Supergirl: Livewire

Supergirl: "Oh, shut up, you mean girl."

This episode was a step forward for Supergirl in three different ways: the addition of some family dysfunction, the effectiveness of the villain, and a significant improvement in the characterization of the annoying Cat Grant.

Kara's Charlie-Brown-like "Friendsgiving" was inadvertently ruined by a visit from her foster mom Eliza Danvers, who oddly looks a lot more like Kara than Alex. (Okay, okay, I know that's because Helen Slater played Supergirl in the 1984 movie and Alex clearly takes after her father from Lois & Clark, instead.) It seemed inexplicable to me that Eliza Danvers blamed Alex for Kara "coming out" as Supergirl, and that it was a pattern going back to their teen years when Eliza was constantly all over Alex's case when it came to protecting her adopted little sister. Which made zero sense to me, since Kara is freaking invulnerable and Alex is not.

Which segued into Eliza confessing that a surprisingly nasty Hank Henshaw and his DEO minions dropped by when Kara was thirteen and wanted to take her away forever, but somehow Jeremiah Danvers talked them into taking him, instead. While I'm not quite sure why Hank would take Jeremiah instead of an actual super alien, it did set up the ultimate fate of Jeremiah Danvers as a new continuing mystery. And I thought it was fun to see the heretofore perfectly behaved Alex drinking too much and acting out, before "coming out" and telling her mom the truth about her work for the DEO.

Poor Winn, who has been pretty much the bland best friend up until now, got to be the uncomfortable and forgotten guest at the table while the family was fighting. Like Sunbunny said in her review of the previous episode "Fight or Flight," I'm really not interested in the love triangle, quadrangle, or whatever (we were reminded of it with a couple of brief scenes centered on Kara's jealousy of James' relationship with Lucy Lane), but I thought Winn's confession about his evil father in prison and his hinted-at feelings for Kara was sweet.

(Hey, if Winn's dad is a bad guy and in prison, I'm sure that means he's an incipient supervillain that we'll meet at some point.)

Speaking of supervillains, Livewire, a.k.a. Leslie Willis the metaphorical shock jock who actually became one literally, wasn't what I'd call a great villain. But like the rest of the episode, she was a step up from what we've gotten so far. I liked that she wasn't yet another Fort Rozz escapee, but instead a by-product of Kara getting hit by lightning, which I remember happening at least once on Smallville. I even thought Leslie's comments about the adorkableness, the figure skating outfit, Supergirl's sexual orientation and the possibility of tentacles for genitals was amusing, albeit in a mean sort of way.


One of the best things about this episode was Cat Grant coming off as human for the first time. As Kara was trying to deal with Leslie's metamorphosis, Cat volunteered courageously to act as bait to draw Livewire out, and was calm and matter-of-fact about the mistakes she'd made while mentoring Leslie. Cat also showed some interest in Kara's backstory, and shared with her that her own mother saw Cat as a disappointment. It's interesting and sad that, like Winn, Cat had no one to share Thanksgiving with; while Cat appears cold, she apparently does care about people. Or was Cat finally just noticing that her adorable assistant looks exactly like Supergirl?

So this episode was about Kara and Alex and their ups and downs as sisters, and their occasionally difficult relationship with their mom, and featured a parallel storyline about Leslie/Livewire and her mentor, Cat Grant. All female characters and their interrelationships. And the feminist in me likes that a lot.

Bits:

-- There were a couple of obvious homages to the original Superman movie: the helicopter rescue, and teenage Kara and Alex flying together. Plus a brief mention of Ghostbusters.

-- The magenta leopard statue got trashed. Were they going to repair it? Ugh.

-- The DEO was masquerading as the FBI. FWIW.

-- Ojai is "several hours away." Ojai is actually about an hour and a half from Los Angeles if the traffic is good, which it never is.

-- Did they ever get around to eating Thanksgiving dinner?

Quotes:

Supergirl: (re: the hideous snouty alien) "He was tough."
Hank: "She."
Supergirl: "Whoah. Respect."

Supergirl: "Chocolate pecan pie is the best dessert in the galaxy, and as someone who's been to twelve different planets, I mean that literally."

Kara: "Have you figured out what you're doing for Thanksgiving?"
Winn: "Yeah, Orphan Thanksgiving. Literally. Thai food and Orphan Black marathon."

Cat: "What fresh incompetence is this?"

Cat: "Oh, Leslie. You and I got through you not supporting Hillary in 2008, we can get through this. Just give me your terms."
Livewire: "The only thing that you have that I want is your skin. There are so many ways to skin..."
Cat: "A cat. Yes, congratulations. You have the wit of a Youtube comment."

Promising. Three out of four Youtube comments,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.

4 comments:

sunbunny said...

LIvewire is one of my favorite Superman villains and I was excited that they chose her as a nemesis for superhero but ambivalent about the way she turned out.

Eliza's toughness on Alex didn't really make sense to me either. Like, I get that she's the older sister and is responsible for keeping her younger sibling safe, but Kara is a grown woman. It would make more sense if she was mad at both of them instead of just Alex?

I really hate Winn but the fact that he watches Orphan Black makes me hate him a little less.

sunbunny said...

Also, I really loved Kara cooking the turkey with her heat vision.

Patryk said...

No mention that this is actually episode 5 that was switched around due to real life events? IT does make some continuity issues after all with "How Does She Do It"

Billie Doux said...

I loved the turkey thing too, Sunbunny. Patryk, I'd completely forgotten 4 and 5 were switched -- thanks for reminding me.