Review: ‘Supergirl’ Kicks Off ‘Invasion!’ Crossover With ‘Medusa’
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Medusa”:
Why hello, Supergirl fans. Obviously, tonight’s “Medusa” crossover was about as minimal as expected, but it’s as good a time as any to check in on Season 2, especially after all those notable heights and changes of the first few episodes. There’s been tangible additions like Chris Wood’s Mon-El and Sharon Leal’s Miss Martian, a bit more insight into the relationship between the Luthors and Project Cadmus, and most effectively, Alex coming out in the wake of Maggie Sawyer’s arrival.
I say “most effectively,” as Alex’s revelation has probably (and rightly) been given the most care of anything in Season 2 thus far. As with coming out to Kara a few weeks ago, “Medusa” wrought some really lovely moments between Alex and her mother (returning Helen Slater), or Maggie coming around to embrace the risks of hers and Alex’s mutual attraction. The fact that Supergirl has taken four or five episodes to explore so many nuances of coming out is very refreshing, and – of the two love stories on display tonight – clearly the more effective.
It’s not terribly surprising of a CW series to push forward with another love interest for Kara, but rather odd that they’d move so quickly, when the point of breaking up with James in the premiere was to focus more on establishing her own identity underneath the cape. There’s an argument to be made that Mon-El better understands the idea of making a home on another world, and there’s no shortage of chemistry or cute moments between Chris Wood and Melissa Benoist, but whatever brief introduction of aliens on Mon-El’s trail seems infinitely more interesting than whatever will-they-won’t-they stalls we can conjure.
The reason behind the romance could just as easily be logistical – The CW is always going to value less-expensive drama over consistent action – it’s just that “Medusa” never really balances that scale. The idea of an alien bio-terror threat should be a major deal (one Superman is curiously never called for, despite occurring at his own fortress) but the goal seems largely to have been to cement Lena’s loyalty* against her mother. You could catch glimmers of those more contemplative beats in moments like J’onn’s willingness to sacrifice himself, or that montage of alien bystanders watching doom rain down from overhead, but most of that thoughtfulness ended up swallowed with the awful hamminess of Cyborg Superman.
*By design, Lena Luthor has had the least ingratiation into the main cast, but I appreciated even the brief attempt to parallel her relationship with Lillian to Kara’s own family shame (I guess Laura Benanti was busy), as well as Alex and her mother.
Obviously, Supergirl was in something of an awkward position tonight, to have to pepper in intrusions from another universe to foreshadow Barry and Cisco’s arrival in the final minutes (to say nothing of Barry’s awkward imposition that Kara owes him participation), so “Medusa” was always going to feel a bit overshadowed by the rest of this week’s events. I’m not immediately clear if tonight’s hour was the last we’ll see of Supergirl itself until 2016, but if so, it definitely wasn’t the strongest note to leave on.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- Does anyone else remember that Peter Facinelli used to be in this? Has Max Lord even been mentioned this season?
- Nitpicking aside, DO NOT WHISPER TENSE SECRETS within earshot of super-hearing. This has already come up!
- I presume Hank Henshaw’s metal mask is intended to help resemble the ¾ Cyborg Superman face, without requiring mouth CG?
- Kelex is a dumb robot, who could neither see that Kara Zor-El had become a middle-aged African-American man, nor safeguard against being reprogrammed to attack her.
- A Kryptonian bioweapon coincidentally shares an ominous name with a Greek myth?
- The Green/White Martian J’onn fight was neat, but we’ve apparently dropped that whole transformation thread like potatoes.
- Alex is under some stress, sure, but … they are depicting her with a drink-in-hand noticeably often.
- Let’s hope Kara told someone, anyone she was about to disappear to another universe!
Supergirl will return Tuesday, November 29 with Flash crossover continuation “Invasion!,” airing at 8:00 P.M. on The CW.
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