In the spirit of the type of hero Supergirl is, I’m going to start this review off with an honest note: I haven’t watched season one or two of the series. There is no real particular reason other than just a lot of shows out there and telling myself I’d get caught up over the summers and then not getting around to it. I have been a viewer of the Arrowverse shows the last few years though. Having seen the news stories & the like that this series was going to undergo a few changes (just like the other shows of the Arrowverse) I figured it was a good time to finally just dive in and see what everyone has been talking about.
With that in mind, one of the best thing that Supergirl‘s first season three episode, “Girl of Steel,” does is that it builds upon what came before but it does so in a way that is not jarring or a turn-off to any viewers that might have just dove in for the first time with the episode. It perfectly fits the idea that is prevalent in the comic book source material world, to treat every issue (episode in this case) as if it’s someone’s first. That doesn’t mean you don’t move plots forward but you make sure that there are enough things dropped in the story to build connections and allow the viewer to understand what came before but what is also going on now.
Coming from the outside, it’s known that Supergirl/Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) is the more chipper and hopeful of the heroes across the Arrowverse shows, especially since Barry Allen/Flash got so very grim in season three. So coming into the episode and finding a Kara/Supergirl who has lost so much that she’s become almost a shell of herself, forsaking her Kara Danvers self just to be Supergirl running around saving the day 24/7, it drew me in very quickly. While Kara pushing away her life and her friends and snapping at them as they try to help her could easily become annoying or make you dislike her, Benoist is able to fully portray these moments as a character that is in pain and trying her best to bury it and keep doing what she does. It makes it so you can easily see both sides of the issue, sympathizing with Kara and her pain but also with the viewpoint of Alex and her other friends that just want to help her out of the funk she’s within.
While the episode doesn’t end with Kara returning to her job at CatCo or suddenly being happy-go-lucky, it does end with her in a less grumpy and cut off place. Watching her surge into the air holding the sub above her as a hero and then actually showing up at the end to finally have drinks with her friends leave the episode in a place where it’s clear that healing has finally begun. It means that unlike the dour season three of The Flash, Kara might actually have a healthy, but slow, recovery to get back to more of being herself.
Kara’s personal journey through the issue is easily the highlight of an episode that also introduced a new villain/antagonist that is very one-note generic and kind of blah. That of course is referring to the business minded Morgan Edge (Adrian Pasdar) who immediately forces his way into matters by declaring his intention to buy CatCo so that he can literally buy good press to keep them from writing against him (a move thankfully thwarted by Lena Luthor). That’s the most realistic part of his bland “evilness” which is followed up by the cheesy and way over the top connection to the episodes bad guy of the week Bloodsport and the use of a cloaked submarine to try and nuke low-income areas by the wharf so that he can swoop in and build expensive high-rises and areas for the wealthier citizens. Though honestly, that is just cheesy and generic enough to actually be a plot used in comic books by villains, and likely already has in some similar manner before.
Odette Anabele’s debut as the eventual season big bad Reign was the better somewhat villain story of the episode because she doesn’t debut as a villain. Samantha Arias, Reign’s name, debuts in the episode as a mother who takes her daughter to the Supergirl statue unveiling at the wharf. When her daughter is trapped during the attack, she shows amazing strength to get her out and appears to have some connection to Supergirl and her mother as Reign sees Kara’s mom in a dream that is the same setting dream wise that Kara was seeing earlier in the episode.
Also, moving Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant to the White House as Press Secretary (allowing for some Trump related jabs, was a beautiful choice. It allows Cat to have a great position in the universe that explains why she cannot be on the series that much anymore, after the series move to film in Canada last year.
Overall I was very satisfied with my first dive into the world of Supergirl. While I chose to watch at at time that isn’t as hopeful and fun as most said previous episodes were, I could feel a connection to the characters already and can see the potential and it’s move to return to those lighter times soon enough. Character connections and moments helped add levity and growth moments between the villain plots. Sadly the first chosen villains were very lackluster and hopefully that is something fixed with Reign or other villains. A hero truly needs compelling and worthy adversaries in their journey. I’ll definitely be back for the next episode.
Score: 8.5 out of 10