Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Recap Wednesday: Supergirl 1.2 "Stronger Together"

(Did you notice the title of this episode? Did you? Did YOU? *koff* You did.)

This episode opens with the DEO running tests on Supergirl’s powers, mostly by shooting missiles at her while she flies. Confession: I will never not wish I could fly when watching a Superman or Supergirl show. That would be my superpower wish 100%. Also, This is not a drill: Alex is walking around in DEO agent gear looking like she owns the place, AND she is acting super proud of her sister, which is cute. I now realize how rare it is to see women acting proud of other women on TV. Which I guess is also sad. But, back to Alex:

Her sister just broke the sound barrier, sir
The point here is that Supergirl is impatient with all of this testing and is pretty confident that she’s ready for the field. She's a HERO dammit, just like Superman!

On cue, Winn calls Supergirl and lets her know that a big fire is happening at the harbor. When she gets there, one of the firefighters tells her that the fire is about to spread to a nearby ship, which is full of oil. He then rather snottily says, “What are you waiting for? Superman would have blown it out by now.” Oh man, fightin’ words.

She immediately begins using her ice breath on it, which is what she thinks Superman would have done, but that makes the fire worse (there is a lesson there, I think). Supergirl then decides to move the ship away from the fire. She does this by flying in front of the ship and ….pulling it away from the dock? (About fifty dudes watch her and you can tell they're thinking, "ACTUALLY, wouldn’t pushing it be easier?") Anyway, she succeeds in pulling the ship away from the dock, but in doing so, splits the ship apart, causing an oil spill. Whooops.

Supergirl (as Kara) then goes to work at CatCo, because all of those shenanigans apparently happened before 9 am. And, we know the exact time because Supergirl's super-hearing picks up Cat Grant muttering to herself in the elevator, "Drunk at 9 am. That's the last time I have breakfast with Ruth Bader Ginsburg." And now, I officially love Cat Grant.

I should also mention that when I say Supergirl goes to work as "as Kara," that means she's wearing her "Kara" disguise of glasses and a ponytail. Which, seems fine.

Anyway, some douchey-seeming guy named Maxwell Lord is on a TV screen saying National City doesn’t need this second-rate Supergirl. And then, Cat Grant says they should name her #TerribleGirl instead. Sick burn, Cat. Sick burn. So, it's like the whole city is turning against her already! Cat also demands to her staff that they get her an interview with Supergirl by the end of the week or else. 


A bit later, we’re introduced to this week’s villain. This one is hanging around some sort of chemical plant and he has a gaping Jurassic Park maw of a mouth. (*shrug* I'm here for the feminism, flying, and subtext. Wait what?) 

Back at the DEO, Alex treats Supergirl to an impromptu self-defense lesson in a special room that the DEO built. The room emits kryptonite, which weakens Supergirl, which means Alex is kicking her ass. The lesson is that Supergirl doesn’t have great fighting skills yet. She mostly relies on being stronger than other people, which Alex tells her won’t always work in a fight, because she may fight people stronger than her one day. Supergirl leaves the DEO in a huff. But, as Hank notes, it's a lesson that could save her life one day. (He's right, you know).

Kara then sees that Cat has written an article critical of Supergirl. She notes that Superman made mistakes before and people weren’t so hard on him. Cat tells her that Supergirl needs to learn that a woman has to work twice as hard to be seen as half as good as a man. (She's right, you know).

Cat's comments inspire Kara to ask Winn and James for help, which they both quite eagerly agree to do.

"I'm in! I said it first"
We later see a montage of James and Winn monitoring police scanners and telling Supergirl where different crimes in the city are happening. I guess they have all left CatCo in the middle of the day to do this. Which, seems fine. The point is that Supergirl is getting experience doing small-ish acts of heroism and repairing her reputation. And, it works. Her reputation in the city improves. Like.... just in one day... or?

In this episode, we also learn that Kara's aunt is General Astra, head of Team Alien, and is not happy that her niece is working for Team Human. Alex, Hank, and the DEO go after the gaping-maw alien and Alex ends up being captured by Astra. It's fine, though, because Supergirl saves her. What's truly important to note is that, during an Alex/Astra interaction, we see the briefest moment in which Astra runs her finger along Alex’s jawline. And, I am all on board that ship.

Stronger together?
Anyway, James and Kara also have a moment. Kara says she’ll give Cat the interview as Supergirl. She doesn't want James to get fired for not being able to secure the interview for Cat. Kara reveals to him that on Krypton, accepting help from people was seen as an honor. AND, the “S” on her shirt actually stands for her family motto “el marayah," which when translated from Kryptonian to English means "Stronger Together." (All of my likes are officially converging, really. Is this how some straight dudes feel like all the time when their identities and politics are infused in pop culture? In other news, I recently found out that a former verbally-abusive coach from 15 years ago is a Trump supporter. So dislikes too can converge, apparently!)

The big overarching lesson for Kara here is that she realizes that while Superman has his own way of doing the superhero thing alone, her way is going to be to accept help from her friends and family because ultimately that makes her a better hero. Just because Superman is a hero, he doesn't set the superhero standard. (That would be Xena, obvs).

Then, the episode ends with Cat Grant getting her interview with Supergirl. For reference, here is what Cat Grant looks like when she looks at Supergirl:

"Hello, fellow heterosexual!"

Deep Thought of the Week: Like Jessica Jones, Supergirl thus far lacks an obvious white alpha male protagonist type of character, which is rare for the genre. And, it's not a character I miss. I grew up on the Christopher Reeve Superman movies and loved them. It's more that, by now, I think that type of character has been done. And, I think the powers that be in the industry easily become overly-infatuated with white alpha male characters, even when they're just side characters, so much so that they let them dominate every scene they're in.

Also, in Season 1 of Jessica Jones, the aggressive white male character was the arch-villain.  I know some fans took issue with that, saying all the white male characters were either villains, sex objects, or otherwise flawed. Sort of like how female characters, and people of color, have been portrayed since forever, but nevermind that I suppose. Maxwell Lord, introduced this episode, is Supergirl's first alpha/aggressive white man and seems more of a villain/anti-hero character thus far.
 

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