Smallville Episode 10.3 ‘Supergirl’ Review

Posted on October 9, 2010



TVSummary: The first Darkseid-heavy episode of the season lands with a big thud.
Rating: 5/10 (Adjusted Score 2/26/11; Original Score 6.5/10)

Review Trailer
The quick skinny on the episode.

Lois and Clark are reunited at a rally held by Gordon Godfrey, a radio talking head who was possessed by Darkseid’s spirit on the night Clark sent Zod and the Kandorians off into a different dimension. Godfrey is leading a campaign against the heroes and during the rally a billboard nearly falls onto the crowd below, only to be stopped by Kara Zor-El, Clark’s cousin returned from searching for Kandor. Kara is trying to get her image plastered across the city to draw out the dark force, sent by Jor-El because he no longer trusts Clark. Meanwhile, Lois has run-ins with Godfrey to try to prevent him from revealing Oliver’s secret identity as the Green Arrow to the public. Oliver, still in crisis, makes a fateful decision.

** Note: Review contains spoilers if you have not seen the episode.**

Feature-Length Review after the jump.

Feature-Length Review
The in-depth review.

So, I named these reviews ‘wordy’ for a reason; they tend to be lengthy. With ‘Supergirl’, though, I find myself with not much to say. Really, the most feeling I can muster up for this episode is ‘meh’ and I absolutely hate using that term.

I make no secret of the fact that I don’t care for Kara. I’ve never been a fan of the comic character. I’ve always preferred that Clark was the last survivor of Krypton with occasional appearances of Zod and his cronies from the Phantom Zone. For me, Supergirl has never really served a purpose. She’s there merely to have a female Superman. Since we’ve already got one in Wonder Woman, what’s really the point?

The character was, unfortunately, done no favors in trying to win me over with her introduction on Smallville in Season 7. I found the writing of her lackluster, so much so that they basically abandoned her storyline midway through the season, sent her off to Detroit with amnesia and no one knowing where she was. When she returned, she still added very little to the show. I also thought Laura Vandervoort didn’t bring much to the role, though I’ve certainly wished for her to find success after she left the series (which she has). When they brought Kara back for a “farewell” performance in Season 8’s ‘Bloodline’ all of the same problems existed.

I’m happy to say that many of those problems have been removed in this episode. However, they are replaced with new ones. The biggest of which is the fact that they completely shoved Kara’s transformation into a hero and someone of worldly concern and action off-screen. We’re supposed to assume that some of this is a result of her time spent in the Phantom Zone married to the time she spent off Earth looking for the lost Kryptonian city. The problem is that it is such a shift in character that it comes off as unbelievable. If you’re going to include the character on the show, we need to see something that brought on this shift. Otherwise, you don’t buy it. And I didn’t.

It’s not that Kara isn’t a capable hero. She is. But her maturity – to the point where she is basically in the Superman role and Clark is subjugated to her once again – is blinding and, as always, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Laura is a much better actress than she once was, but this new mature Kara is so somber and serious that it plays like one continuous note you grow bored of quickly. And considering Clark is often this same level of serious, there wasn’t a strong counterpoint to play off of. In fact, seeing Clark speed off and Kara follow exactly behind or having Clark use super-hearing followed by Kara using it just seemed to press the point of uniformity.

What that gave to the whole episode was a sense of sameness and, well, boredom. ‘Supergirl’ isn’t a bad episode, per se, it’s just a boring one. It’s monotone with very little excitement. The one moment I outright enjoyed was the teach Clark to fly scene. Seeing Clark actually soar up into the sky only to fall again was fun and refreshing. Clark is trying and there’s forward movement. It felt less like a tease and more organic to the overall story. I was thankful for that.

I wasn’t thankful for the very odd bondage club scenes. I’m not a prude and have nothing against BDSM. It’s not my gig, but I know people that enjoy it, so more power to ’em. And while, yes, I got the rationale in trying to connect it to DeSaad, one of Darkseid’s minions, I couldn’t help but feel this place was extremely – awkwardly – out of place on the show. They spent a significant amount of time in the club for what could’ve been handled in two or three minutes. Heck, when even the writer takes time to have the characters point out the oddity of this club, it’s probably not working as the best venue. This all capped off with the silliest Lois-is-tied-to-the-train-tracks set-up ever.

I enjoyed the bits of Clark and Lois together when they were given opportunities to connect, primarily in the rally scene and in the Daily Planet denouement. Tom seemed to be having some fun in trying different things with his delivery of lines and it worked. The show is always better when these two enjoy being in one another’s presence. Erica was good, too, though I’d say she was kind of perfunctory throughout the episode. I don’t know that I can say that’s her fault as much as this felt like silly things we’ve seen Lois do in the past. Nothing terribly new means nothing terribly captivating.

Chloe’s presence has become a nuisance on the show. I know the writers and producers want to do everything they can to make it feel like Allison is still with the show and that Chloe may be gone but is far from forgotten. However, this whole storyline is become an ungainly weight around Oliver’s – and Justin Hartley’s – neck. It’s not giving the character anything interesting to do but brood and mope around. He’s been doing that for three episodes now and it’s not serving the show any good. We finally get to a decision by Oliver to do something – namely, reveal himself to the world. I’ll wait to see how this plays out. Right now, it does feel a bit like a shameful pinch of Iron Man, though I know the comics have gone back and forth with Ollie’s identity being public knowledge many times over the years. I am glad it’s something else for Oliver to focus on and I’m interested to see their take on the whole out-and-proud hero arc.

There’s not much more I can share about the episode. Mairzee Almas, who I like, did an okay but not noteworthy job in direction. I did love how Louis Febre got more playful with the score this week and I’m really digging the fleshing out of the Blur’s heroic theme. (Seems like he might have 2 or 3 now.) This was a letdown of an episode from writer Anne Cofell Saunders. Her strength is in writing the Lois and Clark banter and, as I mentioned above, those were highlights for me. The rest, though, crawled along somewhat lifeless.

Going in, I struggled with my bias on the character of Kara as well as the decision to push Kara’s hero persona front and center before Clark became Superman. (That moment when the cover for the billboard flapped in the wind behind Kara simulating a cape while she held up the fallen sign really bugged me.) I did approach this more open than I’ve been in the past, especially given the goodwill built up with ‘Lazarus’ and ‘Shield’. In the end, while Kara was relatively more tolerable in this episode, she still didn’t win me over. In addition, our first episode of the season that dealt so strongly with the Darkseid big-bad arc was flat and not that engaging. We had the girl but the episode wasn’t so super. I can’t even call this a stinker because it was just so ho-hum as to not care one way or the other.