‘Supergirl’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 1 Episode 3: ‘Fight or Flight’
Welcome to Supergirl Guys, our new regular feature breaking down the highs and lows of CBS’s Supergirl TV show starring Melissa Benoist in the super smiling title role. Your travelling companions on this journey are Superman super-fan Chris Haley, and Flash recap veteran Dylan Todd.
This week, Supergirl goes up against a foe that even her cousin Superman could not defeat. Can she bring down Reactron without the help of Superman, her cousin, or will it be cousin Superman to the rescue? You caught that he's her cousin, right? 'Fight or Flight' was directed by Dermott Downs and written by Michael Grassi and Rachel Shukert.
Dylan: So this week Kara faced off against one of her cousin’s nemeses: the metal-masked, nuke-zapping Reactron. What did you think of this melts-faced weirdo? Did his characterization match up with the comics at all?
Chris: Well, yes and no. His name was Reactron and he did have radioactivity/radiation based powers, so that’s something! Reactron actually started as a Supergirl villain, so there’s some precedent there too. Pre and post-Crisis he was a military guy though instead of some kind of power plant worker? I think that’s what they said he was before he got turned into Reactron, right? And he blames Superman for not saving his wife?
Dylan: Yeah, this was sort of Nuclear Mister Freeze, played by That Guy From That One Show, Chris Browning.
Chris: My question is why do his nuclear radiation blasts knock Supergirl for such a loop, but do zero damage to a car door?
Dylan: Well, Supergirl also stopped a power line from sparking by kinking it like a garden hose, so maybe sound science isn’t this show’s strong suit.
Chris: That made me lolfrirl. It tickled me so much I just said, “Sure. Why not?”
Dylan: They also did the thing when they say a name of a character --- in this case, Reactron --- and say how dumb it is. This is a pet peeve of mine.
Chris: Yeah, I know why they do it, so they can just get in front of people in real life making fun of it, but it is a little tiresome. Your name is “Supergirl”. The show is called “Supergirl”. The writers and the characters both need to just go, “Okay, we’re in a world with silly names” and move on. We’re only three episodes in though, so there’s hope they’ll move away from that kind of scoffing attitude. If I’m being honest, I think they’re already doing a better job of just setting up a crazy world and going with it than a lot of these types of shows do.
And at least they used it to do that little cutesy bit of Jimmy being the one that named him that.
Not really related to that, but did you notice that guy “Dave”? He was the guy in the office that Cat wanted moved because his hair was too distracting. And then Kara tells him she needs a favor. I feel like he looked a little too much like the comic version of Jimmy Olsen for that to not have been intentional. The favor Kara needs is for him to move out of the way where he can’t be seen or thought about to make room for a tall, charming, handsome James Olsen. I could also be losing my mind.
Dylan: Cat is a gingerphobe. Shameful. I didn’t even think about the Jimmy connection. I’m not going to say you’re losing your mind, but I’m also not not going to say it.
The other big plot point was Kara being all gaga over Superman’s Hunky Pal, James Olsen, while professional dink Winn stared on wistfully. How'd the love triangle work for you? Are we liking Winn any more than last week?
Chris: Well, it was nice to see Winn contribute, and setting up that secret command room is certainly helpful/convenient to the show’s writers. So, yeah, I guess he was a little more likeable this week. It still doesn’t really feel like much of a triangle though no matter how much the official CBS’ Supergirl Twitter account tries to encourage us to treat it as one.
Dylan: Yeah, him moping in the backgrounds makes me want to not root for him, if we’re being honest. And I saw him setting up the command room as trying to one-up James. (And the command room adds a lot more questions to the “Really?” pile. Like where did all those computers and doo-dads come from? Did he pilfer them from Catco IT? Did he buy them all? If so, how much debt is Winn going into to score a date with Supergirl?)
Chris: I wondered the exact same thing. That was a lot of gear in that room. Also, all of Winn’s technobabble explanations for how he could find or do this, that, or the other thing was even more dubious.
Speaking of Winn, did it seem at all weird to you how excited Winn got about discovering that Clark Kent is Superman? Also, jeepers creepers, Jimmy, why don’t you just tweet about it?!
Dylan: Right? What a friggin’ blabbermouth, blowing up CK’s spot like that.
The end of the episode did add a bump to the James/Kara flirt-fest (Karames? Jamara? Kimmy?) in the form of Greatest Comic Character Ever, Lucy Lane. I have to admit I was a little bummed to see that she seems to be Just A Normal Person and not Wonderful Cackling Machine Built Only To Humiliate Jimmy Olsen. What did you think about Lucy?
Chris: Well, what little we were given to go on, she's obviously meant to be the polar opposite of Kara, from her style to her hair color to her demeanor… except, you know, probably not evil? I'd be willing to bet she gets powers at some point if she's on more than just a few episodes. There’s still plenty of time for her to become an embarrassment-bot.
Dylan: Hope springs eternal.
The C-plot revolved around Cat’s, well, catty article about Supergirl. I have to admit, given that Superman had to save her cape, maybe she has a point about Supergirl being too wet behind the ears to really fill her cousin’s shoes.
Chris: What kind of multimedia conglomerate can’t come up with a better name for their magazine than “Catco Magazine”? Also, can you really publish a magazine in two days? I assume this is a big national magazine, and the printing alone would take more than two days.
Dylan: “You will believe that a magazine can get published in two days!” I can sort of overlook that bit of ridiculousness, but yeah, that magazine title is B.S.
Maxwell Lord! We got a glimpse of him last week, but got a heaping dose of him this episode. They're really hitting the “Steve Jobs but also builds trains” angle. What did you think about our tech genius?
Chris: As much as I complained about that guy last episode, I actually didn’t hate him this week, so I’d say that’s a pretty big step up. He still kinda seems like a jerk, but it was a little less one dimensional, and if we’re only going based on what they’ve shown, he appears to actually want to help National City.
Dylan: He's also apparently into Cat, who sort of hints at a past dalliance with Lord. Did you catch that crack? Was she hinting that he was a little… short in the pants?
Chris: Haha, I took it more like she’s saying he’s all flirtation and no follow-through, but congratulations, you tricked me into contemplating his wing-wang.
Dylan: Always contemplate the wing-wang.
We also heard a lot about Superman this episode, and saw a vague outline or two of the Man of Steel. I know the point of this episode was that Kara needs to find her own identity, but I felt like constantly bringing up --- and bringing in --- Superman, they sort of undercut their own premise. The good news is that it doesn't seem like they're going to pull the trigger on it again, but still. I don't know. What did you think, Chris?
Chris: Boy, did we ever hear a lot about Superman this episode. This week’s Super-Tally is going to be through the roof! I think they had to have him show up to make the point that they were trying to get across (that she needs a chance to prove herself without his help after he’s had to save her) and to find a reason to cause a little friction between her and James. But most importantly, they needed him to show up for an excuse to introduce the Signal Watch!
Dylan: Hooray for the Signal Watch! My favorite thing in comics is when a hero or villain has every item branded with their color scheme or logo, and James’ S-symbol button was no exception.
Chris: Despite what he said (via IM), I think they’ll definitely keep finding excuses to mention him and have him show up as much as they can get away with until the show has really found it’s footing/audience and solidified itself as a hit.
Dylan: Finally, we got another tease at Hank Henshaw’s glowing red eyes. This time, we got a hint at what sort of powers he’s rocking, which, apparently, is super-supervisory sense, as he immediately knew that Alex was working the Reactron case. What’s his deal, Chris? I’m wondering since he kept harping on how the DEO focuses on extraterrestrials and not metahumans that maybe he’s the latter?
Chris: I would love for just one character ever to have superpowers that they use only to be better at their regular job. I didn’t think about him trying to protect his own secrets, but now that you say that it totally makes sense. Is it possible to have red glow eyes and not be a bad guy? Do you think that’s why they’ve made Supergirl’s eye beams blue instead of the traditional “red = hot”?
I want to give this show the benefit of the doubt and hope that they have some kind of reason for calling him “Hank Henshaw” and not “Literally Any Other Name”. I’d also like to give Hank some props for suggesting a show I would totally watch called “Keeping Up with the Kryptonians”.
Chris: Overall, what’d you think of this week’s episode?
Dylan: It was okay! At no point were my socks knocked off, but my eyes also didn’t roll out of my head, so I’ll call that a win.
Chris: Haha, I can’t wait to see that pull-quote on the Season One DVDs. Let me try: SUPERGIRL IS THE BEST SUPERHERO SHOW OF ALL TIME! - Chris Haley, ComicsAlliance.com
Dylan: And here’s mine: SUPERGIRL IS THE BEST SUPERHERO SHOW ON CBS RIGHT NOW! - Dylan Todd, ComicsAlliance.com
Chris: They have to use one of those.