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Thursday, May 23, 2024
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TV Recaps/Reviews

Supergirl Season 2 Refresher Guide/Year In Review: New Beginnings

New beginnings. Fresh starts. Unsought awakenings. These were prominent themes for the characters of Supergirl Season 2. This makes sense as the show was in a state of new beginnings moving from CBS to The CW Network.

With that move came a lot of changes. Little things like the DEO is no longer located in what could reasonably be confused as a cousin of the bat cave. Now their location is a gorgeous tall building in the middle of National City.

Other changes were not so little, however. We finally get to meet Superman; and I admit, I was pleasantly surprised. My big concern when hearing he was visiting was that he’d overshadow Supergirl in some way. However, Tyler Hoechlin does a brilliant job showcasing Superman’s heroism and strength while simultaneously encapsulating Clark’s endearing midwestern oh gosh, by golly charm. Tyler’s the first Superman I’ve seen since Christopher Reeve who I feel successfully pulls that off. And he looks awesome in the Super blue, red and yellow. But green? Not so much.

We also gained Lena Luthor and her mother Lillian, played by Katie McGrath and Brenda Strong respectively (I’ll get more into them later), Mon-El of Daxam (Chris Wood), Miss Martian aka M’gann M’orzz (Sharon Leal), and some fantastic guest star appearances by the likes of Teri Hatcher as Mon-El’s mother Queen Rhea and Lynda Carter as President Olivia Marsdin. Also in this mix…Kara’s new boss, Snapper Carr (Ian Gomez) who actually fires her at some point. But he wasn’t serious about that, surely?

However, we lost Lucy Lane (which I mourn) and Maxwell Lord (which I do not mourn in any way) and Cat Grant was preparing to exit stage left. Thankfully, we haven’t lost her forever. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss her something fierce. I look forward to and enjoy all her guest visits which can’t help but light up the screen.

She isn’t the only character to find herself on a journey of self discovery. James Olsen, who Cat set up to hold her spot at CatCo Worldwide Media, found himself wanting more out of his life and decided he needed to take up the hero business in his spare time. He got Winn Schott on board with his crazy scheme to provide not only tech and logistics support but also his super high tech costume. And thus, Guardian was born.

If you sense my ambivalence here it’s because I sort of feel the show doesn’t really know what to do with James. I mean, since when does he have a black belt? I don’t remember that ever coming up before. But now he doesn’t care about photography nor CatCo, not really. Not given the lack of care or attention he pays it for the bulk of the season. I hope the show figures out how better to use him because I *heart* James and I don’t like it when I feel like a show is mishandling a good character.

Other journeys of self discovery went a whole lot more smoothly. Alex Danvers finding out she wasn’t nearly as heterosexual as she had always assumed she was, for instance. That story was poetry in motion. I felt her confusion, her hurt when the object of her affection rejected her, her concern her family would turn on her, her elation at learning Maggie loved her back. These are real, human emotions that so many people experience. Chyler Leigh, Floriana Lima and Melissa Benoist all moved me personally with such an honest portrayal of Alex’s journey.

Alex of course, wasn’t the only one to find love in surprising places. Winn for instance, began a relationship with Lyra Strayd (Tamzin Merchant), a refugee from Starhaven. Their path to love was a bit rough. She was scamming him the whole time. But she did it to save her brother. And because of that he forgave her for lying to him; and now she’s joined Team Guardian to help protect National City. Yes, I’m still ambivalent over the whole Team Guardian thing. But still.

Kara found herself on an even tougher path to love. As Kara herself put it, think Hatfields and McCoys. Daxam and Krypton, neighboring planets orbiting the same red dwarf star Rao, had been at war for a long time. And while that war ended a long time ago, the tensions between their two worlds never let up. So Kara meeting a surviving Daxamite didn’t provide any kind of joy for her. She was suspicious from the start. Biased and judgmental too (some fair, some…not so much).

Mon-El did himself no favors. He first arrived at the very start of the season (actually, picking up from the last moments of season 1). When he wakes, he attacks and rushes out and tries to find a way back home. That, I don’t fault him for in the least. However when he’s recovered and learns his circumstances, he acts like a jerk who takes little to nothing seriously, as though others exist to cater to his whims (such as poor Eve Tessmacher, James’s new assistant). He behaved that way for a good reason, of course. But even then, as his time with the fine folks of the DEO progressed forward, he continued to hide his true identity from them. He stuck to his story that he was a guard who served the Prince of Daxam as opposed to being the Prince who fled.

When Kara and he finally found themselves on the same page romantically, he continued the ruse until he was outted by his parents who received the distress signal he sent out early in the season. Yes, he is the prince. And worse, he sacrificed his guard and watched a Kryptonian ambassador bearing the House of El insignia be murdered for the pod that took him to earth. It literally takes a journey to another earth and another realm (I’m still a little confused as to where Kara and Barry Allen ended up, to be honest) before Kara puts aside her trust issues and accepts him into her heart more fully. Then she’s totally ready to enjoy breakfast in bed, or not, courtesy Studdly McDaxam.

But my favorite romantic relationship of the year by far was the one between J’onn J’onzz and M’gann M’orzz. While the other relationships in the show have had significant hurdles to overcome, J’onn and M’gann had a veritable canyon to leap. When J’onn first meets M’gann, he believes her to be a fellow Green Martian. And even when he learns of her involvement in an underground alien fight club ring, he’s able to move past it.

It’s not until after Parasite, a creepy creature made of a human mutated by an alien parasite, critically injures him that he learns her true nature as a White. M’gann gave her blood to save him but it started to turn him into a White as well. It was only due to quick thinking by bio engineer Eliza Danvers (Helen Slater) and a reworking of Lillian Luthor’s alien toxin that saves him from a fate worse than death in the end and returned him to his gorgeous green self.

But he despised M’gann, not for who she was, but for WHAT she was. It’s hard to overcome 300 years of hate. When M’gann was attacked psychically while in the DEO holding cell, J’onn felt compelled to go into her mind to save her.  He came to terms with the fact that he cared for her. He knew she wasn’t like other Whites. She stood up against oppression and carried the guilt of her people.  He found it in himself to see her for her and not the race of beings that murdered his family centuries ago.

M’gann…she never knew love before but she knew she felt a connection with J’onn. But it was that connection and her seeing his courage and his heart that gave her the strength to go back to Mars and find other like minded Whites who opposed the genocidal, militaristic mindset of her people. Yes, we see her again in the finale but I sure hope we’ll get to see more of her in season 3.

Family was another prominent theme of the season. The Danvers, with their concern over Jeremiah (Dean Cain) and what’s become of him in Cadmus’s hands and of course their full acceptance of Alex and her new relationship. The Luthors, with the complex dynamic between Lillian and Lena who could never meet with her mother’s approval. It’s a fascinating relationship, frought with angst and rejection. I just feel so much for Lena and her need to feel selfless love from a parent. Not that she ever for a moment expects to receive it of course. That need drove her in part to Rhea’s proverbial arms, making her an integral part in the season’s final episodes.

But family isn’t limited to blood or legal relations. I dare anyone to look at J’onn, Alex and Kara and not see a real bond that exceeds friendship. It’s because of the strength garnered from these ties that our team finds the drive within them to take on the challenges before them. Stronger together, right?

The season ends on a bittersweet note for Kara when she’s forced to make a hard choice. When the Daxamites led by Rhea come to conquer the earth, the odds seem insurmountable. Lena, previously manipulated by Rhea, works with Winn to modify a device created by her brother Lex to emit lead into the atmosphere. Lead is supremely poisonous to all Daxamites. In fact, Rhea turns to ash and disintegrates (I guess I can say goodbye to the hope of her coming back next year, huh). The problem of course is that it’s poisonous for Mon-El too. But it is their only hope and it is the only choice she can make. In order to save him, she sends him away, presumably forever.

The Mon-El at the end of the season bears little to no resemblance to the man they pull from the pod at the beginning of the year. This Mon-El listens more. Cares more. Is more responsive and understanding. This Mon-El speaks up for the people and stands against oppression. I’m not generally a fan of the “man is made better by love” trope. I don’t feel it’s a woman’s job to make a man be better. But I will give this instance a little more leeway.  We actually do see him evolve and change into something more. Even when he thought he lost Kara by returning to Daxam, he wanted to be worthy of Kara’s love.

At any rate, going into season 3, Kara is heartbroken with this loss. Just another major blow in a lifetime full of them. Time will tell how this informs her actions from here on out and how she comes back from it. Will she find it in herself to be the sunny Danvers loved by all? (Well, everyone but Siobhan Smythe, that is.) Or is this the straw that broke the camel’s back?

I suspect we will see Kara slowly return to us. That this is her journey for Season 3 in part. Re-finding that balance between being Kara Zor-El and being Kara Danvers. While it might hurt too much right now, in the long term, Kara needs her human connections to keep her grounded. She needs her human family and friends. She needs game nights and pizza and potstickers.

I only hope she figures that out sooner rather than later.

There were a few issues I’d like to see addressed next year. Specifically James and what role the show envisions for him but overall, the season was very enjoyable. I give Supergirl Season 2 9 El Mayarahs out of a possible 10.

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