‘Supergirl’ Post-Show Analysis, Season 2 Episode 16: ‘Star Crossed’
Welcome to Supergirl Talk, our regular feature breaking down the highs and lows of The CW’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 intrepid reporter, Katie Schenkel.
This week, the mysterious ship that’s looking for Mon-El arrives, and everyone has got some explaining to do! Also, we learn that Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” was on display in National City… until it was stolen! “Star Crossed” was directed by John Medlen from a script by Katie Rose Rogers and Jess Kardos.
Chris: Well, this was certainly another week in National City, Super-Friends! I’ll just cut right to the chase and ask what did you think, Katie? I think I can guess, but let’s hear it.
Katie: What’s the proper written out sound for when you shout aggravated muffled obscenities into a pillow? Because that is where I’m at with Mon-El at this point.
Chris: That’s where I am with this show in its entirety at this point. I’ve said it again and again, but I want to love this show so much, but this season is really, really struggling for me.
But before we get into all of that, let’s really push ourselves here and try to come up with some positives. Was there anything you genuinely liked about this episode? Anything they did or handled well?
Katie: When Kara broke up with him? Oh spoilers, Kara broke up with Mon-El at the end of this thing, which is pretty much the only thing that redeemed the A story of having Mon-El be revealed as even worse than we thought before.
If I’m being fair, Teri Hatcher camping it up as an amoral snooty space queen was fun. She elevated the episode.
Chris: I’m not sure you’re being fair to Mon-El. I mean, I know you’ve not liked him or his placement in the show from jump, and I’ve had numerous problems with him, but I’m not certain you’re being completely objective here, haha! I will agree that Teri Hatcher gave an enjoyable performance that balanced a little bit of campiness and some measured nuance that was above a lot of the performances we see on this show.
Katie: Okay, here are my reasons for the Mon-El frustrations this week. Reminder that the guy has been uneven at best up until this point, and at random points he’s been just a heel. We now find out that he lied about trying to help someone else escape his planet and instead ran away while the girl he just slept with was left to die. He also tried to justify lying to Kara by saying he tried to tell her over and over, when he clearly has not. And finally, when explaining how much he’s changed, he tells her that the reason he wants to be a hero is “because it means I get to spend every single day by your side.” This is a terrible reason for wanting to be a hero and he expects that to get her to forgive him.
It is really frustrating when the actors have admittedly really good natural chemistry (of note, I found out tonight the two of them are dating, which makes all the sense) but the show keeps writing Mon-El to be mediocre at best and terrible at worst. The fact that Mon-El does sort of the right thing by rejecting his parents at the end still feels like he’s only doing it because he wants to be with Kara, not because it’s the right thing to do. And when your show’s love interest does that over and over, I just... I really hope Kara breaking up with Mon-El sticks for at least a while, because it’s the first time he’s had actual consequences to his BS.
Chris: The show keeps writing everyone to be mediocre at best! Everything is so inconsistent! Let’s talk about this for a minute. What do you think the problem is, because this is the kind of thing that absolutely kills this show for me. (Also, just as a side note, I’d like to invite anyone to go look at the comments on earlier episodes from this or last season, when people said I was too kind to this show.)
Katie: For me, so much of the problems this season really do come down to Mon-El, not necessarily the character alone but the Mon-El storyline. It’s gone on for forever, his writing has been wildly inconsistent, and I feel like a lot of the other characters’ inconsistencies have been to get us to this (very obvious) reveal about him being the prince all along. I want to believe that maybe now that this is out there they can get past this stuff and get back to the stuff I like about the show.
For what it’s worth, I still say that the lack of Cat Grant has been rough on the season. She really anchored the characters around her, and the show is very different because of that. I just miss her presence on this show, dang it.
Chris: I think those are all good points, but just like the Sith in the Prequel Trilogy, there’s something else wrong that’s… elusive. Everything seems to be haphazard or rudderless this season. This season they do things like act like the DEO agents are just supposed to be at that office 24 hours a day by having J’onn get mad that Winn wasn’t around when some emergency has sprung up. That’s happened several times. I know that seems like a minor thing to nitpick, but it’s a cumulative effect of a lot of little things like that. It’s little things like that that make me start pulling on threads and asking questions that make other things start to seem like they don’t add up.
Katie: Do you think it’s falling into the same problems of the other CW DC shows?
Chris: Well, Arrow is the only one I’ve seen enough of to answer with any real certainty, but I can say I don’t think it has the same problems as Arrow… though Arrow does have a habit of not making sense, so maybe it’s catching. What would you say are the biggest problems the other shows suffer from?
Katie: So I’ve watched none of Arrow except for the crossover stuff, and I’ve caught bits and pieces of Legends of Tomorrow, which is just tonally wacky by design, but with The Flash I know there tends to be a lot of spinning wheels when it comes to the main threat, a lot of keeping secrets or lying for pointless reasons, a good amount of love interests for certain characters that you know will end poorly … they’re not exactly identical problems, but the slumps sure get slumpy.
Oh, and The Flash has just terrible choices by the main character involving time travel. Kara hasn’t gotten mixed up in that herself, thank Rao.
Chris: Pretty ironic that the fast guy gets stuck going nowhere, amirite? What’s that? I’m being told they’ve already made this joke too many times in the Flash recaps.
Chris: To jump back to positives, we forgot to mention our other guest star this week, the '90s' own lanky Hercules, Kevin Sorbo. I thought it was interesting to see them pull someone from a '90s genre show/movie that wasn’t related to Superman for a change. I mean, I guess that’s something positive, right?
Katie: To be honest, I thought Teri Hatcher had more of a presence this episode with Sorbo’s space king dad being slightly more diplomatic compared to Hatcher’s open disdain. Still, it was pretty fun to see both be these elitist, lawful evil space royalty basically going, "Ugh, you say 'slavery' like it's a bad thing!"
Also it was kind of ridiculous how they were toasting Mon-El for bravely letting poor people die so he could escape. During the last recap I asked for camp from those two, and while I’m hoping for raised camp levels next time they show up (I’m sure they’re coming back), Hatcher and Sorbo definitely brought some flavor to the episode and looked like they were having fun.
Chris: What about Winn’s subplot? I’m reminded of this when I was mentioning things feeling so haphazard/rudderless this season due to the inclusion of Jimmy/Guardian. He handled himself pretty well fighting a tough alien in a suit, but remember last season when all of the characters really seemed to be characters with thoughts and lives that carried over a little more from week to week instead of just showing up to remind us they are employed by the show?
Katie: I did find it kind of amusing that Jimmy was just wearing a tight black tank top in his own office. It would be nice if they treated him like an actual supporting character instead of a guy who shows up sometimes when the plot can use another hero. I did like Guardian’s role in this episode, but it needs to be more consistent, people.
Chris: I’m seeing a recurring theme in the problem department, Katie. Consistency is appreciated by your dear reviewers. What about Winn’s obviously criminally inclined alien girlfriend suddenly doing something criminal-like that gets Winn in trouble? They’ve been dating for weeks, if not months in their time, so don’t you think Winn is the kind of guy who would have tried to get a picture of her or a selfie of them together by their second date?
Katie: That’s a good point. Also wasn’t there a thing about her address being fake? Like, they never stayed at her place? And frankly, why did she need Winn to take the fall at all? Maybe she needed him to undo the alarm, but you’d think she would just break in while the alarm went off, grabbed the painting, and ran off, because who would see her? Also, did they have a camera specifically on Starry Night? Did the security camera see it magically come off the wall on its own and float away? So. Many. Questions.
Chris: You see what I mean?! If you don’t think too hard it’s just an episode of TV that happens, but if you stop and ask yourself one question, it starts leading to others, and the next thing you know you realize you’re just watching thoughtless schlock!
You know, speaking of this, I think I had a bit of an epiphany earlier tonight about why I hate the romance subplots on these superhero shows so much. I’ve complained plenty and said that I’d love for there to just not be any stories centered around who Kara is going to smooch, and I know some people like the romance parts on the show (and shows like this), but you can get romance on (just about) any show, but you can’t get flying off to punch a spaceship or jumping to another dimension to fight an alien invasion on every other show. I want this show to do what makes it special, not waste time on tropes and storylines we’ve all seen a million times before.
Katie: So, I’m of the point of view that I don’t mind the romance here and there, but I think you’re absolutely right that I would like for Kara to do more punching, but also more saving cats in trees, and also having big speeches about hope. So maybe we can focus on that more and correct course?
Chris: Remember last season when Fort Roz was a going concern and the very idea of aliens seemed completely foreign to National City?
Katie: That seems like so long ago.
Chris: No one even cares that there are aliens everywhere all of a sudden. Remember how worried about them Maxwell Lord was last season? I wonder what he’s up to.
Katie: Also, I miss Lucy Lane a whole lot. Why don’t we get to see her DEO department?
Chris: I miss Silver Banshee.
Katie: So um, yeah how about bringing those peeps back in the mix, show? Could make things interesting, yes?
Chris: I guess the only thing left to mention is the Music Meister’s appearance at the end of the episode to tease tonight's crossover episode of The Flash. It’s really cruel of the people in charge of these shows to make us watch a different show if we want to enjoy our characters getting to have fun. And you just know the next episode of Supergirl will be back to melodramatic relationship nonsense.
Katie: You know what, I’ve been waiting for this episode for months. Superheroes and musicals are two major loves of my childhood, so I’m just super excited to see all the musical talents of the CW DC shows (so many Broadway stars, Chris!) come together to sing and dance.
And that being said, I am definitely planning to talk about the crossover episode before we recap our actual Supergirl episode next week. My main hope is that 1. The musical numbers are fun and 2. They resist getting Mon-El and Kara back together through the magic of Kara’s magical dream on a totally different show.
Chris: Ohhh.. I hope you’re ready to be disappointed, because I can definitely see that happening.
Katie: I have hope, Chris. I have hope in the magic of music and the equal magic of the Barry/Kara friendship that they won’t screw this up for me.
Chris: I’ll try to stay hopeful for your sake then.