‘Supergirl’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 1 Episode 20: ‘Better Angels’
Welcome to Supergirl Guys, our 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, the first season of Supergirl comes to a close as the planet faces a terminal threat from Non and Indigo, and Supergirl puts everything on the line to save the day. Better Angels" was directed by Larry Teng, with a story by Andrew Kreisberg & Ali Adler, and a teleplay by Robert Rovner & Jessica Queller.
Dylan: And there it was! The season finale for the first season of Supergirl. Things happened! People said things! Big, heavy things got lifted!
Chris: They suuuuuuuuure did. Lifted way on up there. Just way the hell on up there. We also saw Supergirl give a little speech while sitting at an old fashioned TV news desk, a robo-lady get straight up ripped in half, and people have conversations while Superman's feet were motionless in the background. This episode was all over the place! What'd you think?
Dylan: We can get into the details as we go, but over all I thought it was Perfectly Fine. After last week’s kind of dull set-up, I felt like this episode needed to really knock my socks off, and, sad to say, my socks were still firmly on my feet by the time Greg Berlati’s dad was yelling at him to move his head.
Chris: Yeah, I love this show, but I want to really love it, and I felt like this was one of the season’s weakest episodes. It wasn’t “bad”, but especially for being your season finale, it felt pretty odd and not especially spectacular.
Dylan: My biggest problem with this show so far is that they seem to play it safe whenever they can, and this seemed like the safest possible season finale you could have had. Everything plays out really slowly, with a lot of languid stops along the way to let every character talk about their feelings, with the main Myriad threat being ended by the power of Supergirl’s hopeful oratory halfway through, and then we’re on to a pretty standard villain showdown. Is it just me? Did this feel way too tame, or am I spoiled by having read too many comics and seen too many of these types of shows?
Chris: No, that’s exactly how I felt. The other Kryptonians were “already in their sleeping pods”?! You have an army of Superpeople! If your first little mind control plan doesn’t work, you can just take over the planet anyway! With your hands and laser eyes! People worry about Superman turning bad and taking over the planet by himself and you have an entire army! Plus you’ve got all those other Fort Roz escapees you could let loose to help you. I hate stories with tons of Kryptonians for this exact reason.
Dylan: Just like I’m hoping that next season’s Flash villain isn’t another speedster, I’m hoping next season of Supergirl focuses more on non-Kryptonians as the Big Bads. I did like that once Myriad failed, Indigo was like, “Oh well, Let’s just kill everybody, Non.” and Non was like, “Okay. Sounds good.” That was fun. So, what worked for you, Chris?
Chris: Jeez, I dunno, man. Hm. Well, Supergirl won. That was nice. I like for the good guys to win. Martian Manhunter wasn’t dead, so that’s nice too. I liked Max kind of coming around even more so than last episode, to the point that I think maybe he’s just going to be a helpful guy next season? I’m reaching here, man! What am I forgetting? Oh, I liked when Indigo got ripped in half because I was definitely not expecting to see that on this show. That was a real “expletive deleted” moment.
Dylan: I’m with you on Max Lord, especially since the last bit, with him taking Non’s Whirly Kryptonian Ball Thingy out of a briefcase, seems to hint that while he may not be full-on supervillain, he’s definitely not a “good guy” or at least not entirely aligned with the Good Guys. They went Full Destro with him, and I like that. Ditto on Indigo. That was some pretty rad stuff.
Chris: Was he taking it out of there to give to General Lane or was General Lane giving it to him? I couldn’t tell who was giving it to the other. They also showed it taking place as J’onn’s voiceover was talking about them all working together with no more secrets, so that added another wrinkle to a scene that was already murky.
Dylan: I gotta say, the whole thing with Kara backing out of a relationship with James really made me mad. I know they’ve gotta Sam & Diane this thing out, but come on, right?
Chris: Yeah, but then they immediately went back on it by showing them together at the end of the episode, so it made that scene even more frustrating because that whole speech was just a waste of time. Also a waste of time? Non-married romantic relationships on TV shows. Because it’s always just, “Are they gonna get together?! Oh no! It looked like they were gonna get together, but something got in the way! Oh my gosh, they got together! Now they have to break up so we can get back some of that romantic tension.”
I’d be fine with zero romance on the next season and it all just being about super adventures, workplace drama, and her healthy, happy relationships with friends and family.
Dylan: Nah, I’m all about that smoochin’. I hope next season is just Kara smooching every guy.
Let’s talk a little bit about the whole Myriad situation plan here, because it is just plain hilarious. So, Non launches Myriad, which takes over everybody’s mind and makes them hack the Matrix and also is supposed to stop their planet from being destroyed or something. Right? That was Astra’s deal?
Chris: There was something about how everyone was working together to cure all the world’s problems, which, honestly, is the kind of thing that maybe Team Supergirl should have let go on for a little bit before they shut it down so some things could get sorted out. Of course, no evidence of anything they had solved was ever shown, because… I guess because that would be difficult to backpedal on once Supergirl beats them.
Dylan: Then that fails, and Supergirl is like, “Welp, I guess I’ll clock out now!” But then Max Lord is like, “Um no, there’s still 20 minutes of show left and also I think Non just turned the knobs all the way up on his machine and now everybody’s brains are gonna explode.” It’s great. I loved this stuff.
Chris: I know it’s silly to start splitting hairs about science now, but “the signal will keep increasing until the pressure in our heads causes them to explode” has got to be one of the flimsiest premises on this show yet. Ultimately, I’m fine with it, but, come on.
Dylan: Oh, I loved that stuff. The ropey pacing was what threw me. Also, Kara telling Non, and I quote, “Please, don’t kill everyone.” was maybe my favorite line of the season. Because, and this is also great, Non and his computer girlfriend were gonna eff off to space in their ship, which was just parked out near Pahrump because the government couldn’t be bothered to dismantle it, (and trust me brother: ain’t nothing out by Pahrump that’s anywhere near that green) and leave the earth a smoking mess of heads-blow-off people and also an unconscious Superman, I guess? Anyway, it was some pretty great “weird supervillain plan” stuff there.
Oh, also, did you notice Indigo, a Coluan computer-person, compared the destruction of the earth to the story of Noah in the Bible to Kara Zor-El, a Rao-worshiper from the planet Krypton?
Chris: Boy, did I. She had a number of reference lines in her couple of appearances that make me think the writers are either very lazy or were doing it intentionally with the idea that Indigo shows up and immediately downloads all of a planet’s history and pop-culture references. Which of these theories seems more likely?
Dylan: Maybe a combination of the two. And also, this is CBS. They’ll only put up with so much superhero crap, which is probably why it always feels a little safe and dumbed-down.
Chris: CBS: The Safe & Dumbed-Down Network! You say that, but there was an awful lot of “Rao talk” this week. Hey, speaking of, I understand why J’onn, Superman, and Supergirl speak English, but why on Earth would Astra or Non or Indigo or any of the other aliens?! Sure, Indigo could learn it really quickly because she’s a small wonder, but shouldn’t Non at least be speaking Kryptonian?
Dylan: The No Prize answer is that Kryptonian and English are virtually the same language, the only difference is our words for “butt,” and were Non to have ever said, “We have to kick Kara Zor-El’s butt!” we’d have known because he’d have said “We have to kick Kara Zor-El’s gorbulok!” (But seriously, CBS isn’t gonna let one of their shows do subtitles for some made-up space-man language.)
Chris: You know, for a would-be world/galaxy conqueror, Non was pretty easily defeated and manipulated into completely changing his plans.
Dylan: A good leader knows when he’s beat. And dude got his gorbulok beat.
Chris: Did they show what happened to him after the fight and I just missed it? Was he dead? That definitely looked like the worst case of involuntary LASIK I’ve ever seen.
Dylan: I’m assuming he got thrown in a DEO cell. Either that or he joined a Norwegian Black Metal band. Dude’s smoky eye game is on point.
Chris: Truly. So what else, man, what are we missing? Did you feel like this episode didn’t know when it was supposed to be over, so it ended too soon, and then when there was still show to go, they didn’t have enough time to adequately take care of all the stuff they tried to throw in?
Dylan: It’s weird, because last episode could have used a lot more stuff going on, but this one had stuff going on, but still dragged like crazy in the middle. Some weird pacing for those two episodes.
Chris: Yeah, I think that’s the only way to put it. Weird. Speaking of weird and not enough time to adequately explain it, how about them asking us to buy that Alex figured out how to fly Kara’s spaceship, fly it up into space, and then somehow retrieve Kara in it and get her back down to Earth? Weird.
Dylan: Let’s talk about the season as a whole, how did you feel about it overall?
Chris: I liked it. Not as much as I wanted to, but I’m still very positive on this show and want it to go on and get better and better and be as good as it has the potential to be. I’m almost certain I’ll end up buying the first season since it just went up for pre-order, but I’m not sure how often I’d actually rewatch it. I want to be supportive, but I’m also realistic. How about you?
Dylan: As these recaps will show, I’m not sure the show has clicked for me, though I’m completely willing to admit that the problem is not the show, it’s me. What I want out of these shows is vastly different than what CBS and its viewers want, and I’m okay with that. There’s definitely been some really great moments and episodes, but overall, the season felt clunky and formulaic. I’m hoping next season manages to break out of its routine and tighten its focus a lot.
TL/DR: It’s not you, Supergirl, it’s me. Probably. Maybe.
Anyway, thanks for reading and on behalf of myself and Chris, we hope you have a Super-Hiatus!