this, the special effects have been hurt to some extent yes but they’ve done a
great job of working around their smaller budget.  My other big concern was the Alex/Maggie romance,
this could have easily been a stunt for rating but they’ve done a very good job
of giving their romance the care and effort needed.
Now, there
were some problems.  Let’s get the
elephant in the room out of the way.  It’s
not that Hoechlin’s Superman was bad or good. 
It’s not that he looked a bit like a child in the suit especially in
comparison to 6’2” Henry Cavill who looks like he’s gearing up for a run in the
WWE.   

It’s that we’ve seen this
before.  We’ve seen this Superman over
and over.  Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain, Brandon
Routh and Tom Welling have all covered this ground quite often for nearly forty
years.  Say what you will about Zack
Snyder’s Man of Steel but he was
absolutely right to seek out a new vision of Superman.

Playing
Superman as Kreisberg, Berlanti and Adler have envision leaves Hoechlin looking
like a copy of a copy and I felt no connection to the character at all. I’m not
coming down on the light or dark debate, what I am saying is that there can be
a wide spectrum of Superman portrayals between Chris Reeve and Henry Cavill and
Hoechlin’s would have been a hell of a lot better served if they’d actually put
some effort into finding new ground.
The other
huge issue is the loss for Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant.  The lack of her presence shows in nearly
episode and they have to figure out some way to include her soon because Cat
was usually the highlight of every week during Season One.
Lastly, we
need to talk about something that bothered me personally.  Listen, I get that it’s Hollywood and I get
that the politics are pretty far left of center but there was no need for them
to ram their politics down the audience’s throat the way they did.  The illegal immigration episode, the gun
control episode, the global warming episode. 
I don’t know
if the producers understand this but you can alienate your audience pretty damn
quick if after a long day of listening to a relentless Presidential Campaign
you were to sit down for some superhero fun and/or action with characters you’ve
cared about and end up with a transparent, ham-fisted diatribe of “Liberalism
Good!”
Before you
even start I would’ve been just as annoyed if they’d been coming down so hard
on the other side.  I roll my eyes as
hard at Kid Rock as I do Lena Dunham.  If
you’re going to pop-off at the mouth about your politics as an entertainer you
better make sure it’s not at the expense of the entertainment.
My hope is
that with the 2016 Campaign behind us that the show will throttle back a little
on the politics and throttle up on what made season one enjoyable; putting
characters I care about in situations I find exciting and interesting.
All in all,
I’m not as high on the first half of Season Two as I was at this point last
year but I still think the ceiling is higher for them this year if they build
on their momentum when they return on January 23 with “Supergirl Lives”
directed by Kevin Smith.
Just another guy on the internet.