Supergirl: The Complete Second Season
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Supergirl: The Complete Second Season (BD+Digital Copy)
Having left the safety of being Cat Grant’s assistant at Catco Worldwide Media in order to figure out what she really wants to do, Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) continues to work with Hank Henshaw (aka Martian Manhunter) and her adoptive sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) at the DEO as Supergirl – protecting the citizens of National City and searching for her missing father Jeremiah (Dean Cain) and the secret research lab Project Cadmus. Along the way, she will team up with her Kyrptonian cousin Kal El – aka Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) – to battle new villains both terrestrial and extraterrestrial, from the DC Universe, as she strives to balance her personal life with friends/allies James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan) and more with her busy life as a new Super Hero in SUPERGIRL Season Two. (TBC)]]>
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This season was part continuation and part reboot for the show. As most are aware, after the first season aired on CBS, the series was moved over the the CW (joining the other DC shows, Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow). While this presented other opportunities for the show, including the 4 show crossover that happened about 1/3 of the way into the season, one practical result was the filming moved from Los Angeles to Vancouver, which meant it lost some of the actors from season 1 so some of the storylines just got dropped (such as the entire story involving Max). Also, Calista Flockhart returned only as a recurring character as opposed to series regular, so there was much less of Cat's character during the season.
It picks up right after the events of season 1, where the ship crash lands. One of the new characters on the show is introduced (Mon-El) who is from a planet called Daxum which was a neighbor of Krypton. The season also introduces the character of Lena Luthor, who is trying to rehabilitate the Luthor name since Lex has been imprisoned by Superman (who also joins the show, played by Tyler Hoechlin), While I would have loved to see Tom Welling reprise the role since he played Clark on Smallville for years, Tyler does a great job with the role, especially as Clark Kent.
The theme of the show this season is really Humans vs Aliens, playing off of many of the real-world themes/events that have sprung up over the course of the 2016 election and its aftermath. There are many nods and jabs to our politicians, some subtle and some not so much that occurred during the season, especially toward the end. There are really two main villains this season. One is the anti-alien organization called Cadmus, and the other I cannot give away because it would spoil too much. There are also appearances by Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain, who of course played Superman and Lois during the 1990s series Lois & Clark. Each has fairly substantial parts during the season, although the never appear with each other.
For those who get the discs, the series looks great on blu-ray as you would expect. There are a handful of behind the scenes features including a portion of the comic-con panel, some behind the scenes material for specific episodes, a commentary track with Kevin Smith and the show's creator on the episode he directed, Supergirl Lives. There are no deleted or extended scenes, nor are the other shows from the crossover event included. What is there is good, all in all about 45 min or so of material, but they could have included a lot more extras. If you are a fan of the shows like Flash and Arrow then chances are you will like this, even though it has its own feel. The show definitely changed some because of the network switch, but I think if kept most of its core. It worth checking out, either via streaming or adding to your blu-ray/DVD collection. I would say if you only get the discs when they include a lot of bonus material then you probably would just want to stream it.
DISCLAIMER: I have not purchased the DVD yet, this review comes from my perspective after watching season 2 live this past year.
While Supergirl as a show experienced some rough waters with the network and location change this year, I firmly stand behind my opinion that season 2 was still an improvement from season 1. I will attempt to break down my biggest pros and cons for the season. Please keep in mind that this is MY OPINION.
1) Addition of Tyler Hoechlin as Superman: YES, this is is Supergirl's story. I fully understand that. But Clark is also an important person in Kara's life and the show would've had to show him at some point even if just for that simple fact. However, it ended up being for more than just that reason and I love the way in which he was incorporated - the storylines he was a part of, the amount of screen time he got (making sure he didn't overshadow Kara), and the purpose he served for Kara especially at the end of the season. It was all very well done and at the end of the day, it was still very much Kara's show.
2) Addition of Chris Wood as Mon-El: To start off, I will say that while there are some that love to claim that this character is hated by the majority of viewers, that is not the truth at all. Yes, there are a significant number of viewers that hate this character, but in NO way are they the majority. Now to the important matters. There are several reasons as to why I love Mon-El's character, but probably the most important one is the way in which he DID help Kara's character development, despite those that claim that he completely ruined it. Hear me out: in season 1 we saw, shall we say, a pretty infantile version of Kara. Despite being around the age of 24-25, she was still fairly unsure of herself and not confident in her life choices and abilities, both super and human. She went through 3 love interests, one more disastrous than the next. The season focused on Kara learning how to be Supergirl, as well as finding out some of her family's dark past which served to help mature her into a smarter, less naive young woman. Now, where am I going with this? Being that in season 1, Kara learned how to be Supergirl, season 2 focused on Kara learning how to balance being Kara and Supergirl, and also her maturing more as a young woman. Putting the entire love/romantic aspect aside, the character of Mon-El helped Kara's character development tremendously. First, as Kara mentions at one point in season 2, she is able to act as a mentor for Mon-El - something that she wished she'd been able to do for Clark (as it was her original task when sent to Earth) but couldn't. She GOT that chance with Mon-El and also learned some important lessons herself along the way (like that you can't force people to be who you want them to be). Also, despite having seen her family's dark past in season 1, Kara still carried a lot of prejudice against Daxamites, the people of Krypton's sister planet. Being that Mon-El is a Daxamite, Kara had to learn how to put her prejudice aside and give Mon-El a chance, being patient with him along the way as he adjusted to a whole new planet and way of life compared to what he'd known his whole life. The fact that they end up falling in love along the way may be cliche, but it also makes sense. Thinking back to all those moments in season 1 (see especially 1x06) when we were shown Kara's desire to have someone who understood her and knew her....Mon-El coming in was like the missing piece to the puzzle. He was unexpected and while Kara states at one point that they're "really different", in reality the two are more alike than they think. Their slight friction made the developing relationship only more interesting to see as they both butt heads and learn important lessons from each other. Melissa's and Chris' natural chemistry only made the relationship that much more enjoyable. And while yes, Mon-El may have "taken up" a significant amount of screen time, it made sense because it was in the context of him being the protege/love interest of Kara, the LEAD. Any story line he had was directly related to and affected Kara, which is more than can be said of some other added characters this season.
3) Alex's Coming Out Story: This was just beautifully done and Chyler truly owned this story line and made it outstanding. Now, I do want to specify that the real highlight for me was the coming out story itself and not necessarily the relationship that followed, for the simple fact that I think it was done in a way that was a slight disservice to the LGBT community. To me personally, it felt VERY rushed (especially considering the note on which they ended the season...YIKES) for being Alex's first real relationship and I wanted Maggie to be better incorporated into the main story line. Too often, they had to take a step back from the episode plot in order to give Alex and Maggie 3 minutes of screen time to build their story when instead I wanted Maggie to become part of the plot itself, not just be a subplot. Off the top of my head, I can only remember about 2 episodes that actually incorporated Maggie into the main plot, and unfortunately that left a disconnected feeling between myself and Maggie's character. The show did try to go a little in depth with Alex's and Maggie's relationship during one episode but it felt awkward and the conflict was resolved too fast to really say that development occurred in that relationship imo. But again, the coming out story itself was one of the most touching story lines I've ever seen on TV. Giant kudos to Chyler!
Another note before we move to the cons, I loved Cat's character in season 1 and while I was disappointed that she wouldn't be a regular in season 2 because Calista couldn't make the move to Vancouver, it all ended up making sense to me. Kara relied heavily on Cat's opinion in season 1 and getting to see Kara stand up for herself and use her own judgement in season 2 was refreshing and an important step for her has a young woman both professionally and personally. It made Cat's brief return at the end of season 2 only that much sweeter!
1) Lack of Consistency, Especially with Villains: I'm sure some of this probably stems from the network switch but I still feel like it could've been handled a little better. Too often, Supergirl feels like a procedural drama instead of the season-long arc that the superhero dramas on The CW are supposed to have. To be fair, this wasn't NOT a problem in season 1 either. CADMUS seems to be the endgame villain that the show is going for, the xenophobic anti-alien organization headed by Lillian Luthor, but that story line completely lost direction this season, only being used when it served to drive the existing plot instead of using such story lines to form the plot. There is still so much that the audience doesn't know regarding CADMUS, not the least of which is the CADMUS/Jeremiah story line which when briefly explored in season 2, honestly made very little sense to me. However, I'm really hoping and praying that with the introduction of Reign in season 3, that the show will finally get some consistency when it comes to villains! There were plenty of other inconsistencies/plot holes in season 2, some major and some minor, but it would take much too long to delve into all of them so I'll leave it at that.
2) The Slightly Odd Introduction of Will-She-Won't-She Lena Luthor: Before I get people jumping down my throat, I have zero problem with Lena as a character. In fact, I will be the first to advocate that she deserves better. Let me explain. First off, let me just say that it was a little disappointing when I heard she was being introduced for the simple fact that the direction of her becoming friends with Kara and then later becoming enemies just seems so obvious, unoriginal, and too similar to Clark & Lex's story. This is Kara's story and I DON'T WANT IT to parallel Superman's in every way. Can people use some originality?! Anyhow, the deed has been done now so we just have to roll with it. Here are my issues with the way Lena's character has been portrayed. My biggest issue is that, no doubt to sell the Kara/Lena friendship parallel to Clark/Lex, the show makes Kara and Lena somehow become "best friends" in the span of like 4 interactions...even worse is that Kara's friendship with Winn (her self-proclaimed best friend from season 1...see 1x20) is sidelined to make way for this out-of-the-blue new best friend. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Kara having more female friends - she could use some female friends, instead of all of them trying to kill her (i.e. Livewire, Silver Banshee) - but NOT at the expense of her already solidified relationships. Besides the forced friendship between Kara and Lena, my other issue with Lena is the way her character has been written. We're told/shown at one point that she's supposed to be a genius - even implying that she's supposed to be smarter than Lex - but we're rarely given actual evidence of this...only towards the end of the season and even then it doesn't come without glitches per say. Another weird thing is her "mommy issues" which kind of make sense given how Lillian neglected her when she was a child? But also seem really weird when you remember that Lena Luthor is supposed to be a successful, close to 30-year-old woman with a Ph.D in Quantum Engineering or something like that? Even more odd is the fact that Lena latches onto a complete stranger towards the end of the season for mothering of sorts...idk maybe it's just me, but I would think that someone like Lena has become pretty self-sufficient by that age and after having accomplished so much. Instead we're presented with this image of a woman that is supposed to be bold and smart when in reality she is not confident in herself and always seeking approval from others. I honestly can't tell if this was the intent of the writers/producers because the way in which it played out throughout the season made me think it was more of an irregularity between the character she was supposed to be and the writing/using her to drive the plot even if it didn't fit with her character instead of letting her proper character personality drive her story line. I'm just saying that if they decide to go the "Lex Luthor" way for Lena too then at least I'll be glad that she's getting some proper direction to her character.
3) Lack of Danvers Sisters Moments: While I think part of this season was to also show Kara and Alex in other relationships (and that IS important), I can think of several moments off the top of my head that SHOULD HAVE been "Danvers sisters" moments, with zero excuse. Without giving too many spoilers, there was specifically one moment when Alex said something VERY hurtful to Kara...and we never got an apology scene even though Alex acknowledged later that she was wrong to Maggie. Another time was when Kara thought she was going to lose Alex - whom she says is "the most important person" to her - and yet at the end of the episode, we don't even get a hug between Kara and Alex. I think we get a smile, if even that. It was an absolute tragedy and needless to say, I was pretty mad at the end of that episode. Naturally, when both Kara and Alex are in relationships, they're going to spend less time with one another - that just happens, unfortunately. But there are certain things and experiences that CANNOT be replaced by a significant other, and the show let me down a few times in that aspect this season. BUT that's not to say that it was all bad - there was a particularly touching and heart-wrenching scene between Alex and Kara at one point this season and it was just AAAAAAAAAAA
Overall, as I said at the beginning, even with the good and the bad taken into account, I stand firmly behind my opinion that season 2 of Supergirl is an improvement on season 1 and to add to that - I firmly believe that season 3 will only continue to build on that. I would recommend this show to anyone - at its heart, it is beautiful and touching and has a great message!
The listed Three Stars for this review is for the lack of follow through by the producers when dealing with the crossover episodes.
If the producer(s) of Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow keep going on connecting the various 'verses of the multiverse together which I am all for...
It would be nice if said producer(s) added as a bonus the other episode(s) from the other series as well.
Crossover episodes are great for the producers on pumping up viewership AND enriching the feel/texture of the muliverse but not offering/giving tie-in episodes to the purchasers of "seasons" seems a bit chintzy.