Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Supergirl Season 1 Episode 15 "Solitude" Review and **SPOILERS**
Starring: Melissa Benoist, Calista Flockhart, Mehcad Brooks et al.
Story By: Rachel Shukert
Directed By: Dermott Downs
First Aired: February 29, 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
I guess I’ve been doing a good job recapping CW’s The Flash every Tuesday-ish for the last few weeks, because Weird Science DC Comics’ Managing Editor of the TV Show Recap Department, Jody Cardona, asked if I would take up similar duties on CBS’ Supergirl. I’m always glad to help out where I can, but there’s one wrinkle: I haven’t watched Supergirl in three months. I started watching it regularly, but after five or six episodes I found it wasn’t grabbing me like Arrow and the Flash, and there’s lots of flipping television out there so I had to make some hard decisions. Yet from what I can tell, it got really crazy—and therefore really Reggie-friendly—with the very first episode I missed where Hank Henshaw revealed himself to be the Martian Manhunter. I’ve been meaning to check in on the show again, and thanks to the internet’s ceaseless drive for content, I have a golden opportunity! Has my opinion turned around after only one episode? Read on, if you care! I mean if you dare!
One thing that helped me out with this episode was having reviewed the first three chapters of DC Comics’ digital-only Supergirl book, which is based on the television show. In the most recent chapter, the comic mentioned that Phantom Zone super prison Fort Rozz had crashed to earth and released some aliens, and I surmised it must have happened in one of the Supergirl episodes I missed. Well, looks like I was right! And not only that, but two more surviving Kryptonians, Non and Astra, were freed as well, though Kara’s sister Alex killed Astra with a kryptonite sword. Since Kara was already pissed at Alex for stretching out one of her sweaters, Hank Henshaw took the blame for killing Astra so Kara would think he, instead of her sister, was a dick. This made Kara wary of the Department of Extra-Normal Operations so she quit, which is just like a mercurial teenager.
So our episode begins with Alex bringing Kara powdered donuts in order to entice her back to the DEO. The very idea of Supergirl eating powdered donuts is hilarious to me, though I expect her metabolism is a little better than mine. If I look at a powdered donut my left arm goes numb and I start tasting copper. Kara says she’s not going back until Hank apologizes for being a murderer, and then prepares to go to work. Wouldn’t that take like one second if you were Supergirl? I swear I would sleep right up until ninety seconds before I had to leave for work if I had the power of super speed. And flight! Let’s not forget flight, that will shave off some commuting minutes. At CatCo, new hire and Kara’s competition Siobhan instantly starts acting like a bitch, crowing about having stood in the mailroom waiting for a package for Cat Grant so she could personally deliver it. This is what go-getters do? Stand around in mailrooms? If she was really jockeying for position she would have camped out at the post office. Cat whirls into the office and calls a staff meeting…which appears to include Lucy Lane, who works at CatCo now. Something else I missed in my lapse, but pretty self-explanatory once you see her, you know, working there.
So after Siobhan is humiliated by Cat, James Olsen opens the package to reveal a thumb drive and a cryptic note which, for some reason, Siobhan knows is from DiamondDiscretions.com, a fake-ass AshleyMadison.com where people hook up to cheat on their spouses. The thumb drive, she somehow also knows, is a full client list, and Cat is expected to drop dime in her magazine, but instead she tells Siobhan to destroy it. Just then, a blue-eyed blond lady appears on every television screen in CatCo, of which there are like a zillion, and says she’s very disappointed and will have to be a super meanie and not at all cute. I sort of wish she was more like Max Headroom, all stuttering with a school picture laser background rotating behind her head, but I suppose you can’t have it all. Just then, all of the traffic lights in National City turn green, causing a lot of traffic accidents. Winn the computer whiz surmises that the blond lady caused this to happen, because he’s a total genius and nobody guessed that already, Sherlock.
Cat tasks her team with digging up info on this cyber terrorist, and Lucy asks James if he wants to be her lab partner. He says he has to follow up some leads, but to keep Lucy from feeling snubbed promises to have dinner with her later that evening. Later, at Kara’s apartment, Winn is hacking his heart out in an attempt to find the source of this cyber attack, when the blond lady appears on screen, and then a bunch of confetti flows out of the monitor and congeals into a blue lady with a Brainiac symbol on her forehead and a very stupid hairdo! I love it when superpowered beings that can control computers manifest things through the monitor, as if that’s like a window to the hard drive or something. The blue lady introduced herself as Indigo, a member of the Brainiac family striking out on her own since she’s stranded on Earth after the destruction of Fort Rozz. Honey, you’re not claiming your independence, you’ve been snubbed. Indigo makes a bunch of threats and then Hank and Alex show up with their guns drawn so she splits. Later, we see Indigo and Non chatting, seems they had some history. She wants him to join in her plan to destroy humankind; Non isn’t having any of it, though, and tells Indigo to indi-go to hell.
Later, Alex shows up at CatCo and disses her sister by enlisting Winn as a contract hacker for the DEO. Kara feels jilted, so James suggests to Kara that they go visit her cousin’s Fortress of Solitude because nothing is more comforting than an inhospitable arctic wasteland, and also they might be able to learn more about Indigo. Well, turns out the Fortress of Solitude is completely awesome in the Richard Donner tradition, all ice spikes and platforms that makes the place look like an ethereal Narnia. After using the unliftable key to get into the place, they wander around a fairly paltry museum—that includes a Legionairre’s Flight Ring, incidentally—and eventually come up an obsequious robot that says Indigo was once part of Brainiac, a supercomputer that ran Krypton, until it was going to destroy Krypton so they put it in the Phantom Zone. I get the feeling Kryptonians put a lot of stuff they didn’t know what to do with into the Phantom Zone. Bobby won’t finish his meatloaf? Scrape his plate into the Phantom Zone. A few bits and bobs left over after construction some IKEA furniture? Chuck ‘em in the Phantom Zone. I bet if you examined it, there would be like two dozen super criminals and like eight-hundred thousand dead batteries floating around in there. James wants to tell Hank but Supergirl is still mad at him so she tells him not to. She’s also been telling James not to tell Lucy that Kara is Supergirl. James, grow some fucking balls already.
The next day, James is excited to tell Lucy that his new North Face jacket is rated for arctic temperatures, but she gives off an even icier vibe. James doesn’t even know why until he remembers that they had a date—ladies, if your boyfriend forgets your date and doesn’t even recall it until you give him your resting bitch face, then the relationship is over. Kara appeals to Lucy to say what a great guy James is, plus he is so smart and very handsome, and also probably a great lover and good with animals and children and an object of lust for every woman. Kara repeats a story James told her about his dad being killed by a camera or something, and that’s why he became a photojournalist. Lucy mentions that James never told her that story, which is pretty awwk-warrd as you might imagine. Later on, bearing no ill will, Lucy tells Kara and James she thinks that the cyber attack was merely a smokescreen to get nuclear launch codes from General Jonathan Mathers so she can beat the last stage in Bubble Bobble. The DEO figures this out at the exact same time, and Winn feeds information to Supergirl so she can take out the nuclear missile. Supergirl zips on over to the launch site, and Indigo almost beats her, but she breaks free and is able to render the missile inert through the power of pushing the correct buttons on a keypad. Kara returns to the missile silo, where Indigo has put her hand through a cellphone to strangle Winn, but he sends a super virus into Indigo’s booty that turns her permanently into confetti. Later, Supergirl agrees to work with the DEO but still bitches at Hank for killing, so Alex confesses that she’s the stone cold murderer and the two sisters hug. Oh but a shape-shifting Martian pretending to be a black man doesn’t get a hug?? As an epilogue, we see Non hanging out around some light table, where Indigo congeals as a bunch of inert body parts—“Ready to do things my way?” asks Non, of no one in particular.
So this was a pretty cool episode. Despite having missed several, I was able to follow along okay, owing partly to the great summations at the beginning of every Berlanti-produced TV show. I didn’t even address the part where Winn and Siobhan bonded over having shitty childhoods, or the pensive faces Alex made whenever Kara mentioned Astra’s murder, but that’s because this episode was jam-packed with stuff. I like the characters, I like the special effects—Kara looks pretty good flying, I think, for a prime time television show—but I feel like there may be too many people shoveled into Supergirl. I know these programs like to juggle large casts, but this one might be three or four or five or six actors too many. That’s my two cents on the matter, though I do think it’s a show worth watching anyway.
Bits and Pieces:
Kara gets to visit her cousin’s North Pole clubhouse, which turns out to be an ancillary scene despite being alluded to in the title of the episode. Alex comes clean to Kara about a fib she and Hank perpetrated, but nothing can break their sisterly bond. A relative of Brainiac shows up in the wake of Astra’s death and proves to be no threat at all. This show is a little too much sound and fury signifying nothing, but it’s a lot of fun to watch. So watch it.