It’s a new year and The CW heroes are coming back, along with a new addition in the form of Black Lightning, so I figured why not shake things up and do these reviews a bit differently to avoid them being the really really long sort of disconnected at times breakdowns of 2017.
Supergirl is back after the holiday and end of the year break, right where we left her: defeated by Reign and clinging to life. Except, we’re not exactly fully where things were left. Let’s jump right into it.
One of the biggest strengths of season three has been the slow build & way that it has handled the villain overall. Many times the problem with a big bad in shows is that they peak pretty early and you start to wonder why the heroes can’t just deal with them. Plot reasons usually are behind the heroes inability to win, so that the villain can last until the end. With Reign, it’s easy to see how she can continue to be such a threat. After proving her might by demolishing Supergirl in the mid-season finale, Reign continues to bring her brutal justice down upon the world as she also continues to hide in plain sight as one of Kara and Lena Luthor’s friends. Without their Kryptonian hero to help them, Kara’s friends are left to come up with a way to try and fight off the new evil Kryptonian that is taking her brutality all over the city.
There lies one of the issues. Jonn and the others make a point about not having their own Krytponian to fight back anymore and since the Legion can’t help them at first they start making up anti-Kryptonian weapons that were developed should Superman ever go bad. So where the heck is Superman? Sure Clark has taken a hands-off approach to his cousin’s city and what goes on there but surely an evil Kryptonian that has beaten his cousin close to death is a reason to get involved. Yet, not a word about calling him is spoken because of the fact that logistics don’t work out. Previously to use Superman in season two it was stated that the show creators had to really push at Warner Bros. for the chance because of Superman appearing in films. Those guest appearances in season two have evaporated now and they don’t even bother to mention why he can’t come help. At least give us that comic book “off world fighting Mongal” type explanation.
Reign is going to be quite a drawn-out threat, and eventually, they are going to have to deal with all the elephants in the room like the Superman thing. Especially with the mention of Reign seeking out more World Killers to aid her in her quest. Having the Legion around will help with that somewhat. These big throwdowns with Reign can’t happen every single week so other threats are going to come into place through the season. Overall though Reign is definitely one of the stronger villains going on in the Arrowverse currently and hopefully the payoff isn’t disappointing.
Legion of Superheroes
We got our first hints at this future supergroup in the last few episodes of the first half of the season, with Mon-El’s return along with his wife Saturn Girl and now Brainiac 5 has entered the picture. Changing up their origins to have the group be motivated by Supergirl rather than Superman is still a fantastic choice, as it keeps Kara out of her cousin’s shadow and proves that she has a legacy of her own that has been built. Jesse Rath’s Brainiac 5, despite the really silly clearly makeup look he has going on and being blue instead of canon green, is a real delight. His banter with Kara within the realm of her mind is pretty great, despite him being a bit all over the place with his thoughts which seems to be the way that the actor has chosen to go with the whole half organic half computer high-level genius format.
That being said, overall the Legion is a bit of a bummer. Mon-El and Irma come with the baggage that was established before the break, of them being in this drama triangle thing with Kara and while that’s not on display here really, it still hangs like a cloud over them because it’s only a matter of time before it’s back. There is also this sort of 2000s X-Men film vibe where the creative team wants to do the Legion but doesn’t want to actually embrace the comic book parts of them. Their costumes are so drab and not as colorful as the Legion and they won’t even use the name Legion of Superheroes outside of an unironic usage.
The writer’s way to explain why the team cannot fully risk just helping Kara and friends at all times is a good one, as their mission for the future is so important that deviating could have repercussions on the future itself. Using their DNA as the storage for a way to save the future definitely adds stakes to their being in the present day. Of course, they get involved now, but it will be quite interesting to see how long they can legitimately stick around in this time and help before something bad happens. Because this is a superhero drama series it’s pretty clear that something bad will happen at some point.
One thing that has hovered over the season has been Kara’s growing problems with dealing with her feelings and issues, starting off with her being angry and tossing aside her humanity after losing Mon-El. Those emotional struggles changed over time and bogged some episodes down along the way, and now they all have come to roost as Kara’s own mind is fighting against her. While her body is healed by the future tech of the Legion, she finds herself trapped in her own mind when Brainiac 5 tries to help her prepare to return to reality.
Having Alex and Kara eventually, realize that leaving Kara behind to embrace Supergirl was a poor decision was a nice touch. As was having it be putting on the glasses in her mindscape and embracing being Kara again as the thing that helps Kara escape. Hopefully, this embracing of her two halves again moves things forward for Supergirl. Emotional issues are commonplace but they were really starting to get to be a bit much over time. Having a unified Kara/Supergirl embracing life as a whole again is best for the show.
Supergirl begins on some solid footing for the second half of its third season, which is good as it means it lost no momentum over the long break. There is a lot to be left desired when it comes to the Legion but hopefully, they can get better over time. Reign continues to be a formidable force in the season and should help continue the season’s forward progress as long as the writers don’t let some of the issues bog things down.
Score: 8.5 out of 10