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REVIEW: Supergirl 1×04 “Livewire”

 

Talk about filler episodes… Last night’s episode of Supergirl, entitled “Livewire”, was another decent installment to the series, but fans who have been yearning for more development in the Astra story may have been disappointed. I’ve already said it multiple times that Supergirl is most likely going to rely on the villain-of-the-week formula that has worked so well in executive producer Greg Berlanti‘s other series. Personally, I don’t mind it, especially when we get cool, somewhat-obscure villains like Reactron. However, I can understand if people weren’t too happy with another filler episode like last night’s “Livewire”. (spoilers ahead!)

While trying to save radio shock-jock Leslie Willis (with a penchant for bashing Supergirl) from a malfunctioning helicopter, Supergirl is struck by a bolt of lightning, which travels through her body and into Leslie, sending her into a coma. When Leslie wakes up, she discovers that she has the ability to manipulate energy (mostly electricity, but she demonstrates an ability to absorb SG’s heat vision as well). Say hello to Livewire!

I saw people complaining about the fact that Livewire was a Superman villain rather than a Supergirl villain. Does it honestly matter? How many times do I have to say this: if you want to watch Superman, go watch one of the countless movies or shows about him. Why do you care so much if they borrow some of his villains for Supergirl? It’s like when people whined about Arrow featuring Batman villains. Whine whine whine whine whine.

Back to the story. Before Supergirl encounters Livewire, she has to deal with another major challenge in her life: awkward Thanksgiving dinners. She invites Winn to share the holiday with her, her sister, and her mother, and things go from 0-100 really fast. Alex gets a bit drunk in the midst of the dinner and reveals to her mother that she works for the DEO. This, coupled with the fact that Kara has revealed her powers to the world, sends Eliza Danvers into a foul mood. I have to hand it to Chyler Leigh for the outstanding performance this episode. She just goes all out and lets her family have it. Meanwhile, poor Winn has to sit back and watch the family feud escalate.

I feel so bad for Winn having to deal with that. I felt especially sorry for him when, as he’s saying what he’s thankful for during dinner, Kara’s cell phone goes off, and she answers it when she discovers that it’s James. Okay, we get it, Kara has a crush on James. But have some freakin’ respect! It’s Thanksgiving dinner, and James has a girlfriend. Let the phone ring or put it on silent. Winn must be heartbroken that someone he considers his best friend won’t even show him the slightest courtesy.

"Livewire" -- Kara's (Melissa Benoist, center standing) Thanksgiving may be ruined when she suspects her foster mother, Dr. Danvers (Helen Slater, right), who is coming to town, disapproves of her new role as a superhero, on SUPERGIRL, Monday, Nov. 23 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Also pictured: Chyler Leigh (left) and Jeremy Jordan (center seated) Photo: Darren Michaels/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. © 2015 WBEI. All rights reserved.

The icing on the cake is when we find out that Winn’s dad is in jail and that he doesn’t necessarily do the whole “family get-together” thing all that often. He admits to Kara that he’s thankful that she allowed him to join the Danvers for dinner, even if it turned into a huge fight. And yet, she still seems oblivious to how Winn feels about her. I’m not saying she has to date him, but don’t blow him off and treat him so disrespectfully. This is the one time I actually disliked Kara. I hope she realizes her mistakes later on in the series.

Let’s go back to what’s happening with Livewire. She escapes the hospital and begins to learn how to use her powers; the whole situation seemed very reminiscent of Electro’s origin in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. She makes her way to the CatCo building, seeking revenge on Cat Grant, who decided to work late on Thanksgiving. Kara arrives at the office to check on her when Livewire makes her appearance.

I may have liked Calista Flockhart‘s Cat Grant the past few episodes, but now, I just think she’s purely amazing. During Livewire’s attack, Cat actually tells Kara to go downstairs to the security booth while she provides a distraction. She’s willing to sacrifice herself so that Kara could get to safety. I KNEW that this was the kind of person Cat was hiding under that tough exterior. She may be rough as sandpaper on the outside, but inside, it looks like she genuinely cares for others. This is only further proven when Cat and Kara have a heart-to-heart about their families, and Cat empathizes with her assistant when she learns that she’s an orphan. It’s a truly touching moment.

Supergirl saves Cat, and the two discuss a plan to spring a trap for Livewire. The DEO offers a special device to neutralize the villainess while Cat provides a distraction. There’s an intense showdown at the plaza where Cat goes face-to-face with Livewire, saying exactly what’s on her mind and berating her with no hesitation. How many non-superpowered people can say that they have the guts to talk down to a supervillain? Cat doesn’t give a sh*t at all, and that’s why she’s so awesome.

Supergirl defeats Livewire, and Kara learns an important lesson about family, and blah blah blah. It’s the typical falling action you see in every episode. Once again, Cat shows some more of her more humane side and says that she’d like to cover a story about people volunteering at soup kitchens. Is she turning over a new leaf?

The episode may have been filler, but it was necessary filler. Complain all you want about how Supergirl is relying on Superman villains to push the story along, but you can’t deny that it has some excellent acting and character development. Here’s to many more exciting episodes!

Final Grade: B +

+ Cat showing her more humane side; also, Cat standing up to Livewire.

+ Excellent performances by Chyler Leigh and Calista Flockhart.

+ The special effects with Livewire’s powers were pretty good.

– People STILL don’t recognize Supergirl as being Kara Danvers?!

– The episode seemed like pure filler.

– I feel so bad for Winn; Supergirl has super senses but she seems to have a hard time sensing that the dude obviously likes her a lot.

Extra Thoughts:

– Livewire is obviously going to return with a vengeance at some point.

What did you think of tonight’s episode of Supergirl? Are you getting tired of the villain-of-the-week setup yet? Let us know 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!