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REVIEW: Supergirl 1×14 “Truth, Justice, and the American Way”

 

Why couldn’t I get into tonight’s Supergirl? It had an interesting premise along with an intriguing villain, but it just felt… off? I don’t know why the show felt like it was in a funk this week. Maybe it was just an off night. Hopefully “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” was a tiny bump in the road in an otherwise great season. (spoilers ahead!)

Cat Grant has hired a new second assistant, Siobhan Smythe, to help out around CatCo since Kara has been losing her touch. Obviously, Smythe is meant to act as a foil/rival to Kara, but I didn’t feel much for her performance this week. Her introduction and role felt very artificial, like they threw her in for the hell of it. Smythe has an interesting role within the DC comic universe, so it’s clear we’ll be seeing more of her within the next couple of weeks. For now, she seemed kinda bland and in-the-way. I don’t feel like seeing more work drama for Kara. I’d rather just watch Cat continue to give her a hard time instead of dragging in another side character.

This new co-worker isn’t the only issue for Kara right now. She has to deal with the fact that, with her Aunt Astra now dead, her Uncle Non is going all out to make sure he gets his revenge. I like Non as a villain; he presents himself as more hostile and threatening than Astra or any of the Fort Rozz escapees. I’m curious to see if he’ll be the main villain only for the remainder of the season, or if he’ll be back for Season 2.

Kara is also facing some issues with Maxwell Lord, who is still imprisoned at the DEO. Throughout the episode, we watch the main cast argue over whether it’s justified to keep him imprisoned. Predictably, they decide to let him out at the end of the episode, but not before Alex threatens him and says she will reveal all his crimes to the world if he dares to spill on Kara’s secret identity. Like I said, predictable.

The meat of the episode revolves around the new villain of the week: Master Jailer. Out of all the villains we’ve seen so far, I think this had to be my favorite. MJ reminds me a little of Judge Dredd; he’s essentially acting as the judge, jury, and executioner for the escaped Fort Rozz escapees. That doesn’t seem to fly right with Supergirl and the DEO, especially since some of the prisoners aren’t that evil. In fact, one of them is actually trying to rehabilitate himself by assuming the role as a college professor and teaching students about the stars. On a side note: I wonder if this means that there are prisoners who could potentially ally themselves with Supergirl in the future…

The battles between Master Jailer and Supergirl were the best part of the episode. If there’s one thing Greg Berlanti does right, it’s finding out how to include awesome fight scenes in his shows. We also have to give credit to director Lexi Alexander for making Master Jailer vs. Supergirl work. I was impressed at how the fight looked so natural and organic. The CW DC shows usually make their scenes look a bit wonky and fake (you gotta give them a break for relying on a TV budget). This week, I saw fight scenes that could’ve almost been movie quality.

The episode’s climax features Alex rescuing an imprisoned Kara from MJ’s makeshift execution chamber, and SG laying the smackdown on the villain. As much as I’m getting tired of the cookie-cutter episodes and the villain-of-the-week formula, I still love watching Supergirl go toe-to-toe with a new baddie each episode. Master Jailer proved to be one of the more interesting characters to see in battle, and I’m hoping he shows up again real soon.

Oh, and I think it’s worth discussing Kara’s side remark to MJ about “people in that other city wear masks”. I have a feeling this is a reference to Gotham City and Batman, but since there’s going to be a future crossover between Supergirl and The Flash, I’m wondering if she was referring to her universe’s version of Central City. It was a little throwaway line, but it still caught my attention.

Anyway, the episode ends with Supergirl learning a lesson about justice (thanks to her experience with Master Jailer and a pep talk from James), and as mentioned earlier, she and the DEO decide to let Lord go. Yeah, that’s TOTALLY going to end well for everyone…

Aside from the great fight scenes and the interesting villain, I hardly cared for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way”. As far as I’m concerned, this was merely a filler episode to kill time. Supergirl desperately needs to break away from the villain-of-the-week scenario. Knowing Berlanti and the way he produces his shows, we probably won’t be seeing a change to this formula anytime soon.

Final Grade: B –

+ Awesome fight scenes between Supergirl and Master Jailer.

+ Master Jailer was a cool villain.

+ I liked Non’s threats to Supergirl; he’s definitely got the makings to be an epic villain for the foreseeable future.

– More “villain-of-the-week” shenanigans.

– I didn’t care for the CatCo subplot.

– Another cookie-cutter episode.

Extra Thoughts:

– Please bring Master Jailer back!

Did you like tonight’s episode of Supergirl? What did you think of Master Jailer’s role? 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!