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REVIEW: Supergirl 1×02 “Stronger Together”

 

I knew Supergirl would continue to deliver after that awesome first episode. This week’s installment, “Stronger Together”, was a fun hour of television. One of the things that was so great about this episode was the fact that it actually got pretty meta and self-referential in regards to the world’s opinion of Supergirl, both as a heroine and as the show. (spoilers ahead!)

After revealing herself to the world as Supergirl last week, Kara is now walking with her head held high, basking in the glory of being a superhero and giving National City a beacon of hope. However, she’s caught off-guard by the negative reactions from the population. People are calling her a reckless amateur who is simply attempting (and failing) to ride off her cousin’s coat-tails. There is even a social media movement that has dubbed her as #TerribleGirl. Doesn’t this remind you of something?

The show essentially parodied the real-world reaction to Supergirl. After the premiere, people were too busy bashing the show by claiming that it was essentially a watered-down version of Superman. People were also very critical of the fact that Superman’s name was barely mentioned in the pilot. So what did Greg Berlanti and the rest of the Supergirl team do? They threw it all back in the audience’s face. They mentioned Superman several times throughout the episode while also proving that THIS SHOW ISN’T ABOUT SUPERMAN!

I don’t have the patience to wade through comment after comment from people who didn’t even watch the show but still want to bash it. And it’s funny that this is mostly coming from the same people who were complaining about the lack of female superhero representation in the first place. Just like how the citizens of National City shouldn’t trash Supergirl for trying to help, the fans of the show shouldn’t trash it for trying something new.

The first half of the episode focuses on Kara working with her friends and confidants James and Winn to boost the Supergirl brand. They help her find low-level crimes to stop around the city so that people can see her being an actual hero. Although I loved the quick montage of Supergirl superhero-ing (along with the excellent music), there was one thing that bothered me. We see SG stopping a bank robber by blocking a shotgun blast with her hand. The next thing you know, that shot is in the city newspaper. Who took that photo? Was there a news reporter at the scene ready to capture the moment? I guess you could chalk it up to someone using their phone to snap the picture, but it was a high-quality image! This was just a small issue though, and I won’t hold it against the overall quality of the episode.

On another note, can I just say that I love Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant? She is just so evil but in a corporate-y kinda way. She’s the embodiment of every terrible boss you’ve ever had. Throughout the episode, she’s bullying James to land her an interview with Supergirl. She does it in such a condescending way that you absolutely revile her by the end of each sentence. Flockhart pulls off the role so well. In a way, she reminds me of J.K. Simmons‘ role as J. Jonah Jameson in the original Spider-Man trilogy, except with much less yelling. Cat is a necessary evil for the show, and I can’t wait to see her be more of a pain in the ass in the future.

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The other half of the episode explores Supergirl’s Kryptonian troubles. The Department of Extra-Normal Operations decides to train SG in combat since she will be taking down more super-powered foes in the future. Kara’s foster sister Alex shows her how to fight in a Kryptonite-lined room to hone her abilities, and it is here that Alex teaches SG a crucial lesson: she will be facing off against people with years of training, so she needs to be ready to take on tougher challenges.

Speaking of tougher challenges, this week’s episode showed us another member of Supergirl’s rogue gallery: Hellgrammite, a giant insect-like man with super-strength and weird stingers that he shoots out of his body. But Hellgrammite wasn’t the main baddie this time around; instead, we see Supergirl face off against her aunt, Astra, who we saw at the end of the pilot episode. Astra is more-or-less an ultra-powered Supergirl; she’s got more experience, more strength, more speed, etc. Naturally, she kicks the crap out of her niece in the beginning of a one-on-one fight, but Supergirl quickly remembers her training and uses Astra’s own strength against her to come out on top. The DEO comes in the nick of time, and Hank Henshaw, the hot-headed leader of the department, stabs Astra with a Kryptonian blade, forcing her to flee. Um, why couldn’t they make Kryptonite bullets and save time? Wouldn’t that make their job easier? In fact, I’m a little surprised they don’t have a whole arsenal of Kryptonite-based weaponry to tackle the Fort Rozz escapees.

It’s obvious that Astra is going to be the big bad for the rest of the season (maybe the entire series). The one thing that’s odd to me is that I expected her to stay in hiding for much longer. I’m surprised that they allowed Astra and Supergirl to come face-to-face so soon. My guess now is that this will be the last one-on-one confrontation between the two until the season finale, when SG is much more powerful and better trained to take down her aunt.

The episode ends on a pretty dramatic note: Supergirl lifts Cat Grant’s car up into the air and takes her to a secluded area so that they can finally have their interview. Does this mean Cat now knows SG is Kara? She’s looking at her right in the face. You’d have to be blind to not make the connection between the heroine and the secret identity. Earlier in the episode, James explains to Kara that people won’t recognize her as SG because they find it hard to believe that there is a superhero in their midst. Nope. Not buying it. Not everyone can be that blind. I mean, I look different when I put on my glasses and fix my hair, but there’s no way people wouldn’t recognize me if I suddenly donned a cape and was able to fly. We need a better explanation, DC.

“Stronger Together” was a fun time all around, but it didn’t give us that same kick as the pilot. I think it’s because we didn’t have that same awestruck moment as when we first saw SG suit up to fight crime. Either way, I’m still loving the show, and I’m looking forward to the future of Supergirl.

Final Grade: B +

+ I liked the meta-ness of the episode.

+ The fight between Supergirl and Astra was cool.

+ Great performances all around, especially by Calista Flockhart.

– I’m still wondering how NOBODY realizes Kara is Supergirl; the glasses and her hair in a bun can’t make that much of a difference, can they?

– Why couldn’t they make bullets out of Kryptonite?

– I’m starting to think that Greg Berlanti and co. are relying too heavily on the “villain-of-the-week” shtick.

Extra Thoughts:

– At the end of the episode, Cat confronts Supergirl. She HAS to recognize Kara at this point, right? I don’t know how they’ll explain it differently.

What did you think of “Stronger Together”? Is Supergirl still holding your attention or is it a dud? Tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!