Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Recap Wednesday: Supergirl 1.6 "Red Faced"

Oh, this episode was good.

Big picture, it's about anger and who is entitled to express it.

Soooo, it opens with two white guys road raging at each other. They're just about to mow down a group of kids when Supergirl jumps in front of them, stopping them. One of the dudes gets out of his car pissed and takes a swing at Supergirl. She catches his fist and starts twisting it. To be honest, it's oh-so-satisfying because the guy is such a jerk and I am not enlightened enough. Not now.

However, bystanders look on in horror:

Now who's the Tough Guy?
Instantly, stories break out about "Supergirl's" road rage incident, because of course. Two white dudes almost killed a bunch of kids because they couldn't control their anger, but she's the asshole. Jerky Max Lord even chimes in that maybe she should wear a body camera so she can be monitored.

Moving on, we meet Cat Grant's mom. She seems like a ....piece of work. Sample quote about Supergirl: "So interesting, isn't it? A woman hero. I can't help but feel safer in Metropolis. Call me old-fashioned, but I still prefer a male doctor." Just in case you were looking for a female fictional character in your life to hate who is complicit in propping up patriarchy.

Speaking of the patriarchy, in DEO-land, General Lane (Lucy's father) is in town and wants to test a robot-weapon on Supergirl. Hank and Alex don't like the idea, but Lucy shows up (looking badass in her Army JAG uniform) with an executive order forcing Supergirl to do it. Supergirl/Lucy tension ensues and at this point I just want to chime in and say I'm of the opinion that Supergirl has more chemistry with women so far than with any male character on the show.

I like ... uniforms.
Later that night, Kara hosts a game night featuring James, Lucy, and Winn. It is as awkward a love quadrangle as you can imagine. James and Lucy have all of these in-jokes and knowledge of each other and do really well as a team. Winn and Kara... do not (see above re: chemistry, lack thereof).  What's important is that at one point, Lucy refers to Superman as "Jimmy Olsen's special boyfriend" and... I knew it. And, I'm 100% on board that ship. She also casually mentions that she met Supergirl and "wasn't that impressed." Ouch.

The next day, Supergirl fights the robot. The scene is amusing in a campy way. For one, the robot's name is Red Tornado. Two, it looks like a Power Ranger. It's supposed to be a remote-controlled robot, but it's clearly just a guy with his face painted red and wearing craft foam. Not surprisingly, Supergirl whoops its ass. She is actually all of us for a moment and completely rages out on it. It then becomes sentient, escapes to wreak havoc on National City, and gee that sounds SO FAMILIAR (fuck our lives).

It's Morphin Time!
Back at the office, Cat and Kara have an altercation in which Kara ends up yelling, "Why are you SO MEAN?" to her (which.... is a fair question). Kara is instantly horrified and apologizes, but Cat seems somewhat amused. They leave the office to go drink martinis. I like where this is going.

Two important things happen next. One, I don't want to read too much into this (ha ha, just kidding, of course I do), but listen, the Kara/Cat bar scene opens with a Fleetwood Mac remix in the background right at the phrase, "Loving you, isn't the right thing to do." (Then why does it feel so right?) And two, Cat gives Kara a lecture about how she cannot get angry at work, especially when one is a girl. She also suggests that Kara figure out what's really making her angry and that she find a proper release. (Ahem, no comment).

In all honesty (and subtext aside), I know that Cat can be a harsh boss, but Cat mentoring Kara is where I think Supergirl really shines. I have worked with many "alpha" type of women in life and I'll just say this: never be the woman who pulls the ladder up behind herself.

[Here thar be a scene which I will not discuss that contains romantic subtext between Alex and Max Lord blah blah argle bargle I miss Astra]

Later, in what is a great scene, Kara and James find appropriate release for their anger. Not that kind of release, you dirty birdies. Kara has strung up a car like a punching bag (for herself) next to an actual punching bag (for James). Kara notes that, unlike Clark/Superman, she has to contain her rage and so punching stuff might help her channel it better. James notes that it's not exactly safe for black men to show their anger either. Punching and venting ensues and it is amazing.

In the scene, Kara finds "the anger behind her anger." We learn that she has the same central conflict as in Buffy: the duty to be a hero versus the wish for a normal life. (I warned you, all things come back to Buffy for me).

The final Red Tornado showdown happens, it's a Danvers Sisters Extravaganza, and I needed this in my life right now. It turns out that the scientist who built Red Tornado has been controlling him(*?), so Alex goes after the scientist while Supergirl fights Red Tornado. I'm usually kind of blah about fight scenes in general, but the ending to this fight is pretty great. Alex kills the evil scientist and Supergirl uses her heat vision to destroy Red Tornado once and for all and, you know, I just feel like the image below encompasses our full rage during Election 2016 and what the next four years will be like:

Supergirl, you complete me.
So, props to Melissa Benoist on this one.

In seriousness, I think the election stuff has been varying levels of traumatic for many different populations, including women. Watching and writing about Supergirl has been, I suppose, a release from my own angst. For me, that is the power of superhero shows and science fiction. So, thank you readers, for indulging me.

Deep Thought of the Week: *I'm still confused by the way robots, who typically do not have hormones, brains, secondary sex characteristics, or sex organs, get gendered.

[Note: In November 2017, CW/Supergirl Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg was suspended after allegations of sexual harassment.]

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